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Melvin Williams is best known for becoming Baltimore's biggest drug dealer throughout the 1970's and 1980's.
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Convicted drug dealer, actor. Born in 1941 in Baltimore, Maryland. Known as "Little Melvin," Melvin Williams was one of the top drug dealers in Baltimore during the 1970s and 1980s. He was a bright child who had no interest in school. Instead, he focused on ways to use his smarts to earn money.
By the age of 15, Williams was a "world-class gambler." He first learned about gambling from his mother, who liked to play the numbers. After much practice, Williams taught himself how to work the dice in a craps game to his benefit. He also was adept at hustling pool games. With lots of money rolling in from his efforts, Williams dropped out of high school his junior year.
With his skill for outwitting any opponent and any game, Williams was eventually taken under the wing of a local Jewish crime boss Julius "the Lord" Salisbury. The two met after Williams won the two different numbers games in the same week. Salisbury was connected to crime boss Meyer Lansky, and he helped advance Williams's criminal career.
In West Baltimore, Williams established himself as a powerful figure. People went to him for loans and to resolve issues. In March 1967, Williams was arrested for drug possession. He was later convicted, but he claimed that he was framed by the police officer. He was out on bail pending his appeal of the drug case when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April 1968. Riots broke out in West Baltimore, and the authorities could not quell the violence. They asked Williams for help. He told the crowds to stop, and the people soon left the streets.
In 1969, Williams began serving his 12-year sentence at the Maryland Penitentiary for the drug possession charge. He was released in 1974, and he emerged from prison with a new aspiration—"to be the world's best drug dealer."
According to some reports, Williams began selling 40 to 50 kilos of heroin a month, each with a street value of approximately $75,000. He was able to escape criminal prosecution for years by abiding to a set of rules, which included believing that every phone conversation was being listened to and every stranger was working for law enforcement.
After two of his dealers turned on him, Williams ended up being convicted of drug-related conspiracy charges in 1975. He was given a 15-year sentence and served several years before he was released. As soon as he was released in 1979, Williams returned to his life of crime and branched out into selling cocaine.
In 1984, Williams was arrested on conspiracy to distribute cocaine charges. He was convicted the following year and sentenced to 24 years in prison and 10 years of parole.
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