The Dossier: Frank Lucas Pt. 2

0 Posted by - October 14, 2023 - Black History, BLACK MEN

With 116th Street as his base, Frank Lucas reeled in big money selling heroin. He would sell directly to users without dealing with suppliers or the Mafia.


Blue Magic

Lucas managed to keep the operating cost of his group low by either selling himself or with family and friends out of North Carolina. He called his brand of heroin Blue Magic which raked in millions during the 1970s. With his new fortune, he was able to expand outside of Harlem with property in Miami, Detroit, L.A., New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and North Carolina. These places also served as hubs for his operation. Lucas also had money on hand, in banks, and in Cayman Islands accounts.



Frank Lucas was eventually busted in January 1975. The DEA’s Group 22 teamed up with the NYPD’s recently formed Organized Crime Control Bureau to empty out his accounts and seize all his property gained through the drug trade. From his New Jersey home, law enforcement seized almost $585,000 in cash.

After a trial, he was given 70 years–40 years federal and 30 years state–for drug trafficking and other charges. Frank Lucas would do five years before being released in 1981 after providing information on other criminals in between 1976 and 1977. This information assisted in over 100 convictions.

Now in his 50s, Lucas tried to enter a drug trade that had changed once again. It was the mid-1980s and cocaine was the big product of choice. He would be captured and arrested again in 1984 for trying to make an exchange of heroin and cash for cocaine. This time he went away until 1991.

Since then, he has stayed away from the life of crime. Lucas has told his life story to numerous outlets and is the subject of a number of films and documentaries. Most notable of these is the 2007 film American Gangster where Denzel Washington portrays the trafficker. The film would result in controversy because of the accuracy of Frank Lucas’ claims as they related to federal law enforcement.

In 2010, his wife Julianna Farrait went to prison for attempting to sell cocaine. She was 70 at the time of her arrest.




  • Walker November 11, 2017 - 1:48 pm

    What is fascinating, is that at the time of Lucas’ big arrest, NO MAFIA individuals were being arrested in NY nor in NJ. For committing the same crimes. Seemingly, a result of the close ties between the Mafia & law enforcement agencies. As w/most things in AmeriKKKa, whether legal OR illegal, being Black always puts one on THE WRONG SIDE.

    • M. Swift November 16, 2017 - 11:46 pm

      A lot of the major Italian American mafia arrests occurred afterward Lucas’ arrest. There was a small handful of captains in the NY and NJ area who were arrested around Lucas’ active period–Joe Gallo’s 1961 arrest comes to mind. One thing that keep the Italian American organizations out of law enforcement’s crosshairs was that they had eyes and ears in these departments.

      Another one was the Commission. They basically policed themselves and keep conflicts and wars in-house. Executions had to go through the Commission and if anyone did one without permission or did things that drew attention then the Commission “corrected” them (see Dutch Schultz end in the article on Madam St. Clair).

      Black operations had something similar in the Nicky Barnes-led Council during the 70s-80s but not all big name bosses were members. Lucas wasn’t a part of the Council for instance. The Council also didn’t have the level of police cooperation the Commission had so internal policing must have been very strict.

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