Born 1948 in Newark, New Jersey as Wayne B. Pray, Akbar Pray had a criminal career that started in the 1960s but saw his rise during the 1970s.
The thing about Pray’s criminal career and empire is that it isn’t one of the more widely covered enterprises. Instead, he is often overshadowed by the operations ran by Nicky Barnes and Frank Lucas of the time. Pray’s operation—The Family—was based out of his native Newark. It imported large quantities of drugs into the U.S. starting in the 1970s first with marijuana and later cocaine.
The organization featured some 300 members at its height and had a reach from California and into Florida, drug markets held by the two biggest Colombian cartels of the time: The Medellin Cartel and the Cali Cartel. His organization laundered its money in a number of legit real estate holdings. In addition to drugs, Akbar Pray’s group handled assassinations and weapon trade.
Its reach and power proved to be a problem for state law enforcement in New Jersey. Years of reconnaissance resulted in Pray being locked away for life in 1989. His organization continued to operate with Pray leading it from prison. By 1995, The Family had collapsed with most of its leadership either going to prison or striking out on their own.
Currently, Akbar Pray is nearing his thirtieth year behind bars at FCI Otisville. There he has pursued writing and public speaking, drawing from his life experiences.