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Drug Trafficking

Introduction

Drug trafficking is a business that involves buying and selling of drugs prohibited by the Law of the land. It is an illegal trade carried out globally and involves the planting, harvesting, processing, distribution and sale of drugs that are prohibited by Law in a given country.Examples of drugs in the market include heroin, morphine and also opium. The current consumption of heroin worldwide is 340 tons (Schmalleger, 2012). The Democratic Republic of Lao produces 50 tons whileAfghan opium produces about 380 tons of morphine and heroin.

The main trafficking Corridors used included Northern and Balkan routes. These routes link Afghanistan to a large market of consumers in the Russian federation and Western Europe.Annually, heroin trafficking in Balkan and Northern routes is valued to be twenty and thirteen billion US Dollars respectively (Brown et al. 2013). The North American business gets its supply of Cocaine from Colombia through Mexico. This Cocaine is then transported to Canada and the United States by land. A greater percentage of Cocaine in the European market is from Colombia, but shipments from Peru and Bolivia are common in the United States of America. Drug seizures by authorities account for a small proportion of the total amount of drugs that are in the trade markets. Marijuana is a drug mainly abused in Jamaica. However, it is not very addictive compared to heroin.

Frank Lucas

He was nicknamed the Super Fly. He was born in La Grange town, North Carolina on 9thSeptember 1930. He grew up in Greensboro of North Carolina during the great depression. During that period, the Americans living in the rural South were poor. The African-Americansin the region was the poorest. Frank spent most of his early life getting into troubles while looking after his siblings. He claimed that his criminal life was inspired by the incidence where he witnessed the murder of his cousin. One night, five members of Ku Klux Klan showed up in the slums where Frank. They killed his thirteen year old cousin, accusing him of looking at a white woman flirtatiously. At the time, Frank was only six years old. The investigators never found any evidence supporting his claim.

Frank being the oldest boy in their family resorted to stealing food for survival because of the great depression. Jobs became hard to find but as time elapsed, he grew stronger and older. He later found a job as a truck driver in a pipe company. His job came ended when he was found sleeping with his boss’s daughter. At that point, frank a fight. He knocked the boss with a metal bar killing him on the spot. He then stole 400 dollars from the cash till and set the whole business on fire. He was advised to flee to New York for the fear that he would be arrested and imprisoned for a great percentage of his life.

He arrived in Harlem in the year1946. People advised him to find a job either as a doorman in hotels, elevator operator or any other relevant job that could help him to get some incomeFrank saw how real money was made in the streets through illegal activities such as drugs and gambling. He became more ruthless and bold with every small crime that he committed. His first major crime was robbing a local bar at a gun point.He then stole diamonds from a jewelry store after beating up and injuring a security guard. He developed confidence and even stole from players at a local club where a high-stakes crap game was being held.

In the year 1966, he killed a notorious thug who was immensely involved in drug deals. His actions attracted the attention of Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson; a Harlem gangster who organized and controlled extortions and gambling operations.The relationship between Frank and Johnson is not clear. Lucas claimed he was close to Johnson and even ended up being his right-hand-man. Other people close to Johnson, including Mayme his widow, testified that Lucas was distrusted by Johnson and was more of a funky in their dealings. However, the truth is that Frank learned and borrowed much from Johnson. He perfected on what he had learned. He developed one of the most lucrative and very dangerous criminal organizations in the 20th century.

After Johnson’s death in the year 1968, Harlem was left without control because his close operatives were involved in power wrangles. Lucas seized that opportunity to capture and expand as much territory as possible. He mainly aimed at getting super rich, the aim he referred to as “Donald Trump rich.” He became greatly determined towards his goal and always had what it needed to walk down that risky and luxurious path. He became involved in much planning and could stay in a hotel room for one or two months in order to alienate himself from any distractions. During that period, he would reflect on what he has done and then plan for the future. He would look at the mistakes he had done and combed every detail, and options were available to see that he succeeded in his mission. He ensured that every operation was carried a step by step and took advantage of what he had learned.

Franks planned to take over Johnson’s operations. He knew this involved breaking down the monopoly that was created by the Italian Mafia. He realized that he could only do this through getting the heroin directly from the source. He thought that the idea of bypassing the Mafia’s heroin supply in Harlem would help him realize much profit. He knew that the US servicemen who had participated in the Vietnamese war would return home with great quest to quench their addiction. He knew this would provide a ready market for his products and so he decided to visit Southeast Asia. Frank had expectation of invincibility. He boarded a plane and travelled to Thailand, a country that he had little knowledge about and could speak none of their languages. It became the beginning of him indulging in the world’s most deadly trade; international drug trafficking.

In Bangkok, he went to Dusit Thani Hotel where many US soldiers used to relax at the bar. He met Leslie Atkinson, who was later nicknamed Ike.  Leslie had married one of Frank’s cousins and also came from Greensboro. Lucas started the policy of exclusively hiring relatives and close friends. Atkinson managed his bar where he supplied most of the soldiers in Southeast Asia with heroin(Lucas 2012). He agreed to supply Lucas with heroin, but the latter was reluctant and wanted to go to the source. It took them a period of two weeks to arrive at the remote jungles where Thailand borders Laos and Burma. The fields were controlled by a Chinese-Thai man called Luetchi Rubiwat. The fields had mountains with caves where the pope was turned into heroin and packed for supply. He found a good deal since he could buy a kilo of heroin at four thousand US dollars while it would cost ten times more had he bought it from the Mafia. He purchased132 kilos of the substance.

