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Prohibition
 

Prohibition Era in Coal Country
 
      1920 brought a different atmosphere to the country as well as the local area with Prohibition taking effect. The 18th Amendment was proposed on December 18, 1917, ratified on January 16, 1919, and went into effect on January 16, 1920. Known as the "Volstead Act" and during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol were banned, lasted until the amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment, on December 5, 1933.
 
      It wasn't long before stills started in the area. In May a still was found and destroyed in a smokehouse at the Alecio Gererdini home in Eagarville, with another being located at the home of James Turk in Benld. In November a raid was conducted in Bend at Tony Chespa's soft drink parlor, with the arrest of two men, Tony Chespa and Mike Frizio.
 
      Residents of the local area referred to the four towns by number instead of the name of the town, and sometime after Prohibition became a law in 1920, "Number 5" also began to be mentioned. It was a distillery (still) near Benld that resembled a coal mine, and was guarded 24 hours a day. The large coke burning plant was in a patch of timber, with three 50 feet high columns.
 
      Among the various stories and rumors, was one that said Dominick Tarro, of Benld, was either one of the owners or involved with this still. Some have claimed that the Al Capone gang of Chicago was behind it, and others say that it was for making and delivering to the St. Louis and East St. Louis area, where the Shelton brothers and Charlie Birger were fighting over control. Others hinted that some of the real owners are from Springfield.
 
      It was said to be one of the most complete and expensively constructed establishments for making illicit liquor ever uncovered by officials. Number 5 was raided and seized on Friday, March 23, 1928 by an intelligence unit of the U. S. Treasury, led by Capt. W. B. Murray. Federal finished destroying the still on Friday, May 12, 1928.
 
      In December of 1921, Sheriff's officers, Frank Cramer, William Homer, and Louis Huenger raided a farm on the land of John McWain, in the woods about five miles east of the city. Corn mash was found in two large cisterns, along with about 40 gallons of corn whiskey. Arrested was Nicholi Battista, who had rented the farm in August.
 
      These same three Deputy Sheriffs raided a place in Staunton in May of 1922 and arrested were Steve Benedict, Anna Savalick, and James Wojcrechowski for operating several stills. Later the same month Deputies Homer and Schuller raided the Charles Dobrinick farm south of Carlinville and seized many gallons of wine. And in June Deputy Homer went to the home of Harry Hope, a tenant on the Arthur Hacke farm in Brushy Mound Township, and seized a still and several quarts of "white mule".
 
      For selling booze, the soft drink establishments of Mike Grandino, Angelo Toigo and Lewis Toigo were closed for one year on a writ issued by Judge Louis FitzHenry in February of 1923.
 
      In April of 1926, a Mr. & Mrs. Pianfetti, of Henderson for making and selling liquor and bringing it to Gillespie. They were arrested by federal officers accompanying Chief of Police Clark. He also found a large quantity of mash and several stills in Henderson.
 
      Federal Prohibition agents arrived in Sawyerville on Friday, November 9, 1928 to make investigations. They found a huge still between Benld and Wilsonville and arrested John Atusro, 46, of St. Louis; Phillip Feriga, 26, Benld; and Mike Anatola of St. Louis.
 
      The residence of Jock Smith was raided by federal agents in June of 1930 where they destroyed many bottles of beer and malt.

1920
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The Cairo Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois
Volume 52, Number 210
Saturday Morning, July 17, 1920, Page 1
PROHIBITION 0FFIICERS ARREST 16 SALOONISTS GET 500 GALS. BOOZE
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      Benld, Ill., July 16, (By A. P.) -- Prohibition enforcement officers from East St. Louis who conducted a raid here today arrested16 saloon keepers, confiscated six stills and 800 gallons of whisky, and destroyed 800 gallons of raisin mash.
 
      The prisoners were taken to Springfield for trial.
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The Ashton Gazette, Ashton, Illinois
Volume 26, Number 24
Thursday, August 5, 1920, page 6
      Benld. -- When fire destroyed the Benld jail, enough liquors and wines to stock a small saloon were destroyed. The most recent acquisition to the booze stock was ninety quarts of bottled-in-bond goods. It is believed the blaze was incendiary.
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1921
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Jacksonville Daily Journal, Jacksonville, Illinois
Volume 55 Number 46
Wednesday Morning, February 23, 1921, Page 1
LIQUOR VIOLATOR FINED AT SPRINGFIELD
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      Springfield, Ill., Feb. 22 -- James Turk of Benld, found guilty by a jury of violating the prohibition act, was fined $1,000 and costs, this being his second offense.
 
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1922
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The Cairo Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois
Volume 54, Number 165
Saturday Morning, May 27, 1922, page 6
SEIZE CAR LOAD OF BEER AT EAST ST. LOUIS
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      East St. Louis, May 26 (By A. P.) -- A carload of beer, consigned to Frank Enrico at Benld from St. Louis, was seized by Federal Prohibition agents here today. John Basso is held with Enrico pending their arraignment. An investigation to determine the source of the beer is being made.
 
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1924
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The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Friday, July 11, 1924, Page 1
JAILED AFTER STREET DUEL; ONE IS DEAD
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(Untied Press)
      BENLD, Ill., July 11. -- John Crochetti of Benld is dead and John Crowe of St. Louis is in jail following a revolver and rifle duel on he streets of Sawyerville, south of here, today.
 
      Upon receiving a report that a Lincoln touring car had been parked all night near Sawyerville, a Benld policeman started to investigate. He took several local citizens with him. as they approached the car two men started firing. the fire was returned and Crochetti was killed. Crowe escaped but was captured later and jailed. Police believe the car was stolen.
 
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1925
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Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
Saturday, May 16, 1925, Page 1
Fined on Booze Charge
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Special to The Telegraph.
      SPRINGFlELD. Ill , May 16. -- Ten Macoupin county men were fined $500 and costs today for violation of the national prohibition act by U. S. District Judge Louis Fitzhenry here. Permanent injunctions were issued against their plates of business. The town of Benld will bs practically cleaned up by the action of Judge Fitzhenry, according to prohibition officials. Nine of the men were from Benld and the other from Staunton. Isaac Fridizson, Dominic Ballette, Frank Enrico, Dominie Gelmi, Alfred Pattarozzi. Pete Ganes, Mike Enrico, Tony Biama and John Procarione were the Benld men and Frank Cignitti was the Staunton man.
 
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1926
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Centralia Evening Sentinel, Centralia, Illinois
February 16, 1926, Page 2
Special to The Telegraph.
      SPRINGFIELD --Clarence Smith, Benld, proprietor of a soft drink parlor was sentenced to 18 months in the penitentiary at Leavenworth in Federal court yesterday. It was his second offense.
 
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Freeport Journal-Standard, Freeport, Illinois
Thursday, July 29, 1926, Page 11
POLICE OF BENLD FIGHT WITH BAND OF BANK ROBBERS
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CAPTURE THREE AND FORCE REMAINNG TRIO TO ABANDON THEIR CAR
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      Springfield, III., July 29. --(AP)-- Plans to rob the Benld State bank were frustrated late last night when Benld police arrested two bandits, fought a running gun battle with four others, capturing one and forcing the three to desert their auto. The entire population, was aroused by the noise of the battle which took place in the city park.
 
      The three men captured are being held in the county jail at Carlinville. They gave their names as follows: Esau Burchfield, 24, St. Charles, Mich.; Isadore Kapz, 23, Decatur; Max Schlarr, 29, Decatur.
 
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The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Friday, July 30, 1926, Page 1
Benld Chief Arrest Six On Suspicion
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Associated Press
      BENLD, ILL., July 29 -- Three of six men in a sedan who aroused the suspicions of Chief of Police Bollinni, were captured by him last night in a chase in which several shots were exchanged and the machine was wrecked.
 
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1927
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Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
June 20, 1927, Page 2
BLACKHANDERS' RING BROKEN UP AT CARLINVILLE
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Extortion Letters Alleged
-- Would-be Victim Takes His Case to the Authorities.
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      CARLINVILLE, Ill., June 20. (AP)-- A black-hand ring was believed broken up here today with action of State's Attorney L. M. Harlan in filing charges of extortion against three men arrested Thursday and Friday last. Tommy Gendio, 30, Benld resort proprietor and alleged leader of the ring, has refused food since imprisoned.
 
      A reputed confession by Pete Basalavach, 18, Benld, arrested Thursday night, named Gendio as leader of the Benld ring and member of a larger ring at Cleveland, O. Besides these two, Clifford Allen, 20, of Benld was taken into custody.
 
