The lipstick red Dodge Charger stops at the corner of 116th Street and 8 Avenue in Harlem, and a group of black youngsters throw us a nonchalant glance. When the passenger window rolls down, they do a doubletake. The glances turn into stares. Is that…? Is it really…? No. Yes. Is it Frank Lucas? They whisper and start moving toward the car, slowly, like curious cats. The cell phones come out and they start filming and calling. “Frank Lucas?” says a dude, maybe 17 or 18 years old, wearing shorts and shower slippers. “All day and all night!” Frank Lucas thunders, his voice is hoarse, and flashes off a huge smile, while blowing out smoke of his cigarette that I just lit for him. You can tell how much he loves the attention. “How much can one make at this street corner these days?” (2010, SWE)
She Hunted History’s Worst Arms Dealers: Now She’s Taking on Rhino Poachers
Kathi Lynn Austin pulls the trigger of a pistol at a shooting range outside Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. It’s a fall afternoon in 2015, and she’s wearing jeans, cowboy boots and a scarf — her standard uniform when out in the field. She fires the gun with sweaty palms and a thumping heart. The men who invited her to the shooting range are the top players in the very crime syndicate Austin is here to investigate. She is working to gain their trust in hopes of getting information about the illegal pipeline of rifles used in southern Africa’s mass rhino slaughter, which is threatening to wipe the species off the face of earth. Austin pulls the trigger again. There’s lots of recoil, but she makes some decent hits, glad to not make a complete fool of herself. narratively May 2, 2019
Bank robber gone movie star
What’s the difference [robber vs. criminal]?
“For me it’s like this. You work with two, three people tops. That’s what differentiates a real robber and someone who’s just talking a big game. Not to disrespect anyone, but a real robber doesn’t change his game and start dealing in drugs instead if there aren’t any jobs. A robber does everything himself, and that’s why they have the best status in prison. Back then I’d rather work as a cook in a restaurant for two years, waiting for the right gig. You stick with what you know, your expertise, like any other profession. A career criminal does whatever it takes. The career robber has the discipline, they are in good physical shape, they can blend into most environments and they are dangerous. They are ready to shoot to kill to pull off their thing.
Where you ready to do that?
“Back then I was.”
From Hood to Hollywood ICON, 2013
Lord of War
Even before the trial starts, things are dramatic. Beefy cops with Kevlar vests are posted around the federal courthouse, and the world press is (literally) fighting for a seat. In front of the court, located in a high rise next to the Brooklyn Bridge, is a wall of TV-cameras. Many are Russian, but also CNN, BBC, Japanese and Columbian networks are there. It takes several hours to get in, and getting cleared through security. Everyone wants to know how the American Drug Enforcement Agency managed to catch one of the world’s most wanted people—Viktor Bout. An infamous weapons trafficker, a man whose story is so spectacular that even Hollywood has made buck off it. Lord of War, 2005, with Nicholas Cage in the lead, is partially based on Bout’s life…and crimes. (2011, SWE)