Fitzgerald “Fritz” Simmons was a legendary drug kingpin who ran one of the most successful drug operations in Harlem during the 1980s and 1990s.
Despite his significant role in the drug trade during the 1980s, Fritz’s story is one that is often overlooked in the history of Harlem’s underworld. However, author Harlem Holiday sheds new light on his life and legacy in her book, “The Harlem Plug: The Richard ‘Fritz’ Simmons Story.”
Fritz grew up in poverty in Harlem and turned to drug dealing as a way to make a living. He quickly rose through the ranks of the drug game, eventually becoming one of the most successful drug dealers in the city.
Fritz supplied drugs to some of Harlem’s most infamous drug dealers, including Rich Porter.
What set Fritz apart from other drug dealers was his business acumen. He operated on a small scale and kept his operation quiet, with only two trusted associates, Ace and Charles “Chucky” Caine. He eschewed the typical structure of drug operations with multiple lieutenants, disciplinarians, and workers, and instead relied on his own intuition and expertise.
Fritz’s obscurity was also due to his unique approach to drug trafficking. He used a consignment model rather than assembling a crew to handle the drugs. He was confident that he knew what he was doing and knew exactly who to give the cocaine to, and he was proven correct.
Fritz earned the nickname “The Consignment King” after moving 15 kilos of cocaine in two weeks.
Fritz’s low-key behaviour also set him apart from other drug dealers. He drove a modest Nissan Maxima and never moved out of Harlem despite making millions of dollars.
Fritz was well-known in the community because Fritz took care of his neighbours, giving money for groceries, rent, and even back-to-school clothes for children.
Fritz also helped out those in the drug trade, giving 30 free kilos of cocaine to Rich Porter when his brother was kidnapped so Rich could raise the ransom money demanded by the kidnappers.
According to Azie Faison, the reformed Harlem Hustler depicted in the Paid In Full Movie in his memoir, “Game Over”, Fritz died in 1991 after being infected with HIV from a Blood Transfusion at a New York Hospital following treatment for a gunshot wound.