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John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Sample chapter from "The Wee Book of Irish American Gangsters"


Baily, Harvey: Freelance Stick-Up Artist During the height of bank robbery and later kidnap for ransom days of the early 1920's and 30's, Harvey Baily was the leaders of the pack. A former salesman from Oklahoma, Baily robbed the U.S mint in Denver in 1922 and got away with a half million dollars in untraceable bills.
He followed this up with a string of bank robberies that netted him and his accomplishes just over one million dollars. In 1932 Baily joined up with Ma Barker-Alvin Karpis gang. In May of that year Baily and the rest of the Barker- Karpis gang robbed the Bank at Fort Scott Kansas of $47,000.00
As the robbers made their getaway Police squads descended on the bank and the gunmen took two local teenage girls as hostage. Hounded by police and F.B.I agents, facing kidnapping and robbery charges Baily spilt off from the Barker-Karpis gang the next day but was arrested by the FBI a few days later after the G-Men were tipped off that Baily, an avid golfer, could be found on the links in Kansas city. Sentenced to the Kansas state penitentiary he escaped on Memorial Day of 1933, stopping along the route to rob several local banks.
Baily ended up at the Shannon ranch in Paradise Texas a notorious hide out for bad guys on the run which was run by R.G "Boss" Shannon and his step daughter Katharine, who was married to George "Machine Gun" Kelly.
The Kelly were holding oil man Charles Urschel and were negotiating his ransom when Baily showed up at their doorstep wounded in the leg during a shootout with deputies.
In was the worst place in the world to hide out, since the Shannon ranch was the hottest spot in America with ever lawman in the state looking to find Urschel.
In august 12 1933, as Baily slept on the front porch of the ranch house he was captured by FBI agents who also arrested the Shannon's as well. Wrongly accused of having taken a part in the Urschel kidnapping Baily was held on the tenth floor of the Dallas county jail building, he escaped a week later having talked one deputy sheriff into bringing him a saw to cut through his bars and then taking another deputy hostage and headed towards Mexico.
He was chased by one of the largest manhunts in Texas history and recaptured without a fight. Sentenced to life for the Urschel kidnapping he served 33 years in Leavenworth prison and was paroled in 1965 and became a cabinet maker dying of old age in 1979.

Banks Tommy. Bootlegger. In Minneapolis in 1928, Tommy Banks and his boys ran the bootleg business and large sections of the city's underworld. A veteran of the First World War (unlike most Irish criminals who somehow avoided the draft), Banks had started as a bellboy selling outlaws booze to hotel guests and after a short while decided that the real money was in the manufacturing end of the business. He became one of the largest, if illegal, importers of booze from nearby Canada. Again unlike most of his associates in the criminal world, Banks was mild mannered and understated. He was never arrested and his operation went on, more or less uninterrupted for the length of the prohibition.

The Battle Row Ladies' Social & Athletic Club, was better known as the "Lady Gophers." The group was led by a succession of leaders including "Gallus Mag," "Sadie the Goat," "Hell Cat Maggie," and "Battle Annie." better known as "The Queen of Hell's Kitchen." "Battle Annie" earned her living by supplying female enforcers for both sides during labor strikes.

Barker, George, AKA Red: Gangster, Labor terrorist Leading Capone's assault on the labor unions was George "Red" Barker and his first assistant Murray Humphreys. In exchange, Barker offered not to kill Lynch. On the upside, Barker told Lynch, Capone intended to double the union's membership and as a result Lynch's income would double as well. Lynch sat through Barker's speech and then tossed the hood out of his office. It was his union and he wasn't going to give it up to Capone or anyone else. Capone waited.
Later in the month, Lynch went to his summer home with his family to Brown Lake outside Burlington, Wisconsin. The family was preparing a barbecue, and seated around a long picnic table, when Danny Stanton and Klondike O'Donnell, two of the meanest hoods in Chicago, drove into the yard and parked. They climbed out of the car slowly. They were in no hurry. There were no cops or witnesses around for miles. They were armed with shotguns, pistols and rifles. Stanton walked over to Lynch and said, "The Big Fellow back in Chicago sends this message. You just retired from local 704. From this moment on, you stay away from the Union hall. You stay away from the office. You stay away from the joint council. You understand?"
Lynch nodded his head and Klondike added, "Well, just so's you don't forget what was said ..." and pulled out his pistol and shot Lynch through both of his legs while his wife and children looked on in horror.