      Basalavach told of an attempt to extort $800 from Joe Zerbolio, Benld garage man, last October. A letter mailed from St. Louis by Allen directed him, on threat of death, to leave the money at a cemetery gate. Nothing came of the threat, as Zerbolio refused to deposit the money and reported the letter to the authorities.
 
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Centralia Evening Sentinel, Centralia, Illinois
November 3, 1927, Page 10
POLICEMAN HELD ON MURDER CHARGE
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      WILSONVILLE, Ill., Nov. 3 (AP)-- Charles Purdy, 35, policeman is held in the county jail at Carlinville charged with murder today as a result of the death of James Leone, 48, feed and coal dealer of Benld here last night.
 
      Officials declare that Purdy and Leone had been drinking and that when they met. Leone gave the policeman a push off the sidewalk. Recovering his balance, witnesses said, Purdy struck Leone, knocking him down, causing his head to strike the sidewalk, resulting in his death.
 
      Purdy charged that Leone bumped into him and offered to fight. Purdy then said he had shoved Leone against a building, and he fell and struck his head on the walk.
 
      State's Attorney Harlan at Mt. Olive ordered Purdy held without bond on a murder charge.
 
      An inquest is to be held Tuesday.
 
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1928
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      BENLD -- March 1928
            Raided and seized on the afternoon of Friday, March 23, 1928.
Macoupin's Giant Booze Plant
Newspaper Clipping
      The giant booze plant above, resembling a coal mine, is the distillery near Benld which furnished much of the alcohol for Macoupin and Sangamon counties. It was seized last Friday in a raid by Captain W. B. Murray of Chicago, a member of the treasury department intelligence unit. The plant will be destroyed as fast as the necessary court orders are secured. In the meantime it is being guarded by federal agents. The plant is located one mile east of Benld. Two 50,000 gallon vats are located behind the structure and cannot be seen in this picture. On the hill to the left is the "burner" where the alcohol is aged.

 
Newspaper Clipping 2
      The final distillation unit of the giant alcohol plant near Benld is shown above. The alcohol is kept in four giant barrel like containers, one of which is shown in the picture.
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Decatur Evening Herald, Decatur, Illinois
Volume 47
Saturday Evening, March 24, 1928, Page 1
GIANT STILL IN BENLD SEIZED
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Federal Officers Searching for Men Who Disappeared in Woods
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(By United Press)
      CARLINVILLE Ill., March 24 -- A federal investigation of liquor conditions in Macoupin county was promised today following a raid yesterday said to be the first of a series, in which a giant coke-burning still, 50,000 gallons of alleged mash were seized along with 1,000 gallons of alcohol near Benld near here. The still, which was located in the midst of some woods, was, complete in every respect and had three 50-foot columns rising from it. As the federal officers approached several men working about the plant disappeared in the wooded area. Search Is being made for them.
 
      The raid resulted, according to authorities, when many complaints were received that Benld was the scene of major bootlegging and distilling operations being the source of supply for both St Louis and Springfield.
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The Decatur Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois
Saturday Evening, March 24, 1928, Page 1
Raid Near Benld Has Its Results
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      Springfield, Ill., Mar. 24 --(A.P.)-- A federal raid about a mile from Benld, netted the authorities 1,000 gallons of alcohol ready for shipment and about a carload of sugar, in addition to equipment. No arrests were made.
 
      The plant which had a triple still is said to be owned by Springfield residents.
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The Daily IndependentMurphysboro, Illinois
Monday, March 26, 1928, Page 1
50,000 Inspect Raided Distillery Plant Sunday
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      CARLINVILLE, ILL.. March 26 --(UP)-- More than 50,000 persons over the week end visited and inspected the $175,000 distilling plant near Benld, which was raided by federal, officers last Friday. Authorities working on the case said today that a number of Macoupin county residents connected with the giant plant, would be arrested within a short time.
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Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Monday, March 26, 1928, Page 2
THOUSANDS VISIT HUGE BENLD STILL
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Federal Authorities Expected to Make Many Arrests in the Next Few Days
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      Carlinville, Mar. 26 -- Arrests of a number of Macoupin county persons connected with the huge illicit distillery raided Friday will be brought about during the next few days, it was announced today.
 
      Names of well known persons alleged to be connected with the still, which is valued at between $150,000 and $175,000, have been secured by the federal agents, who with United States District Attorney Walter M. Provine, Taylorville, have the investigation in hand.
 
      It is estimated that fifty thousand persons visited the booze plant, which nestles in a ravine not far from Benld Saturday and Sunday. Continual swarms of interested and curious persons surrounded the plant, which from, the outside has all the appearance of being a small coal mine.
 
      It Is believed that with the raiding of this still, under direction of Capt. W. B. Murray, special agent of the Intelligence unit of the treasury department, and Victor J. Doud of the same department, that the source of much bootleg alcohol disposed of by Macoupin and Sangamon county dealers has been uncovered.
 
      The investigation, which authorities say will be sweeping and in minute detail. The government agents declare that hundreds of persons knew of the existence of the still.
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The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Volume 28, Number 90
Monday, March 26, 1928, Page 7
Sight Seers Inspect Costly Booze Still
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      Carlinville, Ill., Mar. 26 --(U.P.)-- More than 50,000 persons over the week-end visited and inspected the $175,000 distilling plant near Benld which was raided by federal officers last Friday. Authorities working on the case said today that a number of Macoupin county residents connected with the giant plant would be arrested within a short time.
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The Freeport Journal-Standard, Freeport, Illinois
Tuesday, March 27, 1928, Page 7
AGENT RELATES SEIZURE OF BIG ILLINOIS STILL
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SINGLE-HANDED HE SEIZES ONE OF LARGEST EVER DISCOVERED IN STATE
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      Springfield, Ill., Mar. 27. -- Couched in the attenuated phrascology of a formal report, the story of how a federal agent, working single handed, captured one of the largest stills ever found in the state, last week, has been told with the filing his report at prohibition headquarters here.
 
      Circling the little town of Benld in Macoupin county, the agent found the still about two miles out. But at the same time he discovered the plant, its operators saw him; so instead of returning for reinforcements, he went ahead with the raid.
 
      The operators, instead of resisting him, ran. Rather than shoot them in the back, he let them go, knowing that they were merely working for the "higher-ups." He then turned off the still and started for Benld to wire for-reinforcements.
 
Feels Himself Watched
      On his way to Benld, he was forced to take to the unplowed fields because of two cars, which were following him. Drawn curtains, from behind which eyes peered at him, greeted the agent in Benld. Warned by the station agent when he wired for help that he had better not return to the still alone, he nevertheless went back and stayed until aid arrived from Springfield.
 
      Residents of Benld Said that thirty or more men left the town Friday afternoon, after the raid. The still was said to have cost at least $100,000, and consumed a carload of coke weekly. Taken in the raid were 50,000 gallons of mash and 1,000 gallons of alcohol, ready for shipment.
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The Gillespie News, Gillespie, Illinois
Wednesday, March 28, 1928
      Capt. W. B. Murray, of the intelligence unit of the U. S. Treasury, arrived in Benld on last Friday afternoon and unaided seized the large still, and it is now in the hands of the enforcement officers, and is being guarded by officers out of the office at Springfield.
 
      All day Saturday and Sunday large crowds visited the still, which is complete in every way, and is more of a manufacturing distillery than a plain still.
 
     Thousands and thousands of gallons of alcohol were taken and great vats of mash were in process of fermentation. It is said that over a thousand gallons of alcohol were seized in tin containers, which was ready for shipment by trucks.
 
      The huge plant is located in the midst of a patch of timber. It is a coke burning affair, with three columns rising from the plant to the height of 50 feet. No estimate was made of the value of the plant but it is said to be one of the most complete and expensively constructed establishments for making illicit liquor ever uncovered by officials.
 
      It is also claimed that the owners of the plant are known, according to federal officials, and it is also hinted that some of the real owners are from Springfield.
 
      It is said that is has been common talk for several years that this huge plant was located east of Benld, and that it was guarded day and night, and that no outsider was allowed near it. No doubt now the government has located the plant that a clean up will be made the same as in Madison county a short time ago. We have heard that as soon as Judge FitsHenry issues the order that all movable parts will be taken to Springfield and that the vats and other accessories will be destroyed on the ground.
 
      The discovery of the still has caused a great deal of excitement around Benld, and has attracted crowds from all over this part of the country out of curiosity.
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The Patoka Register, Patoka, Illinois
Volume 21 Number 22
March 30, 1928, Page 1
50,000 VIEW STILL RAIDED NEAR BENLD
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      Carlinville, Mar. 26 . -- Arrests of a number of Macoupin county persons connected with the huge illicit distillery raided Friday will be brought about during the next few days.
 
