In April of 1972, Henry Marzette died at home, from kidney failure. On his deathbed, the head of the State of Michigan’s organized crime division, and an old colleague of Marzette from his days as a Detroit cop, visited Marzette and asked him to stop the drug war that had left 200 dead by having his chief hitman, Jimmy Moody, killed. Moody was found in his El Dorado at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
With Henry Marzette gone, John Sutton’s next target was Dennard “Devil” Jackson, who was shotgunned in the face the day Sutton arrived in Detroit, possibly by the Confidential Informant Sutton was supposed to work with. So he turned his sites to other dealers, including Devil Jackson’s protege, a man that had managed to stay out of Marzette’s war. Eddie Jackson.
In early 1971 John Classen, Eddie Jackson’s supplier, was indicted in Federal court and promptly disappeared- but Jackson and Courtney Brown kept their operation going until they made an even bigger connection in New York.
While shopping in Manhattan before the Ali-Frazier showdown, Eddie Jackson crossed paths with a high ranking member of the Gambino Mafia family, the largest and most powerful in the country, who told him: “it looks like we’re in the same business”
This is about the time that Eddie Jackson and his hug organization got onto the Federal Government’s radar.
An interesting side story that we will revisit is the interplay between the black militant movement and black drug kingpins. As we will see later, there was a secret war going on in the streets. Black Power meant different things to different people, and the money generated by selling white powder sometimes helped fund the “cause”.
Often the money was taken from drug dealers by violence, in Detroit it seems like Eddie Jackson was smart enough to avoid this. His lawyer, Milton Henry, sat on the board of the Republic of New Afrika- a separatist group that wanted to seize control of the old Confederate
States to form a black homeland. When the Republic got into a shootout inside of a Detroit church, Milton Henry was able to get the accused out on personal bond- from a black Detroit Judge. Courtney Brown, jr told me that his father and Eddie Jackson would occasionally receive phone calls from Milton Henry requesting a “donation” be made to the Republic. So Eddie Jackson would take 50 or 60 thousand of the cash he usually spent on European cars and South African diamonds and send it over to the cause of Black separatism. Complicated times, indeed.
Black political power had already reached enough critical mass that a black Judge in Detroit court released most of the members of the Republic of New Afrika suspected of killing the white Detroit police officer, with no murder charges and on personal bond.
Ironically, while Motown records was dominating the airwaves with the “Detroit Sound” Motown records itself had to leave Detroit for the safer confines of Los Angeles in 1972
Some said Berry Gordy’s decision to leave Detroit was motivated by the need to get his talent away from the dangers of Detroit, which included Eddie Jackson’s dope.
In January of 1972, just months before Motown Records left Detroit for Los Angeles… Courtney Brown Jr’s father was caught in the biggest heroin seizure in Michigan history along with his boss Eddie Jackson.
The Gambinos had just sent Eddie and Courtney twenty five pounds of untouched heroin from New York and they were in the process of cutting, packing and dispensing it to their crew when Federal Agents burst into the stash house.
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