I haven't seen the movie with Denzel Washington yet, I rarely go to a theater waiting instead until the movie is released on DVD or even worse until its on cable tv for free. But I do often read articles related to the drug war and drug cases throughout the world. In doing so I ran across this article about the daughter of Frank Lucas. Frank Lucas is the real drug dealer whose life is depicted in the new Denzel Washington movie "American Gangster". Frank's daughter, Francine Lucas, who grew up at times with both of her parents in prison talks about her life as daughter of one of the most notorious drug dealers in Harlem. Its an interesting article which led me to another even more interesting article on the subject.
It seems the movie was based on an article by Mark Jacobson which was printed in the August 2000 edition of the New York The Magazine. The Article titled "The Return of Superfly" was an in depth interview and article on the life of Frank Lucas. It is a great read for anyone. You realize the true Frank Lucas when he laughs while describing how he oversaw the "Cadaver Connection". The Cadaver Connection involved Franks people smuggling drugs from Vietnam in the coffins of dead soldiers. When asked about the truth that he smuggled drugs into America in this matter his reply to Mark Jacobson was, "We did it, all right . . . ha, ha, ha . . . " Lucas chortles in his dying-crapshooter's scrape of a voice. "Who the hell is gonna look in a dead soldier's coffin? Ha ha ha."
I have lived with people who had a hard life and who will do things others would not for money. Things that like cleaning bathrooms, digging ditches in the snow, or cleaning out sewers. I have also met others who will do illegal things to get money. Rarely in your life will you meet someone who will smuggle drugs in the coffins of our dead soldiers.....and then laugh about it. Frank also tells the story of how he once paid a cook on Henry Kissinger's plane $100,000 to smuggle drugs into the country on the military plane carrying Henry Kissinger on one of his diplomatic missions. Frank laughs as he tells the Kissinger drug smuggling deal just as he did when telling the story of the Cadaver Connection. Frank only speaks of one homicide he committed when speaking to reporter Mark Jacobson however Frank Lucas is believed to have caused the deaths of many. Frank Lucas spent very few years in prison as a result of deals with prosecutors, how he lived to a ripe old age of 80 after turning states evidence is pretty amazing in itself.
The one thing people say about Frank Lucas is that he is a nice guy. Even the judge who sentenced him to 30 years in prison says he is likable and jokes with him like you would with an old friend as she talks to him on the phone. I guess thats the life of a drug kingpin and murder who lives to an old age, you get to be a paid consultant on the movie of your life and you get to joke around on the phone with the judge who sentenced you. I wonder how many mothers and fathers are remembering their children who died at the hands of Frank Lucas, whether directly by his hand or indirectly after losing their lives to the drugs he peddled.