See also: Luciano, Lucky Luciano (homonymy)
Lucky Luciano, one of the largest criminals than the world knew ever, was born under the name of Salvatore Lucania, in Lercara Friddi (in Sicily), in 1896, and died in Naples in 1962. He was certainly the criminal whose historical influence was most considerable. Two different versions explain the origin of its nickname " Lucky" (the lucky one). Most fictionalized attaches it to a beating up, in 1926 (a " length tour" in slang, the victim being taken along by car in a quiet place). According to the versions, they were the henchmen of one of the two principal godfathers New Yorkean, Masseria or Maranzano. It had been left there miraculeusement alive, and that had caused several facial scars, of which one damaged an eyelid, always with closed half. The most probable version indicates that it often misait on the good horse when it played races.
Luciano immigrated with his/her parents in 1906. It started very early with the shoplifting and the racket of the younger Jewish boys in exchange of its protection. Thus it met Meyer Lansky towards which it preserved a indéfectible friendship. At 18 years, Luciano was stopped whereas it delivered heroin and spent six months in prison. Its notoriety increased within the Five Points Gang, whose members were also known as being “Five Pointers”. In 1920, he was an important smuggler (English: powerful bootlegger ), in partnership with Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, and incidentally Joe Adonis and Vito Genovese. At the same period, Costello made him meet Dutch Schultz and Arnold Rothstein.
The war of Castellammarese
Lucky Luciano joined then the family of one of the most powerful godfathers of New York, Joe Masseria. Whereas Luciano enrageait to see many business appropriatenesses to fly away because of chauvinism anti-semite of the Maffia, Masseria was wary of its ambition. The following episodes constitute the epopee of the Guerre of Castellammarese: the Masseria family and that of her rival Salvatore Maranzano clashed of 1930 to 1931, with for consequence several tens of assassinations. To put an end to this hecatomb and manigançant (with Meyer Lansky) a plan to seize the power, Luciano passed a market with Maranzano, to betray Masseria, assassinated whereas it was with him at the restaurant (Luciano had passed to the toilets for its alibi), before being turned over against its new owner.
The vision of Luciano, its project of trade union of the crime, its will to hustle the old traditions of the Maffia, his relations (in particular Meyer Lansky) and his acute sense of the strategy, as well as an undeniable charisma, brought Lucky Luciano, from now on godfather of the one of the five families of the Cosa Nostra of New York, with becoming the criminal chief dominating of the Commission (direction of the National union of the crime), at the conclusion of the war of Castellamarese in 1931.
Rise and falls
Just like Rothstein, Torrio, Costello and Lansky, Lucky Luciano remained sober, as well for alcohol as for the sex (although having been victim of several MST). It is however of these two defects (in addition to the play), that it drew most extremely from its incomes to the beginning of the year 1930. Luciano would have projected to organize the Prostitution according to processes of industrial optimization. Luciano was a young gangster shining and avid to be able to arrive at the top, he becomes a celebrity and piles up considerable sums for the time. Its idea of decentralization of the crime with at its head the commission grants a capacity to him that more no gangster knew after him. Also it settles in the luxury in Waldorf Astoria, carries different costumes each day and attends the most beautiful call-girls of New York. However, in 1936, the prosecutor Thomas Dewey updated his network of Prostitution and Luciano was stopped for procuring. At the time of the lawsuit, several prostitutes and upholders had to testify, and Luciano bailed out of a sorrow from 30 to 50 years of imprisonment. Its lawyer managed to make it transfer to the prison from Dannemora (instead of the harder prison of Sing Sing). Thanks to its political dealings, it could there profit from a preferential treatment and regularly receive its associates, which enabled him to continue to manage its empire.
The Second world war
When the United States engaged in the Second world war, Lucky Luciano could benefit from the situation. The ONI (secret services of the US Navy) was interested by the capacity of Luciano to control the docks of New York (via Albert Anastasia and of the trade union of the dockers) against possible operations of sabotage of agents Nazis. Its services included also contacts with the godfather of Palermo, Calogero Vizzini, to facilitate the course of the invasion, by the allied troops, of the Sicily in 1943. In accordance with the market passed with the navy, Luciano, after having profited from more lenient detention conditions, was released once the finished war, but it was expelled of the territory of the the United States, of which it did not have the citizenship, in 1946. It had to settle in Italy, country of origin where it had lived only six years.
In December 1946, continuing a voyage which had brought it to the Venezuela and the Mexico, Luciano went to Cuba where it organized (with Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello and Joe Adonis) the conference of Havana, which was the occasion for him to reaffirm its leadership on the Trade union of the crime. Albert Anastasia, Joseph Bonanno, Vito Genovese, Tommy Lucchese, Carlos Marcello, Willie Moretti, Joe Profaci and Santos Traficante were also present. On this occasion, decisions of first importance were made, such as the massive investment in the casinos of Havana, and the assassination of Bugsy Siegel, which after its investments with Las Vegas, had not been able to refund the sums lent by the Commission. In addition he formulated an arbitration in the competition between Albert Anastasia (chief of the one of the five families) and Vito Genovese. This last, ambitious vindicatory wishing the withdrawal of Luciano (the management of its family, which Genovese coveted, had been entrusted to Costello and Lansky), caused a sharp dispute. In February 1947, Luciano was again expelled towards Italy following pressures of the government states-unien on the cuban government of Fulgencio Batista.
Heroin international traffic
In 1947, Luciano settled with Naples (officially as a chief of a company of import-export), where it wove bonds with the Maffias Italian, the Camorra, the dranghetta and the families sicilian. Considering the enormous potential benefit of a market in full expansion, it wished to organize a heroin international traffic, in spite of the recriminations which it had before formulated towards Vito Genovese, precursor opposed on this ground. In October 1957, it organized with the Large Hotel of the Palms with Palermo a conference in which the principal sicilian godfathers as well as representatives of the five New Yorkean families took part, of which Joseph Bonanno and his consigliere (to advise and right-hand man) Carmine Gallant. It thus concretized solid bonds between the Maffias American and sicilian and installed dies of heroin traffic: opium coming from Turkey was refined in Italy. It would have also forged determining bonds with the Corsican traffickers and the underworld Marseillaise, in particular Antoine Guérini, whose networks of drug trafficking were known under the name of French Connection .
In 1959, it trapped Vito Genovese at the time of a heroin transaction whose the federal authorities were informed. To the beginning of the year 1960, it entered in conflict with Meyer Lansky, which it suspected of diverting of the sums which were due for him, but renonça to be acted. In January 1962, Lucky Luciano was embanked by an heart attack with the airport of Naples. It was supposed that it could be poisoned. It was buried in the United States, the American law not considering that a corpse has an unspecified nationality.
the Italian realizer Francesco Rosi carried out in 1974 a biographical film, Lucky Luciano , in which he reports the life of the gangster chief in Italy, after its expulsion. The main role is played by Gian Maria Volonte.
In the second opus of his trilogy on the Maffia ( The Godfather ), Francis Ford Coppola puts in scene a meeting of the principal godfathers with Havana and evokes the relations between the cuban government of the time and the organized crime.
In 1991, in the film the Untamed ones, ( Mobsters , of Michael Karbelnikoff) the role is interpreted by Christian Slater.
Andy Garcia also incarnated it in the film the Lords of Harlem in 1997.
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