Former Untouchable’s UC piece headed to Mob Museum
Today, no less than 137,929 armed law enforcement officers in 104 agencies work for the federal government (and that’s 2006 figures!). Besides agencies under the Justice Department, Defense and Homeland Security, there exists a myriad of armed OIG agents who investigate largely regulatory crimes. This includes such diverse groups as the seven agents for the Peace Corps, a pair of special agents of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the 52 criminal investigators of the Environmental Protection Agency’s OIG.
However back in the early part of the 20th Century, it wast like that at all. The agents for the FBI weren’t even armed until the 1920s. In fact, they had to get local cops to go with them on arrests in case something went sideways. The same goes for Treasury Agents (we’d call them IRS CID guys today) who went after big wigs in the underworld like Alfonse Capone for tax evasion of all things.
Well after the mob violence of that era really ramped up, these agents too began to arm themselves by any means necessary. One was a guy named Mike Malone. Never heard of him? How about this:
“Michael Malone was, I believe, the greatest undercover agent in the history of law enforcement,” said Paul Camacho, a former head of IRS criminal investigations in Las Vegas and an unofficial agency historian. “This was the riskiest assignment you could ever think of. People were dying left and right, witnesses were dying left and right. Nobody wanted to be with these guys.”
Malone infiltrated Capone’s gang and worked undercover for nearly three years, Camacho said, passing himself off as a wiseguy from Philadelphia who had migrated to Chicago.
Ever seen the 80s crime classic The Untouchables? Well Sean Connery’s character, Jimmy Malone, was loosely based on him.
And his piece, that he carried for those three years, a Smith and Wesson .38 with a defaced serial number, is now headed to the Mob Museum to go on display after being shuttled among family and friends for the past 90 years. .