Over the next two years there was much bloodshed between gangsters as they continually tried to dethrone each other. All the time Lucky Luciano kept a low profile and kept in with Maranzano’s outfit. After several coups and countless gangland killings Masseria still held court. It was then that Lucky hired Bugsy Siegel to kill Masseria. Siegel shot him to death in a Coney Island restaurant.
The assassination made Maranzano the ‘Boss of Bosses’ in New York. He rewarded Luciano by making him his No. 2 in his outfit. But Maranzano also had greater plans; to become the No. 1 gangster in the United States. It was an ambition that would put him on a collision course with his right hand man.
Ironically, for Maranzano to achieve that ambition he knew he had to dispose of two mobsters; Al Capone in Chicago and his very own No. 2 in New York. It wasn’t long before Luciano discovered what his boss planned to do. With the help of his long-time friend and fellow mobster Meyer Lansky, the two men plotted Maranzano’s demise.
Maranzano intended to take out Luciano at a conference by hiring an Irish hitman known as Mad Dog Coll. But before Coll arrived to carry out his orders, Lansky sent four of his gunmen, posing as government agents, into Maranzano’s office. Soon after they shot and stabbed him to death.
Luciano now built up his new syndicate with the help of his buddy Meyer ‘Little Man’ Lansky who was respected for his sound advice and methodical brain. Together Luciano and Lansky were a formidable team using cunning to stay ahead of the game and survive the mass slaughtering of gangsters throughout the 20s. Even Al Capone acknowledged that they were more powerful than him.
The joke about Lansky is that his gun was curved allowing him to avoid being seen by his enemies. He also had an amazing talent to keep a low profile and remain ignored by the authorities despite his influence within the gangland industry.
It was during this time that a new terrifying organisation developed on the scene linked to gangland culture. Murder Incorporated was a syndicate of killers set up as an independent, autonomous body to eliminate gang members who had broken codes. Murder Inc had one rule; that all assassinations had to be against mobsters and not public figures. In total they carried out hundreds of ‘hits’ on fellow gangsters and it was Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello who gave the orders.
Luciano also had a share in mobster dealings in Cuba, brought about by friend Lansky’s foothold in that country. But it was vice that was Luciano’s speciality. He ran his brothels on the same lines as a manager of a supermarket chain. The women were often treated badly and then thrown out when they were either too run down or problematic. He was also inclined to sample the goods and on several occasions contracted venereal disease.