Young Jeezy, Big Meech, the Black Family Mafia, and a Hundred Thousand Kilos of Coke

Categories: Crime
JeezyMeech.jpg
Young Jeezy, left (Miami-Dade County Sheriff's Department), and Big Meech, right, (DeKalb County Sheriff's Office).


At this late date in the evolution of gangsta rap and its offspring, any spitter blatantly boasting about his underworld drug connects is almost automatically considered a fake. Take the 305's Rick Ross. He claimed to be a kingpin. He turned out to be a Florida corrections officer.

But Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory, his brother Terry Flenory, and the rest of the Black Mafia Family weren't bullshitting at all. Throughout the '90s and early 2000s, they were slanging both keys and beats on the streets of Atlanta. Mostly keys, though. And BMF was dropping bodies too. In the club.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., author Mara Shalhoup will peddle her new 304-pager on the subject BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family at Books & Books in Bal Harbour. And as a preview, the New Times and Shalhoup talked Meech, the Jeezy connection, Mexican cartels, million-dollar stash houses, and a drug dealer's dead rap dreams. Peep it below.

New Times: What was the Black Mafia Family?

Mara Shalhoup: Basically, it was two brothers -- Big Meech and Terry -- from Detroit who in the late '80s started slinging small amounts of cocaine. And over a period of ten years, they grew that into a quarter-billion dollar empire that was essentially responsible for the flow of cocaine into at least three major cities. It was really one of the largest American drug distributors of that era. But they also had this role in helping to launch the careers of some pretty well-known hip-hop artists, many of whom came up out of Atlanta where Big Meech was later based.

BookShalhoup.jpg
Author photo by Matt Miller



You mention the link to Southern rappers and Young Jeezy was the biggest one. How active was Big Meech in promoting Jeezy's career?

He was very instrumental in Jeezy's early career around 2003. What he did in Atlanta was promote a lot of parties for Jeezy and helped get his music spread around to all the stripclubs, which is how rappers would make it or break it. He supplied fancy cars and crazy medallion pendants for video shoots. And Jeezy was really open about his very tight relationship with Big Meech. You know, Jeezy shows up in all these promotional videos in which he's shouting out the Black Mafia Family and Meech.

But Young Jeezy was never signed to Meech's BMF Entertainment rap label.

No. Jeezy wound up obviously signing a deal with Def Jam and then he had his own label CTE. I know Meech would've wanted him to sign with BMF Entertainment. It might have been a source of tension between them. But Meech didn't really want to get into it. He only had kind words for Jeezy. And literally, when I asked Meech about the high point of 15 or 20 years at the top of the drug game, he said the best thing was helping Jeezy's career take off.

How legit was the business of BMF? It only had one artist, right? Bleu DaVinci?

I mean there's no denying that cocaine money funded the label and promotion company. That's pretty clear. I think, though, Meech really had genuine hope that he could transition out of the drug game into a legitimate enterprise. And that's not an unusual trajectory. It's somewhat of a cliché ... But, for him, it was maybe a matter of timing. He certainly was able to create massive buzz and that was in large part through massive amounts of money. But I think that he also had this charisma that was pretty much undeniable. People would either run the other way when these guys came into the club or be overjoyed because all the women would soon be drinking $600 bottles of champagne.

A music video by BMF Entertainment: Bleu DaVinci's "We Still Here"

How exactly did the Flenory brothers get from the streets of Detroit to the suburbs of Atlanta?

Well, it's pretty interesting. A couple of things happened along the way. One, they wound up getting hooked up with a major, major drug supplier with direct or one-step-away ties to the Mexican cartels. They had access to vast amounts of cocaine. And that was through years of cultivating reputations as top-of-the-line drug dealers in Detroit. And two, Terry actually had a bullet graze his eye and the doctors messed up the surgery. So he got this settlement and wound up launching this car service in Detroit. And that sort of formed the foundation of what would become this elaborate transport system shuttling cocaine across the country. I mean, the cars were outfitted with these traps installed where you would have to like put the car in reverse, turn on the defrost, and hold up a magnet to some part of the dash for secret, deoxygenated drug compartments to open.

Now, the actual move to Atlanta ... Did that happen for distribution purposes?

Well, Terry actually moved from Detroit to LA. He did spend some time in Atlanta, too. He had a property called the White House that he and Meech had shared at a point. But then Terry took it over. There was a drug lab there. And there was a stash house where they'd have like 100 kilos lined up in the basement. Meech, though, had a real love for Atlanta. He moved there when he was fairly young, probably the early '90s. And basically, if you ask the DEA or the task force agents, they'll say: "All the coke on the streets of Atlanta came from BMF." They just came in and took it over. But Atlanta was also this hub and they had labs there and they would cut the kilos and then send them off to Miami, Detroit, St. Louis, New York, certain parts of South Carolina, Tenessee, and LA.

