Famous Irish American Gangsters

From the 19th century Irish American ghettos, to 1920s Prohibition, to the modern age of drug trafficking, Irish American mobsters have played a prominent role in organized crime throughout the Northeast and Midwest United States.

Like their Italian counterparts, Irish American gangsters have been involved in bootlegging, gambling, drug trafficking, extortion, and murder.  The following is a list of famous Irish American gangsters from the last 150 years.

Also See:

Danny Hogan
Arthur "Butchy" Doe, Jr. (1960–) | Boston mobster from Charlestown and son of mobster Arthur Doe, Sr.

Bernard "Bernie" McLaughlin (d. 1961) | Boston mobster from Charlestown who founded the McLaughlin Brothers.

"Big" Bill Dwyer (1883–1946) | New York mobster involved in bootlegging during Prohibition who used his profits to purchase the New York Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates of the National Hockey League and the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National Football League.

Carleton O'Brien (1903–1952) | Independent Providence mobster involved in bookkeeping and policy operations who was listed as Public Enemy No. 1 in Rhode Island.

Daniel "Danny" O'Leary (d. 1928) | Philadelphia mobster involved in bootlegging throughout Prohibition.

Danny Greene (1933–1977) | Cleveland mobster involved in union racketeering as president of a local chapter of the International Longshoremen's Association.

"Dapper" Danny Hogan (1880–1928) | St. Paul, Minnesota bootlegger during Prohibition.

Danny Walsh (1893–1933) | Providence bootlegger during Prohibition who was the top underworld figure and last major Irish–American gangster in southern New England until his kidnapping and apparent murder.

Dean O'Banion (1892–1924) | Chicago mobster and founder of the North Side Mob who engaged in brutal bootlegging wars with Johnny Torrio and Al Capone during Prohibition.

Donald Killeen (1923–1972) | Boston mobster who controlled bookmaking and other criminal activity in South Boston during the 1960s and 1970s.

Eddie Cummiskey
Eddie "The Butcher" Cummiskey (d. 1976) | New York mobster and Mickey Spillane enforcer during the 1950s and 1960s who showed mobster Jimmy Coonan how to dismember and dispose of murder victims into New York's waterfronts.

Eddie McGrath | New York mobster who oversaw criminal activity in Hell's Kitchen during the 1940s and was arrested numerous times for offenses ranging from burglary to murder.

Edward "Punchy" McLaughlin (d. 1965) | Former boxer and member of Boston's McLaughlin Brothers gang in Charlestown who survived many assassination attempts but was ultimately shot dead at a bus station in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Frank McErlane (1894–1932) | Chicago mobster and partner of bootlegger Joseph "Polack Joe" Saltis during Prohibition who is credited with introducing the Thompson submachine gun to Chicago's underworld.

"Cadillac" Frank Salemme (1933–) | Boston mobster and former leader of the Patriarca crime family who became a government witness.

Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (1920–2003) | Former labor union official in Philadelphia who operated as a freelance assassin for the Genovese crime family.

Frank Wallace (d. 1931) | Boston mobster and leader of the Gustin Gang during Prohibition who was ambushed and killed by rival gangsters.

George "Bugs" Moran (1891–1957) | Chicago mobster and last leader of the North Side Gang who has been credited with popularizing drive–by shootings.

Gordon O'Brien (1947–2008) | Massachusetts mobster and associate of the Patriarca crime family.

Henry Hill
Henry Hill (1943–) | New York mobster, Lucchese crime family associate, and FBI informant depicted in the book Wiseguy and in the Martin Scorsese film, Goodfellas, in which Hill was played by Ray Liotta.

Howard T. "Howie" Winter (1929–) | Boston mobster who became the second leader of the Winter Hill Gang when Buddy McLean was killed during the Irish Mob Wars in 1966.

Hughie Mulligan (d. 1973) | New York mobster and bookmaker in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen during the 1950s.

Jack "Legs" Diamond (1897–1931) | New York mobster involved in bootlegging during Prohibition who survived numerous attempts on his life between 1916 and 1931.

James Coonan (1947–) | New York mobster and leader of the Westies during the 1970s and 1980s who was convicted of racketeering under RICO laws and sentenced to 75 years in prison without any possibility for parole.

James J. "Whitey" Bulger (1929–) | Boston mobster and former leader of the Winter Hill Gang who masterminded a protection racket targeting drug kingpins and illegal gambling operations and was indicted for nineteen murders.

James M. Ragen (1880–1946) | Chicago mobster involved in bootlegging and illegal gambling who co–founded the Ragen's Colts street gang.

James "Buddy" McLean (1929–1965) | Boston mobster and original head of the Winter Hill Gang who was widely known as a tough street fighter.