Lynch fell to the ground, groaning in agony. Stanton bent over Lynch to make sure he was alive and said, "You got balls, I'll give you that." He stood up and turned to Lynch's daughter and said, "Get him to a doctor and he'll be all right."
At the next meeting of the joint council, Red Barker and Murray Humphreys appeared at the door with a dozen heavily armed Capone torpedoes.
Barker, carrying a baseball bat, stood in the center of the room and asked, "Which one is Lefty Lynch's chair?" Somebody pointed to a large leather chair in the middle of the room and Barker sat there. He looked around the room and announced that he was now running the Coal Teamsters Chauffeurs and Helpers Union Local 704 and that everything would remain just the way Lynch had left it.
 The only difference was that the entire treasury was turned over to Capone except for $1,000, which was left to cover administrative payrolls. After that, Barker went to the fuel dealers in the district and informed them that they were only hiring union members and that they were giving all of their drivers a massive pay rise or else Capone would see to it that not a lump of coal was delivered downtown. The dealers had no choice but to agree and passed the cost along to the real estate developers who rose the price of office space in the area to make their money back.
Capone kept Lynch on the payroll to avoid a revolt in the ranks. However, he never appeared at another union function for the rest of his life. As a reward, Capone gave Barker control over the Ushers union with orders to exploit it to its full potential.
Barker sent word to every theater owner in the city that they were to use his ushers for every political and sporting event held, indoor or outdoor, and said they would have to pay for "crowd control," a service only his union could provide at a rate of $10.00 per usher. Movie theaters avoided the hike by paying Barker off in cash, $5.00 per usher, since that was less expensive for them, as they were only paying their ushers 25 cents an hour. Within weeks, Barker was being paid off by every strip show, opera, ballet, symphony, prizefight and ball game held in the city.
 He was making a fortune until one prize fight promoter named Walter George decided to hold out. Barker waited until the promoter had sold out the entire Coliseum on South Wabash Avenue for a major prize fight. Then, just before the fight was to begin, a half-dozen cabs pulled up to the coliseum and let out building inspectors, fire marshals, electrical inspectors, plumbing inspectors and health inspectors, all led by Red Barker.
Within minutes after entering the building the inspectors declared that the water was unhealthy to drink and ordered it turned off. The hot dog, beer and soda concessions were shut down by the fire marshal and the electrical inspector said that the wiring was faulty and ordered the stadium lights shut off. In the meantime the crowd was becoming violent because the fight was delayed. George turned to Barker and said, "All right, how much you bastard?" Barker answered that his price was up to $20.00 per usher and that the minimum ushers needed was $120 for the night. Barker was paid and the fight went on. On June 17, 1932, they gunned down Red Barker, a perilous blow to the Syndicate. Barker was walking down the street surrounded by four friends, three men and one woman. It was a bright, sun filled morning. The group stopped in front of 1502 North Crawford Street for no more than several seconds. Then there was a burst of gunfire from across the street and then another burst from a window overlooking the street.
One of the shooters was Willie Sharky. He was using a tripod set, rapid fire, water-cooled machine gun. Barker was hit 36 times in a matter of seconds and was probably dead before he hit the street. His friends dragged him away and brought him to a hospital. Kicking in the emergency room door they screamed, "Take care of this man, money is no object." When the doctor on duty declared Barker dead, no examination was needed, the group ran off and left the staff to figure out who Barker was. Breaking their usual silence, the Touhy's openly took credit for killing George Red Barker in revenge for Matt Kolb's murder.

Billy the Kid: The son of Irish immigrants, Billy the Kid was born in New York City as William McCarty, in an area roughly located where the World Trade Center Buildings once stood. His biological father, not much is known of him, was named either Patrick McCarty, Michael McCarty, William McCarty, or Edward McCarty. There is clear evidence that his mother's name was Catherine McCarty  

Bulger James: Boston Gangster:  Whitey Bulger, Boston own home-grown gangster and brother to the former president of the state Senate. It’s one of the oddities of American Criminal Justice, that Bulger is at the top of the enemies list of the very organization that may have helped the gangster escape Justice in the first place. Exactly how that happened is a study in ethnic tribalism, poor judgement, mislaid loyalties and greed. FBI agent John Connolly, and bad guy James "Whitey" Bulger, both the sons of Irish immigrants, grew up in drab housing projects of South Boston, or Southie, as the natives call it, a close knit, depressing and dreary, mostly Irish, mostly working poor, neighborhood.  Jimmy Bulger, he detests the name Whitey, knew Connolly from the neighborhood, not well, but he knew him. Connolly was closer to Billy Bulger, the brother who went straight, and as a result, went places.
