Frank Lucas American Snitch Obituary

Frank Lucas of "American Gangster" Fame is dead. He was 88. Noted Federal informant, social security benefits thief, and one time heroin dealer for the New York Mob, Frank Lucas died the 30th of May, 2019 at age 88. A man so uneducated he couldn’t count so he weighed the proceeds of his street level heroin business before turning it into his Mafia suppliers, he once put a contract out on his own brother’s life.

After many years of laying extremely low to avoid being killed by one of the many, many, many New York drug dealers he testified against and setup for arrest, Lucas got lucky when a 2002 article appeared in New York Magazine written by Marc Jacobsen entitled “The Return of Superfly” sparked a massive Hollywood interest and in 2007 the film “American Gangster” was released to massive success.

Lucas was played by Denzel Washington in a perfect example of what is wrong with Hollywood. Denzel is a true movie star and he was mesmerizing as Frank Lucas. The problem is the real Frank Lucas was nothing like Denzel Washington and many of the stories in the movie were totally false.

Three central lies form the premise of “American Gangster”

That Frank Lucas didn’t get his heroin from the Mafia, he went to Southeast Asia and got it himself. That’s actually Leslie “Ike” Atkinson’s story. Ike Atkinson was a retired officer living in Thailand when the Southeast Asian conflict broke out and between 1968 and 1975 he and the French Connection were the two biggest heroin suppliers to the U.S. in the entire world. Frank Lucas may or may not have purchased dope from Atkinson through one of Atkinson’s middle men in the U.S. it is unclear. Lucas certainly knew about Atkinson, who served over 30 years in prison and was incarcerated when Lucas stole his story for New York Magazine article. Every single time Lucas was indicted in a drug conspiracy case the suppliers in the case, his co-defendants, were Italian Mafia members. Every time.

That Frank Lucas was smart. He wasn’t. It was his brother Shorty who was the brains of his operation, I think that’s the same brother he put a hit out on.

That he only informed on crooked cops. He actually did not inform on ANY crooked cops that there is any record of. Who he did tell on is lots and lots of black drug dealers in New York. I don’t think he told on any of the Italians he worked for. He did so much telling that he helped the feds rig up one of the most ridiculous drug conspiracy cases I’ve ever heard of. He testified that 3 different guys, one was a former lieutenant of Frank Matthews- who really was the “American Gangster”, one was, I think “Goldfinger”, and another guy- were all getting the cutting agents- the lactose, quinine and et cetera, from the same supplier. Now these three guys were all drug dealers- but they did NOT know each other. But thanks to Lucas’ testimony they were convicted of all being a part of the SAME HUGe conspiracy because they all, unknowingly, bought cutting agents from the same guy.

Now what is true is that his brand of Heroin “Blue Magic” is possibly the single biggest selling brand of Heroin in Harlem history, several highly dependable sources have told me this. But that doesn’t mean he had any special heroin, he just cut the Heroin the Mafia gave him less than, say Nicky Barnes did his.

Lucas was paid 900 thousand dollars and a house for use of his name and “life rights” for American Gangster. He quickly ran through this money and spent the last years of his life still on the hustle. I will leave you with this one last Frank Lucas story, so you know just what kind of a guy he was.

In 2011 or so, I was with Ron Chepesiuk, my partner doing “the Frank Matthews Story”, and we were sitting in Ike Atkinson’s little apartment outside Durham, North Carolina. He had been recently released from his 30 year plus prison term. Atkinson still received his military pension- he had retired honorably from the Army years before he decided to earn himself the nickname Sergeant Smack. The phone rings, it was Richie Roberts, the real life New York Cop played by Russell Crowe in the film.

Roberts had become a lawyer, just like in the American Gangster film, and he spent many years as “friends” with Frank Lucas and was acted as his attorney during the period of the film. The reason for the call was to tell Ike that Frank Lucas was getting a felony conviction and being put on probation for stealing his own son’s social security disability checks, cashing them, and spending the money on himself. Criminals are often narcissistic low lives, and, while Frank Lucas was not the “American Gangster” he certainly was a narcissistic low life.