Gustin Gang

The Gustin Gang was one the earliest Irish-American gangs to emerge during Prohibition to dominate Boston's underworld during the 1920s. The name "Gustin Gang" came from a street name in South Boston, not the name of any "members".(2).

Originally formed by brothers Steve Wallace, with his brothers Frank and Jimmy Wallace during the mid 1910s, they first came to prominence in Southie as the "Tailboard Thieves", often looting and hijacking delivery trucks while stopped at intersections. Although largely organized by Frank, the gang was enforced by ex-boxer Steve Wallace and the others committing hijackings and armed robbery throughout the rest of the decade.

During the 1920s, Frank Wallace and his brothers would frequently be arrested on charges including larceny, trespassing, gaming, assault and battery, breaking and entering and other charges although, due to their political influence in local residents and politicians, none were ever convicted on criminal charges. Compared to other bootleggers such as Dan Carroll or Joseph Kennedy, the Gustins held relatively less resources upon their entry into bootlegging landing shipments at various points around the Southie shore and delivering it themselves to customers (possibly including Billy Wallace's Old Colony Avenue speakeasy, known as The Sportlight, then Kelley's Cork N Bull, now Stadium).

Eventually they turned to hijacking and, using false badges used by Prohibition agents, they easily confiscated beer shipments from rival bootleggers which they themselves later sold off.

In 1931, after several beer shipment trucks had been hijacked by members of the Gustins, Wallace was killed in an ambush with several others after agreeing to a sit-down with the Italians by Joe Lombardi of the North End. Although the gang retained its power within the city under brother Stephen Wallace, infighting between the various factions of Irish gangs would eventually see the Italians establish themselves as a dominant criminal organization.

References

*Fox, Stephen. "Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth-Century America". New York: William Morrow and Company, 1989. ISBN 0-688-04350-X
*English, T.J. "Paddy Whacked" Harper-Collins, 2005. ISBN 0060590025


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