The Krays – Kings of the Underworld

The Kray The Krays are probably the most well known of all British Gangsters, and to some are probably the only British Gangsters that they have heard of. The Krays are not only well known but are looked upon by many as good guys. Many people that were around at the time (and presumably had never got on the wrong side of them)  would recall how the streets were much safer when the Krays were about. Twin brothers Ronald “Ronnie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 17 March 1995) and Reginald “Reggie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 1 October 2000) were English gangsters who were foremost perpetrators of organised crime in London’s East End during the 1950s and ’60s. Ronald, commonly referred to as Ron or Ronnie, most likely suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. With their gang, “The Firm”, the Krays were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, assaults, and the murders of Jack “The Hat” McVitie and George Cornell. As West End nightclub owners, they mixed with prominent entertainers including Diana Dors, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and with politicians. The Krays were much feared within their milieu, and in the ’60s became celebrities in their own right, even being photographed by David Bailey and interviewed on television. They were arrested on 9 May 1968 and convicted in 1969 by the efforts of a squad of detectives led by Detective Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment. Ronnie remained in Broadmoor Hospital until his death on 17 March 1995, but Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, eight weeks before his death from cancer.

Early life

Ronnie and Reggie Kray were born on 24 October 1933 in Hoxton, East London, to Charles David “Charlie” Kray, Sr., (10 March 1907 – 8 March 1983), a scrap gold dealer, and Violet Lee (5 August 1909 – 7 August 1982). Reggie was born roughly 10 minutes before twin Ronnie. Charlie and Violet already had a six-year-old son, Charlie Jr, (9 July 1926 – 4 April 2000).[6] A sister, Violet, born 1929, died in infancy. When the twins were three years old, they were struck down with diphtheria and recovered. Ron almost died from a head injury suffered in a fight with his twin brother in 1942. In 1938, having previously lived in Stean Street, Hoxton, the Kray family moved to 178 Vallance Road, Bethnal Green. At the start of the Second World War, Charlie Kray Senior was called up into the army but went into hiding. The twins first attended Wood Close School in Brick Lane and then Daniel Street School. The influence of their grandfather, Jimmy “Cannonball” Lee,led both boys into amateur boxing, which was at that time a popular pursuit for working class boys in the East End. An element of rivalry between them spurred them on, and they achieved some success. They are said never to have lost a bout before turning professional at the age of 19.

National Service

The Kray twins became notorious locally for their gang and the mayhem they caused. They narrowly avoided prison several times, and in early 1952 they were called up for national service with the Royal Fusiliers. They deserted several times, each time being recaptured. While absent without leave, the twins assaulted a police officer who had spotted them and was trying to arrest them. They were initially held at the Tower of London (they were among the very last prisoners ever kept there) before being sent to Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset and jailed for a month awaiting court-martial. They ended up being jailed in the Home Counties Brigade Depot jail in Canterbury, Kent. Their behaviour there was so bad that in the end they were given dishonourable discharges from the service; for the last few weeks of their imprisonment, when their fate was a certainty anyway, they tried to dominate the exercise area immediately outside their one man cells. They threw tantrums, upended their latrine bucket over a sergeant, similarly dumped a dixie (a large camp kettle) full of hot tea on a guard, handcuffed another guard to the prison bars with a pair of stolen cuffs, and burned their bedding. Eventually they were discharged, but not before escaping from the guardhouse and being recaptured by the army one last time. The escape was executed when they were moved from a one man cell to a communal cell and they assaulted their guard with a china vase. Still, once recaptured and while awaiting transfer to civilian authority for crimes committed during their most recent period at large, they spent their last night in Canterbury drinking cider, eating crisps, and smoking cigarillos courtesy of the young national servicemen who were acting as their guards.

