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Dixie Mafia
In Biloxi, Mississippi
Founded by Mike Gillich, Jr.
Years active late 1960s - present
Territory Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Mississippi
Ethnicity mostly white
Membership 100 +/-
Criminal activities moonshine, bootlegging, gambling, drug trafficking, dog fighting, burglary, Fence (criminal), and assassination
Allies American Mafia

The Dixie Mafia was a criminal organization based in Biloxi, Mississippi and operated primarily in the Southern United States, peaking in the 1970s. It was particularly well-known for violence, and was primarily a loosely-knit group that used each member's talents in various crime categories to help move stolen merchandise, illegal alcohol, and illegal drugs, most commonly marijuana grown locally using tobacco technology, cocaine imported from nearby Mexico and Caribbean states, and methamphetamine manufactured using agricultural chemicals.

Contents

Early days

Beginning in the late 1960s, the Dixie Mafia began working as a loosely knit group of traveling criminals performing residential burglary, robbery and theft. The gang did not function with a set chain of command, but was led by whoever had the most money. Despite the informal structure, the Dixie Mafia had one rule that members were expected to obey: "Thou shall not snitch to the cops".[1]

Unlike members of the Sicilian Mafia, the members of the Dixie Mafia were not connected by family or country of origin. They were loosely connected individuals of many nationalities with a common goal: to make money and wield control over illegal moneymaking operations by any means, including influence peddling, bribery of public officials, and murder.

Murder became the group's hallmark. They became known for carrying out contract killings, usually of people associated with the group. During its peak, from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, dozens of people met a violent end at the hands of its members, usually at the losing end of a gun. Victims were most often murdered because they testified, or threatened to testify, against fellow members.

"The Strip" in Biloxi, Mississippi, was home base for the Dixie Mafia, and Mike Gillich, Jr. was the group's unofficial but universally-acknowledged kingpin. Of Croatian descent and from a large family, he had raised himself from a poor upbringing in the city's Point Cadet section to become a wealthy entrepreneur along "The Strip". He owned a string of motels, nightclubs that doubled as strip joints and gambling dens, and a bingo parlor. He was known and trusted by almost every member of the Dixie Mafia, especially those who trusted no one else. In the words of one investigator of the Sherry murders, "Mr. Mike runs the criminals' post office. He's their banker."

"Mr. Mike" was also patron and protector of Kirksey McCord Nix, Jr., one of the gang's most notable members. In December, 1965, at the age of 22, Nix was caught carrying illegal automatic weapons in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. An old friend of his, Juanda Jones, ran a bordello there and Nix had taken a liking to Jones' blonde, adolescent daughter, Sheri LaRa. The attraction was mutual; LaRa became increasingly infatuated with Nix. In later years she would play a key role in his operations, including direct ties to the murders of Vince and Margaret Sherry (Edward Humes, in his 1994 book, Mississippi Mud, chronicled the murders of Judge Vincent and Margret Sherry, and the subsequent investigation of Gillich, Kirksey Nix, Bobby Fabian and others that were involved either loosely or actively in the murders). With the aid of his father's connections in neighboring Oklahoma, Nix beat the weapons charges in Ft. Smith and moved on to other crimes. By 1967, he was on a spree that would have deadly consequences for many who crossed his path. He was suspected in the gangland-style murder of a gambler named Harry Bennett, who was about to turn state's evidence against several Dixie Mafia members. Although Nix's involvement in Bennett's murder was never proved, this incident precipitated a string of killings that left 25 people dead in six states over the next four years - and Nix was just getting started; his next encounter would be with an American legend.

Nix was a suspect in the attempted assassination of McNairy County, Tennessee Sheriff Buford Pusser and the murder of Pusser's wife. Nix was also convicted of murdering wealthy New Orleans grocery owner Frank Corso. At the time of the murder, Kirksey Nix was believed to be employed by Darrel Ward in Clarksville, Texas. Mr. Ward was a noted associate of syndicate boss Sam "Momo" Giancana and is thought to have controlled organized crime and bootlegging throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. The Dixie Mafia was strongly connected to The State Line Mob and its ruthless leader Carl Douglas "Towhead" White [2][3][4][5]

