Despite its name, prohibition America might have been a time in which the most amount of debauchery was going on, right under the surface. People who knew where to look for it were never too far from the nearest party and now, it is the kinds of speakeasies of the time for which the period is best known. Of course, a good speakeasy needs an even better smuggler and without the help of the most sneaky, the parties of the time might never have even happened. These bootleggers were under wraps at the time but know, they will always be remembered for their underhand habits during the time of the prohibition.
- Meyer Lansky
While his name might not be on the list of famous gangsters, Meyer Lansky certainly deserves a slot at the top. While Lansky was renowned for his involvement in sluggling booze, he went well beyond this remit, involving himself in some of the darkest activities present at the time. As well as being a known smuggler, Lansky was tied up in narcotics, gambling and auto theft, somehow managing to evade arrest and assassination. While his actions were less than innocent, he made a of name for himself back in the day.
- Joseph P. Kennedy
The father of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy was, for many, above suspicion. Despite this, the elder Kennedy was constantly rumored to be tied up in some of the most underhand booze smuggling at the time. While nothing has ever been proven, the professional was named by both Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello as being their liquor contact. While there is very little to back up the claims, Kennedy was already in the alcohol business before the prohibition, immediately taking it back up when the ban was lifted.
- Jack ‘Legs’ Diamond
One of the slipperiest criminals out there, Jack Diamond is best remembered for his uncanny ability to slip past any attempts put on his life. Getting into the bootlegging game early on, Diamond would bring booze from Europe in the United States, distributing it across Manhattan. Eventually, he was charged for his crimes, becoming known to all for his activities.
- Dean O’Banion
The bootlegging rival of famed gangster Al Capone, Dean O’Banion was a major player back in the day. Controlling a large portion of the smuggling turf, he was a prime target for many who wanted to gain more power. His heyday came when Chicago came under effect of the prohibition; using a flower shop as a ruse, he would sell illegal liquor to paying clients in the back.
- Johnny Torrio
An Italian immigrant, Johnny Torrio was one of the big names in prohibition Manhattan. A colleague of Capone’s, Torrio was involved in the takedown of a major mob boss. After collecting the spoils for his bootlegging business, Torrio soon was able to buy his own brewery. In the end, however, Torrio threw in the towel with the whole thing, dying some years later from a heart attack.