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Prohibition Bundle for DS

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In large cities and industrial areas, from basements and attics, moonshiners and other bootleggers made it virtually impossible for Prohibition Bureau agents to enforce the Volstead Act’s national ban on making and distributing liquor. The bureau seized almost 697,000 stills nationwide from 1921 to 1925. From mid-1928 to mid-1929 alone, the feds confiscated 11,416 stills, 15,700 distilleries and 1.1 million gallons of alcohol. The bigger stills were known to churn out five gallons of alcohol in only eight minutes. Commercial stills in New York could put out 50 to 100 gallons a day at a cost of 50 cents per gallon and sell each one for $3 to $12. By 1930, the U.S. government estimated that smuggling foreign-made liquor into the country was a $3 billion industry ($41 billion in 2016).

Meanwhile, racketeers, in addition to buying whiskey and other liquors smuggled from Canada, Great Britain and Mexico, manufactured alcohol. Some racketeers bought up closed breweries and distilleries and hired former employees to make the same products illegally. Others corrupted brewers otherwise engaged in the production of legal “near beer.” Some brewers gave in to the temptation to deal with gangsters, who paid cash for the higher-percentage alcohol beer. Chicago racketeer Johnny Torrio, in the weeks after Prohibition began in 1920, partnered with two other mobsters and legitimate brewer Joseph Stenson to manufacture for sale illegal beer in nine breweries. Torrio convinced hundreds of street criminals they could become wealthy by cooperating in the secret beer distribution racket to speakeasies, organized within agreed-upon and strictly enforced territories in the city. He and his partners took in $12 million a year in the early 1920s. Torrio later turned control of his Chicago bootlegging racket over to his successor, Al Capone.

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26-02-2021, 10:33 190 0


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