Gangland (2007) s01e01 Episode Script

American Gangster

male narrator: Harlem in the 1970s: An urban war zone with Heroin pushers and junkies on Nearly every corner, a world Where street gangs control the Distribution of drugs and kill In the name of commerce.
Ruling these streets were two Gangsters who rose from poverty And made a fortune by feeding Harlem's drug habit.
One found his way to the big City from a dirt farm In north carolina.
narrator: The other, a native New yorker emerged From the ghetto.
narrator: Like their Counterparts in the italian Mafia, both men tried to keep Their distance from the many Violent crimes committed in Their names.
they sawed off his head and Hands and threw the torso in The passaic river.
they shot him at such close Range that his shirt caught on Fire.
narrator: For years, the Authorities were powerless to Stop them.
we would try to bring Charges, and mysteriously, the Witnesses would disappear or get Murdered themselves.
narrator: Their undoing would Come from within, but not Until they had blazed a trail of Destruction straight through the Heart of harlem.
For a generation of kids growing Up amidst violence and heroin Addiction, harlem gangsters Frank lucas and nicky barnes Were their superstars.
I didn't see anyone that made The american dream happen for Them and their family through School, you know, just doing It the right way.
I didn't see it.
You know, when a reporter asks a Nine-year-old kid, you know, "who's your hero, and is Reggie jackson your hero?" He said, "no, nicky barnes is my Hero.
" narrator: The kids may have Glamorized the gangsters, but There was nothing glamorous About the way these two men Enforced their rule on the Streets of harlem and kept their Dope pushers in line.
they would take people to the Base of the george washington Bridge, and they would tell them They're gonna hang them over.
Very often, these people would Defecate in their pants.
They would bring them back up, And they would make them eat Their own defecation, teach Them a lesson not to short them On the packages.
narrator: Such methods of Persuasion came naturally to Frank lucas, a native of rural North carolina who learned early On that terror was a surefire Way to exert control.
narrator: The brutality Affected lucas profoundly.
narrator: As a teenager in The late 1940s, frank left home And headed up north to new york City.
By his own account, lucas met The infamous gangster ellsworth "bumpy" johnson in a pool hall.
Bumpy was the italian mob's man In harlem, selling drugs and Running a numbers racket.
bumpy johnson operated in Harlem, and he actually worked With la cosa nostra as sort of Their ambassador to harlem.
La cosa nostra, they Were all white, and it wasn't A very good idea to be on the Streets of harlem.
narrator: To lucas, bumpy Became a mentor.
narrator: Bumpy gave frank Access to his rackets, grooming Him as his successor.
Frank not only learned how bumpy Did business in harlem but how The italians ran the mob all Over town.
The big moment came for frank in July of 1968 when bumpy died of A heart attack.
what he told me was, when Bumpy was dying, he was given The choice of taking over the Numbers or the heroin.
And he said he thought about It and thought that heroin was The up-and-coming thing, and he Decided to go with the heroin.
narrator: By the late 1960s, Heroin addiction was Skyrocketing in new york, and Harlem was suffering the brunt Of it.
For the underworld, that meant a Bull market for the heroin biz, And frank was in.
Lucas formed a gang named the Country boys.
Like other black street gangs, They worked with the italian mob To get their heroin from Overseas.
Lucas told some of his family to Come up to harlem from north Carolina and join in the action.
narrator: Lucas and the Country boys were an Uncompromising group of Criminals who tolerated zero Disloyalty to their cause, Making money by selling heroin.
somebody stole the money, Somebody stole the drugs, Somebody is considered weak, They're executed.
You know, somebody will knock on The door, set them up and just Kill them.
narrator: As a drug kingpin, Lucas had a fierce survival Instinct and was known for his Quick temper.
frank would do things on the Spur of the moment, and he was The one with the temper.
You did him wrong, he'd squash You like a cockroach.
narrator: According to strike Force detective richie roberts, The country boys carried out Shocking acts of retribution on Behalf of their boss, frank Lucas.
on one occasion, someone was Murdered in the basement of one Of the projects.