Nightclub owners

Their criminal records and dishonorable discharges ended their boxing careers. As a result, the twins turned to crime. They bought a run down local snooker club in Bethnal Green, where they started several protection rackets. By the end of the 1950s, the Krays were involved in hijacking, armed robbery and arson, through which they acquired a few clubs and other properties. In 1960 Ronnie Kray was incarcerated for 18 months on charges of running a protection racket and related threats, and while he was in prison, Peter Rachman, the head of a violent landlord operation, gave Reggie a nightclub on the Knightsbridge end of Wilton Place beside Joans Kitchen a bistro, called Esmeralda’s Barn. The site is now where the Berkeley Hotel is, the club itself was on the corner opposite the church. This increased the Krays’ influence in the West End of London, with celebrities and famous people rather than East End criminals. They were assisted by banker Alan Cooper who wanted protection from the Krays’ rivals, the Richardsons, who were based in South London.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

Part 1 of the BBC 1 documentary on the notorious Kray Twins

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The 10 Most Successful Gangsters of All Time

Godfather Marlon Brando

Who says crime doesn’t pay? If you are willing to take chances and know that you may live a fabulous but somewhat abbreviated existence, you too could be a gangster. As demonstrated by our list there are times crime definitely does pay. These larger than life gangsters lived fabulous lives although for many of them it lasted a relatively short time.

They owned mansions, planes, yachts, jewels, furs, cars and even an island. They had designer clothes, designer drugs and an endless supply of entertainment. Unfortunately with the type of work they dealt in, they had to be extremely careful so certain precautions always had to be taken. Bodyguards, food tasters, armored vehicles, alternate identities and even drastic plastic surgery were also part of their lifestyle. These were just a few of the preventative measures that could be taken for their protection and to keep them on top of the game.

Individuals like these were always targeted by rival gangs; it was a dangerous existence albeit a fantastic one.  Is this why we are so fascinated by gangsters? Our culture reflects the fascination through movies, TV shows and books. Prohibition seemed to spawn a new breed bringing players like Al Capone, and gambling allowing others like Meyer Lansky to rise to the top of the heap. Of course drug trafficking on a grand scale in the modern day ushered in South American drug lords and powerful cartels.

No matter what though, at some point after all the fun, the law does catch up.  Sometimes it takes years but it does happen. Most on this list faced charges of drug conspiracy and tax evasion, not to mention murder. Many spent years on the run avoiding the law, or worse yet, hired assassins. There is definitely a price to pay for this type of life. These gangsters usually came to violent ends or rotted away in jail cells until they died. Let’s take a look at the ten most successful criminals in terms of financial success and how they made their fortunes.

10. Frank Lucas: $52 Million

frank-lucas-newark-court-hearing

 

Born in 1930, in La Grange, North Carolina, Frank Lucas moved to Harlem in 1946. He aspired to be what he termed “Donald Trump rich” and so he calculated a plan after seeing the potential of the heroin business that was largely fed by the Vietnam War at that time. U.S Servicemen were exposed to all sorts of drugs overseas and many came back with raging addictions.

Lucas knew the potential for a huge profit was there if he could obtain the heroin from the source and bypass the Italian mafia that was in control of Harlem at the time. After travelling to Vietnam and setting up contacts and connections there, he was able to ship in tons of heroin from South East Asia on a regular basis. He hired only family members and trusted friends and eventually he took control of the heroin trade in New York and New Jersey. Working with Khun Sa, a well-known opium lord, Lucas arranged to have the heroin hidden in coffins that were flown from Vietnam to the U.S.

During the height of his operation he was making approximately a million dollars a day and his net worth was estimated to have been in the neighborhood of $52 million making him number ten on our list of most successful gangsters. Ironically, after serving time, Lucas was said to be sorry for his part in the devastation of Harlem and for the damage he caused so many individuals and families. He spent time attempting to undo some of the damage by working with his daughter’s non-profit organization, Yellow Brick Roads, protecting children of incarcerated parents. In 2007, his life was depicted in the movie American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington.

9. Jose Figueroa Agosto: $100 Million

jose-figueroa-agosto

 

Jose Figueroa Agosto was born June 28th, 1964 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is said to have risen in power within his crime family after he killed a driver that had stolen a shipment of cocaine. Even though he was caught and convicted for the murder he managed to escape, walking out of the prison with a fake release order and fleeing to the Dominican Republic.

He made his millions in drug trafficking at some point controlling over 90% of the drug traffic from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico. He successfully eluded the law by creating alternate identities and paying bribes to law enforcement personnel but his luck finally ran out. He was arrested in July of 2010 by DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshals, and the Puerto Rican Police. His fortune was estimated at approximately $100 million making him number nine on our list.