Dixie Mafia's locales

The Dixie Mafia's cultural origins were in the Appalachian states and has a regionalism dating back to the Whiskey Rebellion and the secessionist movement resulting, briefly, in the state of Franklin (Eastern Tennessee).[6] This view that the federal government is oppressive and that criminal enterprise against it is justified spread from its place of origin to wealthier regions where the Dixie Mafia operated; primarily in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, particularly areas centered around Birmingham, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Corinth, Mississippi; Dallas, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia. Some of the group's criminal activities were located in obscure locations within their major areas of operation, making the group and their activities harder to pinpoint.[4][7]

The Dixie Mafia committed most of their crimes in areas that lacked strong, coordinated law enforcement; particularly in small communities throughout the South (such as Amity, Arkansas). In doing so, murders, intimidation, or other criminal activities could take place with less risk of local law enforcement being able to directly link the crimes to the organization. Small town and county law enforcement agencies, especially in poorer sections of the South up to the 1990s, were usually inadequately equipped, and rarely had officers with extensive experience in the investigation of homicide or organized crime.

The members of the Dixie Mafia usually created small, seemingly legitimate, businesses such as buying and selling junk or antiques. These businesses would provide fronts for the operators to buy and sell stolen items provided by others within the network. The businesses would usually operate until they aroused suspicion, then move to another location.

Many members of the Dixie Mafia were former state or federal prisoners. Members were usually recruited while in prison; a history of violent behavior was generally a prerequisite to becoming a member. According to an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal, the gang was well-known for its violence in collecting debts owed to gambling houses and strip clubs.

The terms "Dixie Mafia" and "Southern Mafia" have been used interchangeably. Documented use of the two terms existed as early as 1993, when Scarfone wrote about the "Dixie Mafia" or the "Southern Mafia" working together with the "Italian Mafia" in the South. His accounts of the "Good Ol' Boy's Southern-Mafia" in Parts 3 and 4 of the article describe the group's indigenous nature.[8] It is unclear whether or not all journalistic and literary references to the "Dixie Mafia" and the "Southern Mafia" refer to the same group of individuals. Therefore, these terms have become terms of general reference to any illegal enterprise in the Southern states that, for cultural reasons, can expect a certain amount of support, both intended and unintended, from the local population.[9][10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Dixie Mafia: Prison Gang Profile
  2. ^ Morris, W. R. (2001) The State Line Mob: A True Story of Murder and Intrigue, Rutledge Hill Press.
  3. ^ Morris, W. R. (1997) The Legacy of Buford Pusser: A Pictorial History of the "Walking Tall" Sheriff, Turner Pub. Co.
  4. ^ a b Humes, Edward (1995) Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia, Pocket Press.
  5. ^ Morris, W. R. (1971) The Twelfth of August: The Story of Buford Pusser, Aurora Publishers.
  6. ^ Steven R. Boyd, ed., The Whiskey Rebellion (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985).
  7. ^ Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose (1994) "Smugglers linked to Contra arms deals," The Telegraph plc.
  8. ^ Scarfone, R. J., (1993) If I Had Wings I'd Help Them Fly? or "As Long As The Voices Sing"? (you make the choice) A Book Of Choices, M.A.G.I.C. Press, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
  9. ^ Bruce Yandle (1983) "Bootleggers and Baptists" Regulation Magazine
  10. ^ Bruce Yandle, "Bootleggers and Baptists: The Education of a Regulatory Economist." Regulation 7, no. 3 (1983): 12.

External links


Dixie Mafia
In Biloxi, Mississippi
Founded by Mike Gillich, Jr.
Years active late 1960s – present
Territory Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Mississippi
Ethnicity mostly white
Membership 100 +/-
Criminal activities moonshine, bootlegging, illegal gambling, bribery, drug trafficking, dog fighting, burglary, robbery, theft, contract killing, murder, Fence (criminal), and assassination
Allies American Mafia

The Dixie Mafia is a criminal organization based in Biloxi, Mississippi, and operated primarily in the Southern United States, in the 1970s. The group uses each member's talents in various crime categories to help move stolen merchandise, illegal alcohol, and illegal drugs. It is also particularly well-known for violence.

