When Prohibition was enacted by the 18th amendment, Detroit citizens had already seen prohibition laws in the city for a few years. Prohibition was the banning of alcohol for sale and consumption, but Detroit’s neighbor Canada did not have similar laws. Prohibition made Detroit a perfect city for a bootlegger, with the navigable Detroit river to the north leading to a immense amount of Canadian Whiskey. Gang violence ensued once prohibition started in the city, and alcohol was used as a form of control. Although the Volstead act gave the government power to enforce the 18th amendment, gangs in Detroit operated easily by paying off law enforcement officials and prosecutors. One of the most infamous gangs was the Detroit Purple Gang, a jewish group of delinquents who would steal liquor from other gangs crossing the Detroit River. Illegaly selling of alcohol was extremely profitable, constituting “the second biggest business in Detroit at $215 million a year in 1929.” Detroit had many blind pigs and speak easies that gangs and liquor drinkers frequented. These underground bars were extremely populous in an around the city of Detroit. Not only was Detroit a source of liquor for surrounding areas, but it even had 75% of the illegal liquor supply to the country during the time of prohibition.
Read more from my source here..
Nolan, Jenny. “DetNews.com.” DetNews.com. (1999): n. page. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://apps.detnews.com/apps/history/index.php?id=181>.