Luciano’s luck did eventually run out. In May of 1936, he and eight members of his vice racket were brought in for facilitating prostitution. The evidence against Luciano wasn’t strong, as he had no ties to prostitution, but during the trial he was disastrously cross-examined by Dewey (“Charles “Lucky” Luciano”, 2009). Dewey questioned Luciano for four hours, and one of the questions asked was how Luciano lived so well on a reported income of $22,500. Luciano’s actual take was about $10 million.
At the end of the trial Luciano was convicted and sentenced to thirty to fifty years in state prison, the longest sentence ever meted out for compulsory prostitution (Gosch, 1975). On June 18, 1936, he was sent to the Clinton Correctional Facility, known as Siberia, in Dannemora, New York. Here he tried to appeal his case, but his conviction was upheld. Luciano managed to remain a top man even in prison. While incarcerated, Luciano managed to run both the prison (he had a personal chef) and as much of his empire as possible (“Charles “Lucky” Luciano”, 2009).
While he was behind bars, World War II was raging and Luciano offered to help the war effort by using his mafia connections (“Charles “Lucky” Luciano”, 2009). He enlisted the Anastasia brothers who ran the New York docks to watch for saboteurs. Luciano made a deal with Dewey; he would win Dewey Manhattan in the election for governor if Dewey granted him immediate and unrestricted parole that would permit him to return to New York and pick up the remains of his empire (Gosch, 1975).
Dewey wouldn’t have this, he would grant Luciano parole after he became governor only if Luciano agreed to his deportation to Italy and permanent exile from the United States (Gosch, 1975). Luciano knew that this meant he would have to agree to leave his own country, as he was a legal citizen and they couldn’t deport him without his consent (Gosch, 1975). He also knew that this meant that he would have to stay in jail until the war was over, as they couldn’t send him to Italy while it was an enemy country (Gosch, 1975). Lucciano accepted the deportation, but still maintained that he was a U. S. citizens (Gosch, 1975).
Three years later the war was over. On January 3, 1946, Dewey, now the governor of New York, announced that Charles Luciano would be paroled early and receive a deportation order due to his wartime services. On February 2, two immigration agents transported Luciano to Ellis Island in New York Bay for deportation proceedings. The night before his departure, Luciano had a meeting with Lansky, the Anastasias and four other big dogs of the underworld. However, he told a majority of his plan to obtain visas under Salvatore Lucania to many South American Countries and form a meeting in Havana to exclusively Lansky (Gosch, 1975).
Luciano’s ship sailed for Italy of February 10, 1946, and Luciano saw his beloved country for the last time (“Charles “Lucky” Luciano”, 2009). After a 17-day journey, he arrived in Naples, Italy. Luciano was back where it all began. He went to his home village of Lercara Friddi and was greeted with huge enthusiasm (Gosch, 1975). School, stores, everything had closed and the whole village was in the piazza to take place in one of the greatest days in the town’s history (Gosch, 1975). But Luciano didn’t have plans to stay long (Gosch, 1975).
In September of 1946, Luciano had obtained two passports under the name Salvatore Lucania, with visas for Mexico, Cuba, and several South American nations. He then made his way to Cuba to set up the meeting. On December 22, the delegates began arriving; Joe Adonis, Albert Anastasia, “Joe Bananas” Bonanno, Frank Costello, Tommy Lucchese, Joe Profaci, Giuseppe Magliocco, Willie Moretti, Augie Pisano, Mike Miranda, Steve Magaddino, Tony Accardo, Charlie and Rocco Fischetti, Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante, “Dandy Phil” Kastel, and Meyer Lansky.
They discussed “the Siegel Situation,” which included Siegel’s hotel and casino, the Flamingo, in a small town in Nevada called Las Vegas. He had skimmed money from the building budget provided by the delegates and if the casino was a flop, Bugsy was dead (Gosch, 1975). After some U. S. interference, Luciano was forced to leave Cuba and return to Italy. Luciano slowly lost his grip on his leadership position after his deportation. In 1957, Vito Genovese took over in the United States and gave his name to the Luciano crime family.