 A brilliant student with an earthy sense of humor, Billy entered politics and eventually became President of the state Senate, and is currently the head of the University of Massachusetts, Billy Bulger took a liking to the young Connolly, and mentored him, guiding the sharp young man out of South Boston and into Boston College for a Bachelor’s degree and to Harvard for a Masters. Connolly reciprocated by becoming a loyal Bulger man, working in his various campaigns, and parading each new Bureau chief to Bulger's office when he sat in the State Senate Presidents chair.
Jimmy Bulger took a different route to fame. He robbed a bank and ended up in Alcatraz. He got off The Rock early by volunteering for government sponsored LSD experiments. Released back to the streets of Boston, Jimmy Bulger returned to Southie and to the mostly Irish, Winter Hill gang that ruled over the area. At the same time, John Connolly was working in the FBI's Organized Crime Unit in Boston, charged with busting up the growing power of the New England mob. It was Connolly who flipped an informant named Sonny Mercurio, and in turn, the hood tipped him off about Mafia induction ceremony. Connolly bugged the place, and got the most valuable evidence the FBI has ever obtained, a live recording of a Mafia swearing in ritual
When Connolly started hauling in that sort information, the Bureau pressured him for even more miracles, and Connolly delivered.
As part of his mission to smash the Outfit, in October of 1975, Connolly and Jimmy Bulger met in a darkened parking lot that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean, and Connolly made his pitch to flip Bulger. "Jimmy" Connolly said "Your buddies in the Mafia want to give you up to the cops. Why not give up your buddies in the Mafia to us?" working under the code name "Charlie," Whitey Bulger fed Connolly a steady stream of reliable information on the New England Mafia.
But did it go further than that? The stories of the Connolly's protection of Bulger, and his Winter Hill gang, are now the stuff of legend around Boston. Like the time that the gang fixed races at Suffolk Downs in East Boston, and several other racetracks, by paying jockeys to hold back their horses. A score of Winter Hill hoods went to jail on that one, but not Bulger. In fact, when the smoke cleared, Bulger was the gang's leader. And then there was the goodies, the freebies.
Connolly admits that after working closely with Bulger that he and other agents exchanged holiday gifts with the gangster and accepted dinner party's invitations as well. That would have been marginally acceptable, but, if the testimony of John Morris, a Bureau field supervisor, is to be believed, even though Bulger was released as an informant in 1990, Morris says that Connolly stayed close to the gangster, and even warned him about the pending indictments, allowing the gangster ample time to escape justice. Morris also claims that he accepted $7,000 in cash bribes from Bulger, and that Connolly delivered at least two of those pay off's, of $1,000 each, which were placed under the bottom of a case of expensive wine that Connolly delivered to Morris in the garage below the FBI's Boston offices.
Connolly also allegedly received free household appliances from Broadway ay Appliance, a South Boston store controlled by Bulger. The reports said that the hoods gave Connolly a refrigerator, dishwasher and stove, among other things.
Adding to Connolly's woes is federal grand jury probe into a series of highly suspicious real estate deals by him that appear to have Jimmy Bulger's markings all over them. Connolly, who has long since retired from the Bureau, was indicted, charged with racketeering and obstruction of justice. That case hinges on the government's assertion that Connolly's relationship became so close with Bulger and the gang, that he became a partner in crime with them.
The Fed's charged Connolly with warning Bulger and others of upcoming investigations, falsifying reports to hide their crimes, passing bribes, and allege that Connolly derailed an investigation into the extortion of a South Boston family forced to turn over its liquor store to Bulger.
If that's true, it’s pathetic and unforgivable. In 1984, Stephen Rakes was allegedly approached by Bulger with a bag containing $64,000, and told by Bulger that he wanted to buy the store. Rakes said it wasn't for sale. According to Rakes, Bulger drew a pistol, complimented Rakes young daughter and said "It'll be a shame not to be able to see her grow up" Rakes went to the Boston police, who took the case to Connolly, who, according to the indictment, falsely told the cops that unless Rakes agreed to wear a wire to record Bulger, that the FBI was unlikely to take action on the complaint. Prosecutors say that not only did Connolly fail to pursue the case, he allegedly warned Bulger about Rakes complaint to the Boston P. D. On an even more sinister scale, Bulger allegedly had one of his enforcers pump a bullet into the back of the head of Roger Wheeler, the chairman of Telex Corporation, as he finished a round of golf in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
According to Brian Halloran, a former member of the Snow Hill gang, who was supposed to do the killing, Bulger wanted Wheeler dead so he could take over his Jai Alai frontons in Florida and Connecticut. Halloran identified professional hitman John Martorano as the killer, and said that Bulger was at the scene of the crime, in a getaway car. But, despite the wealth of evidence he provided, the Boston FBI Bureau refused a deal with Halloran, and concluded he wasn't credible.
