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Thread: Frank Lucas: Man who inspired American Gangster dies aged 88

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    Default Frank Lucas: Man who inspired American Gangster dies aged 88

    Frank Lucas: Man who inspired American Gangster dies aged 88

    • 4 hours ago

    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESFrank Lucas, the notorious Harlem drug lord whose life inspired the 2007 film American Gangster, has died.
    Born in North Carolina in 1930, he moved to New York where he became a prolific heroin trafficker throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
    In 1976 he was sentenced to decades in prison, but later provided evidence to police and was freed after five years.
    A family member told US media he died from natural causes, aged 88, on Thursday in New Jersey.
    Lucas, who imported heroin directly from South-East Asia, was known for his lavish lifestyle.
    In 1975 he had his assets and property seized by police. At one New Jersey address, authorities reportedly found more than $584,000 (£462,000) in cash.
    After his co-operation helped police arrest others in the trade, Lucas had his jail-time radically reduced.
    Despite returning again to prison for another drug conviction in the 1980s, he had been free for almost 30 years before his death.
    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionThe film about his life starred actors Denzel Washington and Russell CroweNotably, he formed a friendship with one of the narcotics agents who had helped arrest him - Richard Roberts.
    Reflecting on their unusual bond, Roberts told local news website he had expected Lucas to "live forever".
    Lucas' life story was adapted, and embellished, for the big screen by director Ridley Scott. Actor Denzel Washington played Lucas - who helped out with production.
    Doubts have since been cast on many details portrayed within the film, such as the smuggling of drugs inside returning Vietnam war coffins.
    In 2012 Lucas had a final brush with the law. He was given probation after reportedly lying over federal disability payments.
    Celebrity news website TMZ reports that he is survived by seven children

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    He busted the ‘American Gangster.’ Here’s what he said about Frank Lucas’ death at 88.

    Updated May 31, 7:39 PM; Posted May 31, 5:27 PM

    Richard Roberts, right, helped arrest drug lord Frank Lucas. The two then became friends. Lucas died Thursday night in New Jersey at the age of 88.

    [COLOR=var(--dark-text-on-default-color, #000) ]31[/COLOR]


    By Joseph Atmonavage | NJ Advance Media for
    Make no mistake about it, Richard Roberts knows his dear friend Frank Lucas, one of America’s most notorious drug lords, did things that ruined families and ravaged communities.
    But in the same breath, he also chuckles at the absurdity of their friendship, which was so pure that Lucas asked Roberts to be the godfather of his youngest son, Ray.
    When Roberts, who oversaw the Essex County Prosecutor’s Bureau of Narcotics in the 1970s, was first introduced to the man who was trafficking pure heroin from Southeast Asia into Harlem and Newark in the 1970s, his fighting desire was to lock Lucas up.

    He eventually did, nabbing an indictment of Lucas after shutting down a heroin market run by Lucas’ brother, Vernon. After Lucas was convicted and sentenced to 60 years in prison, the kingpin had a change of heart and agreed to cooperate with the government, prompting a lifelong friendship with the man who ended his reign of terror.

    “No one is all good. No one is all bad,” Roberts said in a phone interview Friday. “You try to see the good and you try to forget the bad."
    Frank Lucas died at the age of 88 Thursday night in New Jersey. While Lucas’ health had been declining, Roberts still finds it hard to believe he is gone.
    “You expected him to live forever,” Roberts said.

    ‘American Gangster’ Frank Lucas dies in N.J. at age of 88

    As unconventional as their friendship was, the way Roberts reflects on Lucas’ life may be just as complicated. The former prosecutor often talks about Lucas in glowing terms but frequently has to preface or conclude his thought with: “What he did was horrible.”
    But to Roberts, Lucas was driven by money and greed, and failed to recognize the harm he was doing — until he did.
    During Lucas’ trial, a young mother, whose daughter overdosed and died from the “Blue Magic” heroin Lucas’ crew sold, was called to the stand. As the mother relived the horrifying moment, there wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom, Roberts recalled.

    “It was the most dramatic testimony I have ever witnessed,” Roberts said. “It killed him.”

    When the court went into recess, Lucas’ attorney approached Roberts and said Lucas wanted to speak with him alone. As they sat in a tiny room inside the courthouse, Lucas — with the thought of the mother on the stand describing her dead daughter — came to a realization.
    “I never thought of it that way,” he told Roberts.
    Lucas, who Roberts said continue to deal with issues throughout his life, carried that damage with him later in his life.
    “I probably did more damage than I did good. I probably did, and that’s a fact,” Lucas told The Star-Ledger in 2013. “At that time, I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. All I knew is, I was making big dollars. A bad business was a good business. It was a horrible business, put it that way. I was in the heroin business ... the worst you can get. You can’t get no lower than that, and I was in it. Up to my head. If you wanna put that I was a no good son of a bitch, be my guest. 'Cause that’s what I was.”
    After being convicted, Lucas soon flipped, helping the government arrest a number of drug dealers. (He served seven years of his sentence before moving to Newark in the ‘80s.)

    Roberts saw that as a sign of remorse from Lucas, and a reason to give to him a second chance as a person.

    “I am not one to condemn anyone for anything that they do,” Roberts said. “Everyone gets a second a chance in my world. Frank did the right thing (by cooperating). Did he cause a lot of pain and hardship? Yeah. But that is all business. On a personal level, he was very charismatic. He could be very likable, but I wouldn’t want to, well, I was on the wrong end of him. There was a contract on me at one time.”
    The two were portrayed in the hit 2007 movie “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington as Lucas and Russell Crowe as Roberts.
    “He loved it,” Roberts said with a laugh, adding it wasn’t bad to have Russell Crowe portray him.
    Roberts, too, has faced some troubles in his time since bringing down Lucas. He pleaded guilty to multiple tax crimes in 2017 and was sentenced to three years’ probation, including 10 months of home confinement. He lives in Bloomfield.
    Roberts said he spoke to Lucas a few weeks ago and knew his friend was nearing the end.
    “Bye, Frank. See you at the end of the line,” Roberts said after a long pause.
    NJ Advance Media reporter Alex Napoliello contributed to this report

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    Elite Member crayzeehappee's Avatar
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    I watched some documentary type thing on Lucas a few weeks ago. He could barely speak, but it didn't say what what his current health problems were. It was an interesting story, but I'm into these crime stories. Mob/Mafia stuff interests me to no end too. I have no idea why.
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    This seems like a lot of effort just to marry one of the Jonas Brothers. - ChemicalHelena

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    I watched American Gangster last night. Very interesting movie.

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