Charlie Blanda

Charles J. "Charlie" Blanda (born November 2, 1899- died 1969) was a Colorado mobster and boss of the Denver crime family from 1933-1953.


Blanda was born in Amesville, Iowa. His parents resided in Los Angeles, while at some point Blanda moved to Colorado where he became involved in the rackets. After the murder of Joe Roma in 1933, Blanda allegedly took over Colorado's Mafia activities with the Smaldone brothers reigning over the Denver area. Blanda was considered the first true syndicate boss of Colorado. Under Blanda the crime family's gambling operations grew and the syndicate began to move into other regions encompassing parts of Wyoming and Idaho and became involved in a large scale nationally known "lay off" pool for bookmakers. Blanda also formed ties to the Chicago Outfit and the crime families of Madison, St. Louis, Kansas City and Los Angeles. Los Angeles crime family boss Jack Dragna was known to be a close associate of Blanda. Blanda had interests in a car wash, a plumbing company and also a night club in Pueblo, Colorado amongst other legitimate business holdings.

In 1948, a small war broke out over the control of legalized horse and dog race gambling. In 1952, Blanda was charged for federal income tax evasion. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine along with having to pay for the unreported income. In 1953, Blanda began to complete his sentence and was released from Leavenworth prison after serving 3 years. Blanda also had previous convictions for income tax evasion, burglary and grand larceny.

Upon his release, he returned to Pueblo, Colorado and served a an advisor to the Denver crime family now led by "Black Jim" James Colletti. He died of a stroke in 1969.

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