25 Most Notorious Gangsters Ever

Here is an article that discusses the most notorious gangsters ever.

Throughout history, the world has seen the most notorious individuals in different societies. Gang activity is very much active and still expanding in the world today.

Gangsters and criminals are among society’s worst nightmares. They disrupt the peace in the neighbourhood, committing all kinds of crimes.

The world today as we know it has seen several gangsters and criminals. Gang activities are usually associated with murder, human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping and so on.

If you did not grow up in a dangerous neighbourhood with gang activities going on, perhaps you have seen what gang activities are all about in films. However, we will not be talking about gangsters in films, what we are discussing is the most notorious gangsters ever.

Some of these gangsters on our list have been portrayed in Hollywood films. Perhaps you have watched a full season or an episode of Netflix Narcos. If you have, I believe you know the story of Colombian drug lord Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria.

The Colombian drug lord is just one of the twenty-five most notorious gangsters ever.

Most Notorious Gangsters Ever

Who Are the Most Notorious Gangsters Ever?

The truth is, there are many gangsters and criminals across the world today. The most notorious crime bosses are individuals who successfully organized and operated underground businesses.

Pablo Escobar is an example of what you will call a successful drug lord and gangster who was at the helm of a syndicate.

Al Capone, John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, and Jesse James are also among the most notorious gangsters ever.

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25 Most Notorious Gangsters Ever

Just so you know, some of the most notorious gangsters on our list include The Kray Twins, Bay Face Nelson, and Billy The Kid.

#25. Jack Diamond

Jack “Legs” Diamond is one of the most notorious gangsters ever. The Irish-American gangster was born in 1897 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Diamond grew up in Brooklyn, New York where he was a bodyguard for Arnold Rothstein. He was in charge of the illegal sale of alcohol and was also a bootlegger during the prohibition era.

Jack was involved in kidnapping and torturing business rivals. As a gang member, he escaped various assassination attempts, as he was shot multiple times.

However, in 1931, Jack Diamond was killed. He was shot three times in the head while he was asleep.

Jack’s enemy did not stop with his death. Two years after he was killed, his widow was also shot and killed in Brooklyn, New York. The news back then was that his wife has to die, as she knows many secrets.

#24. The Kray Twins

The Kray Twins are one of the most notorious gangsters ever. 

Ronald and Reginald Kray were identical twins brothers born on October 24, 1933, in London, England. The two brothers were heads of an organization called “The Firm” in the 1950s and 1960s.

Ronnie and Reggie were nightclub owners who committed several crimes across London. They robbed, murdered, and committed countless atrocities.

Their nightclub was a camouflage to cover most of their illegal activities. The two brothers at some point stabbed and murdered an associate of their firm. This caused the people around the two brothers to turn against them.

Ronnie and Reggie were both convicted in 1969 to serve a life sentence. However, Ronald was declared insane ten years after the brothers were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Ronnie died in 1995 at the Broadmoor Hospital, at age 61, while Reggie died in 2000.

#23. James Burke 

James Burke is one of the most notorious gangsters to ever exist.

American gangster James Burke is believed to have organized the Lufthansa heist in 1978. Back then, that was the largest cash robbery in American history, as over $5 million was stolen in cash.

Burke was also a murderer, killing everyone who was involved in the Lufthansa heist. James Burke died in 1996 while serving his sentence at Wende Correctional Facility, Alden, New York.

#22. Vito Genovese

Born in 1897, Vito Genovese was an Italian-born mobster who mainly operated in the U.S.

The Italian-born American mobster was at the core of Mafia crime in the United States. For over ten years Vito led Luciano’s crime family. Vito and Luciano were in charge and operated a successful heroin trade. 

Vito was accused of the Boccia murder but was never convicted due to a lack of evidence. However, he was arrested for drug charges and sentenced to twenty years in prison.

Genovese died as a result of a heart attack in 1969 at the age of 71.

#21. Terry Adams

Terry Adams is one of the most notorious gangsters to ever exist.

