Cohen crime family

The Cohen crime syndicate, or the Siegel crime syndicate, was an Italian-American Mafia / Jewish Mafia crime family created by New York Jewish American mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel in the early 1930s. Siegel ran Los Angeles and later Las Vegas' illegal gambling and prostitution rings with his lieutenants Mickey Cohen, David Berman, Harold "Hooky" Rothman, Moe Sedway and boss of the L.A. family Jack Dragna.

Although founded and largely run by Jewish mobsters, the family was often considered to be a part of the Italian-American Mafia, due in part to Siegel and Cohen's associations with the Italian New York and Chicago families. Furthermore, although many of the Cohen family's most high-ranking members and "soldiers" were Jewish gangsters, a large part of the Cohen family's members were ultimately Italian-American. The Cohen family also adopted the Italian Mafia's machismo culture and operated under the Italian Mafia's structure, rules, and customs, such as omertà. However, uniquely, the family generally did not employ the traditional Italian Mafia "made" man system, a system that involves an exclusive Mafia initiation ritual used to induct only men of Italian ethnicity into the Italian-American Mafia. The traditional Italian Mafia initiation ritual was incompatible with the multi-ethnic nature of the family, as the ritual would inherently exclude the many Jewish-American members of the Cohen Family from obtaining high ranking within the family.

After Siegel's murder in June 1947, his chief lieutenant Mickey Cohen inherited his rackets, thus making Cohen a crime boss in the criminal underworld, causing a power struggle between him and the boss of the LA crime family Jack Dragna, another lieutenant in Siegel's organization. This would lead to a war breaking out between the two organizations in the Hollywood and West Hollywood neighborhoods of Los Angeles, dubbed the "battle of Sunset Strip" by media.

The organization was allied with the Five Mafia Families—specifically the Luciano crime family—in New York, the Chicago Outfit in Chicago, and the Dragna crime family in Los Angeles (prior to Siegel's death). Cohen's family was the primary target for organized crime police squads, particularly the LAPD squad ran by Police Chief Bill Parker called the Gangster Squad, who also targeted Jack Dragna and the family during pre-Cohens reign.

The family was ruled by Cohen from 1947 to 1961, in which he was arrested and convicted on charges of tax evasion twice. After his second conviction in 1961, the family was essentially decimated, with its administration either in prison or deceased.

Cohen crime family
Founded byBen Siegel
Founding locationLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1933–1961
TerritoryVarious neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
EthnicityJewish Americans and Italian Americans were official members; other ethnicities were known as "associates."
Membership370 members (2016 estimate)
Criminal activitiesMurder, illegal gambling, bookmaking, racketeering, labor racketeering, extortion, prostitution, drug trafficking, political corruption, police corruption, money laundering, loan sharking, smuggling and contract killing
AlliesChicago Outfit
Genovese crime family
Dallas crime family
RivalsLos Angeles crime family


Prohibition and Murder, Inc.

During the 1920s, teenage Jewish mobster Benjamin Siegel and Meyer Lansky smuggled and ran bootlegging and heroin operations for Jewish mob boss Arnold Rothstein, until his death in 1928.

Siegel and Lansky also ran the Bugs and Meyer Mob from the 1920s to the mid-1930s. The gang would smuggle and bootleg illegal liquor during Prohibition from 1920 to 1933. The gang also served as muscle for other gangs in New York and New Jersey. Future U.S. Mafia Luciano family boss Charlie Luciano used the men to carry out hits on rival gangs.

In 1929, Atlantic City Irish mob boss Enoch "Nucky" Johnson hosted the Atlantic City Conference. The two men that headed the conference was Masseria family lieutenant Charles Luciano and former Chicago Southside Gang boss Johnny Torrio. Siegel and Lansky were hired as the muscle for the meeting. At the meeting, Torrio and Luciano formed the National Crime Syndicate.

