Black Mafia Family (BMF) was a movement on the street unparalleled in American history. The “BMF era” in the dope game was defined by previously unheard of wealth and influence. Drug lords and BMF co-founders Demetrius (Big Meech) Flenory and Terry (Southwest T) Flenory became the definitions of what a New Millennium crime boss looks like. They were bi-coastal, transcontinental. And they were pop-culture staples and hip-hop icons of the highest order. In 2007, they copped pleas in federal court to drug conspiracy charges and accepted 30-year prison sentences.
The Flenorys are back in the news headlines this spring: Southwest T walked out of prison last month on a compassionate release due to the Coronavirus pandemic and U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson is set to rule on Big Meech’s motion for early-release on the same grounds this week. Terry Flenory is 50 and was locked up for 15 years. Big Meech, 51, is currently doing his time in a Oregon federal correctional facility.
The Black Mafia Family Timeline (1985–2018)
1985–1988 – As teenagers, Demetrius (Big Meech) Flenory and Terry (Southwest T) Flenory start selling $500 packages of cocaine and soon grow to command a small network of pushers scattered throughout Detroit’s near Southwest side and a cluster of factory-town suburbs like River Rouge, Ecorse, Inkster and Willow Run.
1989 – Big Meech leaves the Motor City and relocates to Atlanta. Word on the street at the time was that Flenory had bolted from town after butting heads with Southwest Detroit drug boss Layton (The Beast) Simon.
1990 – Big Meech begins building what eventually becomes BMF, cultivating valuable contacts in multiple major cities and developing the early-stages of the organization’s groundbreaking infrastructure.
1995 – Big Meech hooks up with Wayne (Maniac Wayniac) Joyner, who has a supply connection with a Mexican cartel he was introduced through intermediaries in California and starts expanding his BMF business model.
*Joyner, a Kansas City native, is BMF’s “supply lieutenant” and Big Meech’s personal proxy on the west coast,
1996 – Southwest T Flenory, who had been running the shop in Detroit, relocates to Los Angeles. Benjamin (Blank) Johnson, a childhood friend of the Flenorys, is left in charge of the BMF “mother chapter” in Motown.
October 31, 1997 – Drug boss-turned-informant Dennis (The Duke) Kingsley-Walker is gunned down behind the wheel of his Nissan Maxima as he drove onto the exit ramp of a downtown Atlanta expressway near trendy Buckhead. The hit went down just hours after Kingsley-Walker was released from a three-year prison term and he had stopped for drinks at Atlanta’s Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel to celebrate his homecoming.
*Kingsley-Walker was the first Detroiter to plant a flag in the “Hotlanta” dope game in the early 1980s. To a reduce a prison sentence from a 1994 federal drug case, he testified against his partner Tony Valentine, who was a close friend of Big Meech’s. Per an unsubstantiated claim by a federal informant, Big Meech was the shooter in the Kingsley-Walker hit. Nobody has ever been arrested for the Kingsley-Walker homicide.
Spring 2001 – The DEA in Detroit and Atlanta begin receiving rush of tips on the ever-expanding BMF organization and its charismatic leader Big Meech Flenory.
November 5, 2001 – Shirley Franklin is elected Mayor of Atlanta. Franklin’s son in law was BMF member Tremayne (Kiki) Graham.
Winter 2003 – Big Meech launches the BMF music label, placing a series of Scarface-themed billboards up along the I-75 highway running from his hometown of Detroit to his adopted hometown of Atlanta, declaring “The world is BMF’s.” The label has one, uninspiring artist in rapper Barima (Bleu DaVinci) McKnight, but maintains a cozy affiliation with rising rap superstar Young Jeezy.
June 22, 2003 – Hip-hop mogul Sean (Puffy) Combs throws Big Meech a lavish 36th birthday bash at Justin’s, his upscale soul-food eatery in Buckhead named in honor of his son.
*DEA agents are on hand snapping photos at an after party at Big Meech’s suburban Lithonia residence, known in BMF circles as the “White House” that lasted into the early morning hours of the next day and was attended by all BMF brass and a boatload of celebrities from the music and entertainment world. More than one DEA informant claims Combs got some of the start-up cash for his 1990s hit-factory Bad Boy Records label from the BMF crew.
