The Combined (Group)
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The Combined or Big Seven Group, was a criminal organization headed by organized crime figures on the East Coast of the United States during Prohibition serving as the predecessor to the National Crime Syndicate of the 1930s. The organization consisted of seven Jewish, Italian, and Irish American gangs on the east coast.
Following the reform movements and police crackdown on street gangs and other criminals, the criminal underworld entered a "slow period" in the years during and after the First World War. While the older political bosses were able to get their former criminal associates work as bouncers and work in vice districts such as gambling dens and brothels, they began to disassociate themselves from their former criminal alliances.
Following the announcement of the Volstead Act in 1919, many in the underworld readily entered into bootlegging as gang wars broke out in major cities across the country. As the struggle to gain dominance over the industry continued into the early 1920s, with shootouts and bombings commonplace, a group emerged to resolve the constant warfare which was costing everyone money. Originally intended to serve as a centralized office for the purposes of ordering bootleg liquor to be equally distributed, the group would also reduce costs among bootleggers for supplies and, without worrying about rival bootleggers, enable independent bootleggers to focus on protecting their shipments from freelance hijackers.
Although the concept of the organization differed between Arnold Rothstein and Johnny Torrio,[clarification needed] both Charles "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky were major supporters by 1927. Its original members included Enoch "Nucky" Johnson, Abner "Longy" Zwillman of New Jersey, Moe Dalitz of Cleveland, Waxey Gordon and Harry "Nig" Rosen of Philadelphia and Danny Walsh of Providence. Other members included the Bug and Meyer Mob as "enforcers" and the semi-retired Johnny Torrio who remained in an advisory capacity regarding organizational advice.
As the violence of the bootleg wars died down in the mid-Atlantic area, others requested membership including Dutch Schultz of Manhattan, Charles "King" Solomon of Boston. Al Capone also expressed interest in joining the organization; however his gang war with the North Side Gang prevented him from doing so.
Despite the death of Rothstein that same year, and the subsequent pushing aside or deaths of several gang leaders, the remaining members of the Seven Group were successful in establishing its authority and served as the basis for the Atlantic City Conference in 1929.