Gangster and drug kingpin Frank Lucas constructed and ran one of the largest international drug rings that spanned from New York to South East Asia.
Lucas was born in La Grange, North Carolina September 9, 1930. He spent his young life growing up in North Carolina at a time when the South was very poor and black people were at the head of the poverty lines. Trouble was always finding Lucas, but he did spend time helping look after his younger siblings. It has been reported that as a young child Lucas witnessed his 13-year-old cousin murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan for looking at a white woman in a flirtatious way. However, there was no investigation which uncovered evidence to support the claim.
He eventually moved to Harlem, New York in 1946 after being caught sleeping with his boss’ daughter, then hitting his boss in the head with a pipe and setting the business on fire. But, not before he managed to steal $400 from the company. It was in Harlem where he began his drug life of crime.
By the 1960s, Lucas was living his life as a top drug lord. His desire was to be filthy rich, never having to want for a thing in his life. Drugs during the 60s and 70s were known by names such as “Mean Machine,” “Can’t Get Enough of that Funky Stuff,” and “Harlem Hijack.” Lucas often hired only people who were relatives or very close friends. To prevent theft of his drugs, Lucas hired women who wore nothing but plastic gloves when cutting or mixing the merchandise. Anyone who crossed Lucas was subjected to brutal violence.
Lucas was always seen hanging out in nightclubs in Manhattan, with big names in sports and entertainment. He was slated to be in a Hollywood gangster movie entitled “The Ripoff”, set in the streets of New York City. He contributed nearly a $100,000 into the film and furnished the production several of his exotic automobiles. However, the movie was never finished.
On January 28, 1975, after a lengthy investigation by the SNTF, a DEA strike force staged a surprise raid on Frank Lucas’ house in the upscale neighborhood of Teaneck, New Jersey. Lucas had millions in property and cash spread out through several cities when he was busted in 1975. However, he was found guilty on charges and spent several years in jail. After his final prison release, he has spent most of his life trying to repair the damages he caused to Harlem due to his drug ring.
In 2007, Hollywood paid Lucas a visit, with the biopic American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington, which depicted his life of crime.