Joseph Kennedy: $300 million

Joseph KennedyBorn on September 6th, 1888, in Boston, Massachusetts, Joseph P. Kennedy made his first million by age 30. Already in the liquor business legally he had to take extreme measures when Prohibition started or lose his business, so he contacted mobsters in New York and Chicago and became a successful bootlegger. Even after liquor was made legal again, Kennedy maintained those questionable ties and it’s said to have played a part in helping him control certain political elections.

According to Fortune Magazine in his prime, Kennedy had a net worth of more than $300 million. As father to a U.S. President, a District Attorney and a Senator, you might raise a brow seeing him on our list, but with his known associations with the likes of mobsters such as Frank Costello and Sam Giancana and allegations of influencing unions, fixing elections and his bootlegging stint, he seems right at home as number eight on the list. Joseph Kennedy died November 18th, 1969, outliving all of his sons except for Ted.

7. Meyer Lansky: $600 Million

Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky, originally Maier Suchowljansky, was born July 4th, 1902. Lansky was one of the most well-known gangsters of his time. Born a Polish Jew in Russia, he immigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1911, moving to New York’s Lower East Side.  Partnering with Bugsy Siegel he ran a floating crap game organizing a small gang and moving on to bigger and better things including auto theft, burglary, and liquor smuggling.

He worked under the protection of the Masseria crime family, even moving on to putting together a group of professional assassins. Supposedly it was Lansky who conspired with Lucky Luciano to eventually have Masseria killed in 1931. Lansky joined Luciano from 1932 to 1934 forming a national crime syndicate. Lansky became a major banker in the operation and used international accounts to launder money. His success continued as he moved to developing gambling operations in Cuba, Florida and eventually Las Vegas. It was Lansky that financed his old friend Siegel’s casino in Las Vegas and it was also Lansky that ordered the hit on Siegel when he attempted to steal from the syndicate.

When Cuba became a problem after Fidel Castro rose in power, Lansky turned his attention to the Bahamas, continuing to expand his gambling empire across the ocean. You name it, Lansky was into it, including narcotics, prostitution, pornography, racketeering, extortion, money laundering, etc. He squirreled away his vast holdings in Swiss bank accounts. In his heyday Forbes named him as one of the 400 richest people in the U.S. with a net worth of over $600 million making him number seven on our list. Although he attempted to flee to Israel, Lansky was forced back to the U.S. to face charges but due to his ill health he did not spend much jail time. Most indictments were discharged and he died of lung cancer in Miami at age 83.

6. Al Capone: $1.3 Billion

Al-Capone

Alphonse Capone was born on January 17th, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York. He was born into a respectable family, his father was educated and making a living as a barber. Capone grew up living in a Brooklyn tenement near the Navy Yard. Although Capone was very bright he was expelled from Catholic school at age 14 for assaulting a teacher and he never returned. He met gangster Johnny Torrio and was seduced by Torrio’s lifestyle. He joined Torrio’s gang rising quickly and acquiring the scar in a knife fight that earned him the nickname “Scarface”.

He moved to Chicago in 1909 at Torrio’s request to help run operations there and by 1925 when Torrio retired, Capone became the boss of Chicago running the prostitution, gambling and bootlegging rackets there. He was ruthless, always attempting to take out other gangs and increase his territory. He ran the Chicago Mafia making most of his money during the prohibition period including over $60 million monthly from illegal alcohol alone. He was able to live the high life even refusing to carry a gun as a mark of his status, however he rarely traveled with less than two bodyguards and he almost always traveled under the cover of dark.

Capone was involved in probably one of the most infamous gang hits in history; the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Tired of dealing with his rival, Bugs Moran and his Northsiders gang, Capone ordered the hit for February 14th, 1929, staging it as a raid with the henchmen wearing stolen police uniforms. Unfortunately for Capone, Moran escaped but it was well-known who had attempted the hit. He had just about everyone on his payroll including government officials, judges, police officers and City Hall personnel.

His fortune would have been worth approximately $1.3 billion today landing him the number six spot on our list. Unfortunately the law did catch up with Capone and he was arrested and prosecuted by the Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion. He spent 11 years in prison, serving time in Alcatraz until he became ill and was released early for good behavior. He died on January 25th, 1947 at age 48.

5. Griselda Blanco: $2 Billion

Griselda-Bla

<b srcset=Griselda Blanco, also known as the “The Godmother and The Black Widow,” was born in Colombia on February 15th, 1943. She is suspected of having committed over 200 murders while transporting cocaine from Colombia to the U.S. She was raised by an abusive mother and drifted into prostitution at a young age. Working as a prostitute she became involved with the Medellin Cartel. Working for them, she helped smuggle Colombian cocaine throughout the U.S., even designing special undergarments that could be used to transport large amounts through U.S Customs.

