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Mafia Conference in Havana, Part 6
Lucky Luciano’s fears of being discovered were soon realized. Due to a series of events, some caused by Luciano’s own indiscretion, the New York newspapers reported his presence in Havana. In February, Harry Anslinger (Luciano would always refer to him as `Asslinger`) sent a letter to the Cuban government formally demanding that it deport Luciano to Italy. When the Cuban government balked, Anslinger went to President Harry S Truman and was told to take whatever steps were necessary to force Cuba to deport Luciano.
Anslinger went public and announced that until Luciano was sent packing the United States would put a halt to all shipments of medical supplies to the island. Lansky and Batista met with Luciano and suggested that he leave the country voluntarily so the Cuban officials would not be forced to deport him. Luciano refused, feeling that his position as the leader of the American underworld would be threatened. He hired an attorney who concocted a plan to counter the United States medical-supplies embargo by having Cuba cut off sugar shipments to the United States. This plan of action never materialized and Luciano was arrested on Feb. 23, 1947.

After receiving house arrest for a few days to settle personal matters, Luciano was placed in an immigration lockup while his fate was decided. A last effort by the Cuban government to allow Luciano to seek sanctuary in Caracas, Venezuela was voided by Anslinger who was adamant that the mob boss be shipped back to Italy.
In early March, Luciano was placed aboard the S. S. Bakir, an old Turkish cargo steamer. Traveling through bad weather it took the boat over a month to reach Italy. The boat docked at Genoa on April 11, 1947, and Luciano was immediately arrested.
It would be fifteen years before Luciano would finally get his wish and return to the United States. The journey this time would be in a coffin aboard a Pan American Airway’s cargo plane after his death on January 26, 1962. Luciano’s remains were claimed by relatives and interred in the family vault at St. John’s Cemetery. Ironically, seven years later, Vito Genovese would be buried in a vault just one hundred feet away. Even in death, Luciano could not escape the `greedy bastard` who betrayed him.
by Allan May, from
Article ID 229
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