The Biggest Drug Kingpin & Gangster ever: Frank Matthews -the Real American Gangster

The Biggest Drug Kingpin & Gangster ever: Frank Matthews -the Real American Gangster


Frank had more money than the
MOB Matthews was the number 1 He would have ruled the United
States He’s literally fallen off the
face of the earth A lot of people looked up to
Frank, for probably all the
wrong reasons. In my opinion, Frank Matthews
was a much larger drug-dealer
than Frank Lucas. In 1971, Frank Matthews first
came on the police radar, but
only by luck. It was rather peculiar. Got a
report from some precinct, that there were some unusual
goings-on in an apartment
building in Brooklyn. was going on, and Kowalski
comes along He was living in 130 Clarkson
Avenue, in Brooklyn, which
incredibly, as you imagine this
was the same building– apartment building–that Frank
Matthews was living in Well this guy was complaining
that all the parking spaces around his house on the
weekends are all taken up by
out-of-state cars, all going in to one apartment. And he started doing some
investigating And he saw a lot of these guys
were big time drug dealers,
that had charges against them
or being investigated, coming from all over the east
coast, and from the midwest. And this was in about 1970 that
it began. About 18 months or so later, he
presented it to his superiors. And that’s when the
investigation began. Special Agent Gerard Miller and
Detective Roger Garay came to
our office to break some bread
with us and talk about a case they had
called The Frank Matthews Case. Once they got the wire taps up
on Matthews’ phones, the feds
quickly realized just how big
of a fish they had caught in th. They had a wire tap going, and
I heard enough to know that
we’re not dealing here with an
ordinary Brooklyn-based drug op. It’s very huge Nobody knew about this! I mean,
you know, he was developing his
network. He wasn’t even on the
radar. They had no investigation
going, he was making millions
of dollars a year, and if it
wasn’t for one cop, named Joe K, the investigation might not
have started for another ten
years. DEA quickly realized that
Matthews was setting up
hundred-kilo deals down in
Venezuela with the French Conne, which would’ve made him one of
the biggest heroin dealers in the country already at that
point. We got calls with unbelievable
people, of which I won’t
discuss. The DEA office in Greensborough
that I worked very closely with
at the time got a phone call
from a pharmacist, I believed, in Rocksborough,
North Carolina, reported to
them that a black male wanted
to purchase, I think, a 55 galon drum of mannitol,
which is a cutting agent. That’s when his name first came
to my attention. So a federal team was formed,
consisting of DEA, IRS, and
federal prosecutors, to go
after Matthews. Much like what happened with
the prohibition of alcohol in
the 1920s, that gave birth to
what we know now as organized crime in this
country, the so-called mafia. In the 1960s there became a
huge demand for drugs in this
country. That gave rise to a new kind of
organized crime, what I call
drug kingpins or drug lords. When Frank arrived in New York,
probably in ’66 or ’67, city in
the whole country was really
going crazy. Crime had doubled in a few
years, there was the civil
right movements, the war in
Vietnam, and drugs. In 1959, there was about a
hundred thousand heroin addicts
in the country. By ’69, there was over a
million, and most of them were
in the New York area. It became almost like a perfect
storm, and I was thrown right
in the middle of that. In 1971, I had a front-row seat
to what was really going on in
the drug game. In ’70, ’71, heroin was endemic
on the entire blocks in
Brooklyn. Entire apartment complexes were
addicted, and small ten dollar
packages of heroin was being
used, and President Nixon was furious. We must wage what I have called
total war against public enemy
number one in the United States, the problem of dangerous drugs. The president called all of us
down to The White House for a
meeting on his drug-abuse plan. He was livid with rage when I
told him what was going on in
Brooklyn. We had a heroin problem in the
country, and definitely in New
York City. And heroin addicts created
violence against innocent
civilians. They’d come from Staten Island,
New Jersey, Long Island,
Connecticut. When you think about New York
City in the 70s, you look over
your shoulder three or four times before you
got to the train station or
your car. I mean, it was a gangster town.
Nobody wanted to go to New York
City. The politicians made a lot of
noise, the media focused on
that, which forced law enforcements
to go after those guys that
were dealing heroin. And of course you couldn’t have
all that crime without police
corruption. Some former pushers say police
were more interested in getting
their heroin than arresting
them. On one occasion, I was dealing
drugs and they came and took
all my drugs and just let me go Six weeks ago in Harlem, Black
Panthers seize large quantities
of heroin from drug peddlers
and poured it over the street. They refused to turn it over to
the police because they
insisted the police will only
resell it to the pushers. It still took a little while
before he was taken seriously. Let’s face it, they couldn’t
believe that this black guy,
you know, was–was working in
21 states, you know, with this huge network and
people were coming from all
over the country to buy dope
from him. In the 70s, … civil rights,
when the African-Americans were
becoming more prominent in
business, the drug dealers wanted to do
the same thing. A study was done in the mid 60s
in a single black and Spanish
harlem. They found that 33% of the
population was addicted to
heroin. One third of all the men,
women, and children. And Frank Matthews at that
time, I think, was probably
under 30 years old. Was extremely bright, had good
leadership skills, and had
convened a meeting of all of
the top African-American and Hispanic
drug dealers in Atlanta,
Georgia, 1971. And I assume that this means
that he had finally gotten
confident that he had locked in
his contacts with the French
Connection down in Venezuela
and he was really ready to roll. And his goal was to unite and
form a family where they cut
out the Italian mafia and went right to the source of
heroin and boarded in the
control of distribution. Miami, Baltimore, Philadelphia,
and Atlanta, similar
information was coming back. Some guy named Matthews was
behind the local organization
in those cities. And he had been identified as
one of the largest, if not the
largest heroin trafficker in
the United States. It has been a lot of recent
movies on Lucas being the king
of drugs, that’s not true. And Matthews was the number one
heroin pioneer. Nicky Barnes, and all of them.
They were nothing. They
couldn’t touch Frank. I don’t know where they build
the mob up like that. Nicky Barnes was supplying New
York. Frank was supplying about
25 states. Had he not been–his wings had
not been clipped, in ’72 he
would’ve ruled the United
States. In my opinion, Frank Matthews
was a much larger drug dealer
than Frank Lucas. So here you have a black guy,
meeting a Cuban to a Puerto
Rican to get heroin from French
gangster. The united nations of crime. Black power was for equality
for African Americans. Black gangsters, were
committing crimes. They’re destroying the
community, ok? So, you know, as
I say in the street, you don’t wanna get this thing
twisted. Even though the US economy was
booming in the late 60s, the
inner cities were dying. Just as the black population
started coming up to the north
and mass industrial jobs started
declining. By the early 60s heroin was
getting popular in places like
Harlem, Baltimore, Detroit. And then around 1964, ’65, it
was really growing. It was
booming like.. A river of money is flowing
because business is so good. Put this together with the big
pool of unemployed black males
that were on the streets in the
cities, and you have the birth of a new
industry. Tens of thousands, hundreds of
thousands of people standing on
the corner, selling drugs. And that’s the world that Frank
Matthews took over. My name is Clinton “Shorty”
Buise. I was born in Baltimore,
Maryland. It was a poor community. We
lived in poor housing. From
that poor housing we went to
poor schools, received a poor education, and
it turned us right back into
the poor community. I grew up in small tobacco farm
in Eastern Carolina, not far
from where Frank lived. And I actually grew up in sort
of similar circumstances, you
know, my fater was
a.sharecropper. In 1959 I went to New York as a
gambler. So I used to gamble
and play … cards, I was what
you call a Solomon. I had a lot of sympathy for
them. A lot of them were
extremely intellegent. We didn’t have many choices. So
when you don’t have a choice,
you have to take a chance. They could not make money in
the real world. They were not given the
education opportunities that
the whites had. So a lot of us took to what was
available for us. You know,
gambling, trying to pimp women,
drug-dealing. I needed money. I liked nice clothes, pretty
women. They paid you, what, a dollar
fifty five an hour, and the
only other way I knew to earn
that type of money, was in narc. African-American parents, my
parents they marched with Dr.