Contents

Early days

Beginning in the late 1960s, the Dixie Mafia began working as a loosely knit group of traveling criminals performing residential burglary, robbery and theft. The gang did not function with a set chain of command, but was led by whoever had the most money. Despite the informal structure, the Dixie Mafia had one rule that members were expected to obey: "Thou shall not snitch to the cops".[1]

Unlike members of the Sicilian Mafia, the members of the Dixie Mafia were not connected by family or country of origin. They were loosely connected individuals of many nationalities with a common goal: to make money and wield control over illegal moneymaking operations by any means, including influence peddling, bribery of public officials, and murder.

The gang became known for carrying out contract killings, particularly against former members. During its peak, from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, dozens of people were murdered (usually shot) by its members. Victims were most often murdered because they testified, or threatened to testify, against fellow members.

"The Strip" in Biloxi, Mississippi, was home base for the Dixie Mafia, and Mike Gillich, Jr. was the group's unofficial but de facto kingpin. Of Croatian descent and from a large, poor family, he had raised himself in the city's Point Cadet section to become a wealthy entrepreneur along "The Strip". He owned a string of motels, a bingo parlor, and nightclubs that doubled as strip joints and gambling dens. He was known and trusted by almost every member of the Dixie Mafia, especially those who trusted no one else.

Mike Gillich was also patron and protector of Kirksey McCord Nix, Jr., one of the gang's most notable members. In December, 1965, at the age of 22, Nix was caught carrying illegal automatic weapons in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. An old friend of his, Juanda Jones, ran a bordello there, and Nix became involved with Jones' adolescent daughter, Sheri LaRa. In later years, she would play a key role in his operations, including direct ties to the murders of Circuit Court Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife, Margaret, a former Biloxi councilwoman and mayoral candidate.

Edward Humes, in his 1994 book, Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia, chronicled the Sherry murders, and the subsequent investigation of Gillich, Kirksey Nix, Bobby Fabian and others that were involved either loosely or actively in the murders. Bobby Fabian began cooperating with the FBI on the Sherry murders and was pleading with any law enforcement officials to move him out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) because he felt he would be murdered. Fabian was transferred out of Angola but not a moment too soon as Dixie Mafia member (Florida Boss) Jeffery Carter had managed to be assigned to Camp-D within the penitentiary, exactly where Fabian was being housed.

LSP security obtained information from a confidential informant that Jeffery Carter was armed with a knife and that Carter was going to kill Fabian on the prison yard. Angola security immediately reacted to the information and actually spotted Jeffery Carter walking towards Bobby Fabian at which time a correctional officer ran up on Carter who was only 50 yards from Bobby Fabian and took control of Carter. Upon searching Jeffery Carter, correctional officers found a Buck knife in the open position on Carter's person.

With the aid of his father's connections in neighboring Oklahoma, Kirksey Nix beat the weapons charges in Ft. Smith and moved on to other crimes. He was suspected in the gangland-style murder of a gambler named Harry Bennett, who was about to turn state's evidence against several Dixie Mafia members. Although Nix's involvement in Bennett's murder was never proven, this incident precipitated a string of killings that left twenty-five people dead in six states over the next four years.

Nix was a suspect in the attempted assassination of McNairy County, Tennessee Sheriff Buford Pusser, and in the murder of Pusser's wife. Nix was also convicted of murdering wealthy New Orleans grocery owner Frank Corso. At the time of the murder, Kirksey Nix was believed to be employed by Darrel Ward in Clarksville, Texas. Mr. Ward was a noted associate of syndicate boss Sam "Momo" Giancana and is thought to have controlled organized crime and bootlegging throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. The Dixie Mafia was strongly connected to the State Line Mob and its leader Carl Douglas "Towhead" White.[2][3][4][5]

Dixie Mafia's locales

The Dixie Mafia's origins were in the Appalachian states. The group operated in many large Southern cities and some of the group's criminal activities were in more obscure parts of their major areas of operation, making the group and their activities harder to pinpoint.[4]

The Dixie Mafia committed most of their crimes in areas that lacked strong, coordinated law enforcement, particularly in small communities throughout the South. In doing so, murders, intimidation, or other criminal activities could take place with less risk of local law enforcement being able to directly link the crimes to the organization.[original research?] Small town and county law enforcement agencies, especially in poorer sections of the South up to the 1990s, were usually inadequately equipped, and rarely had officers with extensive experience in the investigation of homicide or organized crime.[citation needed]

