In what might be considered a ‘literary’ showdown, award winning crime author Ron Chepesiuk uncovers one of the biggest hoaxes in the history of the international drug trade in his new release, “Sergeant Smack: The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and his Band of Brothers.” Slated to hit bookshelves on June 21, just days after “American Gangster” Frank Lucas‘ book is released, “Sergeant Smack” details the true legend of Ike Atkinson, one of the biggest Black drug traffickers in U.S. history.
Atkinson pioneered some of the most innovative methods used in international drug smuggling. They ranged from duffle and AWOL bags, to the U.S. Army Postal System to the use of unsuspecting crew chiefs who operated military aircraft to teakwood furniture.
But, contrary to popular belief, Atkinson’s methods did not include the bogus cadaver-heroin smuggling connection conspiracy exploited by Frank Lucas in Hollywood’s blockbuster film, “American Gangster.” The film not only distorted Atkinson’s historical role in the international drug trade, but falsely depicted Lucas as the pioneer of the Asian heroin connection. As the book, “Sergeant Smack” conclusively shows, the conspiracy is a hoax, as is Frank Lucas’ claims to participation with Ike in the conspiracy.
“One of the major reasons we decided to do the book was to set the record straight on the cadaver-heroin conspiracy hoax,” Atkinson explains. “It’s truly amazing to me that the media and the public have bought Frank Lucas’ story without checking it out. Lucas’ claims defy common sense. How could Lucas mastermind the cadaver-heroin connection when he was never in the military? Why would I ship dope via such a grisly method when I had much easier and safer ways to ship it? Why hasn’t anybody stepped forward to verify Lucas’ claim? Why has no one ever been arrested or convicted?”
Chepesiuk is no newcomer to uncovering crime. He has penned some 25 books including titles, “Gangsters of Miami,” “Drug Lords, the Rise and Fall of the Cali Cartel,” “Gangsters of Harlem” and “Gangsters of Chicago” and over 4000 articles and features. His last book, “Gangster of Miami” was the award winner in the “True Crime” category of the 2010 National Indie Excellence Awards and won the silver prize (second place) in the True Crime category of Foreword Magazine’s 2009 Book of the Year awards.
Chepesiuk contends that Frank Lucas stole much of the gangster legend that positioned him as Hollywood’s big ticket from Ike Atkinson. Now 84-years old, Atkinson was recently released from federal prison after serving a 32-year prison term. Deemed one of the biggest American drug kingpins ever to operate out of Asia, Atkinson, who operated in the 1970s, never carried a gun, never committed murder and never bowed down to the infamous Italian La Cosa Nostra. As a U.S. Army Master Sergeant, he utilized his intellect and charm to, by conservative estimates, smuggle over 1000 pounds of heroin annually from Bangkok, Thailand, through U.S. military bases into the United States. Atkinson’s notorious enterprise was so complex and profitable; it easily rivaled that of popular modern day hoodlums, the Black Mafia Family.
“It will be interesting to see how this ultimately unfolds,” observes Chepesiuk. “With both of these crime legends having books come out in the same month, readers should find it interesting to actually document the truth behind the drama. For example, in the movie version of his life, and in Mark Jacobson’s New York Magazine article, upon which the movie is based, Lucas claims to buy dope in Bangkok from a mysterious drug trafficker he called ‘007.’ 007 was in reality, Luchai Ruviwat, Ike’s partner!”
Chepesiuk adds. “What Lucas knew about the Golden Triangle he learned from his visit to Bangkok under the guidance of Ike Atkinson and from the stories he heard while there at Jack’s American Star Bar, a venue co-owned by Ike. Also, interestingly, Frank Lucas is not Ike Atkinson’s cousin, as portrayed in the movie. In no way are they related by blood!”
Ike Atkinson has publicly requested a sit-down interview with Frank Lucas, but it has been to no avail as Lucas has yet to respond.
Ike Atkinson and Ron Chepesiuk are planning an East Coast book signing tour that kicks off on July 17 at Black Star Video in Harlem, New York City. Join Ike Atkinson on Facebook for tour updates and details.
In Book Stores on June 21st!