Blanco arrived in New York in the mid 1970’s, a successful drug smuggler running a huge narcotics operation but U.S. law enforcement was on her tail and after intercepting one of her shipments she and more than 30 of her partners were indicted. Afraid she would be captured, Blanco returned to Colombia, but eventually she came back to the U.S. and this time settled in Miami.

She continued working for the Medellin Cartel, acquiring her reputation for murder until she was eventually caught and jailed for drug conspiracy. Upon her release Blanco returned to Colombia where she was gunned down by two hit men on motorcycles at age 69. In her time she was making approximately $80 million a month and during her peak she was worth $2 billion. That makes this dangerous lady gangster number five on our list.

4. Carlos Lehder: $2.7 Billion

Carlos Lehder

Born in Armenia, Colombia, on September 7th, 1949, Carlos Lehder became a founding member of the Medellin Cartel, eventually taking control of an island in the Bahamas and using it to transport cocaine between Colombia and the U.S. He used connections he had made in prison to help him import cocaine and distribute across the United States. A self-proclaimed Nazi, Lehder was eventually run off the island by Professor Richard Novak, a diving enthusiast, hell-bent on keeping his diving paradise pristine.

Once off the island, Lehder attempted to keep the law at bay with threats and payoffs, but eventually he was arrested, extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to 135 years in jail. After agreeing to testify against the Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, Lehder was put into the witness protection program and virtually disappeared. Supposedly he was given a reduced sentence of 55 years and is serving time under another name. At the time of his arrest government officials seized Lehder’s bank accounts and took ownership of his possessions bankrupting the gangster. During his prime through drug trafficking and racketeering Lehder amassed a fortune of over $2.7 billion, making him number four on our list.

3. Joaquin Guzman Loera: $5 Billion

Joaquin Guzman Loera

 

It is believed Joaquin Guzman Loera was born on December 25th, 1954, in Mexico, although his exact birthdate is not known. He grew up the son of a cattle rancher, his family was very poor and he helped by selling fruit when possible to help earn a living. He also learned to grow his own poppies for opium and marijuana to increase the family’s income. His nickname was earned by his short stance; Loera at full height was only 5 feet 6 inches tall earning him the moniker of “El Chapo”, which means “Shorty”.

After his father kicked him from his family home, he went to live with his grandparents and he became associated with the Sinaloa Drug Cartel, overseeing drug trafficking between Mexico and the U.S. The drugs were obtained from Colombia and delivered into Mexico where Loera ran logistics, ensuring their delivery from there into the U.S. and Europe by way of plane, boat, truck, train, or helicopter. When the heads of the cartel were eventually arrested, Loera took control. He added the manufacturing of meth within Mexico as well.

According to Forbes, Loera’s net worth is estimated to be approximately $5 billion.  Although eventually a $5 million dollar reward was offered for his capture, Loera managed to evade the authorities and stay at the top of the FBI’s most wanted list for more than 10 years. He was only recently captured and arrested on February 22nd, 2014 at a resort in Mazatlán, Mexico.

2. Amado Carrillo Fuentes: $25 Billion

Amado-Carrillo

 

Amado Carrillo Fuentes was born December of 1956 in Navolato Sinaloa, Mexico. He was known as the “Lord of the Skies”, earning his nickname utilizing private planes to carry cocaine around the world. He owned a fleet of 27 private jets, most were Boeing 727’s. Flying into mostly municipal airports and airstrips around Mexico, he was able to successfully transport massive amounts of cocaine. Fuentes murdered his former boss, Rafael Aguilar Guajardo, leader of the Juarez Drug Cartel and took over operations.

Under his direction, the cartel flourished and Fuentes became one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world, shipping tons of cocaine directly to Manhattan monthly.  Married with a family, Fuentes resided in a middle-eastern style home that resembled a fortress called “The Palace of a Thousand and One Nights”. It was finally ordered to be torn down in 2006 by Governor Eduardo Bours. Fuentes lived a far from peaceful existence spending the last ten years of his life mostly on the run from the law.

