This is the remarkable story of Frank Matthews, a charismatic drug kingpin from the late 1960s and 1970s, who organized a huge criminal enterprise before jumping bail in 1973 with $15-20 million and a beautiful woman. Nicknamed Black Caesar, Matthews has never been seen again in what has become one of organized crime’s most intriguing mysteries. Lewis Rice spent twenty six years as a Special Agent with DEA: 1974- 2001. During that time he conducted hundreds of major international narcotic investigations and was assigned to New York, Kingston Jamaica, Miami, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Detroit. He retired as the Special Agent in Charge New York Division; the largest operational office in the DEA.BLACK CAESAR: The Rise and Disappearance of Frank Matthews, Kingpin-Ron Chepsiuk and Lewis Rice
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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You are now listening to true murder, the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them. Gacy Bundy Dahmer the night Stalker Dgk every week, another fascinating author talking about the most shocking and infamous killers in true crime, history, true murder, with your host journalist and author Dan Zupansky. Good evening. This is your host Dan Zapiski for the program, true murder, the motion fucking killers and true crime, history and the, authors that have written about them?. This is a remarkable story of Frank Matthews.
Loyalty is all about being there day in day out, Tripoli thanks, you for being there with loyalty, rewards like when you get savings on triple a auto insurance, just for being a triple a member, and when you switch to triple a auto insurance, you could save more based on how long you've been a triple a member and how long you've had your current insurance insurance. Not just insurance, learn more about triple a auto insurance and loyalty, rewards click now or visit Tripoli, dot com, slash insurance, the charismatic drug king pin from the late night. 1860s and 70s, who org Lisa huge criminal enterprise before jumping bail in nineteen, seventy three with fifty into twenty million and a beautiful woman. Nickname black Caesar. Matthews has never been seen again in what to become one of organized crimes. Most intriguing mysteries, Louis Rice spent twenty six years as a special agent with DEA one thousand nine hundred and seventy
word two thousand and one, that time, he conducted hundreds of major international narcotic investigations and was a sign into New York Kingston make a Miami Washington DC, Philadelphia Detroit, he retired the special agent in charge in New York division, the largest operational office in the DEA. The book that were featuring this evening is black Caesar the rise and disappearance of Frank Matthews king. Kingpin with my. Special guest journalist and author RON Chapstick and also look This rice welcome to the program Lou, this rice and They contribute this interview good to be with you thank you very much and for our audience, RON seems to I'm not called in as of yet, but I'm sure he will and so will just process with this interview on and an your perspective personally. Well, here's one right now, so maybe we'll just
get him in the conversation hello good evening RON. How are you good evening? Fine? How are you doing then very good? Thank you. We Just introduced that did the synopsis of the book and did a brief introduction of for Lewis Rice here, Arco guest. And so welcome to the program run. Chapstick welcome back to the program. I appreciate being back on the show you're with a good guess as well with little rice, yes and a very, very intriguing story. So let's get right to this, then so What's a little bit about as much as you Could I know, there's much more information of Frank Matthews in his later criminal life, but take us back to where it all started. An tell tell us where Frank Matthews is originally from who was raised, tell us a little bit about that ran about free, Matthews background. Well,
he's very an intriguing character. He's southern born and bred. He was born in Durham, North, his mother died when he was young and he was raised his aunt, Marcella and the stories about him as a as a kid growing up in Durham yeah. This is during racial segregation times. You know in the fifties and the sixties were quite interesting. You is natural born leader fearless every You seem to like him he entrepreneurial and all those qualities get in well later when he decided to become a gangster uh, but he he was pretty ambitious and like a lot of young blacks, that time that went, went n he decided that he wasn't going to do the straight route. He was going to do
the gangster route and he went to Philadelphia and they ended up in the numbers business in the black community and he stayed there for a year, and that was very kind of a hazy about why he left Philadelphia. But anyway he ended up in New York and, of course, If you wanted to make a mark in the in the criminal world. That was a place to go New York City, you know, is the hub of everything gangster, so he ended up again in the numbers for awhile, and he wanted to break into the into the drug trade, and at that time was controlled by the Italians to what what is called was called. The french connection was called the French because the laboratories were were in France in Marseille and but it run essentially by the italian mafia, and at that time this was in the 60s when he came, he came probably around sixty three or sixty four to New York City.
And at that time, if you're up black and you you wanted to work in the trade you eventually essentially, where subservient to the Italians the way Italians and he did get some some financing? You wanted to break in but they wouldn't let him in they. Wouldn't you know which, which was in most cases where to close the door to him but uh. There was another gangster name, Rolando Gonzalas Cuban who had great connections in Venezuela and he had to jump bail and he the country and he kept contact with with Frank and that's all frankly started. He started through a can through his connection in in Venezuela and and Heroin, and it was the perfect storm I mean this is when when when heroin is becoming really big, you got the Vietnam veterans coming back. Five percent of them were rejected to heroin in Vietnam. You had that and and drug
You were widely used, had the counterculture. And you know the clarification of drugs, and so he entered the drug trade at a at a very opportune time, but nope You really want to think about him. It was really strange because, yeah. He was rapidly becoming one of the biggest drug dealers, yeah in the country and the ground Forsman. Generally, didn't really have anything on him and it was by a stroke of luck that they did uncover, feel Frank, Matthews as a as an emerging drug dealer. So that sets him up you know when he is about to be He discovered by the Da and Nypd and the drug task force they set up to investigate drug trafficking in in your SIRI.
