Ignacio Antinori (February 17, 1885 – October 23, 1940) was a Sicily-born mobster who built one of the earliest narcotics trafficking networks in the state of Florida. Antinori was regarded as the founder of the Tampa crime family, later known as the Trafficante crime family.
Antinori was born in Palermo, Sicily. Antinori, who emigrated to the United States with his family when he was eighteen, was one of the first mobsters to emerge in Florida during the Prohibition era. By the 1930s, Antinori was one of the largest heroin traffickers in the country, with close ties to French-Corsican heroin traffickers and American Mafia bosses. Antinori established a drug pipeline from Marseille, France through Cuba into Tampa, Florida. According to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the drugs were subsequently distributed in the Midwestern United States, primarily through St. Louis, Missouri mobster Thomas Buffa and Kansas City, Missouri mobsters Nicolo Impostato, James DeSimone and Joseph Deluca.
Law enforcement soon began to concentrate on Antinori's operation. In addition, mobsters such as Florida mobster Santo Trafficante, Sr. soon set up rival smuggling rings. Antinori was eventually eclipsed by Trafficante, who held his own strong connections to New York crime bosses Vincent Mangano and Joe Profaci.
Turf feud with Charlie WallEdit
During the late 1920s, a turf war began between Tampa-born southern mobster Charlie Wall and Antinori, who fought each other while also jockeying with Santo Trafficante, Sr. (who got his criminal start in the Antinori family) for control of the illegal numbers rackets in the Tampa area. The feud between Wall and Antinori came to a violent head between factions of Antinori Gang, dissatisfied members of Chicago and St.Louis criminal outfits to whom Antinori was supplying narcotics, and Wall's crew.
Ignacio Antinori was also disliked by the Commission. The narcotics trafficking done by Antinori was from France into Cuba and from there to Tampa, and hence the Commission thought this could attract federal attention.
Antinori's death and aftermathEdit
On October 23, 1940, Antinori was sipping coffee at the Palm Garden Inn in Tampa with a friend and a young female companion when suddenly a gunman appeared and fired two shotgun blasts at Antinori, blowing off the back of his head. The gunman was allegedly sent by one of Antinori's dissatisfied customers, the Chicago Outfit. Antinori had sent the Outfit a poor-quality shipment of narcotics. When the Outfit complained, Antinori refused a refund; at that point, the Outfit put a murder contract on him. Some within the organized crime ranks in Tampa suspected that Wall, who had survived a hit attempt on his life possibly made by the Kansas City crime family on behalf of Antinori earlier that spring, may have been linked to Antinori's murder.
After Antinori's death, all of his rackets and most of his criminal holdings, which included the bolita rackets, were seized by Santo Trafficante, Sr. In 1955, Wall would fall victim to assassins at his Tampa home. One or more assassins brutalized the retired mobster, bludgeoning him with a baseball bat and slitting his throat. While the murder was never solved, many, including the police, suspected that Santo Trafficante, Jr. may have been linked to the crime, in retaliation for the death of Antinori.