Castellammarese War

In 1930, Castellammarese Mafia boss Salvatore Maranzano started moving in on rival Sicilian Joe Masseria's territory on orders of Sicilian don Vito Cascioferro; this caused a war between the two factions, lasting from February 1930 to April, 1931.[1]

Luciano, Joe Adonis, Vito Genovese, and Siegel's partner in New Orleans, Frank Costello, were lieutenants in the Masseria crime family. In 1931, Luciano knew that Masseria was going to lose and secretly switched sides with Adonis, Genovese, and Costello; he met with Maranzano and had Siegel, Albert Anastasia, Adonis, and Genovese kill Masseria in a Coney Island restaurant on April 15, 1931.[2][3]

And on September 10, Luciano had Siegel, Samuel Levine, and two other Lansky-Siegel gang members[4][5] kill Maranzano in his office, after Luciano found out that Maranzano ordered Vincent Coll to kill Luciano.[6]

Murder, Inc.

In 1935, Siegel, Lansky, Jacob Shapiro, Louis Buchalter and Albert Anastasia founded a joint Italian-Jewish crime syndicate, used for contract murders and muscle for both Italian and Jewish mobs alike.[7][8] It was called by the press, "Murder, Inc."


Around the time that Luciano and Lansky were forming the Commission, Siegel had a disagreement with Philadelphia bootlegger Waxey Gordon and some of his associates, the Fabrizzo brothers.[9] Siegel and Lansky had given the IRS information about Gordon's tax evasion; this led to Gordon being imprisoned in 1933.[10][11]

Gordon hired the Fabrizzo brothers to kill Lansky and Siegel. After failed attempts on Lansky and himself, Siegel killed two of the brothers.[11] When a third brother, Tony Fabrizzo, planned on writing a memoir about Siegel's nationwide kill-for-hire squad with his attorney,[12] Siegel killed him. In 1932, Siegel checked into a hospital and later snuck out; Siegel and two other men approached Fabrizzo's house disguised as detectives in order to lure him out, and killed him.[11][13]


Soon after the hit, Siegel learned from his associates that he was in danger. Due to his hospital alibi falling through, Siegel was in danger with his enemies wanting him dead.[14][15] In the mid-late 1930s, the East Coast mob sent Siegel to California.[16] Since 1933, Siegel had traveled to the West Coast several times,[17] and in California, his mission was to develop syndicate gambling with Italian Los Angeles crime family boss Jack Dragna.[18]

When he got to Los Angeles, Siegel removed Dragna as his chief lieutenant and made Jewish gang boss Mickey Cohen his chief lieutenant.[19] With Siegel's reputation as a violent man and with the backing of Lansky,[20] Dragna accepted a subordinate role when Luciano (from prison) asked him to do so.[14] Siegel took over the numbers racket in Los Angeles.[21] He used money from the syndicate to build a drug trade route from the U.S. to Mexico and organized gambling circuits with the Chicago syndicate's Trans-America Wire Service.[22][23][24]

By 1942, about $500,000 was coming from the syndicate's bookmaking wire operations each day.[21][22] In 1946, due to complications with Siegel, the Chicago Outfit took the Continental Press and handed over the operation to Dragna, enraging Siegel.[24][25] Despite those complications, Siegel controlled several illegal casinos and a major prostitution ring. Siegel maintained close relationships with politicians, businessmen, attorneys, accountants, and lobbyists who fronted for him.[26]

Las Vegas

Bugsy's original Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, 1947.

Siegel wanted to become a legitimate businessman, and he saw the chance in 1945 with William Wilkerson's Flamingo Hotel and Casino.[27] Siegel named it the "Flamingo" after his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, because of her long-flamingo-like legs. During the 1930s, Siegel had traveled to Southern Nevada with Sedway on Lansky's orders to explore expanding operations; due to possible opportunities in providing illegal services to crews building the Hoover Dam. Lansky gave Nevada to Siegel, but Siegel turned it down and gave it to Sedway and went to Hollywood.[28][29]

In the mid-1940s, while Siegel was setting things up in Vegas, his lieutenants worked on a business policy to secure all illegal gambling in Los Angeles.[30] In May 1946, Siegel decided the agreement with Wilkerson had to be altered to give Siegel control of the project.[31]

The Flamingo opened its doors on December 26, 1946, which to poor reception it soon closed. It reopened in March 1947 with a finished hotel. Three months later, on June 20, 1947, Siegel was shot dead at the home of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, in Beverly Hills, California.

Cohen's reign

After the death of Siegel, Cohen became enraged and went to the Hotel Roosevelt (the hotel in which it was rumored that Siegel's killers were staying) and fired his two .45 caliber pistols into the lobby ceiling demanding the murderers of Siegel to face him. The men never did come down and he was forced to flee when police sirens were near.

