In the first part of “Sergeant Smack” Ike Atkinson, we went into his drug operation in Asia’s Golden Triangle. The most important part was the distribution into the U.S. and the myth surrounding how it happened—as told by Frank Lucas.
Frank Lucas’ Account
According to Frank Lucas who teamed up with Ike Atkinson in 1974, the drugs were transported in the coffins of deceased servicemen. The exact details were that Atkinson flew in a North Carolina carpenter who made close to 30 replicas of the coffins that the military used.
From Atkinson’s account, Frank Lucas who appeared in the room where the furniture was being hollowed out and saw that they were working on a heroin shipment. The only thing he could tell Lucas at the moment was that he and the carpenter were making coffins.
A year after he went into business with Lucas, Ike Atkinson was arrested following a twist in routine. Normally, the shipment would arrive at two Fayetteville, North Carolina houses. Someone working for Atkinson would arrive at the house and tell the resident the packages arrived there by accident.
On this particular day in January 1975, one of the women called the police fearing that a bomb had been delivered. Atkinson’s prints were found on the heroin packages and he was brought in later that month. As a result, he was given 31 years.
While behind bars, he was charged in 1987 for participating in drug smuggling once again, running everything from prison. Included in the operation were several inmates, a prison guard, and his nephew—who was busted by an undercover German officer.
Eventually, Ike Atkinson was released in 2007. Once out, he shared his story and gave details about his partnership with Frank Lucas. He passed in November 2007, a week before his 89th birthday.