This present takes a take a look at New York’s most infamous drug sellers Frank Lucas and Leroy “Nicky” Barnes.

Frank Lucas (born September 9, 1930) is an American organized crime boss, and former heroin vendor, who operated in Harlem through the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was notably recognized for chopping out middlemen within the drug commerce and shopping for heroin instantly from his supply within the Golden Triangle. Lucas boasted that he smuggled heroin utilizing the coffins of lifeless American servicemen, however this declare is denied by his South East Asian affiliate, Leslie “Ike” Atkinson. Fairly than disguise the medicine within the coffins, they have been hidden within the pallets beneath as depicted within the 2007 function movie American Gangster by which he was performed by Denzel Washington, though the movie fictionalized parts of Lucas’ life for dramatic impact.

Arrests and releases

In January 1975, Lucas’ home in Teaneck, New Jersey, was raided by a activity drive consisting of 10 brokers from Group 22 of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and 10 New York Police Division detectives hooked up to the Organized Crime Management Bureau (OCCB). In his home authorities discovered $584,683 in money. He was later convicted of each federal and New Jersey state drug violations. The next yr he was sentenced to 70 years in jail. As soon as convicted, Lucas offered proof that led to greater than 100 additional drug-related convictions. For his security in 1977, Lucas and his household have been positioned within the witness safety program. In 1981, after 5 years in custody, his 40-year Federal time period and 30-year state time period have been lowered to time served plus lifetime parole. In 1984, he was caught and convicted of making an attempt to change one ounce of heroin and $13,000 for one kilogram of cocaine. He was defended by his former prosecutor Richie Roberts and acquired a sentence of seven years. He was launched from jail in 1991.

Depictions in media

Lucas’ life was dramatized within the 2007 Common Footage crime movie American Gangster, during which he was portrayed by Denzel Washington. The movie grossed greater than $US127 million, and was met with usually constructive evaluations. In an interview with MSNBC, Lucas expressed his pleasure concerning the movie and amazement at Denzel Washington’s portrayal, although he admitted to a number of information retailers that solely a small portion of the movie was true, and that a lot of it was fabricated for narrative impact. As well as, Richie Roberts criticized the movie for portraying him in a custody battle whereas in actual life he by no means had a toddler; he additionally criticized the portrayal of Lucas, describing it as “virtually noble”.

Sterling Johnson, Jr., a federal decide who served as a particular narcotics prosecutor and assisted the arrest and trial of Lucas, described the movie as “one % actuality and ninety-nine % Hollywood.” As well as, Johnson described the actual life Lucas as “illiterate, vicious, violent, and every thing Denzel Washington was not.” Former DEA brokers Jack Toal, Gregory Korniloff, and Louis Diaz filed a lawsuit towards Common saying that the occasions within the movie have been fictionalized and that the movie defamed them and tons of of different brokers. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by U.S. District Decide Colleen McMahon. Whereas McMahon famous that the intertitle that seems on the finish of the movie was “wholly inaccurate”, in that Lucas’ cooperation didn’t result in the convictions, and admonished that “It will behoove a serious company like Common (which is owned by a serious information group, NBC) to not put inaccurate statements on the finish of fashionable movies”, she said that the movie failed to satisfy authorized requirements of defamation as a result of it did not “present a single one that is identifiable as a DEA agent”.

Lots of Lucas’ different claims, as introduced within the movie, have additionally been referred to as into query, reminiscent of being the proper hand man of Bumpy Johnson, rising above the facility of the Mafia and Nicky Barnes, and that he was the mastermind behind the Golden Triangle heroin connection of the 1970s. Ron Chepesiuk, a biographer of Frank Lucas, deemed the story a fable. Related Press leisure author Frank Coyle famous that “this mess occurred partially as a result of journalists have been counting on secondary sources faraway from the precise occasions.”