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Encyclopedia > Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky (born Majer Suchowliński, July 4, 1902January 15, 1983) was an American gangster who, with Charles "Lucky" Luciano, was instrumental in the development of the "National Crime Syndicate" in the United States. is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1902 (MCMII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday [1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ... Charles Luciano (11 November 1896_ 26 January 1962), better known as Lucky Luciano, was a legendary mobster with a long criminal history. ... The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to a supposed loosely-organized organized crime syndicate, set up in the 1930s, by Charles Lucky Luciano and based in New York City. ...


Emigration and childhood

Hi Meyer Lansky was born in Grodno, Russia (now Hrodna, Belarus) to Polish parents. Father: Max Suchowljansky Mother: Yetta Lansky. In 1911, his family emigrated to the United States and settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York. While Lansky was in school, he met young Lucky Luciano who tried to shake him down. When Lansky refused to pay, Luciano was impressed with the younger boy's bravery; the two boys became friends for life. Hrodna (or Grodno; Belarusian: Го́радня, Гро́дна; Grodno in Polish, Гродно in Russian, Gardinas in Lithuanian) is a city in Belarus on the Nemunas river, close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania... Hrodna City emblem Hrodna (Belarusian: ; Russian: ; Polish: ; Lithuanian: ; Yiddish: Grodne; German: ) is a city in Belarus. ... Categories: Manhattan neighborhoods | Stub ... For other uses, see Manhattan (disambiguation). ... This article is about the state. ... Charles Lucky Luciano (born Salvatore Lucania) (November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was a Sicilian-American mobster. ...

Lansky met Bugsy Siegel when he was a teenager. They also became lifelong friends and, together with Luciano, formed a lasting partnership. Lansky was instrumental in Luciano's rise to power by organizing the 1931 murder of mafia powerhouse Salvatore Maranzano. As a youngster, Siegel saved Lansky's life several times, a fact Lansky always appreciated. The two of them adroitly managed the Bugs and Meyer Mob despite its reputation as one of the most violent Prohibition mobs. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Salvatore Maranzano (1868-September 10, 1931) was an organized crime figure from the town of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, and an early Mafia boss in the United States. ...

Gambling operations

By 1936, Lansky had established gambling operations in Florida, New Orleans, and Cuba. This was the same year that his partner Luciano was sent to prison. As Alfred McCoy records, This article is about the U.S. State of Florida. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ...

"During the 1930s, Meyer Lansky "discovered" the Caribbean for northeastern syndicate bosses and invested their illegal profits in an assortment of lucrative gambling ventures... He was also reportedly responsible for organized crime's decision to declare Miami a "free city" (i.e., not subject to the usual rules of territorial monopoly)." [citation needed] This article is about the city in Florida. ...

Later on, Lansky also became a big investor in Siegel's Flamingo Hotel project in Las Vegas. This article needs to be wikified. ... For further information, see Las Vegas metropolitan area and Las Vegas Strip. ...

After Al Capone's 1931 conviction for tax evasion, Lansky realized his own vulnerability to tax evasion prosecution. In response, he transferred illegal funds from his casinos to Europe, where he opened up a numbered bank account following the 1934 Swiss Banking Act.[citation needed] Later, according to Lucy Komisar, Lansky would even buy an offshore bank in Switzerland, which he used for money laundering through a network of shell and holding companies. ("Offshore Banking: The Secret Threat to America," Dissent, Spring 2003) “Capone” redirects here. ... This article contrasts tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax resistance and tax mitigation. ... Numbered bank accounts are offered by Swiss banks to the majority of their clients. ... Anonymous banking is where the banks of certain countries are used for holding money or assets, based on the voluntary or statutory level of privacy the banks provide. ... Lucy Komisar is a New York City-based investigative journalist. ... An offshore bank account is a bank located outside the country of residence of the depositor, typically in a low tax jurisdiction (or tax haven) that provides financial and legal advantages. ... Money laundering is the practice of engaging in financial transactions in order to conceal the identity, source and destination of the money in question. ... A shell corporation (aka International Business Corporations - IBCs -, Personal Investment Companies - PICs -, front companies or mailbox companies) is defined in Barrons Finance & Investment Handbook as a company that is incorporated but has no significant assets or operations. ... This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ...

