Infamous Harlem Drug Lord Nicky Barnes Dead At 78



Infamous Harlem Drug Lord Nicky Barnes played by Cuba Gooding Jr in the Ridley Scott film American Gangster is reportedly pronounced dead.


According to the New York Times, the kingpin actually died in 2012 at the age of 78 or possibly 79.

Reports of Barnes death come following the death of Harlem rival Frank Lucas who was portrayed in the 2007 film American Gangster by Denzel Washington.


Barnes who stood trial in 1977 was later convicted and sentenced to Life in prison without parole. The Harlem kingpin would go on to spend 20 years behind bars. Catching wind of his associates and their dealings with his empire while behind bars Nickey became enraged that his former associates were ruining his drug empire and decided to testify against them. After being released from prison in 1998, Federal authorities would put him in the witness protection program as a part of his agreement.


Nicky Barnes was no longer his name as he was given a new alias and location to live in, barely anyone beyond his immediate family knew his new name, his whereabouts or even whether he was still alive.


After his release, Nicky wanted nothing more than to live a normal life aside from his previous lavish lifestyle whereas the Times reported he owned “as many as 200 suits, 100 pairs of custom-made shoes, 50 full-length leather coats, a fleet of luxury cars and multiple homes and apartments”. Now the former drug dealer was looking to enjoy the cloaks of anonymity in middle America.


I want to get up every day and get in the car and go to work and be a respected member of my community,” Barnes said. “And I am respected.

I’m not looking in the rear-view mirror to see if anyone is tailing me anymore. I don’t turn on the blender when I’m at home so I can talk. That is not a part of my life. Sure, I’d love to have more money, but I am not willing to do anything but go to my job to get it.”


Barnes would go under the radar for more than a decade until the recent death of rival Lucas and the Times renewed interest in the kingpins whereabouts that ultimately led to confirmation by family members this week that he died of cancer in 2012.


Nicky Barnes, daughter was the first to break the news telling the Times in an email the family had decided not to publicize his death, writing: “It still remains a sensitive topic given all that occurred. Our dad was very private and we wanted to respect that.”



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