      Names o f well known persons alleged to be connected with the still, which is valued at between $150,000 and $175,000, have been secured by the federal agents, who with United States District Attorney Walter M. Provine, Taylorville, have the investigation in hand.
 
      It is estimated that fifty thousand persons visited the booze plant, which nestles in a ravine not far from Benld. Continual swarms of interested and curious persons surround the plant, which from the outside has all the appearance of being a small coal mine
 
      It is believed that with the raiding of this still, under the direction of Capt. W. B. Murray, special agent of the intelligence unit of the treasury department, and Victor J. Doud of the same department, that the source of much bootleg alcohol disposed of by Macoupin and Sangamon county dealers has been uncovered.
 
      The investigation, which authorities say will be sweeping and in minute detail. The government agents declare that hundreds of persons knew of the existence of the still.
 
- - - - -   April   - - - - -
The Troy Call, Troy, Illinois
Friday, April 6, 1928, Page 4
      Staunton Star-Times: It is frequently said that people living in a community know less of what that community offers than do total strangers. That sounds rather odd, but perhaps it is true at that. Federal officers on Friday of the last week located a big still near Benld while officers of this county apparently were unaware of its presence.
 
- - - - -   May   - - - - -
The Gillespie News, Gillespie, Illinois
Wednesday, May 16, 1928
      The big still that some time ago was confiscated by the government is no more. Federal officers on last Friday [May 12, 1928] sold the engine and the boilers for junk and dynamited the concrete vats. It is rumored that the government will also sell the land on which the still was located as under the prohibition law, land used for unlawful purposes can also be taken over by the government and sold.
 
- - - - -   June   - - - - -
The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Volume 28, Number 151
Wednesday, June 6, 1928, page 2
Huge Still Raided Near Benld Tuesday
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      Benld, Ill., June 6. --(U.P.)-- Another huge alcohol plant, almost as large as the one discovered near here last March was raided yesterday afternoon by federal prohibition agents under the direction of Acting Deputy Administrator A. E. Hamilton. The equipment included a still of 1,000 gallons capacity, three huge concrete vats filled with mash, 175 gallons of the finished product, and 50,000 gallons of mash.
 
      Two men: Michael Adotta and Phillip Prugia, were arrested later. The seized a 200 gallon still not in operation and approximately 400 gallons of liquor. Most of the equipment and liquor were destroyed.
 
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The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Wednesday, June 6, 1928, Page 1
Two Men Held After Raid Of Large Still
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      BENLD, ILL., June 6 --(UP)-- Another huge alcohol plant, almost as large as the one discovered near here last March, was raided yesterday afternoon by federal prohibition agents under the direction of Acting Deputy Administrator A. E. Hamilton. The equipment included a still of 1,000 gallons capacity, three huge concrete vats filled with mash, 175 gallons of the finished product and 50,000 gallons of mash.
 
      Two men, Michael Adotta and Philip Prugla, were arrested.
 
      Later, the agents seized a 200 gallon still not in operation and approximately 400 gallons of liquor. Most of the equipment and liquor were destroyed.
 
- - - - -   July   - - - - -
The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Volume 28, Number 197
Tuesday, July 31, 1928, page 11
Art Hamilton Changed From Springfield
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      Springfield, Ill., July 31 --(U.P.)-- Another step toward "mopping up" some of central Illinois' liquor sources was taken yesterday by federal officers here who will now work under the direction of James A. Eaton of Newton, new deputy administrator of this district. The agents made two raids, nabbed four prisoners, and discovered a still and a brewery.
 
      Eaton comes here from Chicago where he had been deputy administrator and acting agent since May 25. He replaces Acting Deputy Administrator A. E. Hamilton. While Eaton was conferring here, his deputies staged two raids near Benld discovering a bootlegging joint in the old Mt. Claire school house. They arrested three men -- Tony Sinclair, Frank and John Kaleskie -- when, it is alleged, they found them filling 16-gallon kegs with beer from a 500-gallon tank. Four other kegs of brew was seized also. Other equipment included an old-time bar. A few minutes later the deputies raided a blacksmith shop at Benld, dismantled a still, seized 400 gallons of alleged liquor aging in charcoal kegs and arrested Mario Zancanella, the village "smith."
 
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The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Tuesday, July 31, 1928, Page 1
Raiders Continue Mopping Up Central Illinois
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      SPRINGFIELD, ILL., July 31 -- Another step toward "mopping up" some of the central Illinois' liquor sources was taken yesterday by federal officers here, who will now work under the direction of James A. Eaton of Newton, new deputy administrator of this district. The agents made two raids, nabbed four prisoners, and discovered a still and brewery.
 
      Eaton comes here from Chicago where he had been deputy administrator and acting agent since May 25. He replaces Acting Deputy Administrator A. E. Hamilton. While Eaton was conferring here, his deputies staged two raids near Benld, discovering a bootlegging joint in the old Mt. Claire school house. they arrested three men -- Tony Sinclair, Frank and John Kalaskie -- when, it is alleged, they found them filling 16 gallon kegs with beer from a 500 gallon tank. four other kegs of brew were seized also. Other equipment included an old time bar. A few minutes later the deputies raided a blacksmith shop at Benld, dismantled a still, seized 400 gallons of alleged liquor aging in charcoal kegs and arrested Mario Zancanella, the village "smithy".
 
- - - - -   August   - - - - -
The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Volume 28, Number 199
Thursday, August 2, 1928, page 6
Dry Agents in Central Zone Keeping Busy
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      Springfield, III., Aug. 2 --(U.P.)-- James A. Eaton, new deputy prohibition administrator for this district, has struck fear in the hearts of central Illinois bootleggers. For the second time this week, his, deputies yesterday afternoon swooped down on Benld. They seized 345 gallons of alcohol, 850 gallons of mash and dismantled a 100-gallon still, found in operation.
 
      Julius Lanzarotti, said to be out on bond following a similar raid on the same place was sought by authorities. When the deputies appeared, Lanzarotti ran out the back door and disappeared over a hill.
 
      The agents, stopping off at Farmersville, south of here, arrested Francis Herman, 60, owner of a soft drink parlor on charges of violating the prohibition laws. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to destroy several bottles of "evidence." He will be arraigned here today.
 
- - - - -   September   - - - - -
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Volume 56 Number 124
Friday, September 21, 1928, Page 1
Anton Senese, Collinsville, Shot Five Times, Last Night
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Greeted With Remark "Hello Tony" As Auto With Several Men Passes;
Jos. Angelo, His Companion Escaped Without Injury
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      Anton Senese, 40, of Collinsville was shot five times last night at 8:30 o'clock while driving along the hard road one mile south of Staunton by an unknown assailant who escaped with several companions in an automobile. The injured man is a patient at St. Francis Hospital at Litchfield today with a bullet wound in the neck and four others in his arms.
 
      Joseph Angelo, 18, of Eagerville, a mining settlement near Gillespie, escaped injury, crawling under the automobile when the gunman began firing.
 
      Possible bootleg activities of Senese are believed to have prompted the attack but authorities are without all of the details today. Senese is believed to have had some connections with a still east of Troy which was raided several weeks ago by Sheriff Hermann and deputies. Senese was not held in connection with the raid but rumors in official circles indicate he was interested to some extent in the operation of the still.
 
      Robert Fansler of Troy, recently convicted for the murder of Jim Moroni of Collinsville, was observed at the still by the officers on the day of the raid. Fansler declared he was picking cucumbers at the farm. Another foreigner was held as operator of the place.
 
      Senese and Anglo had been in Springfield yesterday and were driving to Collinsville last night when the shooting took place. They were barely outside the city limits of Staunton when another automobile came up behind them. The driver sounded the horn as though he desired to pass.
 
      "Hello Tony" were the greeting words from one of the men in the car containing the gunman.
 
      Senese, believing the party was composed of friends who desired to see him, stopped and got out of the automobile. A second later the man handling the revolver opened fire. The man with the gun was undoubtedly an expert marksman, putting fire of the slugs into Senese's body. Angelo, in fear of his own life crawled under the automobile in which he had been riding. He was unable to see everything that happened. A few minutes later the second automobile speeded away.
 
      Angelo flagged another passing automobile which took Senese to Staunton. The injured man received treatment at the office of Dr. A. C. Goff and was then rushed to the hospital where Dr. Z. H. Zoller performed an operation on the neck wound.
 
      Senese's condition was such that he was unable to talk very much about the affair. Staunton police, after notification of the shooting, communicated with Sheriff E. M. Stubblefield of Carlinville who carried on the investigation last night with Deputy Sheriff William Morris.
 
      Senese told Sheriff Stubblefleld that a man by the name of Sam Green of Benld was the man who sought his life. No one by that name is known at Benld according to the sheriff.
 