Battle of Sunset Strip

Cohen inherited Siegel's rackets and became the new kingpin of Los Angeles. But, Dragna wasn't about to let Cohen inherit Siegel's empire without a fight and after a blockade made by Cohen, "The Battle of Sunset Strip" began. Dragna started to move in on Cohen's territory and killing Cohen's associates and even made numerous attempts on Cohen's life too. Cohen hired former U.S. Marine Johnny Stompanato as his bodyguard until he was killed by Lana Turner's daughter.[32]

Soon, Cohen's rackets were getting hit by Dragna and his men were getting murdered, starting a full-scale war between the two factions. Two of his top men, Neddie Herbert and Hooky Rothman were murdered, and an actress, a reporter, and Harry Cooper (a bodyguard assigned to Cohen by Attorney General Frederick N. Howser) were all injured in the attempt on Cohen's life that claimed Herbert's life.[33][34]

Flamingo robbery

Cohen had made Missouri criminals Tony Brancato and Tony Trombino his lieutenants. But, soon they became freelance killers and worked for both Dragna and Cohen during their power struggle following Siegel's death. On May 28, 1951, the "Two Tonys" robbed the Flamingo and were later called the "Flamingo Robbers". In retaliation, Dragan ordered their deaths and Jimmy Fratianno carried out the hit. On August 6, 1951, the Two Tonys were found dead in a car. Jimmy and Warren Fratianno, Nick Licata, Charlie Battaglia, Angelo Polizzi, and Leo Moceri were the ones who carried out the hit but were never charged.

End of war

In 1951, Cohen was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to five years in prison, effectively ending the war with the LA crime family. After his release from prison, Cohen would begin see his empire decline due to heavy casualties in the war with Dragna and the several crackdowns and arrests made by the LAPDs special organized crime Gangster Squad unit, which was created by the departments Chief of Police Clemence B. Horrall to target Cohen, Dragna and their associates personally.

The Outfit and decimation

Since the family's decimation starting to begin, Los Angeles saw the rise of various black and Hispanic gangs such as the Crips, Bloods and the Sureños in the late 1960s and early 1970s, thus entering the era of the street gang culture among the criminal underworld, which would continue strong into the 1980s, with street gangs spreading and popping up all over Southern California, leaving any remnants of the Italian American Mafia in Los Angeles ceasing to exist.

In the early 1960s, Las Vegas at the time was considered "open-territory" for the East Coast and Midwest Italian crime families, who took full advantage of Mickey Cohen's decimation as well as the diminishing influence of Jack Dragna's family, which began shortly after his death during the leaderships of boss' after him. By the early 1970s, the Chicago Outfit and other crime families from the Midwest and the East Coast soon started applying for Nevada state gambling licenses, and began building and taking over casinos, resorts and hotels in Las Vegas and other parts of Southern Nevada and assigned men like Frank Rosenthal and Anthony Spilotro to run and enforce them. Cohen around the same time was arrested, and was convicted for tax evasion a second time in his years of reigning as the family's boss and was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia, where 2 attempts on his life were made. Serving only 12 years of his 15, Mickey was released in 1972. Shortly after his release, he had been misdiagnosed with a stomach ulcer, which turned out to be stomach cancer, and it ultimately lead to his death in 1976, completely ending any remnants and influence of the family in Los Angeles.

Known members

Throughout the family's history, the family has had over 64 well-known mobsters as members or associates of the family.




  • Meyer Lansky: 1933–1947—Jewish mob boss; Siegel's close friend; born in, died in 1983.
  • Meyer "Mike" Horowitz: 1947-?—Adviser; Cohen's mentor; born in, died in ?


  • Mickey Cohen: 1933–1947—Siegel's right-hand man; born in 1913, died in 1976 (62 years old).
  • Jack Dragna: 1933–1947—Lieutenant; boss of the Los Angeles crime family that would go to war with Cohen after he became the boss of Siegel's empire after his death; born in 1891, died in 1956 (64 years old).
  • Moe Sedway: 1933–1952—Lieutenant; casino owner; born in 1894, died in 1952.
  • David Berman: 1933–1957—Lieutenant; casino owner; born in 1903, died in 1957 (54 years old).
  • Edward "Neddie" Herbert: 1947–1949—Lieutenant and bodyguard; Cohen's trusted associate; born in 1907, died in 1949 (41 years old).
  • Elihu "Black Dot" McGee: 1934–1960s—Racketeer; Cohen's African American partner in Los Angeles' South Central section; born in ?, died in ?


