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“King of the Rackets” Vito Genovese is Arrested and Convicted for Narcotics Crimes

On July 7, 1958, narcotics agents of the U.S. Treasury Department placed Vito Genovese under arrest at his home on Highland Avenue in Atlantic Highlands. Along with his longtime associates, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, and Carmine Galante, Genovese was named in a sealed indictment handed down by a federal grand jury alleging they and others conspired to import and sell narcotics.

On April 3, 1959, Genovese and 14 others were found guilty of conspiracy to violate the federal narcotics law. One week later, nationally syndicated columnist Dorothy Kilgallen’s column in the Asbury Park Press said that, “The underworld boys say Vito Genovese…expects a two-and-a-half-year sentence and is more or less reconciled to it.” On April 17, however, Vito was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and fined $20,000. The 62-year-old Genovese told the judge in a last-minute statement, “All I can say, your honor, is I am innocent.” The judge revoked Vito’s bail and he was taken into custody. Vito was eventually able to return to Atlantic Highlands, free on bail, while his appeals were heard all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but his conviction stood, and he was ordered to begin serving his prison term.

On May 1, 1959, an editorial headed “Good Riddance,” in the Asbury Park Press said, “Monmouth County numbers Genovese among its residents but it is certainly not disposed to boast about it.”


Genovese Now Faces Charge on Narcotics. (1958). The Daily Record, Long Branch, N.J., July 8, 1958, P. 1.

Genovese, 14 Others, Found Guilty. (1959). Asbury Park Press, April 4, 1959, P. 1.

Genovese Must Start Prison Term. (1960). Asbury Park Press, February 11, 1960, P. 1.

Good Riddance. (1959). Asbury Park Press, May 1, 1959, P. 10.

Kilgallen, Dorothy. (1959). Asbury Park Press, April 10, 1959, P. 14.

Vito Genovese Gets 15 Years in Prison. (1959). Asbury Park Press, April 18, 1959, P. 1.

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