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While it is true the Prohibition era was dominated by men, the truth is, there were several women, some famous and some infamous, some on the side of the law and some outside the law, that played very prominent roles. This is one of them.
Marie Waite – “Spanish Marie”
It was said Marie Waite fell heir to the rum running business when her husband’s corpse washed ashore on Biscayne Bay in 1926. Charlie Waite, known as “king of the rum runners,” had been killed in a shootout with the Coast Guard.
Known as “Spanish Marie,” she set up shop in Havana where she “ruthlessly ruled a little rum running empire.” As a savvy businesswoman and formidable female admiral, she eventually became the controlling principle in the illicit booze trade from Havana to Key West. She commanded a flotilla of fifteen contact boats, the fastest in the business, and ran booze along Florida’s southern coast from Palm Beach to Key West.