organized crime

The Syndicate

The era of the 1920s had taught organized crime leaders the value of strong political connections and the disadvantages of internecine warfare, but it was not until the 1930s that Lucky Luciano (with Mafia connections) and Louis Lepke Buchalter created a tight interstate criminal organization called the Syndicate. It included many crime figures from all over the country in an invisible government, apportioning territorial boundaries, allocating the profits from crime, and punishing those who violated their decrees. The notorious Murder, Inc. enforced Syndicate decisions.

With the trial and the conviction of Luciano, the smashing of Murder, Inc., and the execution of Buchalter, organized crime in the United States appeared to be ended. Luciano was eventually released from prison and deported to Italy, allegedly for services rendered on the New York waterfront during World War II; there, he was reputedly connected with the international drug trade.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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