It was on Nov. 26, 1971 when New Jersey mobster Joe Adonis died in Italy. While not as well known as his friend Lucky Luciano, Adonis was an important figure in the formation of organized crime in the United States.

According to, Adonis was one of the men who assassinated mob boss Giuseppe Masseria, which allowed Luciano to ascend to the top of the criminal syndicate. Along with Luciano and gangster Meyer Lansky, Adonis was a successful bootlegger in New York and New Jersey during Prohibition; he was also involved in gambling, racketeering, cigarette smuggling, and car dealerships in norther New Jersey.

According to the New York Times, Adonis ran a criminal enterprise from the back of a Fort Lee restaurant. He pleaded no contest to gambling charges in New Jersey and was sentenced to three years in prison; he was deported to Italy in 1953.

The former boss of “Murder, Incorporated” died while being interrogated in Italy about the death of a Sicilian prosecutor. His body was brought back to the US, and he was buried in Fort Lee.

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