  • Johnny Stompanato: 1947–1952—Enforcer and Bodyguard; Cohen's personal bodyguard; born in 1925, died in 1958 (32 years old).
  • Hooky Rothman: 1945–1947—Enforcer; Cohen's toughest enforcer; born in 1910, died in 1947 (38 years old).
  • Jack Whalen: 1941–1959—Enforcer; Siegel and Cohen's top hitman and bookmaker; born in 1918, died in 1959 (41 years old).
  • David Ogul: 1940–1949—Bodyguard and robber; former Chicago associate; born in 1919, died in 1949 (30 years old).
  • Harold "Happy" Meltzer: 1940s–1950s—Drug trafficker; Cohen's heroin trafficker; born in ?, died in ?
  • Eddie Nealis: 1930s–1960s—Racketeer; gambler; Movie Producer, Casino Owner, Horse Track Operator, Oil Man, inspiration for Mr. Lucky, born Mar 18, 1899 in Los Angeles & Died May 5, 1969 in Los Angeles of a heart attack (70 years old)
  • Curly Robinson: 1930s–1950s—Racketeer; Nealis' partner; born in ?, died in ?
  • Sam Rummel: 1930s–1950—Fixer; mob lawyer; born in ?, died in 2016

William "Stumpy" Zevon: 1903- 1976 was a Ukrainian-born Jewish mobster and member of the Cohen gang.He was the father of rock musician Warren Zevon.

Appearances in media


  1. ^ Sifakis, Carl (2005). The Mafia Encyclopedia. New York: Checkmark Books. p. 56. ISBN 978-0816056958.
  2. ^ Sifakis, The Mafia Encyclopedia. (2005). p. 304
  3. ^ Pollak, Michael (June 29, 2012). "Coney Island's Big Hit". The New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  4. ^ Raab, Selwyn (2006). Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. New York City: St. Martin's Griffin. p. 84. ISBN 978-0312361815.
  5. ^ Dennis Eisenberg; Uri Dan; Eli Landau. Meyer Lansky: mogul of the mob. (1979). pp. 140–141
  6. ^ Newark, Tim (August 31, 2010). Lucky Luciano: The Real and the Fake Gangster. Macmillan. pp. 62–66. ISBN 978-0-312-60182-9.
  7. ^ "Killer Ring Broken; 21 Murders Solved". New York Daily News. March 19, 1940. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  8. ^ Raab, Selwyn (2006). Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. New York City: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 32–34.
  9. ^ Their last names are spelled Frabrazzo in different sources. See Gribben, Mark. "Bedrest". Crime Library.
  10. ^ "Bugsy Siegel Part 3". FBI Records: The Vault. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c Gribben, Mark. "Bugsy Siegel: Bedrest". Crime Library. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  12. ^ Turkus & Feder 2003, p. 264.
  13. ^ Turkus & Feder 2003, pp. 264–265.
  14. ^ a b Gribben, Mark. "Bugsy Siegel: Ben Heads West". Crime Library. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  15. ^ Turkus & Feder 2003, pp. 267–268.
  16. ^ Koch, Ed (May 15, 2008). "'Bugsy Siegel – The mob's man in Vegas". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  17. ^ Siler, Bob. "Walking In Their Footsteps – A Look At The Mob In Los Angeles" Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. (September 2005). Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  18. ^ Sifakis, The Mafia Encyclopedia. (2005). p. 156
  19. ^ Tereba 2012, pp. 37–38.
  20. ^ Sifakis, The Mafia Encyclopedia. (2005). p. 417
  21. ^ a b "Crime: Murder in Beverly Hills". Time Magazine. June 30, 1947. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  22. ^ a b "page on Bugsy Siegel". PBS. July 11, 2005. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  23. ^ Tereba 2012, pp. 76–77.
  24. ^ a b Tuohy, John William (October 2001). "Bugsy". PLR International. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  25. ^ Capeci, Jerry (2002). The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Alpha Books. p. 92. ISBN 0-02-864225-2.
  26. ^ Tereba 2012, p. 63.
  27. ^ Wilkerson III, The Man Who Invented Las Vegas. (2000). p. 62
  28. ^ Wilkerson III, The Man Who Invented Las Vegas. (2000). p. 74
  29. ^ Griffin, The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law Vs. the Mob. (2006). pp. 6–7
  30. ^ Turkus & Feder 2003, p. 288.
  31. ^ Wilkerson III, The Man Who Invented Las Vegas. (2000). p. 80
  32. ^ Palm Beach Post. 1958-04-11,1831399. Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2014-01-15. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ Long Beach Independent, July 21, 1949, pp. 1, 32.
  34. ^ Los Angeles Times, "Gang Guns Wound Cohen". July 20, 1949, p.1
Anthony Cornero