King, but that became something
they wanna fill their children. To be able to go to college, to
be educated, and become earners
in society. And the drug guys were pushing
heroin. Well I started in the drug game
kinda early. In the early 60s, sellin’ what
they call the yellow jackets,
and red devils,.. So you had kids who–that …
that struggled and marched and
wanted to make sure that it was truly successful,
suddenly got involved in drugs. So it was just destroying the
African-American community. I went to the corner of, uh,
100 Eleventh street, 7th
avenue, bought 65 dollars worth
of dope, brought it back downtown,
bagged it up into two-dollar
bags. The guy who might have been a
stick-up guy, he might’ve
stopped sticking up and start selling drugs cause
he had less chance of getting
caught. Just start gravitating toward
that way of life. To try and understand Frank
Matthews you have to understand
the area around Durham, North
Carolina. That’s where he grew up in, and
it was a really unique time and
place. Three of the biggest drug
kingpins in the United States
at that time were black and
were all from North Carolina. It was Frank Lucas, Leslie
“Ike” Atkinson, and Frank
“Pewee” Matthews. I was working at a supermarket,
he was working over at North
Durham. All of us were trying to, uh,
make a nickel and a dime to
keep ourselves going. I met him, and we clicked and
talked and everything else, and
it was like two homeboys. Durham, North Carolina is deep
with rich black history Some of the first in the United
States of America, coloured,
negro, African-American, black, who
did what they did came from
Durham. Durham was called the, uh, the
Black Wall Street. We had our own shoeshine
parlor, our own insurance
company, our own banks, we had our own
schools, we had our own fire
department. I’m at Scarborough & ….
Funeral Home, family business
in Durham that started out in
1871. We’re the fifth oldest black
funeral home in the United
States. Me, just being a southern
country boy, I thought black
and white relations were great. A lot of blacks in Durham had a
lot of money. There were very wealthy in
blacks in Durham. We had three white business,
one oriental restaurant, a
hundred and twenty five black
businesses. But Durham, in comparison to
other cities in the south, was
not a rapid racist place. No murders, no hangings, no
lynchings. The whole atmosphere in Durham
in the 50s and 60s, gave us the
incentive to try and achieve
more. And I’ll always use the word
“the Godftather”. The Godfather to the black
community back in the late 1800s was the man himself,
Washington Duke, of Duke
University. The high school Frank attended
produced many notable people. And it’s sent most of its
graduates out to college. And I came from a family of 13.
And out of our 13, 12 of us
went to college. He came from a thriving
community that produced a lot
of people that really succeeded in mainstream
society. Now why he chose to take the
path he did is probably a
secret we’ll never know. My classmate, Shirley Caesar,
the gospel singer. Ernie Barnes, the artist, my
classmate. They got 325 people out of my
graduating class from Hillside,
I think 300 of us went to
college. The briefs written for the
supreme court decision on
de-segregation, written in North Carolina
college in Durham. We knew we had to be the best.
We were taught that by our
parents. It wasn’t unusual for young
blacks in that day to want to
move up ….They all want to
make it big. Ironically, Frank Matthews’
only real conviction that we
know of was for stealing
chickens down in Durham when he was a
teenager. I think it was spring in 1961
and it was a real pretty
saturday afternoon. Me and one of my partners
received a call into an old
farmer’s poultry department,
someone’s stealing chicken. Saw a young black male running
through the woods behind some
houses back toward Canal Street
in Durham Saw the young gentleman come up
to a house on Canal Street and we approached him and we
incidentally–we arrested him
for stealing chickens that day. That all of us were thieves per
se, because all of us made a
side hustle here and there. But no, he just got–the rumor
was he got arrested for
stealing chicken. He may have gotten caught, but
wasn’t the only one that stole
chickens. The best i remember we said to
the judge that he was
cooperative with us and being a
16 year old, I think the judge slapped him
on the back of his hand. And he left Durham probably the
year after he was arrested here. So Frank leaves Durham as a
teenager and he goes to
Philadelphia. He stays there briefly, it
appears he got in some kind of
trouble for running numbers
there, but probably not convicted of
anything. And he left Philadelphia and he
goes to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and
becomes a barber. Barbershop’s a perfect place to
keep running numbers. You wanted to be a big time
gangster, where would you go? You’d go to New York City. He started off as a barber in
Bedford-Stuyvesant, met a big
time numbers king who, because of Frank’s personality
I guess, took him under his
wing and tried to get him
introduced into the Italians so that Frank could get into
the drug trade. It’s very unclear what happened
at the meeting. I believe it was with the
Gambino crime family and they
turned him down for whatever
reason. And so Frank for all intents
and purposes should have been
shun out of the drug trade and
maybe end up as a low-ranking member of the trade
like most blacks at that time. At that time, we really didn’t
believe that the backgrounds of
these people in the inner
cities didn’t give them the powr to do the things the mafia did. It was a monopoly. It was one
of the biggest monopolies in
history. Ninety-five percent of the
heroin coming into the United
States at that time came
through the so-called French Co. You had poppies in Turkey, you
had the laboratories in
Marseilles, and you had the
distribution network to Montreal in New York City Through the Puerto Rican
numbers dealer, Frank made
another contact, Rolando
Gonzales, who was Cuban. Gonzales got indicted in New
York, and fled to Venezuela. But before he left he sold
Frank his first kilo of drugs
and Frank was off and running. Rolando was an astute dealer,
and he wanted to meet Frank. So Gonzales gets down to
Venezuela and he hooks up with
the remnants of the French
Connection. Frank was going down there that
one time for other people than
himself. Then Frank showed up alone. And then he became so powerful
that they decided to work with
him. Frank is on his own, and he’s
getting heroin directly from
the French Connection. The only black guy, the only
non-mafia person, really, in
the United States to be dealing
directly with the French Connec. The drug connection was sacred. If you had a drug connection,
man, you had something going on. He did go down to Venezuela,
Caracas. He was waiting in the delivery
of 60 pounds of heroin It was really a golden time to
be a drug dealer. The US economy was hitting on
all cylinders, the streets were
full of money. So any night of the week
everybody has on their
jewelery, their furs, or some
other times their diamonds, the, they come up they women, on any
given night Frank Matthews, Nicky Barnes,
Pee Wee Kirkland It was a joyous time in New York Everybody was making money.
Everybody was happy. People running from this place
to that place. It was just
marvelous. It was a marvelous place to be.
And then you had a lot of night
clubs in New York that were so
fabulous. You had the bell, crook, and
candle on 8th Street, you had Wilt Small’s Paradise. Cause all the cuties would be
there. All the players would rock
too.And those were all in
Harlem. I’m a Harlem knight. Frank was supplying the biggest
drug dealers in Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Atlanta,
Boston, New Haven Connecticut, Miami,
New Orleans, all over the
country. In terms of the New York scene,
he’s definitely the biggest
gangster that came out of New
York, and he may be the biggest
gangster, period. Now I have never seen Frank
with any money or doing any
deals or anything like that. His relationship with me was
one good friend to another good
friend. His word to my word. He was a guy that had great
leadership skills and knew how
to control the product, he had
distribution all along the eastt and controlled the organization
through violence and
intimidation. Because I don’t know what Frank
did for a living, but I know he
was always there for me if I
needed him. Within a couple of years, he
was one of the biggest drug
dealers in the history of the
country. And it’s really amazing. I mean, you look at the records
from that period, there were
dozens of people from all over
the country dealing with him. DEA had information he was
getting heroin in up to a
hundred kilo increments–pure
heroin–from the Fench Connecti. By the time those hit the
street at, say, 10% purity,
that means a hundred k’s is a
thousand k’s and if they’re 20.000 dollars each wholesale,
it’s 20 million dollars. You know, we talk about Frank
Lucas, right? We talk about Nicky Barnes. They were essentially New York
dealers, New Jersey dealers. That’s all I heard. Nicky this, Nicky that. Nicky,
Nicky, Nicky. I didn’t really understand
about Frank until I rose in
this lifestyle. If he wasn’t investigated, he
probably would have set up a
truly national and eventually an international network that
would’ve just boggle the mind. He was in a league of his own. He was a top–not only an
organizer, but a businessman.
