The Tentacles Spread


After Prohibition, the Mob needed new criminal opportunities to exploit. It found plenty. Sports fixing, illegal gambling, drug trafficking and Hollywood extortion schemes were just some of the rackets that helped transform America’s bootlegging gangs into a national crime syndicate. Charles “Lucky” Luciano brutally eliminated the Mafia’s old-school bosses in New York, paving the way for a new generation of leaders who were eager to explore new criminal ventures. By midcentury, organized crime had spread to almost every major city in America, and it constantly developed new ways to make a dishonest buck. But the public did not yet recognize the extent of its power and influence.