      During the night it was ascertained that the shooting occurred in Madison county just south of the Macoupin county line. Sheriff O. H. Hermann learned of the shooting this morning and began making investigation. He visited Staunton, Benld and Litchfield this afternoon in search of clews that might lead to arrests of the gunman and his associates.
 
      When questioned last night Angelo told Macoupin county authorities that so far as he knew Senese did not have any enemies. Senese had not discussed with Angelo any differences he may have had with others.
 
      Several shots were fired but Angelo did not know exactly how many. It is believed that only one man handled the gun. One of the slugs taken from Senese's body indicated that a revolver of .45 caliber was used.
 
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Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Volume 56 Number 125
Saturday, September 22, 1928, Page 1
MAN SHOT NEAR STAUNTON DIED AT LITCHFILED
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Anton Senese Expired at the Hospital Last Night Without Giving the Authorities Positive Clews
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JOS. ANGELO QUESTIONED HERE TODAY
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Unable to Give Sheriff Hermann Any Additional Information
-- Saw Frank Green On One Occasion.
- - - - -
      Anton Senese, about 35 years old, former resident of Troy and Collinsville who was shot by an unknown assailant south of Staunton Thursday night died at St. Francis Hospital at Litchfield last night at 9 o'clock. Death was due to a bullet wound in the neck. He also had four wounds in the right shoulder and arm.
 
      When, questioned yesterday by Sheriff O. H. Hermann and Deputy Frank Spindler, Senese insisted that Frank Green of Benld was the man who shot him. A careful investigation has been made at Benld to locate Green, but neither Madison nor Macoupin county authorities have been able to get any clews of Green's whereabouts.
 
      "Have you got him," Senese said yesterday as the two Madison county officers entered Senese's room at the hospital. It was with difficulty that the two were admitted. Senese recognized Deputy Spindler as an officer.
 
      Senese was questioned as much as possible about the shooting but gave no other name than that of Green.
 
      A number of unusual circumstances have been developed since the shooting. It was learned last night that Senese had gone to Springfield to see someone about getting passports for his wife to come to this country from Italy. Thus far no one has been able to tell about Senese's domestic relations and it was not known that he was married.
 
      Joseph Angelo of near Gillespie, who was with Senese at the time of the shooting and acquainted with the family in Italy, was met by Senese before leaving Springfield. It is said Senese asked Angelo to ride to Gillespie and on the way the young man agreed to go as far as Collinsville in search of work.
 
      Angelo is quoted as saying that Senese asked Angelo as the machine with the gunman drove up if one of the occupants was Frank Green. The remark is taken to indicate that Angelo also knows Green.
 
      Senese had about $200 in cash in his pockets at the time of the shooting. No attempts were made to rob him. Other papers in his pockets were undisturbed, the slayer and his associates speeding away as soon as Senese was mortally wounded.
 
      The papers found in Senese's pockets pertain to various matters. He made application for naturalization papers at Dinmore, Pa., during 1923 and gave his age as 30 years at that time.
 
      Another paper is relative to an automobile transaction. He was driving a Chrysler automobile with Illinois number 645-765 at the time of the shooting. State records show that the license was issued to Antonio Senese of Troy for an Oldsmobile
 
      Papers in his pockets indicated that he purchased the Chrysler from the Central Used Car Market, 1819 Sidney street, St. Louis on July 21 under the name of Tony Senes. During June and July he was operating a filling station at Troy. Some of the papers give the spelling of his name as "Senes" and others as "Senesi."
 
      At the office of Carroll & Son, Litchfield undertakers today, it was "said that no one has claimed the body. It will be held there temporarily for the inquest and awaiting a claimant. Hopes were entertained today that through Angelo the authorities would be able to locate some of the dead man's acquaintances.
 
      From a resident of Troy today it was learned that Senese engaged in bootlegging to a small extent while living in that city. During the early part of the year Senese erected a gas station at Troy with two small rooms in which he lived. He later sold the place.
 
      Besides selling gasoline, oil and other supplies needed by autoists he dispensed some liquor, sold drinks and lunches.
 
      Angelo came here this morning for further questioning by Sheriff Hermann. The youth said he had heard of Green and saw him on one occasion. Angelo said Green was at some distance and he would be unable to identify the gunman.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
The Troy Call, Troy, Illinois
Volume 33 Number 41
Friday, September 28, 1928, Page 1
ANTON SENESE IS ASSASSINATED
- - - - -
Former Troy Filling Station Proprietor Shot Near Staunton
- - - - -
      Anton Senese of Collinsville, aged 35 years and formerly proprietor of a gasoline filling station in Troy, died in St. Francis hospital at Litchfield last Friday from gunshot wounds inflicted by unknown parties the night before while he was enroute from Springfield to Collinsville.
 
      Senese, accompanied by Joseph Angelo, 18, of Eagerville, was riding in an automobile and when they were about a mile south of Staunton another car pulled up alongside of their and one of its occupants shouted "Hello Tony!" Thinking it was some friend, Senese stopped his car and as he stepped out a fusilade of shots rang out and he fell to the pavement with one bullet wound in the neck and four in his body.
 
      Angelo crawled under the automobile of Senese while the shooting was going on and was unharmed. After the other car had speeded away he secured assistance and had Senese taken to the Litchfield hospital. The injured man's condition was such that he was at first unable to give an account of the affair, but he afterward made a statement in which he declared Frank Green of Benld was the man who shot him. Both Macoupin and Madison county officials have since been endeavoring to locate Green, but as yet have no clew to his whereabouts.
 
      Robbery was evidently not the motive as Senese had about $200 in case on on his person at the time and this and his other possessions were undisturbed. The shooting is believed to have been due to bootlegging activities in which Senese is known to have been engaged.
 
      An inquest was held at Litchfield Monday by Coroner Boyd and the verdict of the jury was that Senese came to his death at the hands of parties unknown. The funeral of Senese was held at Benld Tuesday afternoon from the residence of Dominec Angelo, the two families having been old friends in Italy.
 
      Senese, until some months ago, conducted a gasoline filling station in Troy at West Clay street and Edwardsville road and was believed to have been in the bootlegging business also. He is also said to have had an interest with Vito Raurgo of Collinsville in the large liquor still which was found east of Troy on August12th by Sheriff Hermann and in which raid Robert Fansler of this city was also arrested.
 
- - - - -    November   - - - - -
The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Saturday, November 10, 1928, Page 1
Prohi Agents to Dismantle Alky Plant Raided Friday
- - - - -
      BENLD, ILL., Nov. 10.-- Prohibition agents today went about the serious business of dismantling one of Illinois' finest illicit distilleries. The still, complete in every respect and thoroughly modern, rivals the $175,000 Alky plant for size which was found near here last March.
 
      Liquor agents found the still yesterday nestling in a small piece of timberland near Sawyerville, a mining community, two miles south of here. three men -- Phillip Feroga, Benld, and John Arusto, and Mike Anatola -- were arrested.
 
      The layout gave evidence that operations were being done on a large scale. In the still house were two 250-gallon double cookers, with an 18-foot column, and two condensers and rectifiers. A foundation nearby indicated that another still house was to have been erected.
 
      In the woods was found three concrete vats, 28 feet in diameter and nine feet deep. Each vat was filled with mash.
 
      Water was secured from a creek which had been dammed, forming a lake. A 1,000 gallon centrifugal pump, operated by a gasoline engine, and about 5,000 feet of piping completed he equipment.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Volume 28, Number 284
Saturday, November 10, 1928, Page 9
Huge Still Is Found in Woods in This State
- - - - -
      Benld, Ill., Nov. 10 --(U.P.)-- Prohibition agents today went about the serious business of dismantling one of Illinois' finest illicit distilleries. The still, complete in every respect and thoroughly modern, rivals the $175,000 plant for size which was found near here last March.
 
      Liquor agents found the still yesterday nestling in a small piece of timberland near Sawyerville, a mining community, two miles south of here. Three men, Phillip Ferago, Benld, and John Arusto and Mike Anatola, were arrested.
 
      The layout gave evidence that operations were being done on a large scale. In the still house were two 250-gallon double cookers, with an 18-foot column, and two condensers and rectifiers. A foundation nearby indicated that another still house-was to have been erected. In the woods were found three concrete vats, 28 feet in diameter and nine feet deep. Each vat was filled with mash.
 
      Water was secured from a creek which had been dammed, forming a lake. A 1,000-gallon centrifugal pump, operated by a gasoline engine, and about 5,000 feet of piping completed the equipment.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Monday, November 12, 1928, Page 1
Prohi Agents Make Raids In Mt. Olive and Benld
- - - - -
      MT. OLIVE, ILL., Nov. 12 -- Federal Prohibition Agents are still very much in evidence about these parts. Yesterday they seized two large stills -- near Mt. Olive and another near Benld.
 