In the same year, Luciano called a meeting in Palermo between Italian and American mafiosi. They were planning a new push to sell narcotics in both white and black, blue-collar communities (“Charles “Lucky” Luciano”, 2009). The Italian gangs, lacking American criminal records, would pay “rent” to operate in the American families territories (“Charles “Lucky” Luciano”, 2009). He was trying to keep his grasp on the American underworld. Luciano began having problems later in his life. One day in January 1959, his back had been bothering him particularly bad, and this led to his meeting Adriana Rizzo (Gosch, 1975).
Adriana, 23, had a little training as a nurse and after a couple of times taking her out to dinner, Luciano suggested that she move into his apartment and look after him (Gosch, 1975). A month after she moved into the apartment, Luciano had a mild heart attack. Doctors warned him that if he continued like he was, he could have a bad attack (Gosch, 1975). After hearing this, Adriana made him stay in bed for a couple of weeks (Gosch, 1975). She whacked him every time he tried to get up, and this is when he knew he was lucky to have her (Gosch, 1975).
After a few weeks Luciano was up and acting as though nothing had happened (Gosch, 1975). Late in the spring, he suffered a massive coronary occlusion. It was suggested that Luciano retire, and this is just what he did (Gosch, 1975). For years, Luciano considered sharing the inside details of his life, and this is a chance he almost did not get. Early in 1961, Luciano made a decision that the truth about his life, his ambitions, his achievements, and his crimes, should be told, just not at that moment (Gosch, 1975). It needed to be told later in his life, where retribution could no longer fall on him of his associates (Gosch, 1975).
For months he had been involved in a proposed motion picture related to his later years headed by producer Martin Gosch. But then, Luciano received a note from “The Little Man,” Meyer Lansky, letting him know that “the picture is a bad thing at this time, for all reasons you know. The Little Man would be very upset if you went ahead. ” This note stopped the production of the film all together. Luciano then came to two decisions; first, he called Gosch and proposed that instead of a movie, Gosch would take down Luciano’s whole life story, then, he would emerge from his retirement and challenge the powers in America (Gosch, 1975).
The only condition for the story was that Gosch couldn’t use any of it for at least ten years after Luciano dies, and not until Tommy Lucchese was dead also, he was a friend Luciano didn’t want to hurt (Gosch, 1975). To challenge the American underworld powers, he was going to do exactly what they’d been accusing him of for years; he was going to take over the supply of narcotics (Gosch, 1975). But Luciano’s time was up. He was taken in by the Italian police and questioned about his call to Gosch in Madrid, about the demands for the “script”.
Luciano insisted that the script was really just a script about his life and invited them to accompany him to the Capodichino Airport the next day to see for themselves (Gosch, 1975). At mid-afternoon, Maresciallo, marshal, Cesare Resta arrived at Luciano’s home to take him to the airport to meet Gosch’s five o’clock flight, to see if the script was real (Gosch, 1975). Gosch walked into the terminal and was shocked to see Luciano, who looked to have aged twenty-five years since they met the last November (Gosch, 1975). As Gosch was waiting to claim his bag, Luciano lurched against him and sagged to the ground.
Gosch lowered him to the ground, loosened his tie, unbuttoned his shirt, and administered CPR. Luciano was gasping for breath and unable to speak (Gosch, 1975). Half a dozen nitroglycerine tablets were placed under Luciano’s tongue, but did no good. Just as the ambulance pulled in, Luciano shuddered and his gasping stopped; his eyes opened, staring at nothing. It was 5:26 on February 26, 1962, and Charles “Lucky” Luciano was dead. The end had been sudden and unexpected. Three days later, those who could gathered at the Holy Trinity Church in Naples to celebrate the requiem mass for Luciano (Gosch, 1975).
Friends from the world of respectability and friends who had labored close to him in the good old days in New York and of exile in Italy alike gathered (Gosch, 1975). Joe Adonis paid a final tribute to his old friend with a massive floral wreath adorned with a black band on which was the ancient gangland farewell: “So Long, Pal” (Gosch, 1975). Pat Eboli remained a few days more to help with the disposal of Luciano’s goods. Of his family, only Bartolo, his brother, made the trip to Naples. Of his friends, associates, comrades, and followers in the American underworld, not one appeared (Gosch, 1975). Lansky sent flowers; as did many others.