He saw himself as that. He posed as a real estate
developer which was a front,
but he bought a whole series of properties of land where he was
informed the federal highway
was going to go in. Had that gone through, he would
have been a multi,
multi-millionaire just on the
real estate.. This is the story that I know
to be true, you know, because I
was there when the gentleman asked him and reminded him. He had given a million dollars
to a friend to hold and
disappeared again. So when the gentleman sees him,
again he said “Frank, when you
go come get that money?” And Frank goes “What money?” And he said “Man, remember when
you gave me a shopping bag.
Those shopping bags? That
money?” He said “I’ll come get it in a
week or so.” So? How much money does he have? When I first met him, his name
was not out there like that but
years went, a couple of years later, ’68,
’69, his name was ringing like
doorbells. Word was in Durham he has taken
over the black mafia, was the
word in Durham. And it was the way it was
described back to us at the
police department. And I said, “Not little
Frankie. Ain’t no way in the
world he can get that big.” And he did. First time that I saw him, he
was just like a little country
boy to me. He was dressed in a
plaid shirt I think it was. On lenox avenue on 100th and 40
something street, and I
started, you know, following– Frank was doing a walk and talk
with somebody on the street,
and I’m watching the movements
of Frank and I smacked right into a car. Frank came over and said “Oh
these damn photographers,” you
know, “Damn drivers” “Honky
drivers.” I tell you, he was ahead of us
all the time. I hate to say it. I’d say he was definitely
smarter than Frank, okay. Frank Lucas, yeah. Definitely. You know, the reports are he
controlled the eastern seaboard. So he was definitely a leader.
At a very young age. He had this penchant for
blondes. He befriended one,
bought her an apartment, but
beat the hell out of her. At one time, he had too much
coke in him. At the same time, he had a
common-law wife, named Barbara
Hinton. He was married and had three
children. Franks’s appetite for women was
legendary. He supposedly had girlfriends
all over the country, but he
still maintain a fairly normal
home life with Barbara Hinton and his kids. And Barbara Hinton even hired a
tutor to come into the house,
you know, like a typical
middle-class mother to help the kids after
school. started teaching in Brookly in
1968 at one elementary school. Grade four at the time. And
around 1971 I started working
for a tutoring service in
Brooklyn. And one of the clients that we
had was who I call the Matthews
family, and I was sent there probably
because I lived and worked in
the area where they lived. They lived in Flatbush, I lived
in Flatbush and worked in
Flatbush area, so I was
probably the closest tutor. So I was sent to their home in
the apartment in Clarkson
Avenue. Very nice boys, very
well-behaved, did the work, in
all honesty I don’t think they
necessarily needed tutoring per. I was paid weekly, yes, I was
paid a hundred dollars for the
week. So I never really got into what
Mr. Matthews was doing. At one time, she once mentioned
to me something about they were
in real estate and then I just assumed that they were
in real estate. I rang the bell and the door
opened and it actually was
Frank Matt–who now I know was
Frank Matthews. And he told me that the family
would be there in a few
minutes, that it was– you know, they were out
whatever they were doing, and I
should come in. By this time Frank is
generating unheard of amounts
of cash. The feds heard him on a wired
tap, it’s some deal in a hotel
in the bronx, talking about having four
million dollars in cash with
him. It was right by the 41st
precinct there was a stadium
motel. He put four million dollars on
the table, at one time. And he bragged about this and
he says “let me see if you can
match this.” And nobody could at the time. Now four million dollars in
cash in 1971 or 2 is like 25
million dollars now. So those were the amounts of
money Frank Matthews was using
on a daily basis. The police really starting to
get a sense of what was going
on, the scope of Franks
operation. When they raided an apartment
that probably belonged to his
lieutenant, Mickey Beckwith in
Brooklyn. They nicknamed it the
Ponderosa. The Ponderosa is
where they would process the
heroin. And he would–this is a
classic–he would have them at
the table with no clothes on. The drug cutters would work at
the Ponderosa which has one on
East 56th Street at the time. We called it Ponderosa. We were
bagging up, cutting dope. It took us an hour to get
through the doors. We finally had to break a wall
down, that’s when we realized
and the bosses realized that he
was not just a street dealer. He was an international
trafficker. They cut so much dope in the
Ponderosa that when the police
raided it, they found a half
kilo of residue just left on the floor. They’re mixing the drugs with
paddles from canoes. They’re mixing the drugs with
paddles from canoes. It was two million glassine
envelopes. Ten dollars worth of heroin in
each one, that’s 20 million
dollars they were gonna pack up
and at one location. The drug cutters would work for
24 to 36 hours straight. One DEA … I saw talked about
the time when one of Frank’s
cutters died in Ponderosa cause he had inhaled too much
heroin and the confidential informant
told him that when the police
came, Frank came outside and
told him he was gonna handle it in the
leave. And they did. One of the DEA
case agents told me at the
time, trying to make a case on Frank Matthews was like trying
to arrest God. So Frank is supplying the
biggest drug dealers in most of
the cities up and down on the
east coast. Philadelphia was probably his
biggest stronghold. He worked with people like
Major Coxson, Cadillac Tommy,
Ferrington who came up with him
from Durham, North Carolina, John “Pop”
Darby who became his right-hand
man, and Tyrone “Mr.
Millionaire” Palmer. But there were a lot of people
living in the Frank’s
organization that were killed
and executed in Philadelphia. At the time, Philly’s drug
underworld was under siege by a
group calling themselves the
Black Mafia. Philadelphia … they cut a
drug dealer’s head off and put
his hand on the outside window rail of the bar where the drug
dealers hung out. The Black Mafia were Nation of
Islam members that operated out
of Temple No. 12 in Philadelphia and they were
extorting drug dealers, they
are selling drugs themselves, and they were involved in a
lot, a lot of murders. The Black Mafia resented the
fact that Frank was trying to
set up franchises which what
they were, he was trying to franchise his
operation. Did he pull the trigger? No.
But did violence bother him?
Not at all. And he had underlings like
Beckwith and “Pop” Darby and a
lot of other people who
could’ve easily whacked anybody they wanted to, and they’re dead of course, we
know that. But Matthews himself was kind
of a star in his own right. And we couldn’t really
associate him with pulling the
trigger or shoving a knife at
somebody. Well I used to see a lot within
Atlantic City. At the Club
Harlem. Somehow, Tyrone “Mr.