      While a large quantity of mash was confiscated, no arrests were made. Several days ago the agents found a mammoth plant in operation near Benld and arrested three men. Last spring a complete distillery, valued at $175,000 was raided in this vicinity.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
The Gillespie News, Gillespie, Illinois
Wednesday, November 14, 1928
      Federal Prohibition agents from Springfield, who had been down to Collinsville to make raids of several stills at that place, while returning to Springfield Friday [November 9, 1928] afternoon stopped at Sawyerville and made investigations of several reports that they had received in reference to a still in that territory.

 
      The prohibition agents found a huge still between Benld and Wilsonville, located in a tract of timber. The still was located west of Benld. A number of arrests were as follows: John Atusro, 46, of St. Louis; Phillip Feriga, 26, Benld; and Mike Anatola of St. Louis. The men were taken to Springfield for a hearing.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois
Volume 28, Number 285
Monday, November 1928, Page 1
Prohibition Agents Are Busy in Southern Counties
- - - - -
      Mt. Olive, Ill., Nov. 12 --(U.P.)-- Federal prohibition agents are still very much in evidence about these parts. Yesterday they seized two large stills near Mt. Olive and another near Benld. While a large quantity of mash was confiscated, no arrests were made. Several days ago the agents found a mammoth plant in operation near Benld and arrested the men. Last spring a complete distillery, valued a $175,000 was raided in this vicinity.
 
- - - - -    December   - - - - -
The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Monday, December 10, 1928, Page 1
Seize Seven Stills
- - - - -
      SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Dec. 10. -- Federal Prohibition Agents under the direction of James A. Eaton, Deputy Prohibition Administrator for this district, Friday afternoon seized seven large stills -- six at Collinsville and one at Benld. Nine men were arrested and a quantity of mash and alcohol confiscated, authorities said.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -

1929
- - - - -
The Ladd Journal, Ladd, Illinois
January 19, 1929, Page 4
Pio Franckey in Trouble
- - - - -
      Pio Franckey was arrested at his home in Spring Valley on Wednesday by two United States deputy marshals on the charge of violating the liquor law. He was taken to the Federal court at Peoria and was released on $5,000 bonds. The specific charge against him is the manufacture and sale of liquor at Benld.
 
      Pio has had an adventurous career which almost rivals that of Tex Rickard. At one time he was the big mogul in mining affairs. During the World War he was called into consultation by President Wilson regarding the production of coal and the prevention of a strike of the miners.
 
      He is a man of more than ordinary ability and his happy-go-lucky character made him many friend., while his biting sarcasm and questionable methods made him many bitter enemies. His favorite pastime while he was an official of the Mine Workers was to call all the boys up to have a drink and tell them it was their money he was spending.
 
      He had no trouble in ingratiating himself into the good graces of prominent politicians and was always in the thickest of the battle. He served one term as chief of police of Spring Valley and used Mussolini methods a dictating the policies of the administration.
 
      He went to Benld to manufacture beer and moonshine in partnership with John Giaehetto, postmaster of that town. A quarrel arose over the division of the spoils and Pio is said to have notified the authorities. Later be was taken for a ride but he managed to make his getaway amidst the whistling of bullets. He gave a bond for his appearance on the liquor charge at Benld but left that part of the State. It was on this charge that he was arrested this week
 
      Since his return to Spring Valley Pio has been leading a quiet life. He has been employed as a top hand at the mine at Jonesville.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Decatur Herald, Decatur, Illinois
Friday Evening, June 7, 1929, Page 10
ARREST BENLD MAN ON LIQUOR CHARGES
- - - - -
      HILLSBORO, June 6 -- William Cwinske of Benld, who was arrested by Deputy Sheriffs William Haven of Hillsboro and William Coulter of Litchfield while at the Rutz dance pavilion near Litchfield on Saturday night was released on bond of $800 following a hearing held Sunday afternoon before Police Magistrate Wilham Woods.
 
      He was charged with the possession of alleged intoxicating liquor and was held to await the action of the grand jury at the November term of the circuit court.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Centralia Evening Sentinel, Centralia, Illinois
Volume 44 Number 143
Saturday, September 28, 1929, Page 1
SPRINGFIELD U. S. COURT HOLDS 87
- - - - -
NAMES OF TWENTY-FIVE INDICTED WITHHELD FOR A TIME
- - - - -
SPRINGFIELD U. S.
      SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Sept. 28. (AP)-- Out of eighty-seven indictments returned by the Federal Grand Jury here, which completed its deliberations here last night, sixty-three were announced today at the office of the Federal Court clerk.
 
      Among the twenty-four suppressed was that involving the Alton City Club, in which more than thirty city officials were called before the grand jury to testify.
 
      A large number of the indictments returned were against Springfield persons. Those outside Springfield were:
 
      Pietroa Verni, Anna Verni, Mike la Furia, Jaspar Salvaggio, Benld, prohibition charge.
 
      Walter Leibscher and Edna Leibscher, Mt. Olive, probition charge.
 
      John Ruffato, Mike Fazio, Benld, prohibition charge.
 
      Margaret Gelvi, Benld; John Bonifar, Staunton; Pete Bugni, Carlinville; Pete Sleboder, White City; all liquor charges.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
Saturday, October 5, 1929, Page 1
9 Years, $20,500 Fines Imposed By Judge FitsHenry
- - - - -
      SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Oct. 5 --(Special)-- Sentences for four men who admitted extensive alcohol manufacturing in Macoupin County in 1928 imposed today in Federal Court by Judge FitsHenry, totaled $20,500 and nine years imprisonment.
 
      They were: Victor Privadel, Mt. Olive, $6000 and three years in Leavonworth penitentiary; Mike Adotta, St. Louis, $6000 and two and one-half years Leavonworth penitentiary; John Arusa, St. Louis, $1000 and one year in Springfield city prison. Philip Ferugia, Benld, $7500 and two and one-half years in Leavonworth. In each case pleas of guilty had been entered.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -

1930
- - - - -
Centralia Evening Sentinel, Centralia, Illinois
Volume 45 Number 250
Monday, February 3, 1930, Page 1
BENLD ROADHOUSE OWNER IS MISSING
- - - - -
      SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 3 --(AP)-- Dominic Tarro, roadhouse proprietor of Benld, was still among the missing today.
 
      Due to appear in the Federal Court to defend himself of charges of violating the Prohibition Act, Tarro was believed by his wife to have been done away with by liquor influences which feared he "might tell to much," she said.
 
      His automobile was found, a charred wreck, on the Havanna-Mason City hard road Friday morning. Search of the country side has failed to produce a single clue of him, reports say. Tarro was under $15,500 bond.
 
* * * * *
SEEK BOOZE DEFENDANT
- - - - -
      CARLINVILLE, Ill., Feb. 3. (AP)-- Federal and county officials are searching for Dominic Tarro, of Benld, who was indicted by the Federal Grand Jury recently on a prohibition violation charge and whose automobile, almost destroyed by fire, was found on the State highway five miles west of Mason City.
 
      Tarro, reputed to be the head of a Macoupin county bootleg ring, went to Springfield Thursday and has not been seen since that night. His automobile was found Saturday.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
Monday, February 10, 1930, Page 1
U. S. Indicts Yeast, Corn, Firms in Plot
- - - - -
Fleischmann Company and Corn Products Held
- - - - -
Hot Fight Expected
- - - - -
Far-Reaching Inquiry Portends Strong Efforts By Defence
- - - - -
      ST. LOUIS. Feb 10. (AP)-- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in a staff correspondent's dispatch today from Springfield, Ill., said the Corn Products Refining Co. the Fleischmann Yeast Co. and 17 alleged moonshiners had been indicted there on charges of conspiracy to violate the Volstead act.
 
      The newspaper said the indictments were returned 10 days ago and had been suppressed temporarily. Most of the individual defendants were in federal district court to be arraigned and given bond before Judge Louis FitzHenry.
 
      The government will attempt to show, the newspaper said. that the Com Products Refining Co. shipped from its refineries in the St. Louis and Peoria areas some more than 200 carloads of com sugar which found its way into the bands of moonshiners operating around Benld, III. The government likewise will attempt to prove the Fleischmann Co. shipped large quantities of yeast from its St. Louis plant which reached the Benld moonshiners.
 
      "This Is said to be the first big case in which the government is charging criminal responsibility to sources of supplies for illicit distilling." the Dispatch continued. "In view of the far reaching aspects it is anticipated the indictments will be bitterly contested."
 