Adams is the founder and the head of the Clerkenwell Crime Syndicate, also known as the Adam’s Family. The criminal organization is one of the most powerful in the United Kingdom, far worse than the Kray Twins.

The Adam family have been linked to countless murders. The gang is estimated at over £150 million and they also have been long connected to the Brink’s-Mat robbery.

In 2007, Adams was convicted and served half of his seven years sentence.

#20. Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky “the Mob Accountant” was an American organized crime figure who was an associate of Charles Luciano. Lansky was born in Russia and arrived on the shores of North America in 1911.

Upon arriving in the United States, Lansky became an associate of Arnold Rothstein. After several years in America, Meyer was mentored by Rothstein and the Russian-born American became one of the main kingpins that organized the national crime syndicate.

Lansky wanted to retire and settle in the Middle East back in the early 1970s. Israel denied him residency and upon his return to the United States, Lansky was arrested.

 Lansky later died of lung cancer at the age of 83.

#19. Baby Face Nelson

Lester Gill “Baby Face Nelson” is one of the most notorious gangsters to ever exist.

Baby Face Nelson and John Dillinger committed several robberies in the United States. After the death of his associate John Dillinger, Lester became more famous.

The 5 feet 4 inches robbed a bank in Chicago, Illinois, in 1931. Baby Face Nelson continue to commit other crimes even after Dillinger’s gang was dissolved.

Lester was ambushed by the FBI, and shot multiple times but managed to escape. However, he died a day later from his wounds on November 28, 1934, at the age of 25.

#18. Jacques Mesrine

Jacques Mesrine was a French-born criminal and banker robber who was also known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces.

Mesrine started out as a criminal in his home country, France. He fled France and migrated to Quebec, Canada where he settled for odd jobs.

Once a criminal, Jacques was involved in an attempted kidnapping case. He was found guilty and sentenced to ten years in prison alongside his girlfriend.

The Frenchman escaped from prison several times. Jacques Mesrine was ambushed on the outskirt of Paris and shot fifteen times.

#17. James “Whitey” Bulger

James Bulger was an Irish-American crime boss who was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for over a decade.

Bulger was in charge of the Winter Hill Gang, a notorious gang in Boston, Massachusetts. The Irish-American crime boss committed countless murders and was involved in human trafficking.

Whitey fled Boston but later became tired of life on the run. Bulger was found guilty of the 19 counts of murder charges and is currently serving a life sentence.

#16. Anthony Accardo

Anthony Accardo worked for one of the most notorious gangsters to ever exist, Al Capone.

Nicknamed the “Big Tuna” Accardo turned to the lifestyle of crime at a very young age. Anthony was a hitman for Al Capone and it’s believed he was involved in the Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Accardo was involved in various crimes, including murdering two men with a baseball bat. The Big Tuna only spent six years in prison for tax invasion in 1960.

He was never convicted of other crimes linking him with the mob. Accardo died of natural causes back in 1992.

#15. Al Capone

Throughout the early 20th century, Al Capone was a very popular name in America.

Al Capone grew up in Brooklyn, New York and turned to crime after linking up with Johnny Torrio. Al Capone was the crime boss of the Chicago Outfit, a position he gained after Johnny Torrio retired.

In 1931, the crime boss was sentenced to eleven years in prison for tax invasion. However, the crime boss died in 1947 from complications of tertiary syphilis.

#14. John Dillinger

The famous bank robber was born in 1903 and soon turned to crime at a young age. Dillinger started robbing grocery stores back in the 1920s. He was jailed but managed to escape to Chicago where he organized one of the most famous bank heists in American history.

Dillinger was shot and killed by the FBI outside a movie theatre.

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#13. Enoch Johnson

Johnson was one of the popular gangsters in Atlanta during the Prohibition era. The American was not just a bootlegging mastermind but he was also seen as a strong political figure.

In 1941, Enoch Johnson was sentenced to ten years in prison for tax invasion. Johnson claimed bankruptcy just to avoid paying the fines he incurred. He died in 1968 at the age of 58 on his wife’s family property.