Limo.jpg
U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency


You spoke to Big Meech himself. What were those interviews like?

He was actually the most charming interview. I mean you sit down with him and it feels like you're hanging out at a bar with a friend. He's obviously this charismatic leader. I don't doubt that he's got different faces he might turn on for different people and he's super-smart and shrewd. But also he's utterly charming and charismatic and easygoing and just a natural storyteller. So it was a pretty easy interview. I mean there was some things where he was like, "You know I can't talk about that." But all in all I think he was just eager for his side of things to be heard.

What generally drove Big Meech to seek out a bigger and bigger public profile? Wouldn't it have been safer to stay out of view?

Right. It seems like by blowing it all up like that you'd really be putting yourself in the eyes of pretty much any law enforcement agent. It's not typical drug kingpin behavior. You know, part of me thinks that there's just ego and bravado in there. But I think he really thought it was the only way he was going to transition out of being a drug dealer. That's what he says. And he thought that he had created a situation where he could not have gotten busted. To him, it was like, "If I don't talk on the phone and if I don't surround myself with people who are willing to turn on me ..." You know, the ten crack commandments. He thought he had made himself super-insulated to the point that he could flaunt it a little bit. And it was sort of a matter of timing. The timing was obviously off. But Meech thought he would attract enough attention that some big rapper would make a lot of money and he could retire from selling drugs.

TerryHouse.jpg
Terry Flenory's suspected LA mansion.
Photo by Mara Shalhoup


How did the Black Mafia Family finally get busted?

There wasn't this one big dramatic bust. You don't get Meech in a room with any kind of wires or anything. They couldn't get a wiretap on him. They tried and they got really close. But the evidence piled up really, really strong against his brother. They had people who were willing to turn on Terry. They had Terry on a wiretap and he did talk business on the phone. But what the Feds didn't realize at the time they landed the indictment was that the brothers had very much split off from each other. They were not operating the same organization anymore. And that did become clear to them after the indictment.

Eventually, though, three years after the indictment, they were about to go to trial and something came up that I didn't have access to. I have a feeling that there were a couple people who could have given enough to link Meech to his brother's conspiracy. Meech had tried and failed to have his case split off. You know, if the jury hadn't been there listening to all the evidence pile up against Terry, Meech might have had an easier time beating some of the charges. But once he couldn't get severed from the case, I think he probably realized that he was done.

Are there elements of the Family still on the streets, running drugs?

For a little while after Meech and Terry and others were incarcerated, there was still a good bit of activity. But the Feds were taking all their cars, shutting down all their labs, and I would assume that their distributor at that point wouldn't be doing business with them anymore. But eventually they got pretty much everybody. I mean, we're talking 150 defendants in six states. Right now, though, there's an interesting phenomenon in Detroit where certain street-level or slightly above street-level criminals are claiming to be BMF. I don't whether they're claiming it as this gang or brand or this thing that has a certain cache.

Where's Meech right now and how long is his sentence?

He's in Jessup, Georgia between Atlanta and Savannah in a federal prison. And he's on year 5 or 6 of a 30 year sentence.

Author Mara Shalhoup presents BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family. Books & Books, 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour. The author event starts at 7:30 p.m. and it's free. Visit booksandbooks.com.
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87 comments
quizkwb
quizkwb

You kids need to stop glorifying drug dealers. Stupid people go to jail. If you continue to sell drugs your going to jail, if you don't get killed first.  Drugs are put into black communities to set you up to go to jail. Think kids! How many success stories have you seen in drug dealing!? They ALL either get killed or go to jail and come out (if the do) a convicted drug felon. They may not hire you in McDonald's!

When the feds get you, they take EVERYTHING cars, houses, everything. Drug money is NOT money. You can't buy anything and put it in your name, nothing! The feds are good at arresting black men. Big Dummy I mean Big Meech will be about 70 yrs old when he gets out. NO MONEY HIDDEN ANYWHERE. the feds take everything. All he has now is Oodles of Noodles! Go to school kids, don't drop out!

Doedoebo
Doedoebo

Real niggaz do real thangz

 Mike
Mike

freeMEECHY HOE!!!!we fuck wit yu in dat city 504!!!youngjeezy a real nigga point blank if he wasnt merch wudna fucked wit him from jump!!!