The thing I'd like to talk about, but we just kind of skipped over a little bit, because you do outline a little bit about Durham N Court. North Carolina base in the part of the reason why the thing that shaped Frank Matthews is that this Durham is, is an unusual community a very, very successful black community and and, as you point out, there's many people from the High school that went on to college. So it's a sort of an example of a very, very affluence black Community at a time when there weren't so many affluent black communities that were majority of them these were black hills, and so it was. It was something that anybody that lives in that community sort of that rise for success, or that the ability to achieve some mode
come of success seems to be possible in Durham, so right yeah. He had plenty examples of success around him. You know. It's called the Harlem of the South, Durham an and they had what they call the Black Wall Street. You know with very successful bankers, a lot of money. Is a segregated community, but uh blacks, little K in Durham, actually a lot of them and and so so you know he grew up in this entrepreneurial environment and he saw you know a lot of blacks becoming successful? So I think that they had an impact on him. No, you. We have been involved with the drug enforcement agency. The DEA. Obviously, you might not have been around right at the very beginning of this, but based on the research of the DA itself like RON
said that Frank wasn't really on the authorities radar? All The time is prominent, as maybe he obviously should have been, but at the time. Based on your research of the of the da who were the main players in in New York that the DA felt worthy important drug dealers heroin dealers at that time and not Frank Matthews. So Dan, I think I think it's important always to set the context. Dea was formed just a little over forty years ago, probably forty years ago, in a couple of weeks in July, of nineteen, seventy three by then President Richard Nixon, and he
the country had a major problem with heroin. You have soldiers on matches. Coming back from the Vietnam WAR addicted to opium poppies, we had large numbers of heroin addicts in the oak city and adding a lot of petty crimes. Carjackings of robberies the the media will write about these events. They lied to the six o'clock news, the daily papers and the politicians say we have to do something about it. The law enforcement system was not as strong and sophisticated back in the seventies. You had a lot of corruption in New York City, Serpico issues. You had the the Knapp Commission and President Nixon said: I'm going to form a special agency, in name but the drug Enforcement administration, which is a combination of very special investigative agencies and intelligence and agencies with the sole purpose to go after a major narcotics dealers. At the time they d A was formed in seventy. Three Matthews was already a fugitive, having been identified as a major, significant narcotic dealer, a heroin and cocaine of the leader of an organization that was distributing in a large amounts of drugs. What the eastern seaboard, I think at one point, we tracked him in the distribution distribution to what twenty one states- and you know he was arrested. These guys will colorful, but only Matthews what you had guys in the seventies. A lot african american deals like Frank Lucas, Nikki Bones, Robert Step in the Zack Robinson and each one was colorful. Has the eight crew swirl around a lot of money, attended all the sporting events they like to be seen in public and the media were right about them, so it kind of made it somewhat easier for law enforcement? Is you know zero in on these guys since try to find out how they
Making their money- and so Matthews of course, came to the attention of a specially very young agency to try to show that the thinking you know developed the major cases, arrest the major drug dealers and bring some calm to the streets of the city throughout the country and they went after Mattie's. Unfortunately, forty years later he still has not been court, but it was not because of a lack of effort so line the the key of the plan to have what was the plan to try to infiltrate this this gang- and I what was the the methodology that you tried to employ here,
bring down this guy. What was some of the techniques? Well well. Well, as I said when I, when I joined in seventy three Matthews was was joined. Seventy four rather Matthews was already a fugitive button. It was normal investigative techniques. I mean to the extent that you can you try to insert an undercover agent, so you have first hand knowledge of the planning of the organization who's in a leadership position, how they acquire the narcotics and then how they move their money and any properties they may be purchasing around the country. If you cannot get an undercover agent in there, because some time these organizations are extremely insular and they're not open to new faces, you know you would've arrested, maybe some one in the organization and that person says say I'll, give you the information to maybe reduce my federal sentence and take you inside or I'll, be your eyes and is on the inside and let you know what's going on and of course, behind the scenes you know we would try to cooperate. What they're saying and telling us to make sure that we have a strong prosecutable case and and usually again since this is the drug enforcement administration. Cindy's case is going to be prosecuted in federal court and you're working throughout the investigation which may last for six months to well over a year before you actually arrest. Somebody are you working closely with a federal prosecutor, and so you gonna charge these people at the highest level of the federal trafficking charges. So they can, you know, will upon conviction, serve the maximum sentence and that will kind of encourage them to cooperate, realizing that the only thing a lawyer can do, for you is basically an drain. You dry by charging the lawyer fees, but the case is so tight because we had the advantage of working six months to a year before we are.
