Frank Lucas, one of America’s most infamous drug kingpins has died at the age of 86.
Lucas, who’s life of crime was famously portrayed by Denzel Washington in the 2007 movie “American Gangster,” died in New Jersey yesterday (May 30, 2019).
TMZ reports that Lucas was transported to a hospital in New Jersey for an unknown health issue and died on the way.
Lucas gained notoriety as a real life “gangster” in th 60’s and 70’s dealing heroin in Harlem. His claim to fame was that he managed to cut out the middlemen by buying his product directly from Southeast Asia, then smuggling the drugs back to America using the coffins of dead U.S. servicemen.
Denzel Washington famously portrayed Frank Lucas in the film “American Gangster,” a 2007 American biographical crime film directed and produced by “Ridley Scott.
American Gangster was nominated for twenty-one awards, including two Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Supporting Actress (Ruby Dee), and won three including a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Dee.
Frank Lucas was born and raised in North Carolina before moving to New York City, where he eventually got into the drug trade, cutting into the Italian mafia’s business and carving a name for himself.
Lucas bragged his heroin was among the purest on the street, and he infamously dubbed his product, “Blue Magic.” While he was at the top of the NYC drug trade, Frank rubbed elbows with elites from Hollywood, politics and the business world.
Frank was finally busted in the mid-1970s and all of his enormous assets and wealth were seized. Lucas owned property across the country in Chicago, Miami, Detroit, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina — and even Puerto Rico.
When the DEA raided Frank’s Jersey home in 1975, agents found more than $584,000 in cash.
Frank was convicted of federal and state drug violations … and sentenced to 70 years in prison. Lucas ratted out others in the drug biz, and he and his family entered a witness protection program.
After 5 years in custody, Frank had his sentence reduced to time served plus lifetime parole … but he was later busted for drug dealing again, and spent another 7 years behind bars before being released in 1991.
You would think Lucas would have avoiding crime after service prison time, however it was all in the family as his wife was arrested for selling drugs back in 2010 and about a year later Lucas was threatened with jail time back in 2011 after reportedly duping the social security office out of a check payment for one of his sons.
Frank Lucas is survived by his 7 children. He was 88.
R.I.P. to the American Gangster.