September 7, 2003 – BMF “CFO” lieutenant, William (Doc) Marshall kills an assailant in a home invasion of his pricey townhouse located in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood. Marshall kept the books for BMF and owned a luxury car dealership. He was the only member of BMF that spoke and did business on behalf of both Big Meech and Southwest T.
October 28, 2003 – The DEA officially starts an investigation into BMF and dubs it Operation Motor City Mafia. A file on Big Meech had first been opened by the agency in 1990.
November 11, 2003 – After an altercation with the BMF entourage inside the Atlanta club Chaos, Anthony (Wolf) Jones and Lamont (Riz) Girdy are killed in a shootout with Big Meech and his bodyguard Ameen (Bull) Hight. in the parking lot. Wolf Jones was Puffy Combs’ personal bodyguard. Big Meech is wounded in the exchange of gunfire and avoids getting brought to trial on Jones and Girdy’s murders on the grounds of self-defense.
November 17, 2003 – Securing a search warrant in the aftermath of the Chaos shootout, the DEA raids the White House and finds a machine gun, a money counter, BMF ledgers and paperwork for custom-designed vehicles made with secret compartments for couriering drugs cross country.
*Agents reported seeing framed posters of slain rap icons Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., actor Al Pacino in his signature Michael Corleone (The Godfather) and Tony Montana (Scarface) characters and New York mob don John Gotti hanging on the walls of Big Meech’s master suite.
November 20, 2003 – Motown crime lords Reggie (The Dude) Dancy and Damonne (Slim) Brantley, BMF affiliates and the leaders of Detroit’s notorious PA Boys gang, are indicted on federal drug-trafficking and money laundering charges. Dancy ran Detroit’s flagship PA set on the city’s westside, while Brantley handled affairs down south in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina for the crew known out-of-state as simply the “Detroit Boys.”.
April 5, 2004 – Detroit BMF soldiers Calvin (Playboy) Sparks and Chris (Pig) Triplett are pulled over in St. Louis by Missouri State Police driving an SUV with nine kilos of cocaine inside.
April 11, 2004 – BMF courier Jabari Hayes is pulled over in Phelps County, Missouri by highway patrolmen driving a motor home containing 100 kilos of cocaine and more than a pound of marijuana.
July 25, 2004 – Atlanta resident Rashannibal (Prince) Drummond is killed by BMF’s pint-sized and trigger-happy third-in-command, Fleming (ILL) Daniels, in the parking lot of The Velvet Room club in Atlanta when the two got into an argument over Daniels nearly hitting Drummond backing out of a parking spot in his Porsche SUV. Drummond was beaten down by several BMF members for slapping his palms on Daniel’s vehicle in anger and then Daniels exited the car and shot a slumped and helpless Drummond at point-blank range.
September 5, 2004 – BMF member Ulysses (Hatchet Man) Hackett and his girlfriend Misty Carter are executed as they slept in Carter’s high-rise Atlanta apartment.
*Hackett and Carter are killed over the belief that Hackett was about to flip and give up Kiki Graham and his BMF satellite outpost in Greenville, South Carolina.
November 5, 2004 – BMF courier Jeff Leahr is pulled over in his car by police in Atlanta where they discover a duffle bag with 10 kilos of cocaine. Leahr worked for BMF lieutenant Omari (O-Dawg) McCree.
November 23, 2004 – DEA agents raid a BMF stash spot known as “Space Mountain,” an ultra-modern mansion in a posh Northwest Atlanta neighborhood and find a machine gun, electric money counters, triple-beam scales and drug residue, but no actual narcotics.
November 28, 2004 – Big Meech leaves Atlanta and relocates to Miami. He rents a mansion on South Beach and starting in January 2005, he begins hosting a weekly “BMF Night” at a club called Crobar in Miami Beach.
*By the end of 2004, Big Meech and Southwest T are no longer on speaking terms, having fallen out over Terry’s belief that his big bro’s in-your-face behavior and jet-setting antics were bringing too much heat on them.