Ankle. So I knew that there was no wiggle. The only way out of going to prison for a long period of time is to cooperate and slowly but surely people start to realize that, then you know try to reduce their liability by joining the team. Jenny, the cooperating as a witness for historical informational conspiracy cases or actually becoming a witness and introducing other people into the organization now run. We got to go back with house of an add on about their ok. Well, I wanted to go back and explain how we just talked about how they did some research or they did. The operation was sick. Months in the making, but you talk sort of being a courier for the for this french connection that he has directly in Venezuela that ends up lead to the downfall of all these guys. So tell us about, the actual indictment and how it came to Matthews was. Finally, even though it like he couldn't because
how you finally was indicted. All the bills, if case like Lewis, You know gradually- and I was going to add to that. They use to very important techniques as well at court ordered wire. You know to add to to listen Non on conversations with Matthews and some of his associates, and they also did old fashioned surveillance too. And which is really interesting about Matthews. Is that he seems to know that this was going on, but he did seem to seem to care but slowly put together? You know a case and at that time, in one thousand, nine hundred and seventy they passed. The Rico statute where you can prove conspiracy, you know A person and have to handle drugs, you just have to be part of a concert, a conspiracy that dealt with drugs in an organization, and so it was a very effective tool. It was a new tool, but the bills conspiracy case against. I instead Matthews in about eighteen, others
in his organization and and- and he didn't stick around for the and and he was gone July. Second, one thousand nine hundred and seventy three and it wasn't until next year that the the other, at a organization where prosecuted now, how is it that states let some He like him go. They obviously wanted to post a big bail with him and what the initial bail that was demanded from him. And what did he eventually negos the eight that's down to and then how on earth and why explain because it's a great story on Why he was going to court, he he had no reason to think that he was going to do life. He thought he was confident in this court case. But what happened so take us back how we've got the bail in the first place. What was the bail and then how it was that he decided to bamboo. What the LAN ports and decided to to they're that he
but he might skip town because is they're getting a word that that he the deer on to them, so he went to LAS Vegas with a girlfriend named showed that he's around and was on his way to the Superbowl Bowl play between Washington Redskins in the Miami Miami Dolphins, one thousand nine hundred and seventy three super bowl and he was arrested at Mccarran Airport in LAS Vegas and when you went before the judge It was an astounding avail, like five million dollars, bail biggest bail in history, and it was just incredibly really late. Give me a good case for why the bill should be high, but even the prosecutors that came down from New York were shocked by the thing but uh, but by the time he left it went down to twenty two point. Five Five million- and he was extradited. Back to New York City and
and winded. A couple months later, when, when bail was set, he went before the judge. And they argue for a very strong, very a tough bill sentence on him, because you're afraid that he was going to jump? I jump a bill once it was set. Because there was a belief that he was putting away money. You know every month is putting way money and they the the suspect, that that he was getting an s, take that he would use if he had to flee town so it went down to three hundred and twenty five thousand, which was uh. You know considered outrageous by the prosecutor because he thought it was too far too low. And of course he was easily able to raise that money and and like he hung around and then July. Second couple months later, he until now but uh
plus why he did that, because it's a very good point, because I think it hides you could always say. Obviously that was you know not the right decision because he fled, but. Sale is basically to ensure somebody's going to go to court and come back to court and look at roots in the community yeah. Does he have family ties? Is he married? Does he have kids? What's the likelihood you know that we think that he will return, even though the effects may be very serious. You know most defendants do show up and most offended to ipon conviction. You know, go to jail, there's a lot. There's a percentage that become fugitives, but you know there's some tough decisions. You got to wait back and forth in the courts, try to be faring and bow It's everything out. Obviously, you know Frank had plans that he wasn't, he didn't spend any more time in jail and real
Lies that he was caught in a very serious investigation that this was not the police doing some surveillance, making some observations arresting him and the only thing they knew about him that he had a large amount of narcotics. This is an investigation, had been known for substantial period of time they arrested very members of his organization and identified him as the leader of the organization, so he's going to face the most. The more significant charges. Put it up one. I understood that there was a no one, specifically, I think, by as some authority said, listen, Frank, another indictments going to be coming down and you're going to be looking at life at this thing and you might get it and He actually asks the actually ask, because he heard the rumor that they're gonna going to throw the book. I think it was with It was Louis forty eight, I think, yeah
eight eight forty eight, which is eight hundred and forty eight right and they're going to sweat and soul. The story goes that uh. He was in the courthouse a day or two before he villain. He asked Raymond Erie was a federal prosecutor at that time. You know that question. Are you going to throw the eight hundred and forty eight at me, and he left it very nebulous. You know he didn't say: yes we're going to throw it, but he said in such a way that it could have been interpreted that they were going to do that and so story goes that you know that was probably the The reason you know the the thing that pushed Frank decide to to flee, but you know we really don't know you know if he was planning to do it, what he was planning to do we hear all kinds of stories. That's the hard part of researching. Gangster history and uh in francs case you know, is very difficult to research it because the records are missing from
that trial. I mentioned in nineteen seventy five of his all of his lieutenants. A lot of people wouldn't talk. A lot of people are dead. So you know you had to if you're a you have to coach what you say, you know you, don't you it's very hard to make definitive statements about certain events. In in the story. Well, You make an inference to a certain degree if, if, if he did get information whether the person said definitively you're going to do a life sentence for this new indictment, maybe didn't want to take the chance you had. No, he didn't. He didn't wrestle around about it. He said he said. Maybe Frank, maybe you left it very. You know that it wasn't like you would have defended it. Well, if you had the possibility of doing a life imprisonment You might just take all the money that you made in flee. You got a beautiful woman and a young, beautiful woman, and so he goes. I mean he had to build He did do that now. Tell us a little little to Cheryl Brown, who is she because he has?