They sawed off his head and Hands and threw the torso in the Passaic river.
narrator: One of frank's Associates was this man, Leslie "ike" atkinson.
In the late 1960s, ike was in The u.
Army stationed in Thailand as part of the american War effort in vietnam.
Atkinson earned the nickname "sergeant smack" when he began Smuggling heroin from the vast Poppy fields of thailand back to Frank and the country boys.
The method was innovative, to Say the least.
Using connections on army bases In vietnam, atkinson arranged to Have the heroin placed secretly In the coffins of dead american Gis.
a lot of the bodies came back To north carolina.
Camp lejeune and the marine Corps base was there, fort bragg For the airborne.
And some of the information I Got that there were people There, soldiers, who knew which Body bags and which coffins had The dope in it, and they were Also on the take, and they Separated that and took it out.
narrator: Ike was not alone In the coffin scam.
This former soldier went to jail For doing the same thing.
did you put drugs in the Coffins? of course you put it in the Coffins.
Why not? I mean, you're not harming Anyone, are you? narrator: Now that frank Lucas had found his own heroin Connection, he didn't need the Italian mob as much.
the money really started Rolling in.
at the height of its Activity, he was supposed to Have been transporting 1,000 Kilos a year into the united States.
He probably exported more than $400 million worth of drugs.
the country boys were taking Over all the top spots in the City from old-time drug Dealers.
They were throwing them out.
They were beating them out.
They were killing them out.
narrator: Frank's counterpart On the streets of harlem was a Native new yorker named nicky Barnes.
Nicky was born in 1933 and Raised amongst these bleak Tenements.
By the age of 14, he was a Runaway and a junkie.
Today barnes is in the federal Witness protection program and Has to hide his face and Disguise his voice.
narrator: Nicky quickly Realized he also had a knack for Selling the stuff.
narrator: But first he had To hone his skills.
Nicky spent much of his early 20s in new york's green haven Prison for drug offenses.
He made good use of the time.
nicky was a sophisticated Individual who learned Management skills and Organizational skills in prison.
narrator: When barnes Returned to the streets in 1969, He was clean, but he had come Up with a plan to exploit the Drug addiction festering in Harlem.
He created a gang that would Come to known as the council.
It was made up of small groups Of heroin dealers who barnes had Come to trust.
The council's power grew Rapidly, and by the early 1970s, A government report called it "the largest, most profitable, And most venal drug ring in new York city.
" nicky barnes was the biggest Heroin dealer on the east Coast, a major figure.
Didn't touch the dope himself But was really responsible For its movement and Distribution to the streets.
narrator: With enough Business to go around, barnes And lucas respected each other's Corners.
Much like lucas and his country Boys, nicky barnes and the Council had little tolerance for Anything that got in the way of Their profits.
narrator: Harlem, 1974: Council members go to the Apartment of a junkie and Small-time drug dealer.
The man's sister had committed a Cardinal sin.
She stole $30,000 from the Council's coffers.
narrator: The council decided That if they couldn't find the Sister or the money, the brother Had to pay.
narrator: When persuasion Didn't work, the gang gutted him Like a fish on the tenement Floor, all because of his Association with the violent Underworld of drugs.
violence is the glue that Keeps the organization going.
And if you have an organization, And you are not ready to employ Violence, extreme violence That means killing peopleyou Might as well get out of town.
narrator: As the body count Grew, the gangs kept getting Away with murder while barnes And lucas raked in millions.
All the while, out on the Streets, their heroin was Destroying harlem.
Nicky could see it As well as anyone.
narrator: Yet somehow in the Biggest city in the richest Country on the planet, the Authorities seemed to have Surrendered harlem to the enemy.
narrator: In the earlrlrlrly, Two violent gangs rose to the Top of the heroin racket in new York's harlem neighborhood: Nicky barnes and his council and Frank lucas and his country Boys.