May 10, 2005 – Rapper Henry (Pookie Loc) Clark is killed when he tries robbing rival rap star Gucci Mane inside a house in Decatur, Georgia, just outside Atlanta.
*Clark was best friends with “trap rap” maven and BMF affiliate Young Jeezy, who was feuding with Gucci Mane at the time of the robbery-gone-wrong ending in Gucci Mane shooting Pookie Loc to death in self-defense. Prosecutors stated in future court briefs the attack on Gucci Mane had been ordered by BMF.
May 11, 2005 – A shootout erupts during the arrest of St. Louis BMF crew chief Deron (Wonnie) Gatling on drug and racketeering charges out of Missouri at Gatling’s fiancé s house in suburban Atlanta.
*With Gatling hiding in the attic and DEA agents and U.S. Marshals storming the pricy, neatly-manicured residence, seven gun shots aimed at law enforcement ripped through the front yard. The agents returned fire and quiet Chamblee, Georgia was turned into a makeshift war zone for a few minutes on a Wednesday morning in the spring of 2005. Cell phone records show Gatling called Sin City Mafia boss Jerry (J-Rock) Davis from the attic and authorities believe Davis dispatched a team of goons to go shoot it out with the feds. The Sin City Mafia was an offshoot of BMF in Tennessee and the Carolinas.
May 23, 2005 – R&B luminary Bobby Brown’s nephews Shane and Kelsey are stabbed in an altercation with a BMF entourage at Justin’s in Atlanta, the same restaurant that hosted Big Meech’s star-studded 36th birthday bash two years before. BMF soldier Marque (Baby Bleu) Dixson is arrested for the attack three months later.
* Dixson, the little brother of Bleu DaVinci, is shot to death by a girlfriend after an argument at a club in March 2006.
May 26, 2005 – Big Meech leaves Miami for Dallas, renting a mansion in Frisco, Texas.
June 8, 2005 – BMF lieutenant Omari (O-Dawg) McCree signs a cooperation agreement.
*McCree becomes the first ranking member of the BMF empire to jump ship to the government.
July 11, 2005 – Southwest T and his right-hand man Eric (Slim) Bivens are pulled over in eastern Illinois with $5,000,000 of jewelry (22 pieces) on their way back from a Young Jeezy video shoot in St. Louis.
*Flenory gets music producer Damon Thomas, once married to Kim Kardashian, and jeweler to the stars, Jacob (The Jeweler) Arabo, to falsify a trail of ownership to the purchases.
August 9, 2005 – O-Dawg McCree pleads guilty to federal drug charges in Atlanta, marking the first of many convictions of BMF members.
October 19, 2005 – Louisville BMF boss Toree (Pink Suit T) Sims is indicted on federal drug and money laundering charges out of Kentucky.
*Sims reported to Southwest T’s regime in L.A.
October 21, 2005 – Big Meech is taken into custody in Texas, arrested without incident at the mansion he was renting outside Dallas.
*The DEA seized Flenory’s Bentley, $700,000 in cash, a pound of weed, a cabinet-full of ecstasy pills and three guns.
October 27, 2005 – The DEA raids BMF St. Louis boss Danny (Dog Man) Jones’ house and arrests Southwest T, Slim Bivens, Blank Johnson, Derrick (Chipped Tooth D) Pegeuse, & Marlon (Lil’ Dog) Welch. Pegeuse was Southwest T’s man on the ground in Atlanta. Welch was his step son. Agents confiscated $600,000 in cash during the raid.
October 28, 2005 – Operation Motor City Mafia is filed out of Detroit, Michigan. The indictment is 11 counts, names 41 people and boasts 500 kilos of cocaine and $7,000,000 in cash seized. Authorities placed the net worth of the organization at approximately $300,000,000.
November 14, 2005 – BMF Detroit underboss Arnold (A.R.) Boyd flips.
*Boyd is Blank Johnson’s brother and becomes the first of the Flenorys inner circle to Uncle Sam’s assault on the BMF kingdom. Johnson and Slim Bivens soon follow Boyd over to the comfy confines of government protection.