a wife that was involved in his business. They called her I guess she was involved in counting the money. She knew about. Using a constantly. She was indicted and she was indicted, even though on a technicality should beat it, but Tell us about Cheryl Brown, who she is and then plus about his former wife and and his three children So again, we kind of skipped over those things it I see read the book then yeah you've got. You know all the facts on that's good that, but The Cheryl Denise Brown was was a girlfriend and Frank, had lots of girlfriends. I mean I want to see thing about. This story was hearing all the woman he had in various towns. Exactly was a frequent visitor to the Playboy club in,
in Atlanta and he had a couple of girlfriends there. I I made another guy introduced me to to a woman in Philadelphia that was supposedly his girlfriend. But he seemed to uh take a really liking to this Cheryl Denise and we don't know too much about her. News about fifty five cheers younger than very beautiful. You saw the picture in the in the book and she generally. She like to hang around in bars. She came from a good family, the Parents evidently were school teachers and- and but she met Frank one night and at a bar and was obviously taken by you, know him and, as he was very handsome guy, you know the woman read the book. Look to pick they say he's very good. Looking guy, so you know he was tracked. It to him and with really amazing, you know he was a womanizer, but he also had a wife named Barbara, hidden and three
at home, and one of them was was by him and she took a very active role in her business. You know accounting background and She really took care of the money. That's what the DEA agent said that investigated Frank said. You know they said she was very capable give a woman. An was really strange is it's hard not to believe that she didn't know all this stuff is going on. You know Frank's will, niessing, and all that you know, could have gone for long periods of time because because the nature of his business and he would travel and it you know it didn't, seem to really either her and is really no stories once once she he left with this woman, I well we we don't know if, if you left with this woman, we assume she left to you after this woman because she disappeared at the same time. He did in that same period there, but act, but actually this is the story for her as a sixteen story for sorry, for Frank there's really no, no evidence to prove it.
Inclusively on that, but after Frank left. She never really talked about it, As I mentioned in the book, she was very. Those mouth agents went to see her first first DEA agents that were on the case and after year was transferred to the Marshalls and She didn't really. She really didn't say anything. And eventually she moved to Cincinnati. Have a story in there and met. I was able to track down a couple of kids that grew up with the children of Matthews after he fled. She moved to I apartment on 95th fifth street, and that one, the interesting things they told me was when, how that there is no pictures of Frank anywhere You know he was absolutely gone from their lives as far as pictures work and so
and I always thought that was interesting- you know it yeah, so you know and there's really no evidence that he had a lot of money when, when, after he fled, which means that would that at and that he did. She got some of the money because he's a supposedly fled with, with between fifteen and twenty million dollars, and and again that's not, you know, you can be proven that but that's what that? That's the v eight suspected and that's the general wisdom about frame have used, but the marshals at a loss to search of of the financial and they couldn't find anything any evidence that they had a bump in wealth anytime. During the forty years that Frank fled So, whether he he talked to them or not after he fled you know, it's really an open question. I I really don't think that he did and I have my own theories about what happened to him.
Luisa Lou. What what exactly does the da in terms of looking for him? Obviously he was a fugitive and very high up on the list people that will want it. What did what was the Is it the da conclude after looking for and for a certain amount of time. Well in terms of where he might a went in what might have happened to him. You know it at one point immediately when he became a fugitive in seventy three at the age, formed a special operation which was funded out of DA headquarters in Washington DC with the group of agents and New York City detectors that were intimately familiar with Matthews and his investigation, and they had the money and the Reese This is and the push to to really travel and interview people and and and try to locate him. I mean he was as you. If you can imagine this. This is a new agency
up against other federal agencies that then around a lot longer doing the same mission like Bsbi customs and you have to prove your worth and you know you gotta be, guy in your area, which is narcotics and he's on the run, so they spent a lot of time and a lot of resources really having agents dedicated work around the world developing leads to try to locate him and and and the rest, and at some point I think, in the early 80s there was a mandate from the attorney general that now all futures of DEA would be turned over to the US marshals to investigate and pursue, and then the US marshals out of the eastern District of New York picked up the investigation. Then they work you know overtime and over in overdrive, trying to locate him also redoing. The.
Case file, it did the agent that put together putting money out there talking to do new people again. People again sometimes time. Sometimes initially people may not want to talk, but couple years ago by uh whatever reason. Money or change in a relationship where there are no longer friends or that tight. You know they may want to give him up, so the Marshalls try to do the same thing and we never could locate him and, as I moved onto my career, that will point in the early 90s and at the end of the 90s, posing in the two thousand in Philadelphia and also New York. We
started to beat the bushes again to see if we could drum up some interest and and and finding out where he was in, and we had people, you know, give us some information and then we have to follow up with. At one point we had. We asked the John List, who became well known throughout the country when they worked with America's most wanted and right put together the bust of journalists, who was a fugitive out of northern New Jersey or Middle New Jersey. That killed is the wife and kids. I think five members of the family and he was profiled. The bus was profiled on America's most wanted and within that Sunday night with, then you know so only two hours. He was in custody, and so we went to Bob Bender before he passed away and we gave him the information we had and in terms of law.