Millionaire” Palmer got in a
mess with the Black Mafia in a
deal for a quarter million dolls of cocaine or either he pay
them to do … somebody or they
felt like he owed them some
money cause the deal’s getting . So on an Easter Sunday morning
of 1972 the Philly Black Mafia
finds Tyrone Palmer inside the
Club Harlem in Atlantic City, which is some place Frank like
to hang out at, but he didn’t
happen to be there that night. But Tyrone Palmer was. Philly
Black Mafia pulls out their
guns, huge shoot out in front
of hundreds of witnesses to kill Tyrone Palmer and his bodyguard and free
women that were with him. The witnesses are all
terrified, no one ever comes
forward, so no one ever
arrested and convicted for the . The death was on Easter Sunday
morning. We were getting ready
to leave out of there when he
got killed. We had just left from that area
when Fat Ty, they called him–I
think they killed him out of
jealousy. That Black Mafia was leaning on
everybody at that time. You know, if you didn’t give
them some money, you couldn’t
operate in Philly. Ain’t too much change about
that right now as we speak. The violence got so bad that
Matthews had Pop Darby come up
to New York to live so he’d be
out of the way of harm down in Philly to continue to run his
operation from New York. It got interesting when more
murders came in, more murders
that Frank had committed or had
something to do with. “Turk” Scott was a senator from
Baltimore and Frank had him
killed. Frank didn’t trust him. I don’t
think he was a homeboy, to tell
you the truth. Some law enforcements feel like
Matthews had something to do
with “Turk” Scott’s death, but
it doesn’t appear so. There’s actually a guy named
Sherman Dobson who was the son
of a prominent Minister in
Baltimore, who was implicated in the killing and he said he
did it on behalf of Black
October which is a black Muslim
group that supposedly wanted tod the streets of drug dealers who
were harming the community. Now, in an interesting aside,
Sherman Dobson’s cousin was
Tammera Dobson who was the star
of the black exploitation movie, Cleopatra Jones. Baltimore was another one of
Frank’s strongholds. And it really gives you a good
idea of how big he was when you
talk to two of his chief
contacts down there, Big Head Brother and Liddy
Jones. And it really gives you
a good idea of how big he was
when you talk to two of his chif contacts down there, Big Head
Brother and Liddy Jones. Those guys are legends in
Baltimore. But to them, Frank Matthews is
a legend. We knew that he had a couple of
contacts in Baltimore and
they’re Brother Carter and
Liddy Jones. I met Frank Matthews through a
guy named Reggie Mason. He
brought him by my house… I got my deals with 19.000 a
kilo. He had a better price
than anyone for me. Big Head Brother’s so well
known in Baltimore. I mean,
he’s been name-checked on The
Wire. Baltimore alone- it was
millions, I was getting big
money. I supplied all of
Baltimore. He would give me a lot of
drugs. But he wasn’t giving me
enough. I had a girlfriend named
Brenda, Brenda. She said “I
know somebody in Brooklyn, who
can give you all the drugs you ” I said “Who do you know in
Brooklyn?” She said “MIckey. Mickey
Beckwith.” He told us “I’mma give you 5
k’s, and just give me 22.000
for a k.” I used to cut it and sell a k,
and hold a k. So I was making
real good money. He was like a Shakespearean
character, he had so many, so
many elements to his
personality. Everybody that talks about him
had something different to say. A friend of mine, he came to
see a gentleman whom I was
working for at the time. He gave him fourty thousand
dollars and he was suppose to
meet us at a certain time to
pick up his product. Now he’s just throwin us a
bone. You know, looking out for
us. You know “You’re hustling.
Here, take this money.” He forgot all about it. Gave us
fourty thousand dollars, didn’t
come to the meet. Maybe four months later, my man
told him “come get that money.”
later on, and Frank told him:
“keep it.” As his fortune grew he became
more extravagant, in his taste
and in his personality, and in
the way he treated people I owed him about sixty thousand
dollars at one time. I got it in my car, I keep
trying to get it to him. So when I did get him, he said
“Man what’d you keep calling me
for?” I said “Man you know what’s
up.” He said “No, if you’re broke,
keep it, motherfucker. If
you’re broke, keep it. I don’t
wanna hear that.” This business brings out the
best of some people, and it
brings out the worst of some
people. A Rolls-Royce pulled up from
Jamaica, a neighborhood in
Queens And Frank went around to the
back of his car took out a
kilo. A kilo, an unmapped
marked kilo with his fingerprinm and threw it over to the guy in
the car, the guy put it in the
trunk of the car, Frank closed
his trunk. That’s how ballsy he was. By the late 60s, ’69-’70
everybody knew who he was and
what he was about. How can just one guy know so
many people? He was everywhere! He was in Las Vegas, he went to
Atlantic City, he was in
Harlem, you know, he was in
Brooklyn, and people, everywher. They liked him. And I didn’t know how to get in
touch with him at all but he
always knew where to find me or
find whatever. And in those days, Frank would
come to Durham often. Frank would come back, driving
big automobiles. Cadillacs, Rolls-Royces, most
days I find he always dress
nice. Even though what he was doing
was wrong but, you know, he
made it possible for a lot of
people to have a lot of things. And if it wasn’t for him, I
wouldn’t have finished my last
year of law school. Because he came to Durham and I
would stood there and I was in
a problem. And he helped
tremendously. Financially, he helped me.
FInancially and morally. He talked to me and told me
what I was here to be and what
he felt that I should do. He trusted his own kind. The
people that came out of Durham. A gentleman came on to the
police department, no one
recall his name, but he ended
up marrying Frank’s –well he called it Frank’s
sister. But it was actually his aunt.
Cause Frank was raised by his
grandmother. This officer, I was his
sergeant, everytime we work the
midnight shift he always wanted
to take off on Saturday or Friday night and go
to New York. I asked “What are you doing in
New York?” He said “My wife’s nephew owns
a bunch of apartments down in
New York and we gonna go and
count his rent money.” Well, but then talk was that in
Durham that Frank was probably
a drug-dealer in New York City. I had suspicion that the police
officer that worked with me he
would’ve had to know something. Here we come to yet another
unbeliveable chapter in the
saga of Frank Matthews. In ’71 he decided to build
himself a house. So he goes to this neighborhood
called Todt Hill in Staten
Island Mrs. Matthews told me that
within a few months they’d be
moving to Staten Island, and they are building a house
on Todt Hill and she want to know if I’d be
interested in coming out there.
And I said I would be. He lived in Todt Hill, Staten
Island. Which, even to this
day, is a very high-profile
neighborhood. Frank was the only black guy
living in that neighborhood. Beautiful house, circular
driveway. I don’t know houses, I don’t
know if it’s colonial or
whatever, but it’s just a
magnificent, beautiful house from the
outside in Todt Hill. I saw something in the bathroom
that I never saw before, which
was hand-painted sinks. The sinks were hand-painted,
there were paintings in the sink Which is something that I came
home and told my wife I never
saw something like that before. And it was just absolutely
beautiful and tasteful. Very
tasteful. I’m Joan Diamond. And my
husband, Keith Diamond worked
for Frank Matthews. In 1972 I gave birth to
twin–fraternal twin sons. She was just saying how great
it is, and you know, that she
has young children too, and being very nice to me and
congratulating me “that’s
wonderful that you had twins”. About a week later after she
called me I got this package
came to my door. And I opened it up and it was
from her and Frank Matthews and
it was two covers for the cribs like quilts and
pillow shams for pillows. And they were magnificent. They
were beautiful. They were something that you
would buy, like in a very
expensive department store. And I was a little bit taken
aback that it was just–this
was like really like an
expensive gift from just someone who is
basically a stranger to me. And I had just bought a new
car. Bought a new Chevrolet
Malibu in 1972. And I pulled up in the car, and
I was walking up the driveway
and he said to me, “oh you bought a new car?
looks like a new car!” and I said “yes,” and he said to me, “you could
probably get three thousand
dollars for that car.” I bought the car for 4200. It
was a brand new car. I said,
“Yes, I guess I could get three
thousand–” he said “Bring me the 3000
dollars, and you can pick any
car you want in the driveway. You can pick one of my cars.” So, in that sense he was very
nice to me. It was something that I didn’t
wanna get involved with but, in
that extent he was very nice to
me. So guess who two of his
neighbors were in Todt Hill. When I say neighbors I don’t
mean around the corner, I mean
next door and across the street. Tommy “Three Fingers”
Lucchesse, the founder of the
Luchesse crime family, and Big Paul Castellano who was
the underboss of the Gambinos,
later went on to become the boss and was killed by
John Gotti when Gotti took over
the Gambinos. And why would Frank want to
live in a neighborhood that had
two of the biggest mobsters– Italian mobsters at that time
on the scene. So he had two very angry
Italian mafia chieftans looking
at his lavish outdoor parties,
noisy parties every night. And these La Costa Nostra guys
were bosses, and they kept
very, very low profiles. And heres Matthews showing up
in his usual Rolls-Royce and
all kinds of things going on. The Italians were racists, you
know, and didn’t like blacks. Especially so-called uppity
black like Frank Matthews
asserting themselves, let alone
living in their midst. Frank at this time was telling
people that Carlo Gambino, the
head of the Gambino family, the head of the mafia
commision, had told Paul
Castelano to give the DEA
information about the license plates of all the cars
that were coming to Frank’s
house. And somebody was giving
anonymous information. In fact, the intelligence was
pouring in surreptitiously from
somebody on that street, giving the DEA guys license
plate datas of every license
plate that showed up in the
Matthews’ house. And Frank said, he put the
police on the boss of the boss.