War work

In the 1930s, Meyer Lansky and his gang stepped outside their usual criminal activities to break up rallies held by Nazi sympathizers. Lansky recalled a particular rally in Yorkville, a German neighborhood in Manhattan, that he and 14 other hoods disrupted: A section of Yorkville as seen from a high rise on Second Avenue and 87th Street Yorkville is a neighborhood within the Upper East Side of the borough of Manhattan in the city of New York City. ...

The stage was decorated with a swastika and a picture of Hitler. The speakers started ranting. There were only fifteen of us, but we went into action. We threw some of them out the windows. . . . Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up... We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults. [1]

During World War II, Lansky was instrumental in helping the Office of Naval Intelligence's Operation Underworld, in which the government recruited criminals to watch out for German infiltrators and submarine-borne saboteurs. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) was established in the United States Navy in 1882. ... Operation Underworld was the United States governments code name for a series of mafia operations intended to counter Nazi saboteurs along the U.S. eastern seaboard, initiated in 1942. ... Infiltrator cartridge. ... This article is about Sabotage sabotage can also refer to: an early Black Sabbath album (Sabotage), the Alfred Hitchcock films (Sabotage or Saboteur), a Beastie Boys song, or a type of shock site. ...

The Flamingo

During the 1940s, Lansky associate Bugsy Siegel persuaded the crime bosses (including Lansky) to invest in a lavish new casino hotel project in Las Vegas, the Flamingo. After long delays and large cost overruns, the Flamingo Hotel was still not open for business. To discuss the Flamingo problem, the mafia investors attended a secret meeting in Havana, Cuba. While the other bosses wanted to kill Siegel, Lansky begged them to give his friend a second chance. Despite this reprieve, Siegel continued to lose mafia money on the Flamingo Hotel. A second family meeting was then called. However, by the time this meeting took place, the casino turned a small profit. Lansky again, with Luciano's support, convinced the family to give Siegel some more time. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article needs to be wikified. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the capital of Cuba. ...

Unfortunately for Siegel, the Flamingo soon went back into the red. At a third meeting, the family decided that Siegel was finished. He had humiliated the organized crime bosses and never had a chance. It is widely believed that Meyer Lansky himself was compelled to give the final okay on eliminating Siegel due to his long relationship with Siegel and his stature in the family.

On June 20, 1947, Bugsy Siegel was shot and killed in Beverly Hills, California. Twenty minutes after the Siegel hit, Lansky's associates, including Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway, walked into the Flamingo Hotel and took control of the property. According to the FBI, Lansky was to retain a substantial financial interest in the Flamingo for the next twenty years. is the 171st day of the year (172nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see: Beverly Hills (disambiguation). ... Gus Greenbaum (1894–December 3, 1958) was a member of the Chicago Outfit and syndicate accountant for Las Vegas casino operations. ... Moe Sedway was a trusted affiliate of mobster Bugsy Siegel, who built the famous Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. ... The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a federal criminal investigative, intelligence agency, and the primary investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). ...

Lansky in Cuba

After World War II, Lansky associate Lucky Luciano was paroled from prison on the condition that he permanently return to Sicily. However, Luciano secretly moved to Cuba, where he worked to resume control over American mafia operations. Luciano also ran a number of casinos in Cuba with the sanction of Cuban president General Fulgencio Batista (who naturally received a percentage of the profits). As Luciano's Cuban revenues grew and the tourism and gambling business blossomed, Lansky himself started investing heavily in a Cuban hotel project. Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... General Rubén Fulgencio Batista (IPA: , ) y Zaldívar (January 16, 1901 – August 6, 1973) was a Cuban military officer and politician. ...

However, the 1959 Cuban revolution and the rise of Fidel Castro changed the climate for mob investment in Cuba. The new Cuban president, Manuel Urrutia Lleó closed the casinos and nationalized all the casino and hotel properties. This action essentially wiped out Lansky's asset base and revenue streams. Lansky left Cuba for the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations. With the additional crackdown on casinos in Miami, Lansky was forced to depend on his Las Vegas revenues. The Cuban Revolution refers to the revolution that led to the overthrow of General Fulgencio Batistas regime on January 1, 1959 by the 26th of July Movement and other revolutionary elements in the country. ... Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born on August 13, 1926) is the current President of Cuba but on indefinite medical hiatus. ... The President of Cuba is the Head of State of Cuba. ... Manuel Urrutia Lleó (1901 - 1981) was a Cuban political figure. ... Nationalization is the act of taking assets into state ownership. ...

