Updated: Jun 2, 2019
Frank Lucas, the former Harlem drug kingpin whose life and lore inspired the 2007 movie "American Gangster," has died, a relative said Friday. Lucas, who was 88, died Thursday in New Jersey, nephew Aldwan Lassiter said. Lucas had been in declining health, according to his former lawyer.
Raised in North Carolina, Lucas climbed the ranks of crime in Harlem in the 1960s and ‘70s, becoming a major drug dealer known for supplying huge amounts of particularly potent heroin.
He said it netted him millions, and authorities seized over $500,000 in cash when they raided his house in Teaneck, New Jersey in 1975. He was convicted and sentenced to decades in prison, but he turned informant and was released after about five years.
Lucas was quickly arrested again for drug dealing, on a much smaller scale. He served seven more years, getting out again in 1991.