Crime History: Lawmen end deadly gang's reign of South Florida

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day, Nov. 1, in 1924, lawmen in South Florida captured and killed four members of the notorious Ashley gang.

The Dust Bowl had "Pretty Boy" Floyd; the Florida Everglades had John Ashley, a dapper bank robber and rum runner with a glass eye to replace one he lost in a gunfight.

For a decade, Ashley flummoxed law enforcers, sometimes sending them bullets with their names on them. One sheriff leaked word that he'd get Ashley and use his eye to ornament his watch.

Deputies got a tip about Ashley's movements and stopped him as his gang crossed a wooden bridge. Within minutes, Ashley and three henchmen were dead.

Deputies claimed the gangsters tried to escape. Many believed the Ashleys were assassinated because the lawmen were tired of being humiliated by the so-called Swamp Bandit.

- Scott McCabe

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner