'American Gangster' Frank Lucas dead at 88
The notorious drug kingpin died Friday in New Jersey of natural causes.
Frank Lucas, the notorious Harlem drug kingpin that was the subject of the 2007 film American Gangster, has died of natural causes, according to New York Daily News.
The 88-year-old has often been credited as the originator behind the “Golden Triangle” drug operation of the early 1970s where he claimed to have used the coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam to import heroin from Southeast Asia.
North Carolina-born Lucas moved to Harlem after witnessing the death of a family member by the hands of the Ku Klux Klan in 1946. Shortly after his move, Lucas became the protégé of Harlem mob boss Bumpy Johnson until his death in1968. Johnson’s death pushed Lucas to take over as Harlem’s drug kingpin and became the face of one of the biggest heroin empires in the United States.
“I bought Harlem, I owned Harlem, I ran Harlem,” Lucas he told New York in 2000. At the peak of his success, Lucas claimed he was accumulating $1 million a day resulting in him living a lavish lifestyle. In 1971, Lucus caught the eyes of the New York Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency after wearing a $100,000 floor-length chinchilla coat and matching $25,000 hat to the Ali-Frazier boxing match.
His reign ended in 1975 when he was sentenced to 70 years in prison. However, Lucas later became a state’s witness and provided evidence that resulted in several drug-related arrests. Lucas was released from prison in 1981 after his sentence was reduced to time served. He spent another three years locked up in 1984, after violating his parole when he was caught in a drug bust. Sterling Johnson, a former New York City special narcotics prosecutor, called Lucas’ operation “one of the most outrageous international dope-smuggling gangs ever . . . an innovator who got his own connection outside the U.S. and then sold the stuff himself in the street.”
Denzel Washington portrayed the drug lord in the quasi-fictional film that became the inspiration of JAY-Z’s American Gangster album. Back in 2007, Jay told Rolling Stone, “Frank Lucas, it’s something about when African-Americans reach somewhere, no matter what they’re doing, if they reach somewhere that no one has ever been before, you’re like ‘Go! Go!”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.
“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.
In this new episode of ‘Bet on Black,’ food and beverage take center stage as aspiring Black entrepreneurs from It’s Seasoned, Black Farmer Box, and Moors Brewing Co. present their business ideas to judges with mentorship from Melissa Butler. Watch here!
Take a look inside the Makers Studio presented by Walmart at REVOLT WORLD, a space where Black creators could hone in on their brand and see it come to life.
Walmart supports HBCU students and encourages them to be Black & Unlimited. Fly Guy DC talked to a few at REVOLT WORLD about how being an HBCU student has changed their lives.
Fly Guy DC taps in with REVOLT WORLD attendees to learn what the Opportunity Center, presented by Walmart, means to them and their futures.
REVOLT is continuing its impactful partnership with Walmart by teaming up to showcase Black creatives at HBCUs all-across America. The panel consisted of three experienced, accomplished Black HBCU alumni: Actor and media personality Terrence J, entertainment attorney John T. Rose, and actress and “REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy-Rue McCullough.
In the season finale of “Bet on Black,” special guest judge Ray J joins as the finalists take the main stage to show they have what it takes to win the $200,000 grand prize; Melissa Butler and Eunique Jones Gibson mentor. Presented by Target.
The health of a community can often be traced to the health of the environment that surrounds it. In Atlanta, a woman named Dr. Jaqueline Echols has dedicated her life to helping ensure that people in economically underserved communities have clean rivers – for better health and for the joy of outdoor recreational space.
Join Kennedy Rue on “REVOLT Black News Weekly” as she dives into the world of Black entertainment in 2023. In this episode, we welcome the iconic Ludacris, celebrated producer Will Packer, and renowned director Tim Story. Together, they explore the cultural shifts in Hollywood, emphasizing the importance of Black representation in holiday films. The discussion highlights ‘Dashing Through the Snow,’ a Christmas movie that celebrates Black joy and tackles deeper themes of faith and childhood trauma. Watch!
Here’s a list of rappers who are named after food. Enjoy — or shall we say, “Bon appetit”?
In this exclusive interview, DDG opens up about his fashion inspiration, what drew him to girlfriend Halle Bailey, dealing with negative opinions about his relationship, and more. Read up!
The artist has remained remarkably consistent in her song lyrics about making money, telling off haters and feeling liberated since her debut.
Whether it be the triumphant “Not Afraid” or resilient “Soldier,” Eminem’s music has the power to inspire you to reach your goals.
The next time you’re looking for a caption for your perfectly curated Instagram, there’s a 95 percent chance that Drizzy’s got you!