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Lorenzo Nichols was one of the top drug lords in New York City in the 1980s. He is currently serving time in a New York State corrections facility.
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Lorenzo Nichols, born in 1958 in Birmingham, Alabama, was one of the top drug lords in New York City in the 1980s. Nichols controlled a network of deals in Queens, New York, many of the crew members being his close family. Among numerous crimes, he is responsible for the killing of his former parole officer and girlfriend. He is currently serving time in a New York State corrections facility.
"I have nothing but time to ponder my misdeeds."
"To the victims of my criminal activities, I offer my deepest regret and sincerest apology."
Lorenzo "Fat Cat" Nichols was born on December 25, 1958, in Birmingham, Alabama. During the 1980s, Lorenzo Nichols became one of the top drug lords in New York City. He got his nickname "because of his linebacker-thick neck, a head so big it nearly blocked out his friends' faces in snapshots, and his rangy beard," according to Ethan Brown's book Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of Hip-Hop Culture.
Nichols spent his early years in Alabama, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother. Around the age of 10, he moved to Queens, New York, to live with his mother, Louisa, and her third husband.
Dropping out of school before the ninth grade, Nichols started to run with a dangerous crowd. He became a member of the Seven Crowns street gang. In 1976, Nichols committed two robberies with another young man. He was convicted for both crimes and sentenced to 18 years in jail, but was released in 1980 after serving only two and a half years.
Around this time, Nichols moved on to the more lucrative crime of drug dealing. He was able to get into the business through a Mafia connection. At the time, the Mafia controlled most of the drug trade on the East Coast. Nichols established a network of dealers to work the streets and the housing projects of southeast Queens and also sold drugs to other operations in the area as well.
Many members of Nichols's crew were close family relatives, including his mother and two of his sisters. Brian "Glaze" Gibbs was another trusted associate as was Joseph "Mike Bones" Rogers. A friend from prison, Howard "Pappy" Mason, was also a key part of Nichols's operation. Nichols's headquarters was Big Mac's Deli, a business he and his wife Joanne took over from her father.
On July 29, 1985, Nichols found himself back in police custody after a raid on Big Mac's Deli. The police caught him with two guns. The search also netted $180,000 in cash and varying amounts of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Charged with gun- and drug-possession, Nichols was able to get out on bail. He was soon arrested again by his parole officer, Brian Rooney, for violating his parole. Angry to be back in jail, Nichols ordered a few of his associates to rough up Rooney. Rooney was shot to death on October 10. He was indicted on charges of second-degree murder for the killing of Brian Rooney in July 1987. At a later trial, Nichols insisted that he never intended for Rooney to be killed.
From behind bars, Nichols continued to run his drug operation and to deal harshly with those who went against him. He later admitted to ordering the murders of two people.
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