15 Most Notorious Infamous Gangsters You Probably Know

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Do you want to know the infamous gangsters? In this post, we will discuss the most notorious gangsters. Gangsters are people who engage in organized crime, participating in illegal activities such as racketeering, drug trafficking, and violence. They operate within criminal organizations like gangs or alliances and control specific regions or illegal industries.

Moreover, the term gangster can also describe contemporary criminals involved in organized crime. Today, gangsters can be found in different parts of the world, operating within various cultural and criminal contexts.

There have been many infamous gangsters who have captivated the public. In fact, these are the people who operate in the dark side of society, which most of us aren’t aware of. These people are popular for committing terrible acts including murders, robberies, gambling, fraud, and whatnot.

Gangsters like Al Capone came into existence during the Prohibition era in the 1920s. With his sharp psyche and propensity for violence, Capone became a symbol of crime, earning himself the moniker “Scarface.”

Over time, organized crime has changed and evolved, giving rise to a new generation of notorious gangsters like Pablo Escobar who acted in the shadows of the modern era. Other gangsters who are popular for violence include John Dillinger, Carlo Gambino, and James Bulger.

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So, without further ado, here is the list of 15 Infamous Gangsters you might know. Let’s explore the list given below and know more about them.

1- Al Capone

Infamous gangsters: Al Capone

Al Capone was one of the most infamous gangsters during the Prohibition era in the United States. He rose to power as the boss of the “Chicago Outfit”, a criminal organization that focused on engaging in illegal activities. His other mafia names include Scarface, Snorky, and Big Boy.

Capone reached the height of his power as the most dominant gangster in Chicago from the mid-1920s to the early 1930s. His criminal enterprise generated millions of dollars, establishing him as one of the wealthiest criminals of his era. In 1931, Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years.

2- The Kray Twins

The Kray Twins

The Kray Twins were British gangsters popular for engaging in organized crime, which included activities like racketeering, armed robbery, and running protection rackets. Twin brothers Ronald Ronnie Kray and Reginald Reggie Kray were active in the East End of London during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Krays started their criminal pursuits and formed a gang called The Firm. Through the use of violence and intimidation, they eliminated rivals and ensured their supremacy within the criminal underworld. They received given life sentences with a minimum term of 30 years.

3- Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar

Pablo gained infamy as a Colombian drug lord and became one of the most infamous gangsters in history. He led the notorious Medellín Cartel, which held control over the worldwide cocaine trade throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The cartel gained prominence, establishing itself as the leading source of cocaine for the United States and other global markets.

Escobar employed merciless tactics to gain control over every aspect of the cocaine production and distribution process. In 1991, Pablo Escobar surrendered. After he escaped from prison, Colombian National Police located and killed him in a rooftop shootout in Medellín.

4- James “Whitey” Bulger

Infamous gangsters: James "Whitey" Bulger

James “Whitey” Bulger was one of the most wanted criminals on the FBI’s wanted list. He engaged in criminal activities from a young age and rose to become the head of the Winter Hill Gang, a criminal organization in South Boston.

Furthermore, a significant aspect of Bulger’s criminal career revolved around his connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He was also known as Boots, Jimmy, and Whitey. However, Bulger was caught in 2011 when he was eighty-one years old.

5- Charles Lucky Luciano

Charles Lucky Luciano

Charles Lucky Luciano was a prominent gangster who operated in the US. Luciano is considered the father of modern organized crime. He was also the first official boss of the modern Genovese crime family. Luciano reorganized the Mafia by establishing a national commission responsible for supervising all Mafia operations throughout the United States.

In 1936, Lucky Luciano was arrested for his involvement in forced prostitution and received a prison sentence of 30 to 50 years. But for cooperating with the U.S. govt in World War II, Luciano get parole and was ported to Italy. During his time in Italy, Luciano engaged in the drug trade and maintained his influence over the American Mafia even while being based overseas.

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6- John Dillinger

John Dillinger

John Dillinger was one of the infamous gangsters. He was an American robber who was famous for his audacious bank heists. He began committing crimes in his early twenties, starting with minor offenses and gradually progressing to bank robbery.

Together with his gang, carried out a series of most famous bank heists. On 22 July 1934, FBI officers and police confronted Dillinger outside Biograph Theatre. He tried to escape, but they shot him from the back and Dillinger died at 31. Despite his short criminal career, he became one of the most influential criminals in history.

