Frank Matthews, known as “Black Caesar,” rose to become a powerful drug kingpin who dominated the New York City drug trade in the 1970s.
Born in Durham, North Carolina, Matthews turned to a life of crime at a young age. After running a numbers racket, he became involved with the Black Mafia and started dealing drugs.
Frank Matthews quickly rose to become one of the most powerful drug lords in the United States, importing large amounts of heroin and cocaine from South America. He ran his operation out of multiple cities, including New York City and Philadelphia, and eventually became the wholesaler to the Black Mafia.
Matthews’ lavish lifestyle, which included multiple mansions, flashy cars, and expensive jewellery, attracted law enforcement attention.
Frank Matthews was arrested in Las Vegas in 1972 and released soon after, but his activities were closely monitored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In 1973, Matthews was arrested again in Florida for attempting to sell 40 pounds of pure cocaine. He flew back to Las Vegas where he was arrested for a third time.
Frank Matthews faced up to 50 years in prison for charges of tax evasion and conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine.
On July 2, 1973, Matthews failed to show up for his Court hearing in Brooklyn.
It is rumored that Frank Matthews fled the country with his girlfriend and $20 million to avoid conviction, leaving behind his family and mansions in New York City.
The FBI put out a $20,000 bounty for Frank Matthews, the highest amount set by the agency at the time, but to date Frank Matthews has never been found.