On this day in 1930 Frank Lucas was born in La Grange, North Carolina. Lucas was known for drug trafficking in Harlem during the 1960’s and 1970’s, cutting out the middleman. He smuggled the drugs in pallets underneath the coffins of dead soldiers.
He turned to crime after he witnessed his 12-year-old cousin murdered at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan for looking at a white woman. He was eventually taken under the wing of the notorious Harlem Godfather, Bumpy Johnson.
“I wanted to be rich. I wanted to be Donald Trump rich, and so help me God, I made it.”
He was arrested in 1975 when his house was raided by a special task force; they found nearly $600,000 in cash. In the following year, 1976, Lucas was sentenced to 70 years in jail but was released in 1981 upon serving 5 years. He was then convicted again in 1984 and released in 1991 after he served a term of 7 years.
Frank Lucas’ life was dramatized in the 2007 film American Gangster, in which he was portrayed by Denzel Washington.
He turns 84 years old today.