Updated: Jan 27
"As the Vietnam War raged in the late 1960s and early ′70s, a potent heroin called “Blue Magic” flooded into Harlem and Newark from a mysterious Southeast Asian connection. It destroyed lives, and it turned a black gangster named Frank Lucas into one of America’s most notorious drug kingpins.
Photo: Daily mail
His life of crime — rising from poverty to riches in an enterprise that succeeded beyond his wildest dreams — was portrayed in 2007 in Ridley Scott’s film “American Gangster,” with Denzel Washington as Mr. Lucas and Russell Crowe as the prosecutor who brought him down.
The movie was a Hollywood composite of fact and fiction, depicting Mr. Lucas as a daring, imaginative criminal who set up the Asian connection, smuggled heroin in the coffins of service personnel killed in action, and broke into the Mafia’s long domination of narcotics in the New York area — all claims made by Mr. Lucas that have been challenged by investigators and journalists.
Even so, the story of Frank Lucas, who died on Thursday night in Cedar Grove, N.J., at 88, is a larger-than-life tale of ambition, organization and ruthless brutality.
By his own account, he ordered and committed murders, bribed personnel in Vietnam to set up a heroin connection and paid corrupt police officers $200,000 a week. He hobnobbed with Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, James Brown and Diana Ross, and spent lavishly on cars, clothing, jewelry and entertainment.
At the peak of his empire, he claimed he was taking in $1 million a day, had $52 million stashed in Cayman Islands banks and $300 million in stockpiled heroin, and owned office buildings in Detroit, a cattle ranch in North Carolina and apartments in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico.
It all collapsed in 1975. Arrested at his New Jersey home, where $584,000 in cash was found, he was convicted of federal drug charges in New York and state charges in New Jersey and sentenced to 70 years in prison.
He served only seven years, however, after providing information that led to the convictions of scores of associates and crooked officials..." Like a boss :)