Style, and it features that we had filed that use, and you know he created a bus based on what he knew and what he would possibly look like. You know, fifteen years later, and you know we. Put together a squad of agents, also in Philadelphia and working with the agents in New York? To really again, you know, travel around the country and then try to increase the reward for and and and see. If we can get some information, we did get some information. We did get some leads and we will we follow of those up. But obviously he's not in custody now. So it was not a total success. What was the theory, and what was the theory that, where he like we could have gone. I mean there's only so many countries that you more more likely to go to what was the idea in terms of where he might have stay some cash and where he would be able to well in a country that would be friendly too.
Somebody on the run? You know that's a good question it key to, going to some place in the United States because all or out of the country, because the best thing These guys can you know, Do a one hundred and eighty in terms of lifestyle, not be highly public, not the fancy clothes, not for all out for around a lot of money and blended in the community and obey the rules and of the community and not to attend to themselves. They they they increase the chances of staying out there, you know and and their motor. Rated to do that because they don't have so much at stake, you mean they know exactly who they are to. Somebody starts to wonder what exactly I get money. How can we, as a less money or the story he's telling about how he inherited this money doesn't make sense. I think he's into something illegal. All they have to do is anonymously,
call the police and an investigation is started. So it's it's. It's really uncomfortable pain, a fugitive, a major sutures. If he wants to stay out there to really blend in you know, Tay K what they call a square job, a nine to five job- and you know be a productive member of that that community and not draw any attention to yourself so in the United States or outside the United States,. Now that it is it likely based the character that you studied not to do, knew him? based on what you saw in terms of His lifestyle is entire life that you know of. Is it Hopefully he got a nine to five job and just blended in somewhere in America, it's it's likely, but he knew that the case against him was strong, as he knew all this keep. The key members of his organization were arrested. He knew that What do it with the passing of time, the law
he sort of this is not as strong as it was in the early days that somebody may cooperate, and and and and really you know, give a strong evidence against them. And they knew he was facing on the downside ten years in federal prison or up the life in prison, and so is there's anybody. It's going to be motivated and not to triple wire. It would be that kind of individual he's, a smart guy. I mean he was we have an organization, twenty one states and he wasn't even thirty years of age. You know he was a guy that was chow Changing the italian mafia way back when ten Murta meant something in the mafia ok, so he was, he was a strong guy was a break. I it was a smart guy. He was a vicious gay, you know, he he knew that now it's over it's over. You know I don't want to make that mistake and go back to the penitentiary for the rest of my you know, because if you look at all the federal crimes on the books, the prow
We wanted the most severe ones is the one for narcotics trafficking and even when the heroin aside news in the United States you mentioned overseas, I mean what these major Log dealers fear more than anything else is a federal indictment, because if there's a federal indictment with their name ordered in the United States- and we have extra- did and with that country they know sooner or later, they're going to be in the US in the US court system and at the federal level that money is not going to be able to help them that I can be able to manipulate the criminal justice system. It's not going to help him with the jury is not going to hit the judge. The only thing that's only process is going to benefit from that is, is a lawyer. So I don't want to know what motivation would have been totally in his interest to really change his lifestyle. One hundred and eighty degrees. Now run. I I post the same question to you, but the summary after we had a little bit there. Well, let me just have this. Let me put this because this peak my interest
the idea that a twenty year old woman would never contact her family again and, like you said, you found it unusual that the photos weren't on the walls anymore at at Hinton family along with his kids. What is your theory about Where he went and what actually happened- and you really think that They both survived if there is no contact with those important figure, is in there, both their lives. Well. Let me put this way. There's a lot of people have disappeared in gangland and all that. But there's always something like what even Whitey Bulger disappeared. You know they had eighteen picture of ATM machine in nineteen. Ninety eight and the news coming back to Boston. They had very Bible evidence, but in terms of Matthews and is described in the book MIKE Busy who's. Who is it yeah a US marshal that that tract the Maquis
is story for like fifteen years and all that you know he said that at the end of the day they had lots of reams of paper, but not one solid piece of evidence. There's not one! solid piece of me. When I say not one solid, there are no informants. You know, usually somebody talks. They want to save skin there's absolutely no informants, one of the marshals went back, about fifteen years twenty years after Matthews, disappeared and re interviewed all those people that were still alive on that indictment. And he came away convinced that none, had ever seen- Matthews actually disappeared. You know they wouldn't talk. He said we're not tell you anything, but he he left. You convinced that they didn't. Didn't do that? There's no fingerprints, there's no sightings, there's all kinds of stories, and I describe them in the book about seeing him cry, These stories, you know it's like Sasquatch, like Sasquatch,
so there's really no evidence and I think that something could have happened. See you soon after he eats sure he jumped bail I think he was alive for a certain period of time. But in the book I describe a very interesting side story about the CIA right, and the corsican mafia. And Matthews had really disrupted that that nice drug ring they had going by talking very freely. The phone and I think part of that was because he had a cocaine problem and it was getting worse near the end use, where he jumped, and you know if you left the country he was out of his out of his element, you know he Didn'T- have any on voice to to rely on. He wasn't in his neighborhood, and he could easily have been killed by. So especially if you were reported to have fifteen to twenty million dollars an
You say: where is this money? There's absolutely I mean money laundering laws in those data very primitive and there's act. No trail of this money anywhere and so you know he could have also potentially a witness. In that trial and The CIA was involved with drugs just like they were in Southeast Asia, during the Vietnam, war and you know, they were very worried about Castro to taking power and he formed the alliance of convenience with the question Macias Mafia and could easily have gotten rid of Matthews. He said describing the book where they were going to build very strong case using the venezuelan connection and the sea. They told him to drop it and They did it cut off that whole part of the of the case they had against the
The Matthews ring and those sixteen eighteen drug traffickers in Venezuela that were busted in that big butt. That happened, including Orlando Gonzalas. All all of them were quietly to you. To released without any charges filed against them, then they went to jail and which is very interesting, so I don't think he's alive really I don't otherwise My opinion is is conjecture. I think it's an educated opinion because I think most of the evidence for him being dead is stronger than for him being alive.