There were contemporaries and Rivals but stayed out of one Another's way, each content with His share of a very profitable Market.
The cops, meantime, were Overwhelmed.
New york's murder rate was Soaring just as a financial Crisis was forcing the city to Lay off police officers.
the streets were desolate.
The people's hearts were Desolate.
There was nothing to do.
It became easy to sell drugs.
there were a lot of addicts In harlem.
Just blatantly, you would drive In the neighborhood, and people Would be nodding out from Shooting up the heroin.
narrator: This growing hunger For drugs was making a small Group of gangsters rich beyond Their wildest dreams.
And the more money they made, The more they wanted.
Even as barnes and lucas were Ravaging harlem, they became Heroes on the neighborhood's Sordid streets.
Both from poor backgrounds, they Were black men that had gone on To achieve the american dream of Fabulous wealth.
narrator: The admiration felt For these drug lords was not Extended to the local police.
Nicky barnes remembers the Conflict residents Of harlem felt.
narrator: This distrust of Authority and the belief in the Self-made lords of harlem gave The council and the country boys Free reign to do business on the Streets.
Open-air heroin markets Flourished, bringing barnes and Lucas hundreds of thousands of Dollars a day.
when you think about that Lifestyle with open-air markets Where hundreds and hundreds of Men in communities walking Around aimlessly, buying drugs, And then the leaders of the Organization with the flashy Clothes, the flashy jewelry, the Women, the cars narrator: Anyone who got in The way of these spoils, Especially informants, could Expect a fierce reprisal.
one of them was a guy named George ford that was Allegedly peddling $12,000 worth Of heroin a day in harlem.
narrator: Ford, who dealt Drugs from the counter of his Candy store for lucas, was Caught in a drug sting.
In exchange for a lesser Sentence, he agreed to give Evidence against lucas.
A few weeks later, ford was Killed with a bullet to the Head.
Frank lucas went on trial for The murder.
Over the years, lucas would be Charged with multiple counts of Murder, but lack of evidence or Eyewitness testimony Ensured he was never convicted.
This time was no different, And the murder served as an Example to anyone who might Think of crossing lucas.
It was much the same for nicky Barnes.
Even though he was arrested for Bribery, drug dealing, Possession of dangerous weapons, And homicide, none of the Charges ever stuck.
Both men earned nicknames in the Underworld.
Frank's was "superfly," Stylish and daring as he sat on The streets of harlem, watching His product sell like hotcakes.
narrator: Nicky, meantime, Became known as "mr.
" narrator: Like old-time mafia Dons, lucas and barnes insulated Themselves from gang activity by Using lieutenants to distribute Drugs and dole out street Justice.
Anyone within their ranks Suspected of being a rat would Face execution.
Lawrence billings was a Low-level associate of the Council.
His racket wasn't selling heroin But the quinine used to cut it.
Technically a legal drug, but Because it was used by heroin Dealers, buying and selling it In quantity was illegal.
In the winter of 1974, the feds Arrested billings, and the gang Decided he knew too much about Their activities.
They had a vote on whether to Dispense with billings.
His fate was sealed.
They decided that a council Member named wally rice would Carry out the hit.
narrator: The gunshot tore Billings' face off, but he Lived.
Authorities took him into Protective custody, hoping to Keep him alive to testify Against the council.
But while he was holed up in the Prince george hotel with Police protection, billings Stole away in the Middle of the night.
narrator: Billings was never Seen again.
In the early 1970s, just as the Council and the country boys Were making their mark on the Streets of harlem, the civil Rights movement was taking a Militant turn.
Groups like the black panthers Were at the heart of the new Black power movement.
Nicky barnes and his council Took their cues from these Groups as they took over the Distribution of heroin from Old-time white gangsters and the Italian mob who had historically Dealt heroin in harlem.
narrator: The council was Comprised of seven members.
All were black muslims and Believers in the black power Movement.