The members of the Dixie Mafia usually created small, seemingly legitimate, businesses such as buying and selling junk or antiques. These businesses would provide fronts for the operators to buy and sell stolen items provided by others within the network. The businesses would usually operate until they aroused suspicion, then move to another location.[citation needed]

Many members of the Dixie Mafia were former state or federal prisoners. Members were usually recruited while in prison; a history of violent behavior was generally a prerequisite to becoming a member. According to an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal, the gang was well-known for its violence in collecting debts owed to gambling houses and strip clubs.[citation needed]

The terms "Dixie Mafia" and "Southern Mafia" have been used interchangeably. Documented use of the two terms existed as early as 1993, when Scarfone wrote about the "Dixie Mafia" or the "Southern Mafia" working together with the "Italian Mafia" in the South. His accounts of the "Good Ol' Boy's Southern-Mafia" in Parts 3 and 4 of the article describe the group's indigenous nature.[6] It is unclear whether or not all journalistic and literary references to the "Dixie Mafia" and the "Southern Mafia" refer to the same group of individuals. Therefore, these terms have become terms of general reference to any illegal enterprise in the Southern states that, for cultural reasons, can expect a certain amount of support, both intended and unintended, from the local population[7]

Dixie Mafia at the Louisiana State Penitentiary

  • Louisiana State Penitentiary is home to many Dixie Mafia members. Most have life sentences without any chance of parole. Some mafia members have served a lengthy prison sentence and have been released from prison. One such Dixie Mafia member who is suspected of numerous murders around the United States (and Mexico) is Jeffery Carter. Jeffery Carter served a 20-year sentence in the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola) for the death and sexual assault of a New Orleans prostitute. Carter has since been released from custody and resides in or near Hamilton County, Florida. Jeffery Carter was also on New Orleans Police radar in the murder of New Orleans bar owner Eugene Davis. Mr. Davis and Mr. Carter visited the 1984 World's fair together on May 30, 1984 of which was the last night of Eugene Davis' life. Mr. Davis was found beaten to death in his French Quarter residence just a block away from his French Quarter bar. Eugene Davis was questioned about possible ties to Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassination. Jeffery Carter is suspected to be the Florida boss of the mafia, taking orders only from members behind bars in Angola, Louisiana (Peter Mule) and Marion, Illinois (Kirksey Nix). Shortly after Jeffery Carter's release from the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Federal authorities were involved in a airplane chase over the Gulf of Mexico after authorities spotted a low flying Piper Cub flying at full speed just a few hundred yards off shore. The pilot of this aircraft ignored the Federal authorities attempt to communicate. The pilot made a dangerous belly landing just yards away from the shore and was seen swimming to shore by authorities using infrared night vision. Despite all efforts to have law enforcement on the ground to locate this pilot, the pilot was never caught. The airplane was later determined to be stolen, and there was nothing illegal on board. However, law enforcement authorities belive that this low flying pilot was Dixie Mafia member Jeffery Carter. There was never enough evidence to arrest Carter as the pilot.[citation needed]

See also

Mississippi portal
Crime portal
United States portal

References

  1. ^ Dixie Mafia: Prison Gang Profile
  2. ^ Morris, W. R. (2001) The State Line Mob: A True Story of Murder and Intrigue, Rutledge Hill Press.
  3. ^ Morris, W. R. (1997) The Legacy of Buford Pusser: A Pictorial History of the "Walking Tall" Sheriff, Turner Pub. Co.
  4. ^ a b Humes, Edward (1995) Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia, Pocket Press.
  5. ^ Morris, W. R. (1971) The Twelfth of August: The Story of Buford Pusser, Aurora Publishers.
  6. ^ Scarfone, R. J., (1993) If I Had Wings I'd Help Them Fly? or "As Long As The Voices Sing"? (you make the choice) A Book Of Choices, M.A.G.I.C. Press, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
  7. ^ Bruce Yandle, "Bootleggers and Baptists: The Education of a Regulatory Economist." Regulation 7, no. 3 (1983): 12.

External links








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