Lansky in 1958
Lansky in 1958

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2040x3000, 493 KB) Retouched version of Image:Meyer Lansky NYWTS 1. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2040x3000, 493 KB) Retouched version of Image:Meyer Lansky NYWTS 1. ...

Later years

In his later years, Meyer Lansky lived a low-profile, routine existence in Miami Beach, making life difficult for the FBI. Lansky's associates usually met him in malls and other crowded locations. Lansky's chauffeur drove him around town to look for new payphones almost every day. Lansky was so elusive that the FBI essentially gave up monitoring him by the mid-1970s.

Lansky kept very little property in his name, concealing his equity through partnerships, and appeared to be just another struggling old man. Among Lansky's frontmen were men like Sam Cohen, Benjamin Sigelbaum and Alvin Ira Malnik. Malnik had originally started working for Lansky associate Al Mones in the late 1950s. Malnik's rise in the Lansky organization was fast and by 1970, he had seemingly become the most valuable player. After Lansky's death in 1983, Alvin Malnik's power became more visible than ever. Law enforcement officials have long suspected him to be Lansky's sole "heir".

During the 1970s, Lansky fled to Herzliya Pituah, Israel, to escape tax evasion charges. Two years later, Israel deported Lansky back to the U.S. However, the government's best shot at convicting Lansky was with the testimony of loan shark Vincent "Fat Vinnie" Teresa, an informant with little or no credibility. The jury was unreceptive, and Lansky was acquitted in 1974. Herzliya Pituah is the neighborhood on the west of the Israeli city of Herzliya. ... Former Boston mobster. ...


Lansky's last years were spent quietly at his home in Miami Beach. On January 15, 1983, he succumbed to lung cancer, at 80 years of age, leaving behind a wife and three children. [2] On paper, Meyer Lansky was worth almost nothing. At the time, the FBI believed he left behind over $300 million in hidden bank accounts, but they never found any money. Miami Beach is a city located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. ... Lung cancer is the malignant transformation and expansion of lung tissue, and is the most lethal of all cancers worldwide, responsible for 1. ...

However, his biographer Robert Lacey describes Lansky’s financially strained circumstances in the last two decades of his life, his inability to pay for health care for his relatives, and so on. For Lacey, there was no evidence “to sustain the notion of Lansky as king of all evil, the brains, the secret mover, the inspirer and controller of American organized crime.” (Lacey, p.558) He concludes from evidence including interviews with the surviving members of the family that Lansky’s wealth and influence had been grossly exaggerated, and that it would be more accurate to think of him as an accountant for gangsters rather than a gangster himself.

Popular culture

  • In the television show Gilmore Girls, one of Rory's fellow students refers to her as the Meyer Lansky behind this organization, in reference to Rory being the one to talk to about student government issues, even though she was the vice president of the student body government and therefore seemingly not the one in charge.
  • The character Hyman Roth from the film The Godfather Part II(1974), portrayed by Lee Strasberg, is based on Lansky. In fact, shortly after the premiere in 1974, Lansky phoned Strasberg and congratulated him on a good performance (Strasberg was nominated for an Oscar for his role), but added "You could've made me more sympathetic". Roth's statement to Michael Corleone that "We're bigger than U.S. Steel" was actually a direct quote from Lansky, who said the same thing to his wife while watching a news story on the Cosa Nostra. Additionally, the character Moe Greene, who was a friend of Roth's, is modeled upon Bugsy Siegel.
  • The 1981 NBC mini series, The Gangster Chronicles, the character of Michael Lasker, played by Brian Benben, was based on Lansky. The reason for the name "Michael Lasker" was that Lansky was still living at the time.
  • The film Bugsy (1991), a biography of Bugsy Siegel, included him as a major character, played by Ben Kingsley.
  • In the 1991 film Mobsters, he is played by the actor Patrick Dempsey.
  • In the 1996 novel The Plan, by Stephen J. Cannell, Lansky and fellow mobster Joseph Alo are involved in putting an anti-RICO presidential candidate into office.
  • A 1999 made-for-TV movie called Lansky was released starring Richard Dreyfuss as Lansky, Eric Roberts as Bugsy Siegel, and Anthony LaPaglia as Lucky Luciano.
  • Meyer Lansky is portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the 2005 film The Lost City.
  • Lansky was rumored to have photographic proof that J. Edgar Hoover was a homosexual; conspiracy theorists believed this was the reason Hoover wasn't aggressive in pursuing organized crime. There is no known direct evidence that Hoover was in fact gay, but there is strong circumstantial evidence suggesting so.
  • In his 2007 song "Party Life," Jay-Z raps, "So tall and Lanky / My suit, it should thank me / I make it look good to be this hood Meyer Lansky," an obvious reference to Lanksy.
  • Manny Wiesbord, the mob chieftain played by Joseph Wiseman on Crime Story, was based on Lansky.
  • David 'Noodles' Aaronson, the gangster played by Robert De Niro in Sergio Leone's opus Once Upon A Time In America was based on Meyer Lansky.
  • A member of the rap group Wu-Syndicate uses Myalansky as his stage name, referring to Meyer Lansky.