James "Spike" O'Toole (1929–1973) | Boston mobster and associate of the Winter Hill Gang who was targeted for assassination when one of his associates had an affair with a rival's mistress.

James Patrick "Big Jim" O'Leary (1869–1925) | Chicago mobster and saloon owner involved in illegal gambling who was the son of Patrick and Catherine O'Leary, in whose barn the Great Chicago Fire is believed to have begun.

Jimmy "The Gent" Burke (1931–1996) | New York City mobster and associate of the Lucchese crime family who is believed to have organized the Lufthansa heist in 1978.

Jimmy Flynn (1934–) | Boston mobster and member of the Winter Hill Gang who became an FBI informant and appeared in many films shot in the New England area.

John Dunn
John M. "Cockeye" Dunn (1910–1949) | New York mobster and enforcer for labor racketeer Joe Ryan who was convicted of murder and executed in the electric chair on July 7, 1949.

John "Old Smoke" Morrissey (1831–1878) | New York mobster and champion bare–knuckle boxer who later became a Democratic State Senator and U.S. Congressman from New York.

John Patrick Looney (1865–1947) | Illinois bootlegger during Prohibition who was also involved in sports rigging, prostitution, illegal gambling, and extortion.

John "Red" Shea (1965–) | Boston mobster and member of the Winter Hill Gang who was indicted on cocaine trafficking charges in 1990 and served 12 years in prison.

Johnny Martorano (1940–) | Boston hitman and enforcer for the Winter Hill Gang who admitted to 20 gang–related killings.

Joseph Vincent "Newsboy" Moriarty (1910–1979) | New Jersey mobster who was involved in the numbers racket and arrested nearly 50 times.

Kevin Hanrahan (1953–1992) | Providence mobster and freelance enforcer for the Patriarca crime family who served prison sentences for jury tampering, intimidating witnesses, drug trafficking and counterfeiting.

Kevin "Two" Weeks (1956–) | Boston mobster and associate of the Winter Hill Gang who became a government witness and helped convict FBI agent John Connolly and mobster Stephen Flemmi.

Lester Joseph Gillis aka Baby Face Nelson (1908–1934) | Chicago bank robber and murderer who partnered with John Dillinger and became public enemy number one.

Maurice "Mossy" Enright (d. 1920) | Chicago labor racketeer and associate of the North Side Gang who was instrumental in the rise of mobster Johnny Torrio.

Mickey Featherstone (1949–) | New York mobster and member of the Hell's Kitchen Westies who committed several mob killings before becoming an FBI informant and taking down Jimmy Coonan's gang.

Mickey Spillane (1934–1977) | New York mobster and head of Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen during the 1950s and 1960s.

Myles O'Donnell (d. 1931) | Chicago mobster and Prohibition bootlegger who founded the O'Donnell Mob.

Owney Madden
Owney "The Killer" Madden (1891–1965) | New York mobster, Prohibition bootlegger, and boxing promoter who led the Gopher Gang and ran the famous Cotton Club.

Patrick Nee (1943–) | Boston mobster and associate of Whitey Bulger who served as a member of the Mullen Gang before writing the bestselling memoir, A Criminal and an Irishman; The Inside Story of the Boston Mob–IRA Connection.

Richie Fitzpatrick (1880–1904) | New York mobster who served as the top gunman of the Monk Eastman Gang.

Roger Touhy (1898–1959) | Chicago mobster and Prohibition bootlegger who was framed for the 1933 faked kidnapping of gangster John "Jake the Barber" Factor and murdered one month after leaving prison.

Terry "Machine Gun" Druggan (1903–1954) | Chicago bootlegger and boss of the Valley Gang who was known for his diminutive stature, short temper and lisp.

Tom Dennison (1858–1934) | Political boss of Omaha who was in charge of city crime rings, including prostitution, gambling and bootlegging.

Tom Devaney (d. 1976) | New York mobster and enforcer for mobster Mickey Spillane during the 1960s and 1970s who played a leading role in the gang war against James Coonan.

Vannie Higgins (1897–1932) | New York mobster and Prohibition bootlegger who was known for his notorious escapes from law enforcement.

Vincent Coll
Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll (1908–1932) | New York mobster and mob hitman during Prohibition who gained notoriety for the accidental killing of a young child during a mob kidnap attempt.

William "Dinty" Colbeck (1891–1943) | St. Louis politician, mobster, and bootlegger who succeeded William Egan as head of Egan's Rats in the early 1920s.

William Egan (1884–1921) | St. Louis mobster, politician and bootlegger who co–founded Egan's Rats and was murdered in a drive-by shooting in 1921.