Anthony Cornero Stralla also known as "the Admiral" and "Tony the Hat" (August 18, 1899 - July 31, 1955) was a bootlegger and gambling entrepreneur in Southern California from the 1920s through the 1950s. During his varied career, he bootlegged liquor into Los Angeles, ran legal gambling ships in international waters, and legally operated casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bugsy Siegel

Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (February 28, 1906 – June 20, 1947) was an American mobster. Siegel was known as one of the most "infamous and feared gangsters of his day". Described as handsome and charismatic, he became one of the first front-page celebrity gangsters. He was also a driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip. Siegel was not only influential within the Jewish mob but, like his friend and fellow gangster Meyer Lansky, he also held significant influence within the American Mafia and the largely Italian-Jewish National Crime Syndicate.

Siegel was one of the founders and leaders of Murder, Inc. and became a bootlegger during the Prohibition. After the Twenty-first Amendment was passed repealing Prohibition in 1933, he turned to gambling. In 1936, he left New York and moved to California. His time as a mobster (although he eventually ran his own operations) was mainly as a hitman and muscle, as he was noted for his prowess with guns and violence. In 1939, Siegel was tried for the murder of fellow mobster Harry Greenberg. He was acquitted in 1942.

Siegel traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he handled and financed some of the original casinos. He assisted developer William R. Wilkerson's Flamingo Hotel after Wilkerson ran out of funds. Siegel took over the project and managed the final stages of construction. The Flamingo opened on December 26, 1946, to poor reception and soon closed. It reopened in March 1947 with a finished hotel. Three months later, on June 20, 1947, Siegel was shot dead at the home of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, in Beverly Hills, California.

Drug cartel

A drug cartel is any criminal organization with the intention of supplying drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking organizations reached an agreement to coordinate the production and distribution of cocaine. Since that agreement was broken up, drug cartels are no longer actually cartels, but the term stuck and it is now popularly used to refer to any criminal narcotics related organization.

The basic structure of a drug cartel is as follows:

Falcons (Spanish: Halcones): Considered as the "eyes and ears" of the streets, the "falcons" are the lowest rank in any drug cartel. They are responsible for supervising and reporting the activities of the police, the military, and rival groups.

Hitmen (Spanish: Sicarios): The armed group within the drug cartel, responsible for carrying out assassinations, kidnappings, thefts, and extortions, operating protection rackets, and defending their plaza (turf) from rival groups and the military.

Lieutenants (Spanish: Teniente): The second highest position in the drug cartel organization, responsible for supervising the hitmen and falcons within their own territory. They are allowed to carry out low-profile murders without permission from their bosses.

Drug lords (Spanish: Capos): The highest position in any drug cartel, responsible for supervising the entire drug industry, appointing territorial leaders, making alliances, and planning high-profile murders.There are other operating groups within the drug cartels. For example, the drug producers and suppliers, although not considered in the basic structure, are critical operators of any drug cartel, along with the financiers and money launderers. In addition, the arms suppliers operate in a completely different circle, and are technically not considered part of the cartel's logistics.

Frank Milano (mobster)

Frank Milano (February 27, 1891 — September 15, 1970), born Ciccio Milano, was an Italian American who was boss of the Cleveland crime family in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1930 to 1935. He fled to Mexico, and in the early 1960s returned to the United States where he took up residence in Los Angeles, California. He became a criminal associate of the Cohen crime family and the Luciano crime family.