March 7, 2006 – BMF CFO Doc Marshall flips and gives the U.S. Attorney’s Office, DEA and IRS access to all of BMF’s books and financial records.
June 15, 2006 – The DEA in New York raids Jacob the Jeweler’s Manhattan flagship store Jacob & Co off Park Avenue on the Upper East Side.
July 21, 2006 – A superseding indictment in Operation Motor City Mafia drops, ensnaring BMF underboss Chad (J-Bo) Brown and the syndicate’s supply chief ,Wayne (The Maniac Wayniac) Joyner, among 18 others.
January 22, 2007 – BMF’s No. 3 man ILL Daniels is charged with Prince Drummond’s murder from 2004 in the parking lot of the Velvet Room, along with drug and weapons offenses.
February 5, 2007 – Out on bond, J-Bo Brown is pulled over in his native St. Louis with a loaded 9 millimeter pistol, $5,000 and a pound of marijuana. J-Bo is taken into custody and his bail is revoked.
April 3, 2007 – J-Bo Brown pleads guilty to his charges in Operation Motor City Mafia, serving as the government’s first conviction of a top-tier BMF administrator.
May 4, 2007 – Jerry (J-Rock) Davis and his Sin City Mafia BMF branch are indicted in an offshoot investigation from Operation Motor City Mafia in a case filed in Georgia.
November 7, 2007 – Operation Crimson Vex is filed in L.A. and takes down Big Meech’s right-hand man Martez (Tito) Byrth and Big Meech’s bodyguard Ameen (Bull) Hight.
November 12, 2007 – Lawyers for Big Meech and Southwest T arrange for their clients to have a summit in the back of the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit to iron out their differences in lieu of a joint plea deal. The sit-down goes bad right off the bat and quickly evolves into a shouting match.
*Nonetheless, both Flenorys come to plea agreements over the next few days.
November 13, 2007 – Southwest T Flenory pleads guilty in Detroit in front of U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohen.
November 19, 2007 – Big Meech pleads guilty in Detroit.
June 16, 2008 – ILL Daniels is convicted in his drug case. At his trial, BMF turncoat Ralphie Simms implicated Young Jeezy in BMF’s drug-trafficking activities.
September 12, 2008 – Big Meech and Southwest T are sentenced to 30 years in prison apiece by Judge Avern Cohen.
August 9, 2009 – Detroit resident Robert Alexander is killed in a fight with a BMF entourage led by reputed “Junior BMF’ers,” Darnell (C-Bird) Cooley, Eiland (Golden Child) Johnson & Deandre (Boo Dollar) Woolfolk at a suburban nightclub called Arturo’s in Southfield, Michigan.
*The only witness willing to testify, Alexander’s best friend, Anthony Alls, was shot gunned to death outside the barber shop he worked at in the hours before he was scheduled to take the stand in a grand jury proceeding. Cooley, Johnson and Woolfolk all pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges and did five years of prison time.
August 18, 2014 – Detroit BMF soldier Pig Triplett is pulled over in Ohio with two pounds of heroin in the air filter of his car. Triplett was convicted in Operation Motor City Mafia in the 2000s.
July 31, 2015 – Detroit BMF lieutenant Chauncey (C-Bear) Johnson is released from prison from the Motor City Mafia bust and declares that BMF intends to rebrand and become a community and youth empowerment organization and eventually a luxury lifestyle brand.
August 2016 — Rap mogul 50 Cent announces that he will produce a television series based on BMF’s rise and fall.
December 20, 2016 – Detroit BMF soldier Ricky (Slick Rick) McFarlin, who was convicted in the Motor City Mafia case, is killed along with ex-NFL defensive end Robert Eddins in a drug deal gone wrong on Detroit’s westside.
*McFarlin had just been released from prison weeks earlier.
May 4, 2018 – J-Bo Brown is released from prison and returns to St. Louis
August 7, 2018 – Wayne Joyner is released from prison and is said to be living in L.A.
May 5, 2020 — Southwest T is released from prison on a compassionate release due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is ordered to serve the remainder of his sentence on home-confinement in Detroit.
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