These men and their henchmen grew rich selling Prohibition liquor from Canada or heroin during the Vietnam War. They took over cities, Chicago or Manhattan, by bribing police, aldermen, even judges.
Often, outlaws were immortalized and ‘goodfellas’ were glamorized. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker held up gas stations and banks, killing twelve people in the process. A former Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer, had to follow them across nine states before ending their reign in a Louisiana ambush. In such cases, the good guys got justice, while the goodfellas just got dead.
Frank Lucas served time for distributing narcotics, and his stash of two hundred and fifty million dollars was confiscated. Later, he helped convict three-quarters of Manhattan’s Drug Enforcement Agency.
But when a gangster from Harlem, Henry Hill, was arrested for cocaine trafficking, he ratted out the Mafia before entering the Federal Witness Protection Program where, rumor has it, he is living a life of luxury.
Is this proof that crime does not pay, but living on the government’s dime does?