The year 1946 was a busy one for Mafia
chieftain Charles `Lucky` Luciano
. He was released from prison after serving 10 years, deported and paroled to his native Sicily, and, within eight months, had made it all the way to Havana, Cuba as part of his plan to get back to the United States. This stopover, on the way to his intended final destination New York City would be the site of an important mob summit the `Havana Conference` and would bring the wrath of the U.S. government down on the island. The Feds made it clear that having Luciano
just 90 miles from the U.S. mainland was too close and demanded that Cuban
officials send him back to Italy.
The following is a concise chronology of events regarding Thomas E. Deweys pursuit of Luciano
s arrival in Havana, Cuba:
January 31, 1936 Special Prosecutor Dewey, who built his political career around prosecuting high-profile mob figures, begins making raids and arrests on New York Citys houses of prostitution.
February to March 1936 The investigation continues, culminating with a 90-count indictment against Luciano
and 15 others. Luciano
flees New York City for Hot Springs, Ark., where he is under the protection of Owney Madden.
April 1, 1936 Lucky Luciano
is arrested in a Hot Springs gambling club. After legal proceedings are completed, Luciano
is extradited to New York City.
May 13, 1936 Luciano
s trial gets underway. The defense learns that three fellow defendants have agreed to testify for the government against Luciano
June 7, 1936 A jury finds Luciano
guilty on 62 counts of compulsory prostitution. He is sentenced to a prison term of 30-to-50 years.
June 18, 1936 Lucky Luciano
enters Dannemora Prison in upstate New York.
June 1936 to May 1942 Luciano
languishes in Dannemora, known as the Siberia of the New York prison system. In 1938 and 1942 he is turned down for parole.
February 9, 1942 The transatlantic liner S. S. Normandie is sabotaged in New York harbor.
May 12, 1942 Lucky Luciano
is transferred to Great Meadow Prison, close to New York City, after agreeing to provide protection from German saboteurs on the New York docks. He also helps by getting word to his Mafia
counterparts in Sicily to help during the Allied invasion there.
May 7, 1945 With the war
in Europe over, a petition for executive clemency and freedom for Luciano
is sent to now Gov. Thomas Dewey, who agrees to a reduction of sentence, not a pardon.
January 3, 1946 Dewey announces that Luciano
will be released, but deported. He will be paroled to his native Sicily.
February 2, 1946 Luciano
is released from Great Meadow Prison. He is taken to Ellis Island.
February 9, 1946 Luciano
boards the Laura Keene to set sail for Genoa, Italy. A huge party is held for him on board. After a two-week voyage, the boat arrives in Italy.
February to October 1946 Lucky Luciano
is first moved to his hometown of Lercara Friddi, Sicily. His travels then take him to Palermo, Sicily; to Naples, Italy; and finally Rome.
October 1946 After obtaining two passports, Luciano
secretly boards a freighter, which takes him to Caracas, Venezuela. He flies to Mexico City and then books a private plane for a flight to Havana, Cuba.