In 1997, as capture became imminent Fuentes decided to change his appearance and after admittance into a hospital in Mexico City, he died on July 3rd, 1997, while undergoing extensive plastic surgery. The operation lasted over nine hours and it’s unclear as to whether Fuentes had a reaction to a medication or the respirator failed but he died on the table. Strangely enough, three months afterward, the two doctors who had performed the surgery were found dead, buried in concrete tombs. There was evidence torture had taken place. The funeral of Fuentes was considered to be one of the most expensive in all Mexico’s history with thousands in attendance. This gangster, in his prime, was reported to have a net worth of over $25 billion making him number two on our list.

1. Pablo Escobar: $30 Billion

pablo-escobar

 

Number one on our list is Pablo Escobar, born December 1st, 1949 in Antioquia, Colombia. He was a founding member of the Medellin Cartel, one of the most powerful drug cartels in all of Colombian history. His ruthless ambition gained him control of over 80% of the cocaine that was smuggled into the U.S. Born into a poor family Escobar started his criminal career early, stealing and selling tombstones. By the 1970’s he began to be involved with cocaine. In partnership with five other illegal business owners he formed the Medellin Cartel, purchasing large amounts of coca paste from Bolivia and Peru and importing it to the U.S.

According to Fortune and Forbes magazines he came in as number seven on their list of the ten richest people on earth. He crafted his position and status carefully sponsoring charity projects and soccer clubs and investing in the right contacts and influential friends. Unfortunately, his ambition brought an early death to many that threatened to get in his way including at least three Colombian presidential candidates, thousands of law enforcement personnel, attorney generals, judges and even journalists brave enough to report the truth. At one point it was said he offered to pay off Colombia’s national debt estimated at $10 billion.

He attempted to lobby for a no-extradition clause and generous amnesty to drug lords if they agreed to give up drug trafficking. This makes sense as by this point he had distanced himself from the trade instead choosing to impose a so called “tax” on those trafficking directly. His fortune was estimated to be over $30 billion earning him the number one spot on our list. He attempted to hide himself in prison to escape assassins but that only lasted a year then he was on the run again. He was finally shot to death by the Colombian police in 1993.

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Brink’s-Mat Robbery

The Brink’s-Mat raid was the robbery of the century, the stuff of legends in the criminal underworld. On November 26, 1983, a group of robbers burst into the Brink’s-Mat warehouse near Heathrow Airport, expecting to find a decent-sized haul of cash – but instead they stumbled upon nearly seven thousand gold bars worth £28 million. More than twenty-five years later, £20 million of bullion remains unrecovered, and it is thought that most people in possession of gold jewellery made in the UK after 1983 are wearing Brink’s-Mat

Brink's Mat after the robberyScene: 1983 police van and officers

 

Fool’s Gold: The curse of the Brink’s-Mat gold bullion robbery

More than 20 people whose lives were touched by the bullion have met an untimely, often gruesome end since the record-breaking raid, an investigation has revealed.

When veterans of London’s criminal underworld meet, they grimly refer to the Brink’s-Mat millions as Fool’s Gold.

Just after dawn on November 26, 1983, six armed men burst into the Brink’s-Mat warehouse at Heathrow expecting to find £3 million in cash.
Instead, they stumbled across nearly seven thousand gold ingots, worth nearly £28 million.
The heist turned them into some of Britain’s richest men and filled the pockets of countless other crooks as the gold was melted down and the money laundered to fund shady activities such as drug smuggling.
Just three out of 15 men involved in planning and executing the robbery were ever convicted – robbers “Mad” Mickey McAvoy and Brian “The Colonel” Robinson and security guard insider Tony Black, Robinson’s brother in law.

Brink's Mat

The vast majority of the gold – worth over £500 million at today’s prices – has never been recovered.
But nearly 30 years on, most of those involved have come to regret the day they ever came into contact with the Brink’s-Mat bullion.
More than 20 people connected to the heist are dead.
They include an ex-policeman who ended up with an axe in his head, an underworld figure gunned down on his yacht off Corfu and an enforcer now believed to be part of the foundations of the O2 Arena in London.