That’s what Frank said. We did not know who really
turned that in, I think maybe
the agents know but I certainly
didn’t. He knew after they bought the
house it wasn’t a place he
should be, he was the only
black fella living on that stre. Some of the boys from the mob
visited him and suggested that
he was out of his water. And they also suggest he
shouldn’t have a million dollar
house in Todt hill on Staten
Island. The mob, The Gambino family
were involved in drugs for a
long period of time. DEA spent a lot of time picking
off various members of the
Gambino. It was already rumblings, the
mob was mad at him because he
was going around the Italians
to get his heroin from the French
Connection. So he’s selling drugs to all
the big black dealers, that’s
cutting into the mafia’s
profits. And now he move down the same
block with them. They didn’t
like it. Castelano and certainly “Three
Fingers” Brown would have
wanted him killed. The feds overheard on wired
taps that mafia members talking
about having Frank killed
because of his entry to the heroin business and
living on Todt Hill. Where he warned the Italians,
he said “Touch one of my men,
and I’ll drive down Mulberry
Street and kill every wop I see” See, you can see that they
respected what — before this
time, he would’ve been gone. It just showed the personality
of Frank. Frank really didn’t
give a shit. I mean, he was fearless. And he wasn’t gonna let a bunch
of–at the time the black
gangster community use the word
‘dagels’ to refer to Italians– he wouldn’t let any dagoss or
guineas tell him what to do. Picture the mob, they got all
these men, you know, soldiers
behind, but they couldn’t even
touch him. Frank got money. Frank had more
money than the mob. So you know, they were jealous.
You know, black dude living
next door. You know, I think the mob is
overrated. And I knew some heavyweights in
the mob. Did time with them, saw them on
the streets, did business with
them. I know of the deals that were
put together, they couldn’t
come up with the money they were supposed to come up
with to handle this. They control the docks and
stuff like and they had unions
and they were always pinching
pennies–that’s what I called i. But then there came a time when
they weren’t needed. It was a serious issue that
could’ve really created a lot
of problems for somebody
because it would end in violenc. I’m pretty sure of that if
Frank would’ve stayed in Todt
Hill. In the early 70s Las Vegas was
a playground for America and
especially America’s gangsters
of all kinds. Frank Matthews seems to have
been one of the biggest
celebrities in Vegas in the
early 70s. Everywhere he went, people knew
him. Frank was great. He even took care of the guy
who handed you towels in the
men’s room. Gave him a
hundred-dollar bill for doing nothing but hand him a
towel. “Frank! Hey, Frank! Hey,
Frank!” All of the people got
to call him. They were talking to Frank
Matthews. I said, “Goddamn!” When we were
walking out there I thought
they were talking about Frank
Sinatra. “Hey Frank! Hey Frank!” Maybe he attended the fight,
maybe. But he was more interested in
the hookers and the parties
that they threw in the rooms. I got locked up in Vegas. So I was in the ring. Mohammad
Ali and Jerry Quarry was
fighting. George Foreman got in the ring,
and was talking shit to
Muhammed Ali, soI said, “Punk, you can’t even beat me.
What the fuck you gonna do?!” So they locked me up. So when they would take me out
the door, Frank pulled out the
lieutenant. And then the police
said, “Let him go.”. So Frank got me out of there,
just like that. He took duffel bags of cash to
one casino. Dropped them on the
cashier’s tables where they
laundered the money for him And they took fifteen to
eighteen percent for the house. Frank, now, used to take money,
then clean it through Vegas. They had about ten big
suitcases, they had about ten
of ’em filled with money. They put all these suitcases in
his room. Then they go to the
fight. You know, went to the fight and
left the money there. One night at the Thunderbird
Hotel, Frank ran into Eddie
Jackson and Courtney Brown, two
of the biggest dealers in Detro. And they struck up a
conversation. This black guy stand at the
table, got a pocketful–a
handfull of money, gambling. This black guy stand at the
table, got a pocketful–a
handfull of money, gambling. Eddie sees him over there, he
don’t know who he is. He said, “What is he betting
on?” He’s out betting against
him. And then finally got to say,
“Hey, homie. Where you from?
I’m from Detroit.” And he said, “I’m from New
York. My name is Frank.” Frank Matthews?” “I know, we got some mutual
friends that know you.” But like all drug traffickers,
eventually the party’s over. No matter how far behind law
enforcement is, they eventually
catch up with the bad guys. Matthews was in Las Vegas
during the first few days of
January 1973 and at this time, an indictment came out of New
York, against him. The next morning, las vegas
headlines New York Kingpin, Frank
Matthews, was arrested with
twenty five thousand dollars,
girlfriends, so forth. He was arrested in Las Vegas by
local DEA agents. He was arrested in Las Vegas by
local DEA agents. The judge leveled a bond of
five million dollars. Which was unheard of at the
time, it was the biggest bond
in history. The five million dollar bail
was the highest at the time,
established for a person in the
United States. Which, if you were to level
that bond today, it’d be thirty
million dollars! Matthews, when he arrested,
asked “How am I gonna pay
that?” and the IRS agents said “Preferably in cash, Mr.
Matthews.” And it was all over the news,
about a major drug-dealer who
was captured in Las Vegas and then I started getting
phone calls from people. I got phone calls from my
parents in Florida, I got phone
calls from friends who knew– “Did you hear? Did you hear?