7- Ellsworth Johnson

Infamous gangsters: Ellsworth Johnson

Ellsworth Johnson aka Bumpy was a criminal operated in Harlem, New York. He engaged in illegal gambling, operated a numbers racket, and participated in the trafficking of narcotics. As the leader of a criminal organization in Harlem, Johnson gained substantial influence and power, overseeing a range of illicit activities.

In fact, Bumpy Johnson had multiple run-ins with the police, resulting in numerous arrests and subsequent prison sentences. He died due to heart failure at the age of 62. He got the name Bumpy because he had a bump on the back of his head.

8- Benjamin Siegal

Benjamin Siegal

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegal was a notorious mobster. His notable contributions to organized crime include his role in the development of Las Vegas, Nevada. He was a co-founder of the organized crime group Murder, Inc.

Siegel and Meyer Lansky formed the street gang the “Bugs and Meyer Mob”. The gang became famous for eliminating several rival gangs by hook or by crook. In fact, Siegel was also popular for befriending several famous Hollywood personalities.

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9- Jesse James

Jesse James

Jesse James was the leader of the James-Younger Gang which also include his brother Frank James. Frank and Jesse joined William Quantrill’s Confederate guerrilla forces during the American Civil War. The war experiences shaped Jesse’s delinquent activities.

Later, he became popular for robbing banks, stagecoaches, and trains as a member of several gangs. Jesse remains one of the most well-known figures from that era, with his life being the subject of various dramatizations and memorials.

10- Frank Costello

Infamous gangsters: Frank Costello

Frank Costello was a prominent gangster who played a significant role in organized crime. He became a member of a local gang at a young age and had sent to prison several times. He was popular as one of the leaders of the Luciano family(Genovese family).

Moreover, Costello worked with popular gangsters, including Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, Vito Genovese, and Meyer Lansky. He faced various criminal charges, yet he frequently managed to avoid conviction through legal defense along with the help of corrupt individuals within law enforcement and the political realm.

11- Bonnie Parker

Bonnie Parker

Bonnie Parker was a member of the criminal duo “Bonnie and Clyde”. During the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow traveled the Central United States and committed a series of violent crimes including bank robberies, car thefts, and armed clashes with law enforcement.

On May 23, 1934, the crime spree of the duo came to an end when a team of law enforcement officers ambushed their vehicle near Gibsland, Louisiana. Bonnie and Clyde were met with a barrage of gunfire, resulting in their deaths and bringing an end to their reign of crime.

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12- John Gotti

John Gotti

John Gotti was popular as the crime boss of the Gambino crime family. It was one of the “Five Mafia Families”. He was the one who planned and ordered the murder of Gambino’s ex-boss Paul Castellano and took over the crime family.

The Gambino family was engaged in a range of criminal activities such as racketeering, gambling, extortion, and drug trafficking. Gotti’s personality and his expensive apparel earned him the nickname “The Dapper Don.” He died due to throat cancer during his life imprisonment at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners.

13- Terry Adams

Infamous gangsters: Terry Adams

Terry Adams and his brothers are famous as the crime syndicate Adams family. It is one of the most influential syndicates in the United Kingdom active still in present times. His brothers Tommy and Patrick are also the founding members of the group.

Over time, the organization expanded to incorporate additional individuals from the Adams’ Irish family and close friends from their childhood. The gang is reportedly deeply entrenched in drug trafficking and extortion activities. Additionally, they are involved in hijacking gold bullion shipments and engaging in security fraud.

14- Carlo Gambino

Carlo Gambino

Carlo Gambino was one of the prominent criminals. He was famous for his business intelligence and skill in forming alliances with other criminal groups. He formed relationships with popular gangsters like Albert Anastasia, Frank Costello, and Vito Genovese. Gambino was the boss of the Gambino crime family.

Under his guidance, the Gambino family expanded its illegal operations into a range of activities. He maintained a low profile while effectively controlling the criminal underworld. He faced multiple arrests during his career, but he skillfully managed to evade conviction on the majority of the charges brought against him.

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15- Frank Lucas

Frank Lucas

Frank Lucas was one of the most infamous gangsters. He entered the drug trade by smuggling heroin from Southeast Asia, particularly the Golden Triangle region to the United States. He developed a unique strategy for transporting the drugs by utilizing the coffins of deceased American servicemen from the Vietnam War.

In 1975, federal agents arrested Lucas for drug trafficking and conspiracy. During his time in prison, Lucas decided to cooperate with law enforcement and shared valuable information about corrupt police officers and other drug traffickers. His federal and state prison sentences were reduced to the time he had already served and he was placed on lifetime parole.

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