      The alleged Go-between for the moonshiners and their sources of supply was Dominic Tarro, one of those under indictment, who gave bond January 29.
 
      When he did not appear for arraignment today his attorney informed District Attorney Provine he had been seen since that date when he drove to Springfield to see his lawyer. Later that day, he said Tarro's automobile was found riddled with bullets and burned by the roadside near mason City, Ill., about thirty miles southeast of Peoria. The alwyer expressed fears his client had been slain. Provine had planned to use Tarro as a government witness.
 
      The investigation resulting in the indictments was conducted by James Eaton, prohibition agent in charge of the Springfield district, working under Prohibition Administrator Yellowly of Chicago, in cooperation with the districts attorney's office.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
Thursday, February 13, 1930, Page 2
11 Arrests at St. Louis in Aiello Killing
- - - - -
Suspects Held for Questioning in Series of Murders
- - - - -
Take Kansas Cityans
- - - - -
Matt Manzello Said to have Been Hiding at Benld
- - - - -
      ST LOUIS, Feb 13. (AP)-- Police today announced arrent of 11 suspects for questioning in connection with a series of slayings during the Sicilian gang feud ot 1927.
 
      Acting on confidential information, police completed the roundup early today with capture of Matt Manzello, 30, who had been sought for more than two years, and arrest of six visiting men from Kansas City who said they had come here for the Carnera-Martin fight, of Tuesday night and were "just seeing the sights" when they were arrested in two automobiles about 2 a. m.
 
      Manzello is held to be viewed by witnesses of the murder of Charles Palmisano, wealthy resident of the M. Longo Fruit Co., who was shot down as he stood in his doorway November 10, 1927. That same night Samuel and Robert Aiello were murdered in Springfield, Ill. they were brothers of Tony Aiello of St. Louis, a brother-in-law of Willi Russo, St. Louis gang leader.
 
      Police said they were informed that Manzello and two friends knew much about these killings and of the previous murder of Joseph Consiglio, who was shot to death in an automobile here. Manzello disappeared after the Palmisano slaying and was said to have hidden around Benld, Ill., returning only a few days ago when his protectors at Benld were indicted in a moonshine conspiracy. He denied he had been in Benld, but said he had been in New York.
 
      His arrest was followed by that of Frank Agrusa, known to police as a gunman, and Joseph Vitale. Police said Agrusa and Manzello formerly were in the pay of Al Capone, Chicago gang leader.
 
      Michael and Frank Russo, described as cousins of Willie Russo, were arrested with the Kansas Citians here this morning.
 
      They said they were showing the town to their Kansas City guests who gave their names as Leo, James, and Frank Palmisano, whose relationship if any to the murdered Charles Palmisano was not learned, and Richard Victorino, Carl Orlando and Samuel Calatrino.
 
      Police said the arrests may have prevented gang vengeance. All of the prisoners denied knowledge of the gang slayings.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Thursdy, February 27, 1930, Page 2
TWO MADISON COUNTY RESIDENTS ARRESTED
- - - - -
      Springfield, Feb. 27 -- Two Madison County residents and several residents of Benld were fined in the Federal Court here today for violation of the prohibition law. John Albertina of Collinsville was fined $500 for the possession of beer. Dominic Percick of Wood River was fined $200 on the same charge.
 
      Dominic Percick of Wood River was fined $1000 and sentenced to 18 months in the Federal prison at Leavenworth, Kansas. Delliti pleaded guilty to the violation of the national prohibition law. Mike Sazio, and John Russato, also of Benld, were fined on a similar charge.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
March 7, 1930, Page 2
      Thursday was a sort of field day in federal court at Springfield. Sentences on pleas of guilty to liquor law violations included: Frank Duncan, Mt, Olive, $300 and costs; Arthur Cioni, Langleyville, $300 and six months in the city prison; Henry Allegrucci, Langleyville, $200 and costs; Charles Japone, Springfield. $400 and four months; John Williams, Springfield, $200 and costs.
 
      Frank Enrico, Benld, $700 and six months; Margaret Galmi, Benld, $150 and costs, payment of fine suspended pending good behavior.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
March 28, 1930, Page 2
Seven go to Trial for Macoupin Rum Offenses
- - - - -
      SPRINGFIELD, Ill., March 28. (AP)-- Trial of seven persons, six of whom are from Macoupin county, for conspiracy and violation of the national prohibition law started here in federal court today.
 
      The defendants in the conspiracy case included: Frank Spinella, Phillip Lafuria, Steve Spudich, Peter Mannino, all of Benld; Adolph and Ida Marcacci, of Sawyerville, and Vito Ruffina, of St. Louis.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Monday, April 14, 1930, Page 3
12 LEAVE SPRINGFIELD TO SERVE FEDERAL SENTENCES
- - - - -
      Springfield, Ill., April 14 -- Prison terms totaling 35½ years and fines aggregating $16,500 have been imposed on 12 Federal prisoners who left Saturday night in a special car via the Chicago & Alton for Leavenworth penitentiary. The men were sentenced during the present term of court.
 
      Chief Deputy United States Marshal Lloyd Morrison was in charge of the prisoners and was accompanied by Deputy United States Marshal Joseph Bouhl, Detectives Clarence Mester and Fred Doorfler, and Deputy Sheriff Chris Miller of Cass County.
 
The list of prisoners, nature of offense and their penalties, follow :
      Ben Japone, Springfield, liquor, two years.
      William Bapple, Springfield, narcotic, 10 years and $5000.
      Dominic Belleto, Benld, liquor, 18 months and $1000.
      Mike Martinovitch, Staunton, liquor, one year and one day and $1000.
      Frank Spinella, Benld, liquor, three years and $1000.
      Phillip Lafuria, Benld, three years and $1000.
      Pasquale Pugllese. Collinsville, liquor, 18 months and $1500.
      Domlnick Rocandio, Collinsville, liquor, three years and $25000.
      John Adison, Collinsville, liquor, 18 months and $1500.
      Carl Meyer, St. Louis, liquor, four years and $2000.
      Joe Mangano, St. Louis, liquor, 3 years.
      Claude Appleton, Kansas City, Mo., national motor vehicle theft act, 3 years.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Centralia Evening Sentinel, Centralia, Illinois
Volume 46 Number 19
Saturday, May 3, 1930, Page 1
BODY IDENTIFIED AS BENLD BOOTLEGGER
- - - - -
      SPRINGFIELD, Ill,. May 3 (AP)-- A body found in the Sangamon River late yesterday afternoon was positively identified here this morning as that of Dominic Tarro, of Benld, alleged alcohol supply "broker," by Mike Fazio, a cousin, also of Benld.
 
      Tarro disappeared several months ago after he had been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury as the "go-between" for corn sugar and yeast manufacturers and illegal still operators in southern Illinois. It was understood that he was going to turn witness for the government in prosecuting the cases against the still owners.
 
      Several days after Tarro left Springfield his automobile was found with a number of bullet holes in it and in a charred condition near Mason City. Since that time the government and friends had been unable to find any trace of the man.
 
      That Tarro was the victim of foul play was evidenced by the fact that the arms and feet had been tied together with wire, a strand of which had been drawn around the neck to pull the head down to the knees. Almost all of the clothes had been stripped from the body before it was thrown into the river.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Volume 68 Number 118
Monday, May 19, 1930, Page 1
COLLINSVILLE MAN GETS THREATENING LETTERS IN JAIL
- - - - -
Rocco Richichi, Held at Springfield, on Liquor Charge, May Furnish Clue as to Slayers of Tarro.
- - - - -
REVEALS FACTS AFTER HIS ASSOCIATES BREAK FAITH
- - - - -
Claims They Agreed She Was to Get $5 a Day While He Was in Jail, but Cut Allowance to $50 a Month
- - - - -
      Springfield, Ill., May 19. -- Threatenig letters received by Rocco Richichi, Collinsville, a federal prisoner in the Springfield city prison during the last two months have provided a new clue for authorities seeking the slayer of a man identified as Dominic Tarro of Benld.
 
      Richichi sentenced on February 25 to three years and a fine of $2,500 has received two threatening letters at the local jail it was revealed Saturday night and because of his alleged business affiliations with Tarro, officials believe that they may be able to trace the slayer of Tarro by the letters.
 
      Richichi was operating a still for group of "booze barons" when it was raided by government agents about two years ago. He was sentenced on that charge and at the time it was agreed that his wife was to receive $5 a day from his associates while he was serving the time.
 
      However, after receiving sentence the men decided not to give Richichi $5 per day, but Instead cut the price to $50 a month to Mrs. Richichi. Richichi balked, at this and when an agreement could not be reached, Richichi revealed, facts to the authorities and as a result numerous other bootleggers were arrested and sentenced.
 
