Salvatore Maranzano was born in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily in 1868. He arrived in the United States after the First World War where he became involved in bootlegging. By the late 1920s Maranzano had become one of the important gang leaders in New York.
Maranzano was involved in bootlegging, prostitution and drug smuggling. In an attempt to hold on to his lucrative trade, in 1930 he declared war on his main rival, Joe Masseria. Over the next few months over sixty men were killed during this gang war.
Joe Masseria was murdered on 15th April, 1931 by Albert Anastasia, Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano, on 15th April, 1931. Six months later, on 10th September, gangsters hired by Luciano, walked into Maranzano's Park Lane office and killed him. With Maranzano and Masseria dead, Luciano was now the most important gang leader in New York.