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The afternoon that Joe Masseria dined on bullets

April 14, 2021

The tale of Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria’s assassination on April 15, 1931, is one of many gangland legends that have been told, retold and morphed over the decades. It is sometimes hard to distinguish facts from folklore. One thing is certain: We were not there, so we are never going to know precisely the who, what, when and why of this particular hit. Fortunately we do have reports from law enforcement officers who were eyeing the mobster’s every move (though they were not as clued-in as they thought they were). We also have the accounts of newspaper reporters (albeit often ...

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How Prohibition changed beer

For dedicated home brewers and beer snobs, the tale is familiar. Prohibition killed small and mid-sized breweries, and after repeal,…

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A new look at Tony Spilotro in upcoming movie

When mobster Tony Spilotro was active in Las Vegas decades ago, doors opened for him in Hollywood. As the Chicago…

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Nevada marks 90th anniversary of legal gambling

Ninety years ago today, Nevada legalized gambling. It changed everything — eventually. When Governor Fred Balzar signed Assembly Bill 98…

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Embattled ‘maxi-trial’ prosecutor takes on ’Ndrangheta

Nicola Gratteri has not been to a restaurant in 20 years. The 62-year-old lawyer eats in his office. His home,…

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El Chapo’s wife arrested in U.S., faces federal charges

Emma Coronel Aispuro may not be a household name, but the U.S. Justice Department believes she was a key accomplice…

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The Mafia boss who flipped

Behind bars and abandoned by his men, Ralph Natale of Philadelphia became the first official American Mafia boss to flip…

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The mystery of Lucky Luciano’s ‘invaluable service’ to the country

Seventy-five years ago, Charles Luciano caught a Lucky break . . . sort of. Following several years of negotiations (and…

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