Nicky barnes decided that Controlling the distribution and Sale of drugs in harlem was Their right.
nicky's organization would Not have whites coming into Harlem to run his business: "you supply me with the drugs I Pay you for, and that's it.
" narrator: That's the kind of Deal nicky made with the Genovese mafia family, and the Mob was happy to avoid a bloody Turf war with the black gangs.
Both sides understood that Heroin was strictly business.
Barnes believed in operating his Gang using a corporate Philosophy, with himself as the Ceo.
He and his council lived by a Seven-word mantra.
narrator: As the profits From their connections mounted, Both lucas and barnes made a Perverse attempt at public Relations.
They shared their wealth with The very communities they were Preying on.
narrator: Nicky barnes and Frank lucas had finally achieved The status and money they had Sought for so long.
They became examples to some Segments of the community of Success.
they didn't bow and scrape.
Didn't have to.
They were heroes in their Community, and we didn't have Heroes in our communities.
Most of our heroes were athletes Or musicians.
Now you have somebody who's There each and every day and Driving the big cars and Giving out turkeys on Thanksgiving.
And someone falls upon hard Times and can't pay the rent, They'll pay the rent for them.
They did thingsand they were Very visiblethat the white man Did not do.
narrator: As harlem watched Its black angels climb, there Seemed to be no stopping their Success.
But for barnes and lucas, there Was a risk to achieving such a High profile in the underworld.
Blinded by their wealth and Power, they never saw it coming.
narrator: While watergate Was bringing down the Nixon presidency and america Was losing a war in vietnam, Harlem was crumbling under the Weight of gangs who were making Millions selling drugs in the Community.
Frank lucas remembers what life Was like at the top.
narrator: Lucas and nicky Barnes, leaders of two of the Most violent gangs to roam the Streets of new york, lived in a Way most harlem residents could Only imagine.
even if you didn't see frank, There was an electricity in the Air.
People were alive and vibrant, But you knew that he was in Town, he was around.
He had his superfly clothes on.
He always had a bunch of Good-looking women around.
He'd be in the bars, and he'd Spend money, and he was very Loud.
narrator: Outside the Limelight, both the council and The country boys saw themselves As serious businessmen.
frank lucas the businessman Washow can I put this? He was a ruthless capitalist.
Whoever stood in his way, he Knocked out of his way.
He just wanted to make as much Money as he could.
narrator: Lucas was presiding Over a sophisticated Drug-handling operation.
As kilo after kilo of heroin Made its way through new york's Ports, the purity of the product Was cut from 90% Down to around 3%.
heroin doesn't go out in the Street in a pure form.
You cut it with either mannite Or quinine, increase the amount Of powder in the street and Thereby increasing your profits.
narrator: Quinine, a legal Drug, would give a powerful Burning sensation when injected With heroin.
Mannite, a laxative powder, was Cheap and easy to obtain.
instead of having 1 kilo at 90%, you'd have 30 kilos at 3%.
And if you're making an average Of $300,000 per "ki" times 30 And when you brought in a kilo Of heroin, you don't bring just 1 kilo in; you maybe bring 10, 20, 50 kilos, and the process Would just continue and Continue.
narrator: Heroin mills, where The powder was cut and put in Small plastic bags, looked like White powder production lines.
narrator: Gangs employed Women to work long shifts at Night in the mills.
The women were often forced to Work in the nude, initially to Prevent theft, but later to Ensure they worked quickly.
narrator: Once the heroin had Been measured into the bags, They'd be marked with the Dealer's stamp, like frank Lucas' "blue magic.
" blue magic was a much higher Quality.
The quality was, like, 1% to 3%, Though, before frank.
When the country boys came in, It could be up to 10%.
narrator: Lucas' new High-quality heroin was meant to Blow his business competitor, Nicky barnes, out of the market, Where addicts were desperate to Buy the most potent heroin.
Instead, blue magic brought a Deadly backlash.
Addicts found themselves Overdosing on frank's product.
the problem with the higher Quality was that some people Od'd.