A senior detective who worked on the investigation said he was never surprised by the brutal murders.
He said: “These villains were out of control, many of them off their heads on drugs bought with their new-found riches.
“The trouble was that when that money either ran out, or in the case of some of them, never materialised, there was only one way to respond – to kill people to show others that even 25 years after the robbery, if they dared to cross the gang they would still pay with their life.”
Bullion from Brink's Mat

 

Bullion: The heist gang came into riches

 

The book, The Curse of Brink’s-Mat: Twenty-five years of Murder and Mayhem by Wensley Clarkson, traces the fate of the men whose lives became entwined with the case.
It tells how the idea of a curse was the last thing on the minds of the six robbers who, after tying up guards at the depot, found riches beyond their wildest dreams.
Robinson, McAvoy, Brian Perry and three other men managed to disable the security alarm and enter the warehouse thanks to “insider” Black, who worked at the depot.
Once inside, they doused the guards with petrol and threatened to set them alight unless they revealed the combinations to the vault, which they knew contained £3million.
But when they got inside, they could hardly believe their eyes. Stacked in front of them were 6,800 gold ingots, hundreds of thousands of pounds, travellers’ cheques and two boxes of diamonds.
The men spent the next two hours loading their battered blue Transit van before making their getaway.
The stolen vehicle creaked under the weight. By the time the alarm was raised 15 minutes later, the robbers and the loot had vanished.

Posh: Brian Perry’s house
Brian Perry's House

 

It seemed like the perfect crime – but none of the gang had experience in gold, so they had to recruit other underworld figures who had. So much was melted down that it is thought that most people with gold jewellery made in the UK after 1993 are wearing Brink’s-Mat.
Soon millions of pounds were flooding the underworld and unleashing a tide of gangland violence and murders from London’s East End to the Costa del Sol.
The effect was not just felt by criminals. The double-strength ecstasy that killed Leah Betts, 18, in 1995 was almost certainly imported using money from the robbery.
Police were certain that the gang must have had inside help and were quick to suspect Black, the last guard to arrive on the morning of the raid.
He confessed that he had provided information and a duplicate key, and named three of the robbers, McAvoy, his brother-in-law Robinson, and a man called Tony White.
Robinson and McAvoy had spent six months planning the crime, but on finding themselves millionaires they aroused suspicions by moving from their council homes to mansions in Kent. McAvoy is reputed to have named two pet rottweilers Brinks and Mat.

In December 1984, Robinson and McAvoy were jailed for 25 years each while Black was sentenced to six years.
But there were still many villains at large and an extraordinary amount of gold – and in the coming years, death and betrayal were linked to the infamous robbery.

Kenneth Noye

The first death occurred in 1985, when Kenneth Noye (pictured), recruited for his links to the smelting trade, stabbed an undercover detective John Fordham in his garden.
At the resulting trial, the jury found Noye not guilty of murder on the grounds of self-defence.
He was on trial again in 1986 after police found 11 bars of gold at his home. He got a 14-year sentence.
Cops revealed Shirley Bassey’s hit Goldfinger had been primed to play on the stereo whenever anyone walked into Noye’s lounge.
He is currently serving life for the murder of 21-year-old motorist Stephen Cameron in a road rage attack in front of Cameron’s girlfriend Daniella Cable, 17, near the M25.
The curse has hit many in the criminal underworld including Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson, who was gunned down at his Marbella home after £3million of Brink’s-Mat money went missing in a drug deal.
In 1996, Keith Hedley, a suspected money launderer, was shot dead by three men on his yacht off Corfu.

Two years later, Hatton Garden jeweller Solly Nahome, who had helped move hundreds of gold bars, was also shot dead outside his home.

Perry, who was jailed for handling gold, died after being shot three times in the head in South London at the age of 63 following his release in 2001.

CAUGHT IN THE CURSE

The same year, Brink’s-Mat gang member George Francis, 63, was gunned down at point-blank range in his car outside the courier business he ran in South East London.

Three decades on, the hunt for the missing gold continues. And with a new generation of gangsters looking for it, police believe the death toll will rise.

Most of the bullion is believed to be buried, with only a few old lags knowing the whereabouts.

Most believe it is only a matter of time before the curse of the Brink’s-Mat gold claims its next victim.

Caught up in the Brink's Mat

 

Caugh

Linked to the Brink's Mat

Victims

BRIAN PERRY – Brink’s-Mat gang associate shot dead in Bermondsey, South London, in 2001.

JOHN FORDHAM – Undercover policeman who was stabbed to death in 1985 by Kenneth Noye

SOLLY NAHOME – Bullion smelter was gunned down in 1998 outside his North London home.