Turn on the radio!” and it was
him. And my first reaction was I was
disappointed because I wanted
the job. We get down to Clark county
jail, there was Frank Matthews. “Goddamn, homie! They got you
all too?” And I said, yeah “you didn’t
tell me you was hot.” Miller and I flew out
immediately to question him,
and we interviewed him, but
he’s toying with us, completely. So we joked and we said “Man,
fuck these motherfuckers I
ain’t care what they talking
about.” He said “I’m gonna post,bond
half a million dollars, and I’m
gone.” He did indicate that he didn’t
want to talk to white
prosecutors or white agents. And we spoke to Marshal Butler,
then the US Marshal for
Brooklyn. A black marshal. He flew out to meet us. Marshal Butler went in and
spoke to him alone. And Frank
opened up to him. That he was tired of paying
huge amounts of money to the La
Costa Nostra, and a group of Jewish
businessmen in Brooklyn. Who
were distributing heroin. We were never able to crack who
the Jewish businessmen in
Brooklyn were, but we had
sufficient information that the Bronx mafia guys, the
Italians, were giving Matthews
smaller and smaller units and
overcharging him. He hated that. He wanted to
branch out and be his own
distributor. And he hated the Italians
because they hated the blacks. A weird aspect of the
indictments was that a bunch of
people in Venezuela were
indicted with Matthews, because one of the French
Connection couriers was
actually caught. We had indicted Frank and our
indictment included about 20
foreign defendants and
including some customs– Venezuelan customs agents, and
Jules Cerini the courier who
came from Marseilles with 22
kilos of heroin. Cerini had been told that the
bribes were paid and he’d have
no trouble coming into Caracas
with his suitcases. He was in fact arrested with 22
kilos of one hundred percent
pure heroin. Matthews paid cash for it, and
he would’ve bagged up 22 kilos
every month had they got away
with it. Miller and I were requested to
report to the criminal division
immediately for a meeting with
the CIA. And the General Counsel told
us, “Under no circumstances
that your indictment be
presented as its. We are wiping off the
Venezuelan portion–the
International portion of your
indictment. But there are international
ramifications as the things
we’re doing in Venezuela and
with the Russians that we can’t talk about. Need
I say more?” and we said we understand, and
they said “Have a nice day.” So why did the CIA–what were
they doing with the French
Connection or in Venezuela? Maybe they had operations in
Venezuela, they were involved
in the spying on Fidel Castro
that they didn’t want to jeopardize, or maybe
they were protecting the French
Connection because the French
Connection was helping them fight communism
behind the scenes in Europe, because there was an alliance
that were set up at the end of
WWII. When the allies left, they made
deal with ex-fascists, and
criminal elements, and the
people who founded the French Connection were Nazi
collaborators during WWII. The money they stole from
people while they were working
for the Nazis, was used to set
up the first heroin labs outside of
Marseilles in the late 40s. If you raise a bond, like 5
million dollars, they’re gonna
say “where did you get the
money from?”. But when they went to New York,
325.000 was raisable. This made the law enforcements
officials that were
investigating him go crazy. 350.000 was ludicrous for this
type of dealer. Some of his friends in Durham
managed to raise the money,
which got him out of jail. Now, whether Frank planned to
leave or not at first is
doubtful. He was going to court
for six months. Big Head Brother from Baltimore
was part of the case. He had to show up weekly at the
federal courthouse. He was going to court. He was
going to court on the case with
Big Head now. And Frank was showing up for
court but one day, at the
courthouse he bumps into one of
the federal prosecutors, and the prosecutor tells him
that there’s another indictment
that’s gonna come down on Frank
that carries life. In 1973, Frank made his last
appearance in the eastern
district of New York in front
of Judge Ray Dearie. One day as he arrived, the
Chief of Criminal Division Ray
Dearie, now a federal judge,
Matthews said to him as Dearie was going out for lunch, “Mr. Dearie, am I gonna get
that life count I keep hearing
about?” and he said, “You may, Frank.
It’s very possible.” His plot came in when they told
him he would not get out on
bail. They gonna keep you, you gonna face a life sentence,
an 848. The comment by Dearie may or
may not have had an effect. We were prepared to bring the
life count in the superseding
indictment, we were getting
ready to do that. The Marshals ain’t know that he
knew about the indictment. They were going to surprise him
when they go to court. After the Dearie incident, he
fled that night, and the last
person that sees him in
Brooklyn was Detective Mike Brae who spotted him blasting
through a red light in his car. Bramble gave chase and he lost
him. You think of drug traffickers
at the period. Three of the major ones, you
got Ike Atkinson, you know, who
eventually spend 32 years in
jail. He didn’t jump bond. It never cross my mind to take
off. I always felt that one of my
lawyers would get me out of
this. And Nicky Barnes, in big
serious trouble a few years
later in New York City, he
didn’t jump bond. And of course Frank Lucas, who
went to trial, and he didn’t
jump bond before his conviction. So it’s very unusual. So when the government let it
slip to Matthews that he had a
new indictment, and Matthews
looked around and saw a lot of his
lieutenants being indicted or
killed like Turk Scott, like
his friend from Durham, Cadillan who got killed in
Philadelphia, Tyrone Palmer got
killed in Philadelphia, Major Cockson got killed by the
black mafia in Philadelphia. When the federal prosecutor or
the judge or whoever told him
that he had that life
indictment coming, Frank was smart enough to take
advantage of that blunder, and
he dropped everything and he
left. He didn’t want the homes to be
taken from his aunt in Durham. A mysterious delivery of a
briefcase with all the cash
necessary to meet the bond
requirements was delivered to the insurance agency in Great
Neck, New York, and they took
it gladly. We ran a major investigation on
that very issue. But the last time that they saw
him in New York, he came
through there with bags of
money, they say. And just trying to–he wasn’t
even trying to win, he just
wanted to leave some money and
leave his mark. Our office was alerted that he
had jumped bond. A warrant issued for his
arrest. I did learn from my
investigation, that Frank
Matthews had a safety deposit
box at the First Union National, on Main Street in Durham, North
Carolina. And I went to that First Union
Bank, where I knew he had a
safety deposit box, I walked
through the front door of the b, and asked them if they had seen
Frank Matthews and they said he
just went out the back door. So I ran out the back door of
the bank, and I did see a car
leaving the parking lot. And he was there, obviously,
cleaning out his safety deposit
box to make a run. I was almost famous, I missed
my opportunity. By one minute. A massive man hunt of course
was put out all around the
country, all around the world. They had leads pouring in. Frank’s in Africa, he’s in
Athens, he’s in Rome, he’s in
South America, he’s here, he’s
there, he’s in Pittsburgh, he’s in
Philadelphia, he’s in Detroit. When they did the story in the
Staten Island Advance, they
said that they had agents– I don’t know if whether those
were FBI, or DEA at the
time–in the bushes of his
house. That’s what The Advance had
written. Filming his house. And
he used to say to everybody, well they have films of me
coming through his door
everyday … and leaving his
house everyday…. So I sort of … myself in the
beginning that maybe somebody
would call me. But no one ever
called me. They conducted raids, they
question people, they
questioned Barbara Hinton, they
questioned all the people involved in the
case, no good leads. They never felt like they
really got close to him. There was information at the
time of course that he had
moved probably 15 to 20 million
dollars off shore. He could’ve flown easily to the
Cayman Islands, or the Bahamas,
that’s the closest
jurisdictions at that time. Of course in those days, the
money laundering laws were a
lot loose, it was much more
difficult to investigate crimin. If you use the 6:1 ratio for
the inflation, the amount of
money that allegedly Frank
Matthews took out of the countr, which is 15 million dollars,
would be equivalent to have
taken out 90 million dollars
today. The intelligence picked up that
he and Cheryl Brown fled
immediately, probably that same
night when Prambal saw him. They flew to Texas, I think it
was Houston. And that was the last sighting
of him at least in this country. I’m told much later he was
spotted in the Bahamas, he has
been spotted, supposedly in
parts of Africa. Cheryl Brown was Frank’s latest
girlfriend, she was probably
18, some people said 22, and
supposedly, he left with her. The Cheryl Brown issue was
pretty strange. Frank met Cheryl Brown around
1972 and ’73 over in 96 Street
and 1st Avenue. And it was a smart place to go
to. A lot of drug dealers went
there. And she was in there. And she
was young, she was 18. He pulled up outside with his
