CHARLIE WALL: THE BOLITA KINGPIN

Hollywood screenwriters dare not dream up a more improbable script: Descendent of blue blood pioneer Southern family rebels against wicked stepmother, is expelled from military school and seeks refuge in the exotic immigrant quarter, where he becomes prince of the underworld. Along the way, the character kicks his morphine habit, fixes elections, and dodges bullets…

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THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BOLITA

Forget everything you think you know about Tampa mafia wives and girlfriends in the 1950s. Unlike how mafia girlfriends and wives are usually depicted in movies, these women were not stay-at-home housewives or trophy girlfriends in Tampa. Instead, they were as crucial to the bolita rings that flourished in Tampa as the male mafia members were. “A…

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BOLITA VICE SQUAD

In March of 1958, Buddy Meisch, a young hard-nosed ex-Tampa cop turned deputy, had been with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Vice Squad for over a year. He grabbed his binoculars and stared at his target located 100 yards away. It was the Ybor City home of one of Tampa’s most notorious gangsters, Frank Diecidue,…

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