“American Gangster” takes place in the late 60’s when drugs and trafficking were at a high in the U. S. Frank Lucas was the driver and body guard of famous gangster Bumpy Johnson. Following Bumpy’s death, Frank took over the business and became the main importer of heroin into the New York city area. The heroin imported was better quality and sold at a cheaper price because Lucas bought the heroin directly from a source in South East Asia. Lucas was able to expand his operation beyond New York and New Jersey to the entire east coast with the help of his family.
The other part of the movie portrays the life of Richie Roberts, who is a New Jersey cop studying to be a lawyer. His job was to bring down the main people transporting drugs into the United States, and the main guy was Frank Lucas. Following the death of his mentor, Frank Lucas stepped in and became a gangster. He started out by moving his family from North Carolina to New Jersey and had them all work for him. As for his drugs, Lucas went straight to the source in Thailand and bought directly from there. The drugs were transported from Thailand to the U. S. secretly on military airplanes that were used in the Vietnam War.
Business was booming for Lucas and he became well-known among the gangsters and thugs. He was able to sell the heroin for really cheap and its quality was better than any of the other products around. On top of it all, the amount of corrupt cops was at an ultimate high and that’s what made it easy for Lucas to do business. While Lucas was out making money and enjoying its luxuries, Richie Roberts was put in charge of a private crew that were directed to bring down the notorious thugs in charge of big drug operations. His job proved to be difficult since there was a rise of corrupted cops who worked with the drug dealers.
On top of it all, he was in the middle of a divorce and trying to study to be a lawyer. However, with the help of his crew, Roberts was able to gather up evidence and get the insights into Frank’s operation. After much hard work, Roberts was able to bring down Lucas and his family and bring them to court to be punished. Frank Lucas was convicted of numerous charges and the majority of his family was sent to prison. There was an offer made to Lucas that asked if he would help bring down corrupted cops and in return his sentence would be reduced. Lucas and Roberts worked ogether and through their work they were able to bring down a lot of corrupted cops. After many long years, Lucas was released from prison and remains friends with Richie Roberts. In the movie, Lucas was never shown doing any drugs besides alcohol and nicotine. It is unknown whether Lucas was using the heroin he was importing in, but I can assume that he was a user before he became a lead gangster. However, we know for sure that Frank’s brothers and cousins were users because it showed them using in the movie and they were part of Frank’s operation so they had easy access to it.
Lucas wasn’t actually affected by the use of the drug, but by bringing it in the U. S. and exposing it, he brought a lot with the package. After Lucas was brought down by the cops, he lost everything because of his involvement with drugs. He was sent to prison, all of his money was taken away, his wife Eva left him, his mother moved back to her original home, and most of his brothers and cousins were sent to prison with him. This shows that even though drugs didn’t directly affect Lucas in a physical or mental way, but his association with drugs was the downfall of him.
One of the main points that the movie stresses is how the quality of a drug can make a big difference. The heroin Lucas sold was called “Blue Magic” and was 98-100% pure when bought from Thailand. This means that the heroin used was more pure than others around, and on top of it all, was sold cheaper. People were greatly affected by this because they weren’t used to top quality heroin. Death rate from drugs was increasing as a lot more people were overdosing on “Blue Magic” heroin. This just shows how Frank’s drugs affected all the drug users in the east coast.
Also, Frank’s entire family was affected by his operation because the males were all a part of it and the women were just bystanders. When the operation fell, all of his family members involved were sent to prison and some even died. Frank’s involvement with drugs was as real as any story can get because it was based on a true story. The movie portrays the story pretty accurate besides a few minor details. I personally think Frank used drugs as well as sold them, but in the movie it never shows Frank doing any heroin. But like they always say, never get high on your own supply.