Page:Excerpt from A Narrative Briefly Descriptive of the Period 1919 to 1936 regarding Al Capone.djvu/2

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24

The group of agents detailed to this work included many of the best men in the service. The course of the investigation into the hidden sources of income of the "big fellows" was a tortuous trail through the crooked ramifications of underworld intrigue.

Let us note some of the results.

Al Capone — Public Enemy No. 1
Vicious Crime Organization Revealed

Chicago had gained an international reputation from 1924 to 1930 because of organized lawlessness. Gang killings were a frequent occurrence. The most notorious leader of organized crime in that city and in the nation was Al Capone, known as "Scarface Al", and termed by the newspapers as Public Enemy No. 1 of the United States. There is no doubt that he was the most vicious and dangerous racketeer in the history of this country. His reign as vice overlord began in 1924, when he succeeded Johnny Torrio, and continued up to the time of his conviction on the charge of evading income taxes, October 17, 1931.

Johnny Torrio had come to Chicago from New York during the early days of prohibition to succeed the murdered Jim Colosimo, who was among the first of the notorious racketeers of the early prohibition era. Torrio had considerable executive ability and was skilled in the ways of the underworld. He had seized the chance to gain power and wealth by organizing Chicago vice, liquor and gambling interests. He dominated not only the first ward controlled by Colosimo, but held lawless sway throughout the city. He made the most of his opportunity, and with considerable financial success. In 1924 Torrio became the target of a spray of bullets. Although badly wounded, he recovered and promptly quit Chicago.

Capone then came into power. Immediately upon his succession to the throne of gangdom in Chicago, there was a series of gang wars. Rival factions sought to displace his control of underworld activities. There were 16 murders from gang casualties in 1924. Wars between gangs continued until 1929. The murder record rose to 6 in one year.

Capone thus established and maintained his place as recognized mob leader. His organization was acknowledged as