      Since the conviction of the men, Richichi has received the threatening letters and has also been informed by friends that he was a doomed man.
 
      Richichi was not sent to Leavenworth penitentiary with a group of prohibition violators as was the original plan, but was kept in the local prison in order that he may appear as a government witness in several cases in the next term of court
 
      According to information received in this city, Richichi will probably be released by June 1, for appearing as a government witness and his sentence of three years and fine of $2500 will be cut to the three months in the local prison.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
The Troy Call, Troy, Illinois
Volume 35 Number 24
Friday, May 9, 1930, Page 1
Body of Missing Benld Man is Found in River
- - - - -
      The dead body of Dominic Tarro, alleged bootlegger of Benld, who disappeared from his home there last January, was found last Friday in the Sangamon river near Riverton. The feet and hands were wired together and there was a wire around the neck showing the body had been weighted down. The body was found among some driftwood near a bridge and was in an advanced stage of decomposition.
 
      Mrs. Tarro, widow of the dead man, went to Springfield and identified the body. Identification was made by the teeth, clothing, a mark on the right leg and a scar on the body from an appendicitis operation. The remains were taken to Benld where the funeral was held Thursday.
 
      Tarro was under several federal indictments for bootlegging liquor and was to have appeared for trial the day after his disappearance. He went to Springfield to collect a large sum said to be due him from associates and it is believed he was "bumped off" to avoid payment and possible implications in liquor deals. His automobile was found several days later abandoned and bullet ridden.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -

1931
- - - - -
The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Friday, March 6, 1931, Page 2
      The little town of Benld is all hot and bothered because the Wickersham committee investigators threw the spotlight on it as "the worst town in Southern Illinois." Police Chief Bolini's attitude is simple and to the point. He has a clear record during his six years in office. During that time he has never made a liquor raid. "The federal authorities started it," he says. "Let them finish it." Well, at least you know where Chief Bolini stands. He's not pussy footing on the wet and dry issue.
 
- - - - -           - - - - -
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Monday, March 9, 1931, Page 4
At Least He's Honest About it.
- - - - -
      The chief of police; of Benld was interviewed by a United Press reporter about the Wickersham report branding his city as "the worst spot in Illinois."
 
      Did he make excuses? Not one.
 
      Did he declare conditions would change, if actually as bad as depicted? Perish the thought.
 
      The chief doesn't believe in prohibition. He has the courage of his convictions. He is convinced manufacture, sale and possession of intoxicating liquor isn't serious. He hasn't made a liquor raid since he was in office. He gives the impression he doesn't intend to.
 
      The little matter of his oath of office doesn't bother him.
 
      There is one ray of light in the darkness. The chief is not sailing under false colors. Everyone knows where he stands.
 
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Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Wednesday, March 11, 1931, Page 10
MORE ABOUT BENLD LIQUOR ACTIVITIES
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Investigator Told it Is the Headquarters of Mob of Sicilians
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By Leland L. Chesley
(United Press Staff Correspondent)
      Benld, Ill., Mar. 11 -- Racing up and down the Main Street here in large automobiles with their guns handy, a band of sicilian gangsters seek to rule this town by terror, an investigation by the United Press revealed. Benld, by virtue of gang activities, has been converted into a headquarters for liquor operations in Central Illinois and a hideout for city gunmen, it was learned.
 
      Continually traveling between their "uptown" hangout and their "downtown" barber shop hangout, these dapper Sicilians keep the citizenry conscious of the terror which they have struck into their hearts. Although they pass by several times an hour, each appearance is cause for comment.
 
      Gang rule took on a dangerous aspect about five years ago when a group of ten Sicilian gangsters settled here to escape the gunners of the Cuckoo gang in St. Louis. The Cuckoos were thinning their ranks by gunfire.
 
      In recent months, Vito Imprastato and Frank Argusa, who were named as kidnappers of Sam Scorfina, St. Louis grocer, have ruled the destinies of this group.
 
      The gang's principal revenue comes from liquor operations throughout Central Illinois. One big still was understood to be operating near Rockford and another near Peoria. Smaller stills are operated at points near here.
 
      Liquor is distributed by trucks to Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, St. Louis and at times Chicago as well as other Illinois points.
 
      Friendly now with both St. Louis gangsters and Chicago gunmen, these Sicilians enjoy the privileges accorded gunmen of the highest standing in underworld circles. When visiting Chicago members of the Benld mob make their residence at a hotel owned by 'Scarface' Al Capone and have been seen in friendly conversation with Capone henchmen.
 
      Although they are allowed to carry on 'business' to a small extent in St. Louis, the Benld gang's principal connection with St. Louis police characters is to provide a shelter for them from the law. Chicago gangsters when police inaugurate an occasional crime drive also take advantage of this hospitality.
 
      Citizens are reluctant to discuss the activities of the gang. One man hesitated to be seen in the presence of the correspondent and all refused to be quoted directly because they feared for their safety.
 
      Three murders have marked this gang's rule. One man, Dominick Tarro was killed supposedly by the gang through fear that he would turn state's evidence after he was indicted on a prohibition charge. Tarro supplied materials for making liquor to the gang. He was indicted with 10 bootleggers in the Corn Products company and the Fleischamann Yeast Company case.
 
      Tarro was killed, it was learned from an authentic source, because the gang owed him approximately $100,000. The other men were killed near here more than a year ago. Their death was a mystery. It was reported, however, that they died at the hands of the gang because one of them stole a truck load of liquor and sold it. The other man was an innocent associate of the liquor runner.
 
      Strangers who ask too many questions have been seriously beaten. One recent instance occurred in Gillespie five miles away, where the gang eat their meals. A youth was severely beaten while a policeman stood by. the policeman said the boy deserved it. A similar case occurred on a Benld street recently.
 
      The Benld gang has close connections with the mob of Frank Zita in Springfield. Zita reportedly serves as distributor for Benld liquor there.
 
      Sam Scorfina, the kidnapped St. Louis grocer, was believed to have been forced to replace Tarro as the source of supplies for liquor making. One hour after being freed in Belleville on Scorfina's charge the Sicilians were parading the streets of Benld unmolested.
 
      The gang also is believed to have police "tip-off" connections. Sheriff Frank W. Fries gave information to the St. Louis police department recently and, he declared, one day later the gang knew the nature of the information.
 
      One of the biggest liquor making plants ever raided was confiscated by federal authorities two miles from Benld two years ago.
 
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The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Illinois
Friday, May 8, 1931, Page 5
St. Louis Gangster Found Slain In Automobile
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      EDWARDSVILLE, ILL., May 8 -- (UP)-- Camelo Fresina, alias Charles Freese, gangster and gunman of St. Louis, was found shot to death today in an abandoned car that contained two suit cases, a woman's overnight bag and a woman's hat.
 
      Fresina was among gangsters questioned in connection with the recent kidnapping of Dr. Isaac D. Kelley, and was an associate of a Benld, Ill. gang suspected to have participated in other kidnappings in St. Louis.
 
      The body -- two bullet wounds through the head -- was found by a state highway patrolman. The car was parked off a main highway, and Fresina had been dead several hours when it was found at 10 a. m.
 
      Police began an immediate check of Fresina's recent activities on the theory the slaying possibly resulted from Fresina's activities in the Kelley case.
 
      EDWARDSVILLE, ILL., May 8 -- (UP)-- The body of a man believed to be Charles Freese, St. Louis gangster and gunman was found in the rear seat of an automobile parked off a highway several miles north of here at 10 a. m. today.
 
      He had been shot twice through the head. On the steering wheel and on the front seat cushions were bloodstains.
 
      The body was discovered by a state highway patrolman, and taken to Edwardsville for identification.
 
      In the man's pocket was found a billfold, containing a card with Freese's name on it, and a Central Avenue St. Louis address.
 
      Freese, also known as Camelo Fresina, was active in the bootlegging racket in St. Louis and in Illinois. He was allied with a Benld, Ill. gang, and spent much of his time there.
 
      Two suitcases were found in the car, also a woman's overnight bag and a woman's black hat. The suitcases appeared to have been hastily packed.
 
      It was believed the gangster had been shot from behind while driving the car, and placed in the rear seat after the machine was driven off the road and abandoned.
 
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Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois
Volume 60 Number 216
Monday, September 14, 1931, Page 1
TAX APPEALS BOARD SAYS TARRO IS DEAD
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Federal Government Unable to Collect Income Taxes from Estate of Benld Man.
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      Washington, Sept. 14 -- Dominic Tarro, alleged Benld bootlegger, is dead, victim of a gang war, the United States board of tax appeals officially decided today.
 