Yeah yeah, you state that you make a case. You know I found interesting to the story and tell about the cans of Frank Matthews and the malls musically a Frank Matthews when he was cross the street from Tommy three fingers the whole house on There- and I just this- is the finger optimize literally down here right there, that's always a little bit about that, because and what that possibly could have done for him as well or You not not done any good for him with for that. Without he was living in Brooklyn on Clarkson, Ave and nice apartment in nothing very, very loud but of course he had more money than you what to do with, and I give you plenty of examples in the book of you know the money that you had us phenomenal on that, and so he decide. He's going to move out into a nicer surroundings and for why he chose told hill. Staten Island. Nobody, seems to know you know, but in
You must have known when he moved into that house and I went by that house and I looked across the street. And you can see the sign on the. On the driveway, with Jay Z, right here and literally, cd into the other house across the street. So that's where he moved and no, these Italians, weren't exactly racially enlighten you know back then and have this black person moved into the neighborhood and there were no black people living in that neighborhood and again gangster the boot 'cause. He knew who he was and you know living this heist. You lifestyle doing the whole house. They were contractors there, the Stanley two hundred thousand dollars for the house, just a lot of money. Back then, on that and he didn't seem to care, and there were you know they talked about him and they had some of the month guys on the wire. In fact, what and one of the agents told me that years, even talk of
getting rid of Matthews because he was considered a new and I think that, if a he's got hung around. How much longer there probably would have been some problems and maybe some violence that would have resulted from his presents in that neighborhood but you know he put his kids into Staten Island Academy and he was a good father. I interviewed the tutor You and he is a good father. He hired distillery came over every day. And I think that Matthews was really thinking about getting of the drug trade and doing so the legitimate, because he had a brilliant business mine and He had bought lottery, L'Estate real estate and have a lot of businesses, and I think- it is long term plan was to get out and he wanted to have a better life. You know for his kids, and that was evident the way he treated them would what state of the children now and it's interesting.
You know I described in the book because the Marshall interviewing the children fifteen to twenty years on, and it was a really shocking because if you know Matt use it in a touch of the I. I find it very hard to that's the reason why I think he's probably dead. I I talked with the grand son, the son, his namesake Frank Junior, did talk to me. I talk to the guys and I didn't get the feeling that that there was a a presence in their lives, Frank Matthews, at present in there, but their lives went to hell after he, and- and I think all three of them ended up in trouble with the law in in some, and the Marshalls did do a search you know. They never got any money, never had any money and so it's very very, very strange. You know if, if Frank had sweat, we he treated them while he was still
on a lot and then to flee and into totally ignore his children, you know, is to me very strange if he was alive yeah, now Lou what was the for the DA estimates of the kind of business? He was doing. Frank Matthews was doing per year at his peak there for a couple years or years that they really know about in in New York, two or three years. What was the estimate and then maybe we could, that kind of money would be in terms of today's money,
so easily? You know hundreds of kilos of heroin and cocaine throughout the eastern seaboard. Twenty one states great, obviously, leadership, skills and contacts outside of the United States to be able to get these drugs and then also, you know, supervise the distribution throughout the eastern seaboard and and you look at again context when Mattie's was in his prime late sixties, early seventies, so the dove tails with what was going on in the United States, with a lot of racial tension and segregation and African Americans fighting for equality. You know the Matthews at his young age, again less than thirty put together a meeting with the key african american drug dealers in Atlanta and the whole focus of the meeting was to get everybody on board and figure out a way to cut out the italian mafia and go right to the source and maintain control on the importation and distribution and them maximize the ability to make money. You know so and when he was charged you know he was charged. You know initially the conspiracy count and the which upon conviction, you can get anywhere up to twenty years, but there was a lot of Tolkien and RON mentioned it before about the possibility of the dieting and for twenty one USC eight forty eight, which is to prove that case. The government was convinced that he was a leader of an organization, five or more people, and they made substantial profits and upon conviction of that charge. He do a minimum of ten year.
