The Harlem drug trade
started with legendary gangster Bumpy Johnson through the 40’s and 60’s.
After Johnson’s death, Frank Matthews emerged as an East Coast
drug lord, facing indictment, he disappeared with $20 million in cash and hasn’t
been seen since. Nicky Barnes became the new kingpin. After his
incarceration, we saw the emergence of Guy Fisher.
Order the Guy Fisher story
Guy Fisher (pictured above)
started off selling cheese and cold cuts from a van on Harlem street corners.
He soon became frustrated with the long hours and low wages. Fisher decided
to change careers, he used his street contacts and the money he had saved to
purchase heroin. Fisher’s profits increased significantly, despite
this, Fisher was often seen in warm-up suits and sneakers.
Although Nicky Barnes was
the Harlem kingpin, both men became friends and competitors as they struggled
to control the lion’s share of the heroin trade. When Barnes was incarcerated
for drug trafficking and distribution. Fisher became the top man in New
York. Eventually, Fisher would become the top drug trafficker on the east
coast. He was moving kilos of heroin and cocaine at an unbelievable pace.
The ‘Fisher’ crew was well organized; it was not unusual for them
to make $400,000 per hour in drug sales and distribution. At their peak,
they moved $100,000 in drugs on one small neighborhood block, in one day.
The crew was often seen in
Rolls-Royce's, sporting mink coats and gators. When Fisher organized meetings,
he was the most casual in attendance as he strolled in wearing jeans and sneakers.
Fisher was treated like a celebrity in New York, he was often stopped for autographs
and he posed for pictures.
When he wasn’t selling
drugs, Fisher would scout neighborhood basketball players to participate in
a high stakes tournament. Fisher was known to bet $50,000 on his team,
he also bet $5,000-$10,000on shots. If he lost the bet, he would calmly
go to his Rolls Royce, pop the trunk and pay the money he owed.
All of Harlem knew Fisher
kept large sums of money in his trunk but he was never robbed for fear of reprisal.
After one game, he and his crew convoyed to a private airstrip, boarded Fisher’s
private plane and flew to Puerto Rico. Within the next few months, Fisher
used his private plane to transport his friends to Switzerland and Italy for
Fisher boarding his private
One evening, the police pulled
Fisher over for speeding in his Bentley, when they searched his trunk; they
found $1 million dollars in cash. He was detained briefly until
his attorney arrived, he was released and the money was returned.
Fisher made history when he
bought the famed Apollo Theater. To celebrate, Fisher hosted a private
party and concert. Fisher stood out in his tailored pin-stripped suit
and designer shoes. He was also draped in expensive bling, a $25,000 pendant
hung from his neck and he was accompanied by one of the most beautiful black
women on the East Coast who was wrapped in an Chowchilla fur.
Invited guests dined on catered
food and mingled with celebrities. Stevie Wonder and Teddy Pendergrass
were scheduled performers. Despite the celebrities in attendance, people
were trying to corner Fisher for a photograph. A few weeks later, NBC
contacted the Apollo representatives with an offer; they were willing to pay
big money to broadcast amateur night at the Apollo on Saturdays. Negotiations
came to an end when network brass were made aware of Fisher’s drug dealings.
Meanwhile, while incarcerated,
Nicky Barnes heard that Guy Fisher had a brief fling with his girlfriend, he
became outraged. In exchange for an reduction on his sentence, Barnes
agreed to be an informant in the government’s case against Fisher.
Barnes’s testimony led to the arrest and conviction of Guy Fisher who
is presently serving a 25-year sentence without the possibility of parole.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani
was the lead prosecutor on the case. Barnes’s would continue testifying
against people affiliated with the New York drug trade. Headlines blared:
‘Former Drug Kingpin Sings On Black Murder, Inc.’ Barnes’s
testimony would eventually lead to the conviction of 44 people.
During this time frame, other
drug informants were released when their information resulted in arrests, not
Nicky Barnes. Despite his effort, he was never released early or granted
a pardon. He served all but four years of his sentence. In August
of 1998, Nicky Barnes was finally released from prison after serving 21 years.
His former associates have
put an $8 million dollar contract out on his life. Barnes was given a
new identity and relocated under the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Source: “Street Stars
Presents: The Guy Fisher Story,” A Troy Reed Film.