Frank Lucas Dies at 88

Frank Lucas, the famous druglord portrayed by Denzel Washington in “American Gangster,” died Saturday, June 1 at age 88.

What We Know…

  • Lucas’s nephew confirmed Lucas died of natural causes at a care facility in New Jersey.
  • Lucas’s life of crime in New York City in the 1960’s became famous through the 2007 film “American Gangster.”
  • Lucas famously began use of the “Cadaver Connection,” a means of smuggling heroin out of Southeast Asia by hiding drugs in coffins of soldiers who died in Vietnam. The heroin he called became known as “Blue Magic,” which made him $1 million a day.
  • Lucas was sentenced to 70 years in prison in 1975 but was released in 1981 for his work as an informant. He returned to prison, though, in 1984 for more drug charges to be released in 1991.
  • “American Gangster” follows Lucas as he takes over for Ellsworth Johnson as the kingpin of drug dealing in Harlem. The film follows Lucas’s famous “Cadaver Connection” dealing and involvement with other crime after his supply of heroin is cut off, and his ultimate arrests.
  • Lucas worked on the film and gave Washington help with his mannerisms.
  • Lucas had seven children at the time of his death, one of which died in 2017.

Lucas’s famous legacy is somewhat controversial, and he has apologized in interviews for the “terrible things” he did in his life.