Is the maximum of life in prison and again in context when you think about the early 70s with the formation of the drug enforcement administration with the heroin problem throughout the United States with the crime, the New York City, police department of one time was tracking over two thousand two hundred murders a year and the most of those, of course, were drug related murders. You know it's a good chance that she was convicted of the eight hundred and forty eight. He would have done life in prison, and so he was again seen as a major drug deal that the quality of life in the country would be enhanced if he was in custody and the government was able to large prosecuted cases against most of the members of his organization. But of course he was the leader
You know it's not a success into you, get the leader in custody and that never happened. Yeah the you know. The thing is with the, This story really shows too. Is that as charismatic and good looking and nicely dressed as a Frank Matthews was it's the the Jane and devastation is bring into those communities because they were. You were talking about the Matthews in some of these other people basically started the war on drugs in terms of Nixon declaring war after he, is informed by agents that listen there There's a million use there's there's a million addicts right here in New York City, and so the initiated this war on drugs and and when you talk about one slash three of all available in loibl men not working on you in that kind of devastation to a community and with it comes the violence, and you said, like Frank, Matthews really wasn't.
His words tied his hands were bloodied, but he wasn't shy about being involved in whatever it took. You know it's not crowded dance and when you think about the seventy, specially nineteen, seventy President Nixon started the phrase public enemy number one, and that was not products and systems of focus at the federal level. At the you know, the federal government has the resources and as c connections internationally and relationships, the state Department and too aggressive law enforcement in the United States that the federal government has to step up and get involved, and so let these guys noted this a price to pay. You know the mafia, all organized crime groups with
you know a lot more dangerous than individual plays. He was he's well organized groups and to take them to task and slowly but surely you know one by one, be a starter to pick these guys off and and forty years later, as D A celebrates his fortieth anniversary. It's a it's a reputation of success. You know it's a young agency in junior right see compared to the brother and sister agencies at the federal level, specially is department of Justice, a tf two US marshals, the FBI, and and and such. But it's an agency that you know if you're in the criminal world people know the power of DEA and the ability of agents to Lloyd, prosecutable cases against leaders of drug organizations inside the United States and those that live in the source, countries transient countries, yeah. Well, I mean the you know the
and will always be there, and so you guys will never be and be able to say, hey success, but in terms of organized crime and and the mafia and those associated in the same types of businesses, you guys have been in part with other agencies- very, very successful, in sort of dismantling some of the biggest crime families in american history well, you'll be looking in here very quickly. It a hundred percent correct them, because you know a generation to go. People wanted to be identified, as let's say the leader of one of the five crime families in the mafia. Now they know that's a sentence that they're going to go to the penitentiary. You know they don't want to be identified, put on a daily paper. So this is the leader of the Genovese family, to Gambino Family, the Colombo family to Luke Az Fam they don't want to be identified as a leader, because once they are identified as a leader, you know the federal government's going to go after working with
All their resources, surveillance, federal prosecutors in four, Mets wiretaps and sooner or later another start picking off members of the organization and somebody's going to be in a situation where he realizes all cool SAM is a new best friend and he's going to testify. You know and then there's an apparatus to the witness protection program to make sure if that person does testify, and this organization has the ability to you know, kill them that they're going to make sure that you know he doesn't get killed. So we can complete this test money is sent a message to the other criminal criminals out there that if you cooperate with the US government, we can, we can keep you safe. We can make sure testify and that you could live for the rest of your life. No one in your research. How was it that Frank, Matthews sort of flu? under the radar. Yet, as Lewis has spoken, that he was
involved in twenty one states. He was everywhere. He was in all the major centers Baltimore. He was in really he was in. He was everywhere and he made contacts in Detroit even an obviously this cool, where he goes down to venezuelan deals directly and bypass and the Italians How is it that he flew under the radar? Quite a while, though? How is it that? How did that happen? Well, simply because he was black at that time. There were big african american drug dealers. Now the drug trade was changing at the time, we had the french connection. Remember the famous movie, the french connection and law enforcement is having great success. Their dismantling. This monopoly is one of the great monopolies in history of the fund, She had ninety five percent of the heroin trade at it's at its peak on that, but it was being dismantled but which opened up.