A lot of people od'd.
heroin was killing people.
Thousands and thousands and Thousands of teenagers were Killed.
narrator: Lucas' product Might have been good, but there Was still plenty of business to Go around.
As nicky barnes saw his empire Expand, he had visions of Starting legitimate businesses Like nightclubs and real estate Investments with the money he Had earned selling drugs.
narrator: Barnes had raised Himself up to a level he Couldn't see himself falling From.
nicky is the king of strut.
I mean, he is the king of the Street.
He is theif you will, the Black godfather of harlem.
narrator: In the mid-'70s, Louie diaz went to work for the Council, buying small amounts of Heroin and laundering money.
Even though he was white, he Seemed to have promise as a Potential gangster.
narrator: But diaz wasn't What he seemed to be.
narrator: Nicky barnes and Frank lucas had ruled harlem Like kings, but hidden forces Were preparing To overthrow them.
narrator: During the early 1970s, the heroin gangs of Harlem not only controlled the Drug trade; They also had connections in the Nypd.
The most notorious was a cop Named elmer morris.
His brother-in-law was a top Lieutenant in nicky barnes' Council.
He got the council firearms and Martial arts training, and when Anyone informed on the gang, Morris passed his name along.
Joseph beechum was one of Morris' unfortunate victims.
After morris confirmed beechum Was an informant, a council Member lured beechum to a Meeting in an awaiting car.
Once beechum was inside, he was Shot in the face and killed.
Though few were as deadly as Morris, many new york police Officers were on the take.
Underpaid cops found themselves Being offered bribes that were More than they earned in months.
policemen weren't paid a lot Of money.
And if you're making $20,000 a year, $25,000 a year, And someone comes along, "$5,000.
I know you patrol this block.
Don't come by.
Patrol the next block.
" Or, "check this license plate Out.
Is this guy an informant?" Or, "who is this guy? $10,000.
" And you know, you do it once, And now they've got you.
narrator: With heroin gangs Seemingly running the streets, The dea intervened.
But pinning case on an operator Like frank lucas would be Difficult, as agent jack toal Quickly learned.
he ran it as a tight ship.
He oversaw what was going on.
He wanted to know at each level What was going on, and he Carved out territory which he Kept because of the good Source of supply and Intimidation.
narrator: Intimidation seemed To be one of lucas' Self-admitted specialties.
narrator: Starting in the Summer of 1974, a dea team put Frank lucas under constant Surveillance.
Their goal was to piece together Enough witness testimony to Prove that lucas had been Involved in a continuing Criminal enterprise.
Just over the border in newark, New jersey, where frank lucas Was living at the time, richie Roberts headed a strike force That was also watching lucas.
He was shocked by the gang's Brutality.
one of the m.
S of the Country boys in newark was to Take somebody up on the project Roofsusually their own people Who would short them on a Package or steal some moneyand Throw them off the roof.
narrator: After months of Investigations, the dea's case Against lucas stalled.
Then in autumn of 1974, a Surprise witness came forward.
It was none other than lucas' Accountant.
this fellow was on parole and A former convict.
They locked him up.
He's facing a lot of time.
I remember asking him to Cooperate, and he thought About it.
He thought about it.
Didn't give me an answer right Away.
I eventually got a call, and he Started telling us about what Frank was doing.
narrator: As a result, lucas Was arrested for conspiracy to Obtain and distribute large Amounts of heroin.
But by christmas 1974, he was Once again acquitted for lack of Evidence.
I have always said that if a Guy is a bad guy and he beats You, he'll be back in the System.
Frank was back in the system.
narrator: In January of 1975, A strike force of dea agents and New york police officers acting On an informant's tip surrounded Frank lucas at his house in Teaneck, new jersey.
from what the agents have Told me that were there, they Surrounded the house.
And once they went to the door, Frank's wife started throwing Out bags of money, at which Time they grabbed all the bags And brought them in and arrested Frank.
narrator: All told, there was Over $500,000 in small bills at The lucas residence that Evening.