Parsons
Parsons

Last of a dying breed real street niggas the rest just in the way free meechsnitch n ass hoes str8 hoes

KOKODRILO
KOKODRILO

THEY WERE GOOD!! BUT MEXICANS SUPPLIED THEM! MEXICANS SUPPLY.ALL THIS "HUSSTLAS"

Jeffrey Johnson24
Jeffrey Johnson24

big meecha real businessman str8 up real. All respect to ya man big strong stand tall above all.... B.M.F

Tacarionannister
Tacarionannister

Big Meech da last true real life gangsta since scarface. Y'all never see another one BMF nigga a real movement in GA. Money to da real death to da fake. Fort Valley GA out

Misstradytional79
Misstradytional79

It just sad to see our young men waste their lives . I just really wish he wouldve used his gifts and charisma for something more possitives

MikeB
MikeB

Check out what is going on with Big Meech's appeal in "Defending A Drug Case".  BMF is comin' outta there.

You can find it at:   BrownsLegalResearch dot com

jason
jason

If it wasnt for snitchs and CI's terry or meech may have never been caught people who dont understand the system may want to look at the conspiracy laws and see how the system uses people to get what they need at any cost. Anyone can be found guilty of anything if the prosecutor can find someone  to take the stand and say your a particapting party.

$TXhustla$
$TXhustla$

i bet that film they gone make is going to be off the chainthis cat was bigger than frank lucas he was the biggest drug kingpin from USA this cat was a smart muthafucka he went straight to the plugg MEXICO and flooded the streets this dude actually lived THE AMERICAN DREAM. " A hundred black lux jeeps like the taliban and everybody jewlry flashin like an ambulance self made, thats an understatement that nigga self paid thats your understatement One time for Big Meech, Dre Beezy IP Dro Beezy "-    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$FREE MEECH$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

dumb muthufuka should of gone out like them mexico kingpins on the run or shooting it out he new he was gone do serius time A guy told me one time, "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."

yellagyrl
yellagyrl

free big meech, drugs aint going nowhere from the streets the addicts and the politicians wont let it, so who give a f@@@ who's selling it.  If some of these dads stayed in the same households as their children in black communities you can teach your kids not to use and some of the problem can be eleviated. The drugs are out there but that doesnt mean you have to go get it

jerome
jerome

U Ain't shit but another capitolist fucking cracker. What u better do is pray nigga don't see yo ass in hell cuz u gone get tortured for an eternity and that ain't no threat bitch I wouldn't waste my sit on you. And to all you other crackers quit dick riding cuz its y'all laws y'all vote on that put him there. Majority overrule but yet y'all the majority of motherfuckas demanding the dope we supplying

blocks169
blocks169

there will b no other like big meech...

Younghot12
Younghot12

thats crazy they booked my old head

Megsworld10
Megsworld10

The Portrait of a Black Mafia Princess is a pretty good book too. This book similarizes what the media reported an d what may have been going on behind the scenes.

Larryh11
Larryh11

Free Big Meech. Real niggas do real things. It took others to bring him down. STOP SNITCHIN

big d
big d

REAL NIGGA !!

Mario_nabors
Mario_nabors

big meech shout out to u couzin love u forever

Applewhitep
Applewhitep

I ain't even done yet dawg. At the end of the day I'm sure many people like I myself have love for big meech. Its not the police to blame, but the ones that be around pretending to be friends. See its a conspiracy.I mean idk many proclaimed black mafia family that actually exists. Cause in actuality it doesn't. Its fantasy besides the actual household. If anything it was the big money family(bmf). I know y'all wanna here more from da og but I might set it off so nite nite. big meech u my nigka.

Applewhitep
Applewhitep

I mean big meech a real nigka. Big meech my mudafuckin nigka datz how real he is and idk em. If a man gettin away with millions like that it ain't illegal. From detroit slums. Come on dawg. But nigkas get too greedy and never realize or happy with what they have, better yet remember where they come from, not putin it on meechy. Much respect to big meech for makin it ghetto fabulous like he did. True og. I mean I think I'm big meech......

DETROIT GURL
DETROIT GURL

free BIG MEECH!!! yall know he big ballin in prision just like he was in the south. he a fuckin legend

i lov me
i lov me

I live 20 mins from dat prison wish i could get a visit

B.M.F.
B.M.F.

FREE BIG MEECH BITCHS.

Anonymous
Anonymous

beezy u ma nigga fuck dat snitchin shit trap or die bitch an hell yea i fuck wit BMF

Anonymous
Anonymous

Fuckin' Jitterbug LOSERS!!! Keep diggin that hole bitches, y'all ain't never getting out of it :(

TRAP OR DIE *^%#$*&@...(translation):

GET THAT CHEESE (for a lil' while anyways)cuz sooner or later you'll be Locked up or dead Baby JoJo. LOL!!Property values....will never amount to $hit in the hoods... houses painted purple, Glittered two-tone Cadillacs parked in front (worth more than the property) & they steal each others shit, play with guns like they're toys, dont take care of nuthin' & SING like fuckin' birds....ain't nobody seen The 1st 48....no hope in the hood yo :( This rap BS got kids actin' stupid as fuck! Can't get rid of it soon enough!!!