Opportunities for minorities like like like drug dealers, but you know law enforcement, salt. In lieu of behind the little bit behind the trend. And that they didn't really pick up on that and and uh is really luck because detective was living same apartment, complex at as as Frank and when they discovered you know that Frank was involved. But they really didn't believe it at first, because they couldn't see how this afternoon can regular can become so big. You know, first of all, given the nature of the drug trade and second at all I was them knowing anything about him right and and with the same question for you Lou. Why do you think that he really I mean other black drug dealers, heroin dealers in
New York and other cities were recognized. Why do you think the Frank Matthews? What was it about his. Is his career that made it that he flew under the radar for a little bit of time. Well, I I think you have to look the strategy of the federal government when it comes to law enforcement. These are investigative agencies These are not agencies that see somebody. You know make a move that they think may be suspicious and they stop and they question him. So information would come across that he's involved in the drug trade, but the United States government is going to want to be able to prove it. They want be able to prove to a jury, because a lot of these guys are going to trial during those times that too, This guy is a major guy. This is not just a one chance or one move deal, and so to do that it going to take time. It's going to take you know, being able to have enough evidence to convince
the federal Judge Signal Wire tap for a certain phone. That's only going to be admissible. Thirty days, and you have to continue for another thirty days, but you have to convince the court that he still discussing that kind business over the telephone. You have to do the physical, so balance, follow people and hopefully not be observed during the course of the instigation. You may be able to arrest a member of the investigation and take them out does out of circulation for awhile, thoroughly debriefed Let me get their life story and try to corroborate, with their saying to testimony in the grand jury, so there's a lot of work being done based on what people think is going on to be able to prove it and that's when the evidence comes into court, generally speaking, once those handcuffs go on at the federal level. This the tight case, the case can't, any tired, 'cause, you've been
What a federal prosecutor all throughout those six muscles, eight march, even working with law enforcement counterparts in the eight to what the country and overseas you may be, a he has a strong overseas program and in the Caribbean, in in Europe and Southeast Asia. You know sixty some odd countries where they have agents stationed working with the police on on narcotic matters at all these countries, so taking all that, information to go back to the forced countries to the transshipment countries to the distribution organizations in the US. So it's a strong prosecutable case. That is, these guys decide to go to trial, that that jury will look at the government's evidence and and so these guys are in the business. You know, let's, let's vote guilty and I just take some time to take some time RON. Do you think that Frank Matthews, though, did benefit somewhat
or to a great degree from not having so many enemies based Klay throughout your research. It seems like this. Guy was a guy that had a lot, friends a lot of people that wouldn't speak against them. Lot of people will keep the secret. We threw some money around. He was nice to a lot of people. He grew up in Durham and bonded even gave money towards his bail. These some of these people do you think because he didn't make so many enemies and he was a friendly guy and very you know, he's able to get things done and meet people that maybe- that's why he flew under the radar a little bit well, You know he did have entities 'cause. He did go to do that problems in Philadelphia as I described in the book, but he didn't make a lot of friends because of his personality. You know people that worked with him home boys and all that and and yes, I think that that a lot of them want to see Frank, get away. You know, because of of of who he was a lot of people. You know you know
claim. They met him because you want to be part of the legend I don't think, necessarily saw him or had any contact with him on that, and he is a legend. You know is a legend within the community and I think that if he is alive, that's probably helped him like. I said they were, were absolutely no informants, no real informants. You know there were still some people, but they were quickly dismissed. Melaleuca almost near the end of our program is far as the DEA is involved, like you would said how much money they spent or how involved they were in trying to solve this case and trying to track down Frank Matthews. So in terms of the the DEA. I don't know if they sit around and say all of this is here's the ones that got away. Is this the kind of case in the kind of character that guy
might sit around and say: hey. Here's, a guy, that's very interesting, never did find out. Is that something that happens some degree I mean there's a case file of the Frank Matthews Investigation is an open file, So there's an agent assigned to that investigation to report on just to try to locate him. But you know it it's it's then many many years and and Frank Matthews has many. Clips by a whole host of other major drug dealers and organizations. So the if it is nowhere near you know like it was back in the 70s. But that case file is still open, even the witnesses, most of them have retired a long time ago, from DEA, and I'm talking about the agent witnesses, the police officer, the witnesses
right prosecutors to it. It's it's, it's it's sort of old lose, but at the same time the case is still active and to the Fantasy was located tonight and somebody arrested him. You know the hard look at that case file and figure out. What can we prove? You know who's around you know should we offer this guy a plea deal figure out some way to dispose of the case, but it it it's never going to be a case where people say just dismiss it. You know we'll never find this guy because of the length of time that that's not going to happen. He was a Major drug dealer sold a lot of heroin and cocaine and. Was the leader of the organization and DEA by nature is set up to investigate benefis rather, and investigate and arrest the leaders of organization, so he's he'll always be
on the radar for DEA all that's great It's very interesting. I guess we're just going to wrap up now. I want to thank you very much, gentlemen. You Lewis come how to program Lou. Thank you very much for coming on and adding this very, very unique perspective, a very, very interesting to hear about the origins of the deed, DEA, and and your obligation to try to do something and try to find Frank Matthews and the mystery that still is is out. Thank you very much RON as well and for arranging to have Luke come on the program and talk from and again this unique perspective. Thank you very much RON. Thank you. Thank you Dude Dan. It's always a pleasure to be on the radio. With my good friend RON,
Thank you very much. I always good. To be honest, I was used to be on with a little thank you very much one, nine. Well that probably tell the name of your book. So what should be all yeah right, because it it right back Caesar the rise and did appearance of Frank Matthews, King ten, and you can go to strategic media books that calm. I was also website Frank Matthews book dot com and if, where is Amazon and bookstores and also put, Again for your your radio program, you find radio program that you call. Yes, thank you, artists, right. We have. We have I've, I've read a show called crime beat and your to the artists. First, radio network artists were stock com. Tomorrow we have a a gentleman. That's going to be talking about the surveillance system in a Erica and some of the issues that have been raised about the privacy and and rights of a citizen. So it's eight o'clock every Thursday eight hundred pm
and then if I could, I just like to say happy anniversary, 40th anniversary to the men and women, the present and former of DEA, who work under the radar, but do a very difficult job in law enforcement investigating dangerous drug dealers and making our country safe. Thank you, I want to thank you very much, gentlemen, and for a great interview and thanks very much for another great book RON, Black Caesar, thank story and thank you both for coming on and you guys have a great evening and goodnight thank you. Bye, bye, bye, bye and now I thought from Geico Motorcycle. It took fifteen minutes to take a spirit, animal quiz online. Please be the cheetah these be the cheetah and learn your animal. Isn't the cheetah, but the far less appealing blobfish
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Transcript generated on 2019-11-06.