Frank, together with Atkinson, created an army and recruited many officials both from the United States and Thailand. He used bribes to lure people to his side and carried out most of the operations himself disguising as an army personnel. His plan involved using the military planes to fly heroin to military bases (Lucas 2012). From there, his accomplices would repack the heroin and prepare them for sale. At some point in time, Frank recruited a carpenter from Bangkok to make government tendered coffins used in the transportation of fallen soldiers. The bases of those coffins could carry about six to eight kilograms of Cocaine. He combined intelligence and toughness in setting up his organization in the United States. He would severely punish those who stole from him so as to instill fear on people. He also recruited five of his brothers who were later known as the Country boys. They created a huge territory between the 7th and 8th avenues of 116th street where they controlled gambling and drug trade.

Frank succeeded in his plans and money was never a problem to him. He bragged to be making a million dollars daily. He did not have enough space to hide his money and became involved in much money laundering. He would drive large amounts of cash by himself to a bank in Bronx where the cash would be counted and then exchanged for legitimate bills.At the peak of his career, Frank had about $52 million spread in many Cayman Island banks and over 1,000 kilograms of heroin worth $300,000 a kilo (Brown et al. 2013).

In order to keep away suspicion, Frank purchased legitimate businesses. These businesses included dry cleaners and gas stations. He had office buildings in Detroit, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico and Miami (Lucas 2012). He had a thousand acre ranch in North Carolina. He named this ranch “Paradise Valley.” He kept 300 herds of breeding bulls and Black Angus cattle. He also interacted with many celebrities. Frank spent sometimes in high end clubs with the celebrities and athletes. He did not fear spending and hence bought very expensive gifts for his friends. In addition to that, he funded a film that he was to feature in but was never completed. He also had a fleet of flashy cars.

Frank Lucas carried out his operation in New York with corrupt police officers. The Department of Special Investigations was set up, and they tapped people’s phones. It also carried out warrant searches on people properties.At one point, Frank was arrested. He offered 30,000 dollars and Cocaine for exchange of his freedom. By then, the head of the anti-narcotic’s unit was not only smart but also incorruptible. In January 1975, the police raided hisNew Jersey home and found drugs and money (Lucas 2012). Keys to safe deposits were also found. Ten people were arrested. However, none of the evidence was connected directly to Frank. His cousin broke up from the group and named people involved in the trade besides giving the police information on how the trade was conducted. Forty three people were arrested and the information they gave was put up as evidence that led to the prosecution of Frank. Hewas sentenced to 70 year’s imprisonment.

Some months later Frankgave the police information about the mafia and mentioned Atkinson together with the officials who were involved in drug trafficking. He was pardoned, and the sentence was reduced to fifteen years because of the information he provided.He was again arrested in 1984 for the same offense of drug trafficking. However, he was defended by an attorney who convicted him. He was sentenced to seven year’s imprisonment and was released in the year 1991 (Lucas 2012). After his release, he joined a non-profitable organization and helped correct the mess that he had caused. He became remorseful and in 2007, Hollywood produced a film of him called “American Gangster.” Denzel Washington is the main actor starring in the film.

Sociological Theories

These theories explain crime to be a social phenomenon. It emphasizes on the social and cultural traits of criminal behavior. Some emphasize the connection within social structures such as ethnicity and language (Vito et al 2012). Some of the theories focus on the individual’s ability to be involved in crime such as peer influence, social inequality and inability to achieve social success. Lucas involvement in drug trafficking could be explained by social theories because he was driven by peer influence and social inequality. When he arrived at Harlem, he was advised to take up jobs of being a doorman or elevator operator. It was driven by influence from what he had seen his peers do in the streets and earn handsomely.Social inequality also explained his involvement in crime since in his early childhood he resorted to stealing food in order to provide for his younger siblings. They were considered among the poor people in North Carolina.

Psychological Theories

These theories present that people involvement in crime is, as a result,of personality, developmental and cognition factors (Schmalleger, 2012). Developmental factors include child rearing process, neglect, abuse and parents own criminal behavior. Franc Lucas claims that his first instance of crime was when he witnessed the murder of his younger cousin for claims of looking at a white woman. It seemed to have affected him, and he believed that there is no fairness or justice because there was no evidence that could support his claim for prosecution of those involved. The first crime he committed after killing his boss and stealing his money, he set the business on fire and took off to New York to leave no trail of evidence.

Observation and Conclusion

There are so many types of crime that a person can be involved. Every crime is always driven either by the urge to revenge or economic gain. All crimes are risky and may lead to death or life imprisonment. Drug trafficking is still a major headache to the authorities mandated to fight the vice. The money from the crimes is much such that the officials are lured to cooperate with the criminals through bribes. There are also many other theories like economic, biological and geographic factors that explain people’s involvement in crime. Criminals can also change and start supporting the society just as Lucas did after his second and last arrest.

References

Brown, S. E., Esbensen, F.-A., &Geis, G. (2013). Criminology: Explaining crime and its context. Waltham, MA: Anderson.

Lucas, F., & King, A. S. (2012). Original gangster: My life as NYC’s biggest, baddest drugs baron. London: Ebury.

Schmalleger, F. J. (2012). Criminology today: An integrative introduction plus new mycjlab with pearsonetext. S.l.: Prentice Hall.

Vito, G. F., &Maahs, J. R. (2012).

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