Shortly afterwards, person's unknown gunned Halloran as he walked down a Boston Street. Through it all, Connolly denies any wrong doing "He was a hell of guy" Connolly told an always indignant Washington Post about Bulger "I know damn well the guy is no Boy Scout. But, I'd be lying if I said I didn't like him"
When asked to explain the G man's behavior, one of the lawyers in the case said "This indictment is a whitewash, designed to cover up the institutional practices and philosophy of the FBI in the 1970s and 1980s, which encouraged the kind of relationship Bulger had with the FBI to achieve a perceived greater goal - the destruction of La Cosa Nostra" Maybe so, but more than one Law Enforcement official was overjoyed to hear that Connolly had been arrested and hauled out of his comfortable suburban home in handcuffs. "I feel for his family" one former DEA agent said "But John was a (X@C&*#@) of the highest order. He hurt a lot of people. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went down the crapper, thanks to John. I can still see the wardrobe. The cuff links. We gave John a nickname "Giovanni Connollino". He was the only agent I knew who took style tips from John Gotti" If Connolly's name in the halls of power in Washington, down in the narrow streets of Southie, Bulger still enjoys a sort of Robin Hood reputation as the guy who kept drugs and violence out of South Boston's neighborhoods, which is not true. At all. Bulger's status as a local hero was confirmed when Boston City Council President James Kelly called him "A gentleman" and has openly defended him in the past. The endorsement is questionable.
Mr. Kelly's name popped up during a hearing into the Bulger gang’s extortion of a Raymond Slinger, a South Boston Realtor. According to Slinger, in 1987, Bulger and his boys threatened to kill the Broker if he didn't fork over $50,000 in protection money. Slinger said he went to Kelly for help. A day later, Kelly called Slinger and told him that the issue was resolved and that he would have no other troubles out of the Winter Hill mob.
Shortly afterwards, Slinger was called to a meeting at one of Bulger's bar rooms where he was severely beaten. However, Jimmy's reputation as a likable rouge took a turn for the worst at the start of this year when one of his gang members led investigators to a spot in Dorchester where the skeletal remains of three mob victims were buried. The bones belonged to John McIntyre, Arthur Barrett, and Deborah Hussey, the daughter of Flemmi's longtime girlfriend, all of whom disappeared between 1983 and 1984.
They may have killed Barrett, a bank robber, for his share of the $1.5 million take from a robbery he pulled with the Winter Hill gang.
The women, Hussey, may have been killed because she simply knew too much about everything. McIntyre was an otherwise honest man, deeply committed to the cause of freedom in Northern Ireland, who got involved with Bulger's convoluted gun running schemes to the IRA.
Before he disappeared, Jimmy Bulger's Irish luck came into play one more time, when he won the state lottery, some 1.9 million dollars, or $119,000 for twenty years.
Back in the 1980's, the son of Chicago's mob boss, Tony Accardo, also won the lottery. The Fed's don't, or course, believe Jimmy Bulger actually won the jack pot fair and square. They do believe that he got hold of the winning ticket through one of his money laundering schemes, paying the real winner $700,000 in cash to turn the ticket over to him.
When Jimmy disappeared, the Fed's forfeited the lottery winnings, and refused to turn it over to Jimmy's sister because it's not clear that Bulger has fled the state. The case has been in court ever since. 

The Bulger Arsenal:  According to the FBI, in 2001,  Michael Flemmi, (Who worked for  Boston Boss Whitey Bulger)  the brother of alleged Boston gangster Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, allegedly tried to hide 80 weapons, including 10 machine guns, 13 rifles, nine shotguns and dozens of handguns, U.S. Attorney Donald Stern said.
The guns were found during searches over the past 10 months,   Michael Flemmi, 63, who retired this year after 32 years on the Boston police force, was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and perjury, possession of unregistered weapons and transfer and possession of machine guns.   Prosecutors said the weapons were stashed at a Boston-area home of a gang member who has since died and then were moved to the back yard of a home owned by Flemmi's parents.    In January, apparently anticipating a search warrant to uncover the weapons, Stephen Flemmi enlisted his brother's help to move the cache to other places, authorities said.
