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INTRODUCTION:

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.

 

The Guy Fisher Story

Order the Guy Fisher story @ www.nycstreetstars.com

DRUG LORD:

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 shopping sprees. 

Fisher boarding his private jet

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. 

 Nicky Barnes

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.

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