white Rolls Royce, and she fell
in love with the car and
supposedly fell in love with Fr, and from then on in it was
Frank and Cheryl. She was beautiful, she was. She
was well built, had a set of
beautiful body. Oh she was gorgeous. Beautiful
and attractive, she had a Halle
Berry-ness about her. Spent a lot of time researching
and looking at Cheryl Brown,
looking at some records in the
hopes that that would lead us t. Dave O’Flaherty interviewed
family members and parents,
came away feeling that they
were telling the truth, they didn’t have any idea where
she was, and they were pretty devastated
about the fact they lost
contact with their daughter. She is as mysterious as Frank. There’s never been any
sighting, any evidence that
she’s alive or dead. We know that she was very close
to her parents, her parents
were devastated. They were middle-class teachers
in Brooklyn. They got no sense that they
knew anything about their
daughter’s disappearance. I think they even had wire taps
on the Brown’s home and there
was nothing. And she was very close, she was
very close to her parents from
all accounts. I think he might not still be
around is the girl, the girl
was just 23 years old. And you also know that they put
on a tap on that–her mother’s
phone for 5 years, and they
never heard of nothing from her. That’s the part that makes me
think that something happened
to her. You know what I mean, you know
she would have probably gotten
restless and homesick, lonely,
and wanted to get back to her f. And they never heard from her
either. I don’t know what Frank had in
the back of his mind with any
woman, but I do know that she
was with him, that’s all I can . She did leave with him. She went to Texas, we were told
by an informant that she went
to Texas with him and took a
plane from Texas out of there. Whether they had phony
passports–and he could buy
anything. He had the money to buy
anything including a passport
for her and him. So he did take her out. I’m not a hundred percent
confident that she left with
Frank. Never had anybody who could
corroborate the fact that she
was with Frank. A lot of the chief lieutenants
within the organization that
were suspected of being tied to
Frank’s organization, people like Mickey Beckwith,
Brother Carter, Liddy Jones. They brought his name up in my
case. I got thirty years on
that case. Liddy Jones and Big Head
Brother from Baltimore got long
terms–twenty, thirty years in
prison. Pop Darby in Philly didn’t get
out till ’84. All these lieutenants, 18 in
all, were indicted in 1975
after Frank had fled They were convicted, except for
Marcella Steel, she was found
innocent. His aunt. They tried me. I got busted
also. I received 18 and a half years. That’s what I did, 18 and a
half years. Day for day. His wife, Barbara Hinton, who
by all accounts played an
active role in the
organization, you know, I read an intelligence report
that she was suspected of
handling the money. Barbara knew the trade. She was
the money counter. She was keeping the books. Spoke to Barbara and all the
other people in the case. We never had a real substantial
lead out of it. I’m not–I can’t say whether
she was helpful or not but we
never got anything out of it. I know Barbara Hinton
personally. Wonderful, she was from
Florida. They gave her decent piece of
money, gave her a million
dollars. Barbara Hinton was convicted
but she got off on a
technicality. They used a statement against
her from the grand jury, and
she swore … the prosecution. They used a statement against
her from the grand jury, and
she was supposed to get
immunity from prosecution. I know they tried to pump these
guys for information. When I was doing my case, they
pulled me the fuck to New York.
the New York DA pulled me to
New York in ’78. They were still loyal to Frank
and they didn’t tell anything. They called and tried to get me
to tell if I knew anything
about Frank. And I told them “If I did know,
I wouldn’t tell you.” You
didn’t offer me any all this
time, why you didn’t offer me s? And I did my time, just leave
me alone. Of course, his property was
seized by the government. That beautiful mansion, with
gold plated faucets, marble
floors, was sold. And the furnishings inside the
house were sold for 5000. There were no informants. You
say why? Well, one of the reasons I
think was that you don’t have
the draconian senses like you
have today, which forces prisoners to make
deals to stay out of prison for
the rest of their life. You know, his lieutenants were
getting something like 5 to 12
years in prison, and you know,
they can do the time. And plus, Frank’s personality,
and reputation for violence. He was liked, but he was also
feared. From what I gathered from those
who knew him closely, to me,
there was some fear in there
too. Cause you never knew what you
say may come back to haunt you. He was reported everywhere. He
was reported in Asia, in
Africa, in Europe. managed to remain free not
because the cops weren’t trying. I mean, they did everything.
They had, you know, posters,
they had public service
announcements, and eventually they set up a
special task force in a couple
of years that worked around the
clock trying to find him. I’m Mike Pizzi, former United
States Marshal. I was the Chief Deputy for the
Eastern District for many
years, and I was in charge of
the Frank Matthews investigatio, and we went out and did what we
typically do when looking for
fugitives. You go to all the old…, talk
to all the old friends,
relatives and people and
babysitters. And we followed every lead we
developed and unfortunately we
never had a solid lead on Frank
Matthews. Frank Matthews disappeared
almost 40 years ago. And it’s been an active case
ever since. He’s literally fallen off the
face of the earth. The case is still open, it’s
active. If we got leads we
would follow up on them. We have had leads over the past
few years but nothing’s panned
out. We went out into the areas that
we knew and probably knew as
well as anybody, in particular
in the Bedfort-Stuyverson area where
Marshal Butler had lots of
folks who we spoke to. Well, there weren’t a lot of
people in his old … in North
Carolina who were very
cooperative. Sad to say, he was a bit of a
legend. Seems like a lot of people
looked up to Frank for probably
all the wrong reasons. We did not have a lot of
success talking to the folks in
the North Carolina area. It seems that people are afraid
to talk about him. In fact, that’s what one of the
guys said And I’ve gone into Durham, and
I’ve talked to some people. And they indirectly say “Oh,
you shouldn’t be doing this
because Frank might get word of
it he may get upset.” So there’s still that element. You know Frank has become like
Keyser Söze, right? In the
Unusual Suspects. He’s everyhwere and nowhere. I
mean, it’s really amazing. The guys from the South all
knew about Frank and everything
like that. They say “No, man. This guy
ain’t dead. This guy was
connected. And he got money,
and they don’t wanna catch him.” Why haven’t the authorities
caught him? I mean, they’ve
caught most of the gangsters,
that had fled. Whitey Bulger was caught after
sixteen years. And here he is, in the open,
living in Santa Monica,
California, and everybody
believed he was somewhere else. Matthews is now a lot longer. But his facial features will
have changed with age and her
facial features. And Bulger was out in public,
got into a Las Vegas casino, we
know he was in Spain. Bulger was a thug and was not a
brilliant businessman. Matthews was a pioneering giant
in the field of distribution of
heroin. Fugitives get caught for a
variety of reasons. They anger somebody so that
people are motivated to turn
him in, it could be money, it
could be somebody that has an impending case and
realize that this is the
information that would make
that case go away. So there’s a variety of reasons
why we, the law enforcements,
got information. Money’s one of them. Sometimes
we’ll get information that has
nothing to do with money. This code, this honour among
thieves. A lot of these people
hate each other. I can tell you that countless
times we arrested a guy, before
we get him back to Manhattan–a
45 minutes ride– they can’t wait to set up the
leader of the organization. In the early 90s, Lew Rice of
the DEA reinvigorated the
investigation. He felt like he had info that
Matthews was in Philadelphia. Well, I don’t wanna go into the
nature of the investigation,
but we’ve had information
periodically, we were looking in different
places in different cities in
the US, especially on the east
coast. We thought we were getting
close at one point. Thanksgiving, O’Flaherty and
several of his folks, his
deputies from New York,
actually conducted a surveillan. in North Carolina. We wouldn’t
get too specific where exactly
we were but I could tell you
that he didn’t show up for
Thanksgiving dinner. Supposedly Frank Matthews had
been a big cocaine abuser, some
people say, but some people say
they never saw him using. And the feds claim they had
information that he had
developed a bad heart. His major cocaine abuse did
major damage and he had heart
palpitations, and it was more
than rumor that he had a heart transplant in
Houston. We actually sent a small task
force with Dave O’Flaherty in
charge. And we follow through on a
series of leads, that seemed
like they were real. They seemed reliable. And when we were ready to leave
Texas we decided that we had no