Gilmore Girls was long-running, Emmy Award winning, and Golden Globe nominated American television drama/comedy created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. ... Hyman Roth (December 28, 1892-March 6, 1959) is a fictional character (based heavily on real-life gangster Meyer Lansky), who plays a pivotal role in the film The Godfather Part II. He was portrayed by Lee Strasberg, a well-respected acting teacher, in one of his few screen roles. ... The Godfather Part II is a 1974 motion picture directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script he co-wrote with Mario Puzo. ... Lee Strasberg (November 17, 1901 – February 17, 1982) was an American director, actor, producer, and acting teacher. ... The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is one of the awards given to male actors working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; nominations are made by Academy members who are actors and actresses. ... Moe Greene is a fictional character appearing in Mario Puzos novel The Godfather and the first installment of the Godfather trilogy. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Brian Benben (born on June 18, 1956 in Winchester, Virginia) is an American actor. ... Bugsy is a 1991 film which tells the story of mobster Bugsy Siegel. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Sir Ben Kingsley, CBE, (born December 31, 1943) is a British actor. ... The year 1991 in film involved many significant films. ... Mobsters is a 1991 crime drama detailing the creation of the National Crime Syndicate. ... Patrick Galen Dempsey (born January 13, 1966) is a Golden Globe Award-nominated American actor who first became prominent in Hollywood during the late 1980s. ... Stephen Joseph Cannell, known professionally as Stephen J. Cannell (born February 5, 1941), (IPA pronunciation: ), rhymes with channel, is an Emmy award winning American television producer, writer, novelist and occasional actor from the United States. ... For The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a United States law which provides for extended penalties for criminal acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization, see: RICO (law) For Rico the Border Collie, see: Rico (Border Collie). ... Lansky is a 1999 American made-for-television crime drama film. ... Richard Stephen Dreyfuss (born October 29, 1947) is an Academy Award-winning American actor. ... Eric Anthony Roberts (born on April 18, 1956, in Biloxi, Mississippi) is an Academy Award-nominated American film and stage actor. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Anthony LaPaglia (born 31 January 1959) (pronounced IPA: ) is an Australian actor, best known for his role as FBI agent Jack Malone on the American TV series Without a Trace, a role which won him a Golden Globe Award. ... Charles Lucky Luciano (born Salvatore Lucania) (November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was a Sicilian-American mobster. ... Dustin Lee Hoffman (born August 8, 1937) is a two-time Academy Award-winning, BAFTA-winning, and five-time Golden Globe-winning American method actor. ... The Lost City is a 2005 film directed by Andy García. ... John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972) was an influential but controversial Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). ... Since its coinage, the word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ... Jay-Z (aka the Jigga, HOV and Hova, born Shawn Carter on December 4, 1970 in Brooklyn, New York) is an African American rapper/hip hop artist and record label executive; one of the most popular and successful rappers of the late 1990s and early 2000s. ... Categories: Canadian people stubs | 1918 births | Canadian actors | James Bond actors ... Crime Story was an NBC TV drama created by Gustave Reininger and Chuck Adamson. ... Robert Mario De Niro, Jr. ... Sergio Leone (January 3, 1929 – April 30, 1989) was an Italian film director. ... Once Upon a Time in America (Italian title Cera una volta in America) (1984) is the last film by director Sergio Leone, and features Robert De Niro and James Woods as Jewish ghetto youths who rise to prominence in New York Citys world of organized crime. ... The pioneering hardcore hip hop group Wu-Tang Clans plan to conquer the hip hop industry consisted not only of making each member into a solo star in their own right, but also to create and promote numerous affiliate artists. ...