U.S. Attorney Stern stated "The recovery of this mind-boggling arsenal, including ten machine guns and numerous other high-powered firearms, together with return of these serious charges result from the continued determination of investigators and prosecutors to uncover the full scope of the Bulger Group's criminal activities and to eliminate any remaining threat this organization might pose to the public safety. The calculated efforts to thwart the recovery of these weapons, through lies and evidence tampering, were unsuccessful. The Bulger Group's storehouse of weapons has been safely dismantled."
The following weapons were found
- Two .45-caliber fully automatic pistols without markings  - .45-caliber United States Military submachine gun with attachable 13 1/4" silencer and no visible markings relating to serial number. - .45-caliber Auto Ordinance Thompson submachine gun
- Three 9mm-caliber German MP40 submachine gun serial no. obliterated
- 56mm-caliber Colt fully automatic rifle
- .45-caliber M3 submachine gun
- .30-caliber U.S. carbine fully automatic rifle
- .30 carbine-caliber Plainfield Machine rifle with pistol grip, telescoping stock, and ability to accept detachable magazine.
- 9mm-caliber Uzi rifle, model A
- Two .30 carbine-caliber Universal rifle, model M1
- 30-06-caliber Remington rifle, model 742, serial no. 140619
- 30-06-caliber Springfield Armory rifle, model M1 garand
- .30-carbine caliber Universal rifle, Model M1
- .44 magnum-caliber Sturm, Ruger rifle
- 308 win-caliber Browning rifle, serial no. 69373M70
- 30-06-caliber Remington Wingmaster rifle, model 742
- .30 carbine-caliber Universal rifle, model M1
- .30 carbine-caliber Universal rifle, model M1
- 20-gauge Browning shotgun with cut-down barrel
- 12-gauge JC Higgins shotgun with cut-down barrel, model 120, and with no markings relating to serial no.
- 12-gauge Ithaca shotgun with cut-down barrel
- 12-gauge Winchester shotgun, serial no. 825678(E)
- 12-gauge Browning shotgun, serial no. 382736
- 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun, model 500A
- 12-gauge Winchester shotgun, model 12, serial no. 1670091
- 12-gauge Remington shotgun, serial no. 468099
- 16-gauge LC Smith shotgun
- .380-caliber Beretta pistol with attached silencer/suppressor
- .32-caliber Spanish-made pistol with attached silencer/suppressor
- .32-caliber Walther pistol with attached silencer/suppressor device
- .380-caliber Beretta pistol with attached silencer/suppressor
- .380-caliber FN Browning pistol with attached silencer/suppressor
- .22-caliber Colt Woodsman pistol with attached silencer/suppressor
- .22-caliber High Standard derringer pistol
- .38 special-caliber F.I.E. derringer pistol, serial no. 006539
- .22-caliber Sterling Arms pistol
- .357 magnum-caliber Astra revolver
- .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson Airweight revolver
- .44 magnum-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- .357 magnum-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- Two .380-caliber Walther pistol, model PP, serial no. 38030A
- .22-caliber High Standard pistol
- 9mm-caliber Walther pistol
- .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- 9mm-caliber Walther pistol
- .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- Frame of .45-caliber Government pistol, model 1911A1, with no markings relating to serial no.
- .25-caliber Beretta Jetfire pistol
- Two .45-caliber Colt pistol, model NM
- .45-caliber Ithaca pistol, model 1911A1
- .25-caliber Astra pistol
- .22-caliber Sturm, Ruger pistol
- .30 mauser-caliber Mauser Broomhandle pistol
- .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- .22-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- .22-caliber H&R revolver
- .22-caliber Ruger Mach-II pistol
- .45-caliber R.P.B. Industries pistol, model M10, serial no. obliterated
- 9mm-caliber Walther pistol, model P-38
- .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- .38 special-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
- 9mm Walther pistol, model P38, serial no. 746h
- Eight silencers
- Approximately 80 boxes and other containers of ammunition
- Assorted magazines of various types and calibers
- Assorted holsters and gun cases
- Assorted firearm tools and lubricants
- One blue light
- Assorted handcuffs
- Assorted brass knuckles
- Assorted knives
- Assorted badges
 - Assorted face masks and gas masks

Burke, Elmer: "The trigger" Burke (He detested the name Elmer and insisted on being called trigger) was raised in New York by his brother Charlie, who took over care of the family upon the death of their parents.