Lucas was arrested and put on Trial for a series of new Federal charges, one of a Continuing criminal enterprise, Of breaking the Racketeer-influenced and corrupt Organizations act, and several Other felonies that were now Corroborated by eyewitness Testimony.
Once lucas had been dispensed With, the dea turned to the Council and its leader, nicky Barnes, mr.
nicky was a guywould Never talk on the phone.
He would never handle a package.
He would be nowhere around it, So if you made a case on nicky, It had to be circumstantial Evidence.
narrator: A young agent from Brooklyn named louie diaz was Hoping to change all that.
In the summer of 1976, america Was celebrating its Bicentennial just as diaz was Taking on the riskiest Assignment of his career.
He was going undercover inside Barnes' operation.
I came up with this scenario That I was a renegade mob guy.
I went to california to chill Out for about a year or so, you Know? And I got a little tired of surf City, and I thought it was Time to come back.
So when I came back to new york, I wanted to get back into the Heroin trade, but I wasn't Gonna depend on the italians.
narrator: Diaz made friends With junior members of the Council and started living in Their world.
He was amazed at the power they Had.
we were so respected.
We would walk into a club, Whether it was the hubba hubba, The cotton club, or jagazzi's, And most guysyou know, like, You'd check in your coat, and They give you a ticket? Well, then they check in your Gun, and they give you a Ticket.
narrator: Over the course of Several months, diaz put his Life in grave danger.
agents have died.
Believe me, many have been Killed working undercover.
It was a risky business to Pretend to be a dope buyer and Dealer with people who have no Concern for the loss of life.
and my father told me many Things, and one of the things That the told me as a kid was That "never go into fight Thinking what the other guy is Gonna do to you.
Never, only what you're gonna Do to him.
" I never feared for my life.
I never thought about it.
narrator: Two of diaz's Contacts in the council were guy Fisher and joseph hayden, aka "jazz.
" Both were vicious, and Especially so when it came to Killing a member of the mob who Had gotten in their way.
guy fisher and joseph hayden Whacked a guy by the name of Carmen pugliese.
They shot him at such close Range that his shirt caught on Fire.
narrator: Working carefully Within the organization, diaz Formed a relationship with jazz Hayden, who had no idea diaz Was a federal agent.
narrator: And as jazz talked, Louie diaz was wearing a wire.
For eight months, diaz came to Understand how the council Functioned.
in order to conduct that type Of organization, you don't do it As an altar boy.
There was a lot of murders and Killings involved, and nicky, To some degree, was part and Parcel of those murders, and They were were committed as a Matter of doing business.
narrator: In March of 1977, Nicky barnes was driving through Harlem on what seemed to be an Average day.
narrator: Barnes was Arrested, but instead of the new York police department, this Time, it was the feds.
Frank lucas and nicky barnes Had lived the high life at a Terrible cost to the people of Harlem.
Now the full force of the Federal government, right up To the white house, was coming Down on them, but no one was Sure who would win.
narrator: In January 1975, Frank lucas, one of the most Powerful drug lords in new york City, went on trial.
Lucas was tried by the u.
Attorney's office in manhattan And convicted of conspiracy to Distribute narcotics.
His sentence: 40 years in Prison.
Almost immediately, lucas was Then indicted by the state of New jersey, where he lived.
Former detective richie roberts Was there for the trial.
I had observed him before, But the first time I met him was At the trial.
I was sitting at the table, And the courtroom was full of Celebrities.
And frank came in with his Lawyers and their paralegals and Their secretaries Like a rock star.
narrator: In new jersey, Lucas was convicted of Conspiracy and given a 30-year Sentence for a total of 70 Years behind bars.
Lucas was 44 at the time.
when we arrest somebody, and If they were in their early 20s or early 30s, you know, they Had that cockiness and that Swagger.
"I'll do my jail time.
" But then when you arrest them, And they're in their 40s and Early 50s, nobody wants to go to Jail.
narrator: The gangster who Had once prided himself on Killing anyone who turned Against him now decided to flip.