Hooky Rothman

Harold "Hooky" Rothman (1910 – August 18, 1948), also known as Harry Rothman, was a Jewish mobster and mob enforcer who was the right-hand man of Los Angeles kingpin Mickey Cohen during "The Battle of Sunset Strip" for the control of illegal activities in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Jewish-American organized crime

Jewish-American organized crime emerged within the American Jewish community during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been referred to variously in media and popular culture as the Jewish Mob, Jewish Mafia, Kosher Mafia, Kosher Nostra, or Undzer Shtik (Yiddish: אונדזער שטיק‎). The last two of these terms are direct references to the Italian Cosa Nostra; the former is a play on the word kosher, referring to Jewish dietary laws; while the latter is a direct translation of the Italian phrase Cosa Nostra (Italian for "our thing") into Yiddish, which was at the time the predominant language of the Jewish diaspora in the United States.

In the late 19th century in New York City, Monk Eastman operated a powerful Jewish gang that competed with Italian and Irish gangs, notably Paul Kelly's Five Points Gang, for control of New York City's underworld. Another notorious gang, known as the Lenox Avenue Gang, led by Harry "Gyp the Blood" Horowitz, consisted of mostly Jewish members and some Italian members (such as Francesco Cirofisi). It was one of the most violent gangs of the early 20th century and became famous for the murder of gambler and gangster Herman Rosenthal.

In the early 1920s, stimulated by the economic opportunities of the roaring twenties, and later prohibition, Jewish organized crime figures such as Arnold Rothstein were controlling a wide range of criminal enterprises, including bootlegging, loansharking, gambling, and bookmaking. According to crime writer Leo Katcher, Rothstein "transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top." Rothstein was allegedly responsible for fixing the 1919 World Series. At the same time, the Jewish bootlegging mob known as The Purple Gang dominated the Detroit underworld during prohibition, while the Jewish Bugs and Meyer Mob operated in the Lower East Side of New York City before being absorbed into Murder, Inc. and becoming affiliates of the Italian-American Mafia.

The largely Jewish-American and Italian-American gang known as Murder, Inc. and Jewish mobsters such as Meyer Lansky, Mickey Cohen, Harold "Hooky" Rothman, Dutch Schultz, and Bugsy Siegel developed close ties with and gained significant influence within the Italian-American Mafia, eventually forming a loosely organized, mostly Jewish and Italian criminal syndicate known in the press as the "National Crime Syndicate." Jewish and Italian crime groups became increasingly interconnected in the 1920s and 1930s, as they often occupied the same neighborhoods and social statuses of the time. The two ethnic crime groups became especially close in New York City following the establishment of the close relationship between partners Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky and their subsequent elimination of many of the so-called "Mustache Pete", or the Sicilian-born gangsters that often refused to work with non-Italians and even non-Sicilians. The Cohen crime family of Los Angeles and Las Vegas was notably part of both the Jewish Mafia and Italian-American Mafia, and lines between the two ethnic criminal organizations often blurred throughout the 20th century. For decades after, Jewish-American mobsters would continue to work closely and at times compete with Italian-American organized crime.

Johnny Stompanato

John Stompanato Jr. (October 10, 1925 – April 4, 1958), was a United States Marine who became a bodyguard and enforcer for gangster Mickey Cohen and the Cohen crime family.

In the mid-1950s, he began an abusive relationship with actress Lana Turner. In 1958, he was stabbed to death by Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane, who said she did it to defend her mother from a vicious beating by Stompanato. His death was ruled as justifiable homicide because he had been killed in self-defense.

Johnny Stompanato homicide

On the evening of April 4, 1958, 14-year-old Cheryl Crane stabbed 32-year-old Johnny Stompanato, the boyfriend of her mother, actress Lana Turner, at Turner's rented home in Beverly Hills, California. Stompanato, an ex-Marine and affiliate of the Cohen crime family, had been in a year-long relationship with Turner which had been rocky and marked with physical abuse.

Crane and Turner alleged that Crane had stabbed Stompanato in the stomach when Turner was ushering him out of her bedroom during a violent argument. Crane had heard the fighting going on, and took a knife from the kitchen, planning to defend her mother. After Crane turned herself in to police in the early morning hours of April 5, she was interred in a juvenile hall. A coroner's inquest was held on April 11, during which the homicide was deemed justifiable, and Crane was exonerated of any wrongdoing. She was released from the juvenile detention center in late April, and placed under the guardianship of her grandmother.