verification of the information. Obviously I thought he was
alive, cause we wouldn’t have
put the focus, the spotlight
back on to Philadelphia and then several years later in
New York. So obviously I think he’s
alive. Obviously, that was reinforced
when the agents and the police
sent someone out to talk to
various people, then picked up evidence that we were able to
accumulate back then. But he is a very smart guy, and
he’s gonna be difficult to
catch. But difficult doesn’t mean
impossible. You know, you talk with law
enforcement officials, they
sound hopeful. He’s gonna make a mistake.” and
all that. But it’s really whistling in
the dark. Unless he showed up in a police
station one day and said “Here
I am! You’ve been looking for
me! Take me!” Ran into young Frank Matthews
while he was in custody, I
believe at that time he was in
custody for stealing a car. We find that to be incredibly
odd, if hopefully someone’s
father had run off with 15
million, I would’ve thought he e made some arrangements to take
care of his family. But it didn’t appear to us to
be the case. My recollection was that he was
being pretty honest with us. And that he really didn’t know
where his father was. I just never saw a negative
interaction between him and the
children. So I would assume that any
father would try to connect
with his children, especially
his sons, especially someone with his
name, Frank, Jr. So yes, I think it’s kind of
odd that he never did, maybe he
would have, I really don’t know. Once it ended, it ended for me. I was out of the picture. He also had a brother who was
another one of Frank’s
children, who was apparently
having a problem with some drug. I thought that was a little
strange. Why didn’t his father send him
some help? Within the last two or three
years, we got a tip that there
was a look-alike. Very much would’ve been the
same age, same height, same
physical features as Frank
Matthews, who today would be about 67 years old in North
Carolina where Matthews is
known to have families and
friends. And we followed up on that lead
and we found that individual
and it just wasn’t him. People thought that this
could’ve been the guy We developed those leads but
obviously it wasn’t because we
don’t have him in custody. What would happen to Frank
Matthews if he came back and
turn himself in? I mean, come on, this is almost
40 years later. A lot of witnesses are dead. I tried to use the records of
the trial that followed a lot
of his subordinates and they’re
missing. And we talked to law
enforcements they don’t want to
admit it, but there’s a
challenge if they bring Franks . If he ever turn himself in or
if they ever captured him. The generation of people that
were uniquely familiar with
this investigation are retired,
no longer around. I came on DEA in 1974. Frank Matthews was already a
fugitive. So I wasn’t involved in his
investigation and arrest. The Matthews case, not having
one viable, responsible person
tell us for certain that
they’ve seen him and we’ve had no verification of a
sighting, that became a
challenge that was
insurmountable. I wanna think he’s alive. A lot of them officers that
arrest people, this and that,
and everything like that
probably helped get him out of . I wouldn’t be surprised, he’s
probably down at the costa del
sol in Spain. Where he is today, God only
knows. I’ll just tell this, his body
never turned up, Cheryl Brown’s
body never turned up, no bones
were ever located, it’s very, very unusual on cold
cases-homicide cases where a
body never turns up. He’s covered his path very
well. If he died of natural causes or
in a car accident or something
in that effect, his
fingerprints would’ve eventually got into a coroners database,
it would’ve been matched up and
then we could’ve proven through
autopsy or death certificate. There have been many
informants, both LCN–La Costa
Nostra types that supposedly
killed him or had him eliminate, because he was a threat to La
Costa Nostra He was well-known as a drug
dealer, and he was out on a
five-million-dollars bail If the guineas hit Frank, they
would’ve known about it, cause
they snitchin so much, they
told on John Gotti. … and that would have came out,
and Frank wasn’t even dealing
with fucking guineas. automatically somebody say, o,
you know he got a guinea
connection, but Frank wasn’t
even dealing with the guineas As many informants as we had,
not one of them came forward
and told us that they had wiped
him out. There’s a theory he left the
country but nobody can say
where he went, so–if he had
stayed in the United States the, it would’ve been much likely
that he would’ve encountered
law enforcements in some
capacity. We are still interested in him,
he is still part of the Marshal
Service history, we are still
actively looking for him but we’ve never been able to
substantiate a sighting, we’ve
never been able to substantiate
anything. I don’t have any idea, he
vanished off planet of the
earth. I think he’s alive. I think he’s alive, somewhere,
he made a lot of money, and
he’s dial it down a lot, and
leading a normal life. A life such as if he was in the
witness protection program, not
very visible and not very
public. He can be in South America, he
can be in another part of the
country, he could be in the
south somewhere, you know. I would think in the US. You can blend in easy. It’s a
system he knows very well. The communities, they can go
with money and live a
middle-class existence, and you
can blend in if you obeyed the rules of the town and the
neighborhood…. Pop Darby say Frank is alive. he said, “Look, Frank is in
Africa.” I said, “What?” Then he said, “You won’t know
him.” I said, “What do you mean I
won’t know him?” swoosh * “He’d done like that.” I said “Like that?” He said, “Yeah.” *swoosh * People speculate plastic
surgery. He may be dead. But I didn’t get that
information. That was my man, John Darby’s
my man. And you know, me and him was
doing time together. I’m thinking he’s alive. John Darby showed me *zoom * he
got a plastic surgery. Boom he’s done good, he’s over
at Africa somewhere. I think he’s alive. And I say this unequivocally
because he’s a smart person. And he’s got the homeboys
protecting him and Marcella
protecting him and Durham,
North Carolina protecting him. I think he’s alive. I think Frank was the biggest
guy that ever existed in drugs
and heroin. If he went into business and
started his own company, it
would’ve been successful. Other than drugs, I know it.
McDonald’s, he would own 20
McDonald’s and open up
franchises and even know how to. But those of my generation, no,
he’s not forgotten. They still a wonder. As you look around you see
people …. who’s watching you,
who you’re speaking to, you
never woulda know. You ain’t gonna find nobody
like him no more. Not when they got the system
now. Now there ain’t going to be
nobody like that They got too many snitches and
lying, conniving… He was a soldier. Yeah, Nicky Barnes, Frank
Lucas, they couldn’t touch him. He could make it anywhere. And
every time somebody get in
trouble, they would say I’mma
do a Frank Matthews If Frank turned up today, I
don’t know if they’d really
have a case against him. They can probably lock him up
for a few years for jumping
bail, but a drug conspiracy
from 40 years ago, I mean, the police are all
retired, half the people
involved are dead, the people
that they would try to squeeze to get them to
turn against Frank, they
already have served 20 years in
prison. The feds have no… cards to
play. Do I think he’s dead or alive? If he’s alive, I mean, he
pulled off the greatest getaway
of all time. But even if he’s not alive, he
got away from them for a little
while. And he did beat the system Whether he’s alive or not, I
doubt very seriously we’ll ever
know. All of the agents who worked on
the case to this day believe
he’s still alive. I don’t see how he can be
alive. He’s alive. And that’s it. You always think about your
friends as the people that you
care about. No matter what, no matter
where, I think about him
sometimes now and ask what he
was doing. And I don’t know whether he’s
alive or dead. If he’s alive I wish him the
best, and if he’s dead he’s in
my prayers

24 comments

  1. The Council, Frank Lucas and Frank Matthews were the biggest pushers in Harlem throughout the late 60s and mid 70s.

  2. The mob killed Frank, black people don't fall for this bullshit, remember he left with a young female, she would have contacted her parents, his lawyer at the time know what happened, he set him up

  3. America needs Jesus. Not in the empty religious way in which he is portrayed. No people need to be born again. Look at what these drugs do to people. It turn them into complete idiots.

    We were made in the image of God and I can promise you that some junkie lying on the steps is not the image of God. Satan has convinced people to get on drugs and destroyed their dignity in the prices

  4. I'm a nurse and I met him in a nursing home I worked at, I go back and visit him a lot. I had to put a Foley catheter in him cause of retention and it relieved him of pressure and pain, he gave me $200 and thanked me. I told him I couldn't take gifts. He gave me his number and we've been speaking ever since.

  5. Frank got a A- on his report card still no A+ NONE KEPT IT ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘ฎโ€โ™‚๏ธ#DONT

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