Lucas cut a deal with the u.
Attorney to have his sentence Reduced, providing information That would assist in the arrest Of almost 100 gangsters.
In an unrelated case, lucas' Rival, nicky barnes, was about To go down too.
In March of 1977, after an Eight-month investigation, dea Agent louie diaz had gathered The evidence needed to indict Barnes for running a continuing Criminal enterprise.
The charge carried a life Sentence.
As barnes' lawyers prepared his Case to go to trial, he was Approached by the new york times Magazine for a story, complete With a front-cover photo.
narrator: Nicky picked a Red, white, and blue tie to show Himself as an all-american Businessman.
that new york times Sunday Article appeared in July, and I still remember the headline And the caption: "nicky barnes.
The police say he's harlem's Biggest drug dealer.
But can they prove it?" narrator: The photo made the New president, jimmy carter, Livid.
president carter called the Attorney general, who was That time griffin bell, who then Contacted the head of dea And the u.
Attorney, and then Basically said, "I hope we have A good, strong case against These guys, because this is The most important case in the United states of anerica.
" narrator: But even louie diaz Wondered if mr.
Untouchable Would go down.
He'd already been tried and Acquitted on various charges, Including murder, a total of 13 times.
you just hope that you got The right fruit in that Basket and that the good jury Are gonna eat from it and They're gonna return that Verdict.
narrator: To prevent the Jurors from being intimidated by Pressure from the gang, the Judge ensured the trial would Include the first-ever Anonymous jury.
narrator: The judge mandated That no one was to know the Addresses or the names of these People on the jury, because Nicky was good at getting to the People.
narrator: On January 19, 1978, the jury reached its Verdict.
When it was read, "guilty," There was a gasp in the Courtroom.
that was a shock to many of The people in harlem, because They didn't think this person Was touchable.
But he did get touched, and he Did get put down.
turns out what we brought to The table was enough to convict Nicky on most of the counts that Were brought against him.
He was convicted of a continuing Criminal enterprise, which Carries a life sentence.
narrator: Nicky barnes was Sent to the highest security Prison in the u.
, in marion, Illinois.
Even though he was in prison, Barnes was relying on the mantra Of the council: "treat my Brother as I treat myself.
" narrator: Rumors began to Filter back to barnes that his Second-in-command, guy fisher, Was having an affair with Barnes' wife.
For barnes, this was an Unforgivable violation of his Code of honor.
It was enough to make him turn On his fellow gangsters.
It would be his last act of Revenge against thwho Betrayed him.
his wife was going with Someone, disrespecting him, and He just got fed up and pissed Off.
And he called up and started Cooperating.
narrator: One by one, aided By barnes' testimony, each Member of the council was Convicted of drug trafficking And given a lengthy prison Sentence.
By 1984, a majority of the Council and the country boys Were either on trial, in jail, Or dead.
The days of these heroin Kingpins were finished.
Cocaine had taken over as the Drug of choice in new york and Crack quickly surpassed it as The most lucrative street drug.
Today nicky barnes is out of Jail after serving more than 20 Years of a life sentence.
He's in the witness protection Program after giving federal Evidence against dozens of his Previous associates.
He has a new name and a new Identity, and he hasn't been Back to harlem since the day he Was arrested.
narrator: Now barnes works a 9:00 to 5:00 job in a quiet Suburb somewhere in america.
narrator: But some aren't so Quick to forget the former life Of nicky barnes.
I think my feeling still is That he should be in Prison despite his change of Living habits, the fact that He's a grandfather.
There are a lot of grandfathers That have lost grandchildren Because of what he did.
narrator: Frank lucas is also A grandfather in his late 70s.
He's wheelchair-bound after a Car accident broke his legs and Diabetes crippled his hands.
After more than 30 years since His conviction, lucas says he Has no regrets about his years As a drug kingpin and that given The chance, he'd do it again.

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