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Drug kingpin Guy Fisher was a member of Nicky Barnes' heroin enterprise, The Council, and helped renovate the Apollo Theater.
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Because of this fact, Fisher's lawyer was able to argue that his client did not participate in the conspiracy mentioned in the federal case. This fact led to a hung jury in Fisher's trial, and he became the only member to escape sentencing.
Fisher saw his narrow escape from prison as a second lease on life, and decided to become a legitimate businessman. In early 1978, using the money he had earned through the heroin trade, Fisher purchased the crumbling Apollo Theater in Harlem. He placed the deed in his half brother's name, and began employing members of the neighborhood to help in its rehabilitation. In May of that year, the new Apollo was unveiled to the community, drawing Motown acts such as Gladys Knight, Jimi Hendrix and The Temptations.
Despite his legitimate success, Fisher resumed the heroin trade as head of The Council with Barnes's help. But after money for Barnes's legal fees started to disappear, the former drug kingpin grew resentful of Fisher's success on the outside. The final straw came when Fisher began an affair with one of Barnes's girlfriends. Feeling betrayed, Barnes broke the code of The Council and turned informant in the early 1980s.
In March of 1983, using information Barnes supplied them, federal agents finally gathered enough evidence to put Fisher and several of his associates on trial. He was sentenced to life without parole for his role in running a criminal enterprise, and was sent to Marion Federal Prison in Illinois. While in prison, Fisher wrote several novels, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees, and began mentoring inmates. In 2008, he completed his Ph.D. in sociology. He continues to serve his sentence despite several appeals.
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More than 30,000 gangs plague American streets, wreaking havoc from Los Angeles to New York. This violent subculture floods cities with drug traffic, extortion, and even weapons trading. But some members stand apart from others for their fearless attitudes and business savvy. From Leroy "Nicky" Barnes, one of Harlem's biggest drug king pins, to Kody "Monster" Scott, a member of L.A.'s Crips gang by the age of 13, these notorious gangsters have become legendary for rising to the top of their organizations by pushing the limits, no matter the cost.
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