Big Chucc Dzel
Big Chucc Dzel

...I FUCCIN LOVE IT! LIGHTS,CAMERA,ACTION! FUCC TONY MONTANA. BIG MEECH TOPS THAT SHIT AND THEN STILL ON TOP OF HIS SHIT. RICH ROLLIN 60s LOVE U CUZ.

Anonymous
Anonymous

f_ da rascist pig n evr'thang dey stand 4. They pussa ass always hide behind dey badge r dey laws dey wont govern a nigga with cuz dey cant f_ wit our hustle. Gett down r lay down u f_n bit@%'s. One day da whole world gon' crumble u sluts!!!!!!

Play if u want

freddy-b
freddy-b

In an evil and corrupt system that economically expoit and oppress the vast majority of American citizen. There is no hope for the billions of working class citizen in America to get ahead. People turn to crime to escape the burden of poverty and to improve their standard of living the only way they know how.

reddog
reddog

Its good sumbody makin tha world remember meech cuz a lot of bustas out here disrespectin tha game...u know who u are

Anonymous
Anonymous

How you hollar at the REAL BIG MEECH?

humberto fabian
humberto fabian

yall boys was cakein big meech.. i feel u trap or die

Breezy GMC
Breezy GMC

$KOPE! Dis Dat Shyt Ryte Here ..

tim
tim

REAL NIGGA

In the know
In the know

First of all Mara only speaks in half truths. The feds were well aware that Terry and Demetrious bhad split. They knew that Terry was not happy with Meechs publicity. Secondly, she said DEA attributed all the coke in Atlanta to BMF. Whatever, this is where she definately got off track. Although BMF was receiving coke from the Arlleano-Felix organization they were not the main sources for coke in Atlanta. She talked to a bunch of nobodys sprinkled in a with a few real BMF people and came to her own conclusions. As someone who investigated BMF I can tell you she is on ly half right in what she said.

mike norris
mike norris

biacks dont own boats,planes,those crackers was gettin doe too.best believe that!!!!!!

c-smoke
c-smoke

dont do drugs bad guys never win haha

Anonymous
Anonymous

Trap or die? Just die scumbags. You mutha fuckas are good for nothing but killing people with your guns or your drugs. How about you get a fucking education and a job like the rest of the community? How about you stop destroying your communities and lowering property values? How about you stop drinking and smoking weed all day and standing on the corner selling crack?

andy kay
andy kay

keep it up G try an gv me sum of dat shit dwn er oldham

yr not who you think
yr not who you think

i can see there are a lot of tweeks out there that like this guy - meech - hes like a molesting father figure to everyone who wants to suck a glass dick and eventualy go to prison and suck a real one - me i like fucking my wife and being able to make a choice 2 go to work or ask for help even if i dont get it - ive got more pride in myself than any tweek - but i also know they have rights to and i wont stand in there way if they like prison  - and to gfatti - know matter where you go you will always be an idiot so do the best you can ok player - 4 or 5 more brain cells and you could of been a big help to the world insted - well prob not you got a long way to go besides just opening your mouth and maken noise

ken
ken

Let him serve his time. Just like he lived on top of the world, he has to now pay his dues. jus like he paid for those kilos, he has to now pay back for all the families and lives affected by that cocaine. I'm not upset i've seen some stuff in my time but i do understand and i wont be immature and defend him. This may save his soul and give him a chance to use those god givin talents and brain for good.

Dieharddarrius
Dieharddarrius

LMAO. You don't know shit about the streets or struggling.

yr not what ya think
yr not what ya think

im not gunna care what happens to him cause he dosent care what happens to others whos lives ive seen lost to dope - and everyone has seen that - hes a tard and if you back him guess your fucked cause your leader  is a tweek - but i guess when your smart but not smart enough 2 know whats as simple as good and bad - you dont survive on a human level    if it wasnt for his big brain he would never been able 2 enjoy life the way he does now tryin to pimp his celly for some coke he used to sell

yellagyrl
yellagyrl

its not that he didnt care what happened to people he sold the drugs to, they didnt care about themselves, if they did they wouldnt use the stuff.  I dont condone selling drugs to your own people and community for personal gain, but growing up in the ghettos of philadelphia I can relate to the streets and how some brothers feel trapped, like its no way out but the fast money. I think BMF started out as a organization for blacks to become family and to rise out of the ghetto and the fast money, woman and drugs entered and the goals of bmf just got twisted, You best believe Meech has some of the money put away and when he does his time , hes set for life , so stop hating

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