Part 3: Raid at The 333 Club in 1932

Table of Contents

1932

Friday December 9,
Magnolia, Ark

10:05pm

Francis was jolted into action by the deafening roar of gunshots. From the dimness of the back poker room, he instinctively bolted onto the balcony, only to find himself directly in the line of fire.  The FBI agents were storming the house. HIS house.

As realization struck him, he understood: they were here for him. Without a second thought, he rushed down the staircase and out the alley door to his car. He was only slightly aware of the sharp, stinging sensation in his left leg.

Raid 7

Away. He just needed to get away. With Stella in Hot Springs, cleverly masking a rum-running delivery as a shopping trip, Francis had the rare chance to think solely of his own survival. East made the most sense, as it was the least likely direction he would travel. He had no true friends in that direction.

Just before entering El Dorado, the Duesenberg that had been showing signs of overheating for miles, sputtered and came to an agonizing halt.

Francis was far enough away from Magnolia that he felt like he could stay with the car and see if he could get it back on the road. He heard the approaching car well before seeing it. Keeping his head under the hood and in the shadows was as much hiding as he could manage.

“Ya need some help?” Was the greeting issued, and it sounded more intoxicated than predatory. Frank S. McAffry was returning to east Arkansas from a reunion of Spanish-American War veterans held annually in Texarkana.  Since it didn’t look like he was going anywhere on his own, Francis accepted the help. 

Having left the Club with nothing but his waistcoat and satchel, he transferred both the Frank’s car. The satchel containing his emergency stash of $250,000 being the most important item.  The waistcoat was used to slow the bleeding from his leg until they arrived at their destination. 

By the time the men arrived in Lake Village they had swapped life stories and created a new one as well. Francis got into the car as Francis D Miller and emerged as F Dalton McAffry.  Frank’s first stop was at Dr. McGehee’s Infirmary to patch up Francis’ leg.

As Frank had told him, there were many McAffry cousins up North. “Dalton” as he would go by, had made the trip and Frank picked him up from the bus station in Texarkana.  Having lost his wife, Janie, years before Frank was thrilled with the possibility of help taming his houseful of boys, Hugh, Toots, and Jimmy.

Trading his life of luxury, philanthropy, and crime for that of a plumber and adopted Uncle, Dalton would live under an assumed name for the next 40+ years.

Events Leading Up to the Raid

After months of surveillance and thousands of man hours, the Feds from Shreveport closed in on 124 N Court Square – The 333 Club.  Every care was given to ensuring that liquor was never seen from the dining floor, but it wasn’t going to make a difference in the end.  The association between Lefty, the Chicago Outfit and the New Orleans mafia had been well established and documented.

Around 10pm federal agents raided The 333 Club. Revelers scattered at the sight of guns, but Lefty was in the upstairs private poker room and didn’t hear the ruckus until too late. The agents had been tasked with taking Lefty alive. Director Hoover was convinced that given enough time he could get all the distribution details to convict the major players in Chicago and Atlantic City as well.

However, before going in, the agents had discussed how unlikely it was that their target would go quietly and decided to use force instead of stealth to subdue their target.

Upon entering modern day Lefty’s be sure to look to the right of the right hand upstairs wall sconce.  Bullet holes can still be seen on the balcony from that fateful night.

IMG 6354

Young private Frank S. McAffry lied about his age to enlist

 

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