Though Crane was cleared of wrongdoing, Stompanato's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking $750,000 in damages. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court in 1962 for a sum of $20,000.

List of Cohen crime family members

The Cohen crime family, or the Siegel-Cohen crime syndicate, was a Jewish-Italian crime family that was active from 1933 to 1961. The family was founded by New York Jewish mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel in the early 1930s. He had Los Angeles Mafia boss Jack Dragna and Jewish mobsters Mickey Cohen and Moe Sedway as his lieutenants. He created the biggest prostitution ring, gambling and protection rackets in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He also expanded into drug trafficking and bookmaking.

The family has had over 70 known members and associates in its history. In 1946, the family had about 63 known members.

List of Italian-American mobsters by organization

This is a list of Italian American Mafia crime families and their leading members.

List of criminal enterprises, gangs and syndicates

This is a listing of enterprises, gangs, mafias and syndicates that are involved in organized crime. Tongs and outlaw motorcycle gangs, as well as terrorist, militant, and paramilitary groups are mentioned if they are involved in criminal activity for funding. However, since their stated aim and sega genesis is often ideological rather than commercial, they are distinct from mafia-type groups.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles ( (listen); Spanish: Los Ángeles), officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

Los Angeles is in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m) on the other. The city proper, which covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is also the principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the second largest in the United States after that of New York City, with a population of 13.1 million. It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area, also the nation's second most populous area with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million.Los Angeles is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is also famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index. The Los Angeles metropolitan area also has a gross metropolitan product of $1.044 trillion (as of 2017), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028. The city also hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1990 and 2006, and was one of 9 American cities to host the 1994 FIFA men's soccer World Cup and one of 8 to host the 1999 FIFA women's soccer World Cup, hosting the final match for both tournaments.

Historically home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California. The city was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, delivering water from Eastern California, later assured the city's continued rapid growth.

Los Angeles crime family

The Los Angeles crime family, also known as the L.A. Mafia, was an Italian American criminal organization based in California, as part of the American Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). Since its inception in the early 20th century, it has spread throughout Southern California. Like most Mafia families in the United States, the L.A. crime family gained power bootlegging alcohol during the Prohibition Era. The L.A. family reached its peak strength in the 1940s and early 1950s under Jack Dragna, who was on The Commission, although the L.A. family was never larger than the New York or Chicago families. Since Jack Dragna's death, the Los Angeles crime family has been on a gradual decline, with the Chicago Outfit representing them on The Commission.The sources for much of the current information on the history of the Los Angeles Cosa Nostra family is the courtroom testimony and the published biographies of Aladena "Jimmy the Weasel" Fratianno, who in the late 1970s became the second member-and the first acting boss-in American Mafia history to testify against Mafia members, and The Last Mafioso (1981), a biography of Fratianno by Ovid Demaris. Since the 1980s, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) has been effective in convicting mobsters and shrinking the American Mafia; like all families in the United States, the L.A. Mafia now only holds a fraction of its former power. Not having a strong concentration of Italian-Americans in the region leaves the family to contend with the many street gangs of other ethnicities in a city known as the "Gang Capital of America". The Los Angeles crime family was the last Mafia family left in the state of California.

Mickey Cohen

Meyer Harris "Mickey" Cohen (September 4, 1913 – July 29, 1976) was an American gangster based in Los Angeles and boss of the Cohen crime family. He also had strong ties to the Italian American Mafia from the 1930s through 1960s.

Neddie Herbert

Edward "Neddie" Herbert (1907–1949) was an American criminal active in the 1940s.

United States Penitentiary, Atlanta

The United States Penitentiary, Atlanta (USP Atlanta) is a medium-security United States federal prison for male inmates in Atlanta, Georgia. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. The facility also has a detention center for pretrial and holdover inmates, and a satellite prison camp for minimum-security male inmates.

Virginia Hill

Virginia Hill (born Onie Virginia Hill; August 26, 1916 – March 24, 1966) was an American organized crime figure. An Alabama native, Hill became a Chicago outfit courier during the mid-1930s. Hill was famous for being the girlfriend of mobster Bugsy Siegel.

Cohen crime family
Past members
Family interests
Family events
Relation to other groups
Cohen Crew
Dragna Crew
Berman-Sedway Crew
Dragna Crew
Herbert Crew
McGee Crew
Sedway Crew

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