Soon the two brothers were committing petty robberies. Burke was sent to reformer school in 1941 but had his sentence cut for joining the service where he served in the Italian campaign.
He returned to New York and throughout the late forties rented himself out as a hit man for hire, specializing in machine gun killings. He was arrested for robbing a liquor store in 1946, while sitting in his car outside the store, counting his loot, and sentenced to only two years in Sing Sing Prison.
During Burke's stay in the big house, his idol and brother, Charlie was gunned down in an underworld shot out. Burke swore vengeance on his brother's death, even though it was never completely clear exactly who the killer was.
It didn't matter to Burke. Upon his release from Sing, Burke hunted down the man he suspected of being his brother's killer and blew off the back of his head off with a double barreled shot gun. With personnel business finished, Burke went back into the killer for hire business, but now upping his fee to $1,000 for a standard syndicate hit. Burke was renowned for his fierce and uncontrollable temper.
He once shot and killed a bartender named Edward "Poochy" Walsh, who dared interfere in a fist fight Burke got into with a local hoodlum. Walsh's exact mistake was protested Burke kicking his already half-dead victim in the head. Burke left the bar, though about the Walsh's interference and came back in to the bar and shot the Walsh in the face until he was dead and then just as calmly strolled back out of the tavern.
In 1954, the mob hired Burke to go up to Boston and kill Joseph Specs O'Keefe, one of brains behind the million-dollar Brinks robbery, because the Mob figured that O'Keefe would cave into Police pressure once they figured out that it was O'Keefe who was behind the robbery.
Burke took the job and went to Boston. He found O'Keefe in a Dorchester housing project and calmly chased him around the complex for a half an hour, letting off dozens of rounds while he ran. After thirty-five minutes of this, Burke finally shot O'Keefe in the leg.
Thinking he had killed O'Keefe, Burke calmly got into his car and drove off. Remarkably, Burke never left Boston and spent several days touring the city's landmarks.
Even more remarkably, O'Keefe filed a complaint against Burke for attempted murder. Burke was arrested without incident eight days later by Patrolman Frank Crawford in the Back Bay section of Boston.
Confined to the Charles Street jail, Burke easily escaped and was recaptured a year later while waiting for a bus in Charleston. Convicted of murdering Bartender Edward Walsh sentenced to death and electrocuted on January 9, 1958

 Burke, Jimmy. Mobster associated with the Lucchese Crime Family AKA Jimmy the Gent. Burke became famous through several sources, including Robert De Niro’s portrayal of him in the film Goodfella. Burke was brought into the underworld by Upper West Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen mobster, Hughie Mulligan. Later, Burke moved his scams over to the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, where he held close contact with Lucchese underboss Paul Vario.
During the 1950s Burke was big in trucking illegally imported cigarettes from the Carolinas and untaxed liquor from Native American reservations. Burke also pulled his fair share of hijackings from trucks leaving JFK International Airport in Queens. He was also an above average truck hijacker, or, in some cases, bribing hundreds of truck drivers with a cash payment or cut on the take from the loot stolen from the back of the truck. By the 1970s Burke was a big wheel in loansharking, cargo thief, counterfeiting, bookmaking and fencing stolen goods. He also owned a portion of the notorious Roberts Lounge bar in Ozone Park, Queens, which was frequented by most of New York’s underworld. In the mid-1970s Burke was convicted, (along with Irish-Italian gangster Henry Hill) on loansharking and assault charge and did a 5 year term in Atlanta Federal Prison. Here, he celled with Steven "Stacks" Edward, an African-American hood who specialized in credit card fraud and Thomas DeSimone.
On December 11, 1978, working with the approval of Lucchese family Capo Paulie Vario, Burke, Edward, Tommy DeSimone and others robbed Lufthansa Airlines storehouse of $6 million in U.S. dollars and an additional $4 million in other currency and jewelry. Very little of it was ever recovered. Burke’s take was estimated at $2 million dollars plus. Another 2 million is believed to have gone to Paulie Vario, with another 2 million going to Lucchese Boss, Tony Ducks Corallo.
By 1979, all members of the gang were killed. Theresa Ferrara, who had worked as an FBI informant was found dismembered, Stacks Edwards, was shot to death. Four others were murdered as well. The FBI suspects that Burke either ordered or carried out all of the killings, except Tommy DeSimone’s, who was killed at the request of John Gotti for an unrelated incident. Burke was indicted in 1980 and convicted, on testimony of Henry Hill and others, in a point shaving scam involving Boston College. He died in 1996 at an upstate New York minimum security prison from lung cancer.


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