#12. Billy The Kid

Born in 1859, Billy The Kid was an outlaw and gunfighter of the American Old West.

According to reports, Billy The Kid killed over 20 men before he turned 21. the American gunfighter joined a gang called The Boys and he fought in the Lincoln County War.

Billy The Kid escaped from prison before he was shot and killed at the age of 21.

#11. Bonnie and Clyde

American criminal couple Bonnie and Clyde make it to the list of the most notorious gangsters ever.

Bonnie and Clyde were known in the early 20th century as the most notorious bank robbers, travelling the Central United States. the couple robbed and killed several victims furring the Great Depression.

Just like other criminals on this list, Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by police.

#10. Ellsworth Johnson

Johnson was a famous crime boss in Harlem, New York City. Bumpy was also an associate of the Genovese crime family back in the 1940s and 1950s.

The crime boss of Harlem was arrested on drug conspiracy charges back in the late 1950s. Bumpy died in 1968 at the age of 62.

#9. Jesse James

Jesse and Frank James were notorious bank robbers during the 1800s. Although the brother came from a wealthy home, they choose to turn to a lifestyle of crime.

James was shot and killed by Bob Ford in his home in 1882 at the age of 32.

#8. Stephanie St. Clair

Stephanie St. Clair was born in the West Indies in 1897 but settled in Harlem, New York.

She was also known as “Queenie” and was the brain behind much of Harlem’s numbers rackets, the illegal lottery controlled by Stephanie St. Clair and Ellsworth Johnson.

#7. Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco is one of the most notorious gangsters to have ever existed. Nicknamed the “Black Widow” the Colombian drug lord was associated with the Medellin Cartel.

The Black Widow order the assassination of her husband when Dario fled to Colombia with their son Michael. 

In 2012, Griselda Blanco was shot and killed on the Street of Medellin.

#6. Carlo Gambino

Carlo Gambino was born on August 24, 1902, in Sicily, Italy. The Italian-born American was the crime boss of the Gambino crime family.

The Gambino crime family was the most powerful family in Manhattan, New York. Carlo was in charge of the Commission of the American Mafia and he stood up against the Anastasia loyalists back in the 1960s.

Carlo died at the age of 74 at his home in Massapequa in 1976.

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#5. Frank Lucas

Frank Lucas is one of the most notorious gangsters to ever exist.

Lucas was a drug trafficker who operated in the Harlem neighbourhood of New York during the late 1960s as well as the early 1970s.

The American gangster operated a heroin trade using coffins of dead servicemen to smuggle drugs into the country. Lucas made millions of dollars smuggling heroin into the United States.

#4. Arnold Rothstein

Arnold Rothstein born on January 17, 1882, was an American crime boss, businessman, and gambler.

Rothstein was in charge of one of the most infamous Jew mobs in New York. He also operated a casino and was active in smuggling practices along the Hudson River.

#3. George Moran

Moran was one of America’s notorious gangsters during the Prohibition era. According to reports, Moran was incarcerated three times before he turned 21.

During the Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929, seven of Moran’s gang members were murdered. George Moran died of lung cancer while serving a ten-year sentence in a federal prison in Kansas.

#2. Henry Hill

Born in 1943, Henry was an American mobster who worked for the Lucchese crime family in New York.

Hill later became an informant for the FBI and he also testified against his former Mafia associates. Henry died due to complications related to heart disease in 2012 at the age of 69.

#1. Pablo Escobar

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was a Colombian drug lord and the founder of the Medellin Cartel in Columbia.

Escobar remains the wealthiest criminal in history even after his death. The Columbian drug lord had an estimated net worth of over $25 billion before his death in 1993.

Pablo is one of the most notorious gangsters to ever exist in history. To this day, people are still looking for Escobar’s wealth.

Conclusion

There will always be those who prefer a lifestyle of crime. These names on our list have inspired several criminals to operate underground businesses around the world. The truth is, a lifestyle of crime will always come with consequences.

We hope this article on the most notorious gangsters to ever exist was helpful.

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