      There has been a dispute whether Tarro was alive. His widow said Tarro was dead and pointed to the fact that a body found floating in the Sangamon River early in 1930 has been identified as that of Tarro.
 
      The internal revenue bureau asserted that the identification was not satisfactory, that legally Tarro was still alive, and it attached lien last June against Tarro's property, for taxes on incomes of $20,976 in 1027, of $120,212 in 1928 and of $81,671 in 1929.
 
      Mrs. Tarro denies that her husband was engaged in any racket. She asserts he was at no time engaged in "gambling or other habits or practices" that would net large incomes. Tarro, says his widow, was simply a dealer in sugar at Benld, with his brother, Ben.
 
      That Tarro is dead and that therefore the federal government cannot collect income taxes from him was the board's ruling in recognizing the validity of the certification by the Macoupin county court clerk that Mrs. Tarro is the administratrix of Tarro's estate. The decision means $63,626 in taxes saved for Mrs. Tarro.
 
      Government agents attached the lien on the property of Tarro in a drive against central Illinois racketeering in which income tax actions were started against five men -- Tarro and Natteo Manzello, of Benld; John Hirshfield and Arthur C. Marshky, Campaign, and Conrad Bleutz, Decatur.
 
      Tha alleged murder of Tarro, presumably the action of associates in the liquor traffic, occurred while he was awaiting trial in the federal court on charges of conspiracy to violate the federal prohibition law.\
 
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Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
Thursday, September 17, 1931, Page 1
Dispute $63,626 Income Tax On Tarro's Estate
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U. S. Claims Benld Bootlegger Made $238,000 in 3 Years
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      WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 -- (Special) -- A man of "thrifty and frugal habits" who operated a "small mercantile business in Benld" was Dominic Tarro, alleged Macoupin county bootlegger, according to the petition filed today with the U. S. board of tax appeals by his wife, who contends the federal government has erroneously assessed Tarro's estate $63,626 in income taxes.
 
      The "small mercantile business" the internal revenue bureau states, on the other hand, gave Tarro income of $238,000 in three years, 1927, 1928 and 1929, for which taxes are in dispute.
 
      Filing of the petition here today disclosed that the federal government, although it has admitted Tarro is legally dead, still proceed vigorously in its effort to collect taxes held due it. Tarro is now defendant in the famous Macoupin county liquor conspiracy case pending in southern Illinois district court.
 
      The petition filed today was accompanied by certification of Tarro's death "about Jan. 30, 1930" signed by Peter J. Caveny, clerk of the court.
 
      It was filed by Clayton J. Barber, Springfield lawyer, in conjunction with others, representing Marie Tarro, widow of Tarro, who has been recognized as administratrix of his estate.
 
      "During the taxable periods in question", declares the petition, said Dominic Tarro was engaged, in partnership with his brother Ben Tarro, under the name of Tarro Brothers, in a small mercantile business in Benld, Ill., dealing principally in the buying and selling of sugar, and the undersigned is informed and verily believes that the only banking business in which said deceased was interested consisted of accounts kept by him in the National Bank of Benld and the National Bank of Gillespie, neither of which shows any large deposits or any large balance at any time.
 
      "Said deceased was a man of thrifty and frugal habits, and so far as the undersigned knew or can ascertain engaged in no speculations, or gambling, and had no habits or practices whereby he was likely to lose or disburse large sums of money.
 
      "At the time of his death he was the owner of real estate and person a1 property in Macoupin county, Illinois, of the fair market value of not more than $20,000, and his debts and funeral expenses, exclusive of the rights of the undersigned as widow, amount to more than $18,000, and petitioner is informed and verily believes that said taxpayer did not have and could not have had, the taxable income ascribed to him in the report of said commissioner of internal revenue, nor even as much gross income so ascribed to him."
 
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The Troy Call, Troy, Illinois
Friday, September 26, 1931, Page 8
Missing Benld Man Found
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      Frank Contratto, of Benld was found Tuesday at Belleville wandering about the streets in a dazed condition. Contratto had been, missing from his home since last Saturday and was either drugged or mentally deranged. He was formerly a business associate of Dominic Tarro of Benld who was kidnapped and whose body was found many months later in the Sangamon river near Springfield. Until he was found at Belleville. Contratto was believed to have met a similar fate.
 
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Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois
Saturday, October 3, 1931, Page 1
Giannola's Back, And Says He Wants To 'Go Straight'
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Tells Capitan Nally, St. Louis, He Wants To Go Into Business
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      John Giannola, former St. Louis sugar merchant and arrested here once after a still was raided, told Capt. Frank Nally of Carr street police station in St. Louis, Friday, he desired to "go straight." Giannola walked into the police station and told Nally he wanted to enter the poultry business with a relative in St. Louis.
 
      Nally, who once administered a threshing to Giannola for resisting an officer, took him to police headquarters where he was to talk to Chief Gerk today.
 
      Giannola was arrested by Alton police about two years ago when he was seen fleeing from a building in which a still and a large quantity of materials for making whiskey were found.
 
      Giannola once was engaged in the fruit business in Alton.
 
Worth $200,000 Once, He Says
      Giannola told Capt. Nally at one time he was worth $200,000, but that he had lost most of it to a gang operating out of Benld, Ill. After his arrest in November, 1938, in connection with the investigation into the murder of Charles Palmisano, wealthy Italian fruit dealer, and his subsequent release, Giannola disappeared from notice of the police here.
 
      Nally told Giannola police would not interfere with his business but that he wanted Chief Gerk to hear the story. The captain said the prisoner admitted he was engaged in a "truck racket" in 1928 and that after his disappearance he spent his time in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
 
      Giannola is a brother of the late Vito Giannola, who was shot and killed here December 28, 1927.
 
Rumors of Gang Wars
      In the report Nally also informed Chief Gerk that there have been rumors of a renewal of gang wars in St. Louis, but did not connect Giannola with the rumors in any way. He said he has been informed that a certain gang is selling whiskey for 15 cents a pint and that at such a low price other gangs cannot engage profitably in the bootlegging business.
 
Admits Racketeering
      According to Capt. Nally, the bulky John, who, with his brother, the late Vito Giannola, once directed an Italian clique, admitted having been a racketeer. "When I had a contract hauling fruit from Alton to Commission Row we used to put emery dust in the lubricating oil of rival trucks," Giannola told Capt. Nally. "That is all past now, and I plan to stick to honest methods in the future, and I hope the police believe me."
 
      The Giannola brothers had an extensive sugar business in Madison county, Ill. in 1938, at the time the bodies of Constable Ohmer Hackett and his companion, John Balke, were found in a grave on a moonshiner's farm at Horseshoe Lake. John Giannola was questioned about the murders, and a Dyer act warrant was issued against him on the strength of a stolen automobile found at the farm, but the case was later dropped.
 
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1933
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Staunton Star-times, Staunton, Illinois
Thursday, March 16, 1933
Courtesy of Cindy Leonard
RAIDED STILL
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      Federal officers Tuesday raided a still located on a farm north of Staunton. Six men were arrested, according to reports, and three escaped. The still is said to have been one of 700 gallons capacity. Two automobiles and a truck were confiscated by the agents in addition to the still.
 
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1937
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Stauton Star-times, Staunton, Illinois
Thursday, March 18, 1937
Courtesy of Cindy Leonard
Large Still Found North Of Staunton
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      A reminder of prohibition days was found last week when a large still was discovered on a farm owned by Zack Wathern, almost directly north of Staunton and west of White City. Discovery of the still was made after investigation into the death of a young man, Mike Ceglinski, aged 28, of Ashley, Ill., who was brought to the St. Francis hospital at Litchfield Friday morning, suffering from scald wounds. Ceglinski was taken to the hospital by Jacob Boyd and Charles and Robert Wathern, sons of Zack Wathern. After the scalded man died, the officers went to the Wathern place, where the still was located in a secluded gully. Investigation disclosed that the boiler at the still had evidently exploded, causing the scalds, which proved fatal to Ceglinski. After the explosion the roof of the shack caught afire, and the members of the Wathern family went to the place and discovered the injured man. They then went to the home of a neighbor, Jacob Boyd, who accompanied them to the hospital, taking Ceglinski with them. The latter died soon after arriving at the hospital.
 
      Federal authorities took members of the Wathern family to Springfield for questioning, but later released them. It is thought that the still was operated by an illicit liquor ring from either St. Louis or Chicago
Mike Ceglinski died on March 12, 1937.
      (Note - On the 1930 Census there is a Michael Ceglinski listed as an inmate of the Springfield City Prison, Springfield, Illinois.)

 
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