  1. ^ "But They Were Good to Their People.", American Jewish Historical Society. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. “Lansky recalled breaking up a Brown Shirt rally in the Yorkville section of Manhattan: "The stage was decorated with a swastika and a picture of Hitler. The speakers started ranting. There were only fifteen of us, but we went into action. We … threw some of them out the windows. . . . Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up. . . . We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults."” 
  2. ^ "Meyer Lansky is Dead at 81.", Associated Press in New York Times, January 16, 1983. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. “Meyer Lansky, the reputed financial genius of the underworld, died today of cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital here. He was 81 years old. Mr. Lansky was admitted to the hospital Dec. 31 suffering from dehydration, according to Joyce Clark, a spokesman for the hospital. Mr. Lansky lived in the Imperial House, a high-rise waterfront condominium in Miami Beach. ... Mr. Lansky was married twice. His first marriage, in 1929 to the former Anna Citron, ended in divorce in 1946. The couple had two sons, Bernard and Paul, and a daughter, Sandra. In 1948 he married Thelma Schwarz, a manicurist at a midtown Manhattan hotel. She survives him.” 

The Logo of the American Jewish Historical Society American Jewish Historical Society Founded in 1892, the mission of the American Jewish Historical Society is to foster awareness and appreciation of the American Jewish heritage and to serve as a national scholarly resource for research through the collection, preservation and dissemination... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 268th day of the year (269th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Associated Press, or AP, is an American news agency, the worlds largest such organization. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 268th day of the year (269th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Further reading

  • Lewis, Brad. Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster. The Incredible Life and Times of Mickey Cohen. Enigma Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-929631-65-0.
  • Cohen, Rich. Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams. Vintage books, 1999
  • Rockaway, Robert A. But He Was Good to His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters. Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House, 1993.
  • Summers,Anthony Official and confidential: The secret life of J.Edgar Hoover. GP Putnam's Sons, 1993 (also about Lansky and the FBI and Lansky's blackmails on Hoover)
  • Lacey, Robert. Little Man: Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991.
  • Naylor, R.T. Hot Money. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1987

(also about lansky and offshore banking and 'the loan back scam')

  • Demaris, Ovid. The Boardwalk Jungle. Bantam Books, 1986

(also about Lansky and Atlantic city and his Heir apparent Alvin Malnik)

  • Stuart, Mark A. Gangster: the story of Longy Zwillman: the man who invented Organized crime. Lyle Stuart, 1985
  • Birmingham, Stephen The rest of us. Boston: Little, Brown, 1984
  • Joselit, Jenna Weisman Our gang: Jewish crime and the New york Jewish community 1900-1940. Bloomington: Indiana university press, 1983
  • Fried, Albert. The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980. ISBN 0-23109683-6
  • Eisenberg,Dennis/Dan,Uri/ Landau,Eli. Meyer Lansky: Mogul of the mob. Paddington Press, 1979
  • A. Gosch, Martin/ Hammer, Richard. The last testament of Lucky Luciano. Dell Publishing, 1974
  • Messick, Hank. Silent syndicate New york: MacMillan, 1976

Lansky. New York: Berkley Publishing Company, 1971.

  • Katcher, Leo The big bankroll, life and times of Arnold Rothstein. New york, Da Capo press,1958

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Meyer Lansky

  Results from FactBites:
Meyer Lansky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1084 words)
Lansky had established gambling operations in Florida, New Orleans and Cuba by 1936, the year Luciano was convicted and sent to prison.
Lansky's last years were lived in notably straightened circumstances and he left little in his estate, the income from which dwindled within a very few years to zero as his domestic oil investments collapsed.
Lansky was rumored to have photographic proof that J. Edgar Hoover was a homosexual; conspiracy theorists believed this was the reason he wasn't aggressive in pursuing organized crime.
  More results at FactBites »



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