KEITH HEDLEY – Money launderer was shot dead by three men on his yacht off Corfu in 1996.

CHARLIE WILSON – Great Train Robber shot at home in Spain in 1990 along with dog.

GILBERT WYNTER – Enforcer who disappeared in 1998 is believed to be in foundations of the O2 Arena in South East London.

NICK WHITING – Suspected “grass” stabbed nine times and then shot twice with a 9mm pistol in 1990.

PAT TATE – Associate of Noye shot dead with two other men in Rettendon, Essex, in 1995.

STEPHEN CAMERON – Stabbed to death by Kenneth Noye in 1996 road rage incident on the M25.

LEAH BETTS – Died in 1995 aged 18 after taking ecstasy thought to have been imported using Brink’s-Mat money.

DAN MORGAN – Ex-cop found dead in South London in 1987.

DONALD URQUHART – Money launderer who was shot by a hitman in West London in 1995.

GEORGE FRANCIS – Publican who handled gold, shot in Bermondsey in 2003.

JOHN MARSHALL – Associate of Noye shot in Sydenham, South London in 1996.

DANNY ROFF – Gangster mown down in Bromley, Kent, in 1997.

SIDNEY WINK – Gun dealer believed to have supplied the guns for the Brink’s-Mat raid committed suicide by shooting himself in 1994.

ALAN DECABRAL – Witness due to give evidence against Noye ended up peppered with bullets in a car park in Ashford, Kent, in 2000.

JOEY WILKINS – Vice King who grassed on Noye died mysteriously in 2007 after an apparent robbery on the Costa del Sol.

ALAN ‘TAFFY’ HOLMES – Brink’s-Mat detective shot himself in 1987.

MICHAEL OLYMBIOUS – Drug dealer ended up dead in 1995.

Death scene

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Al Capone

Al Capone

Gangster Al Capone

Born Alphonse Gabriel Capone to parents Gabriele and Teresina Capone on January 17th, 1899, Brooklyn, New York. Both parents were Italian immigrants.

Alphonse was on of nine children nine children: Although he showed signs that he was capable of doing well at school, he had difficulty accepting the strict rules from his Catholic school. He got expelled at the age of fourteen for hitting a teacher. He had various jobs working in the Brooklyn area, including a candy store and a bowling alley. During this period Capone met Johnny Torrio, a gangster who later became a like mentor to him.

He got involved with a few small-time gangsters including the Junior Forty Thieves and Bowery Boys.He then joined the Brooklyn Rippers and Five Points Gang from  Lower Manhattan. At this point in his career he met Frankie Yale,a bartender and racketeer. One night while he was working on the door of a club in Brooklyn Capone unintentionally insulted a woman. Her brother, Frank Gallucio slashed Capone’s face three times on the left side of his face. Capone was attacked by her brother Frank Gallucio; and his face was slashed three times on the left side.He was then nick-named ‘Scarface’. Capone was advised by Yale to apologize to Gallucio. He later became Capone’s bodyguard. Whenever Capone was photographed he tried to hide the scarred side of his face.  He used to tell people that they were war wounds and later got called ‘Snorky’ by his close friends.

Family

Capone married Mae Josephine Coughlin on December 30th, 1918, after the birth of his first son, Albert Francis (“Sonny”) Capone.

Chicago

Capone moved to  Chicago and left his wife and son behind in New York. They followed at a later date. He bought a small house in 1923 in the Park Manor neighborhood in the city’s south side.

Johnny Torrio persuaded Capone to move to Chicago after he himself had gone there to sort out some problems his family had with the Black Hand gang which resulted in them being killed. Prohibition paved the way for countless business  possibilities such as bootlegging. Chicago had great inland access with Lake Michigan and good rail networks. Johnny Torrio had taken over from James “Big Jim” Colosimo after his murder and now ran his crime empire. Frankie Yale was suspected of the murders but due to lack of evidence the charges were dropped. Capone was also suspected of the murders of Colosimo and two others.

In 1924, during one of the most corrupt council elections in Cicero, where Capone’s Candidate won by a massive margin he learned that his younger brother had died at the hands of the police. He was seen crying at his funeral and ordered all the speakeasies in Cicero close for a day as a mark of respect.

Most of Capone’s family also settled in Cicero….

 

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