Infamous Former Drug Kingpin, Frank Lucas, Passes Away at 88

Lucas was portrayed by Denzel in “American Gangster”.

Today we learned of the passing of former drug kingpin, Frank Lucas. He was 88 years old.

Lucas was a notorious Harlem legend, one portrayed by Denzel Washington in the 2007 film “American Gangster.”

Born in North Carolina, Lucas moved to Harlem where he was introduced to the drug trade in the 60s and 70s, eventually expanding his empire directly to Southeast Asia, smuggling drugs back to the U.S. in the coffins of dead servicemen.

His “Blue Magic” heroin was, at his own claim, the purest in the streets, and the money and fame moved him into the circle of the rich, famous and powerful in New York City. But the life finally caught up to him and authorities raided his house in Teaneck, NJ in January of 1975, confiscating all of his property and money. He was convicted of federal and state drug violations and was eventually sentenced to 70 years in prison.

But after working with authorities to provide information against other criminals, he was freed after 7 years in jail, only to be arrested again in 1981 when he attempted to exchange heroin for cocaine. He served 7 more years before being released in 1991.

According to his brother, Lucas passed away in New Jersey. He is survived by his 7 children.