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Sergeant Smack:  The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and His Band

of Brothers

Sergeant   Smack   chronicles   the   story   of   North   Carolina’s   Leslie   “Ike” Atkinson,   an   adventurer,   gambler   and   one   of   U.S.   history’s   most original    gangsters.    Under    the    cover    of    the    Vietnam    War    and    through    the    use    of    the    U.S.    military    infrastructure,    Atkinson masterminded   an   enterprising   group   of   family   members   and   former African American   GIs   that   the   DEA   identified   as   one   of   history’s ten top drug trafficking rings. Ike’s organization moved heroin from Thailand to North Carolina and beyond. According   to   law   enforcement   sources,   1,000   pounds   is   a   conservative   estimate   of   the   amount   of   heroin   the   ring   transported annually   from   Bangkok,   Thailand,   through   U.S.   military   bases,   into   the   U.S.   during   its   period   of   operation   from   1968   to   1975.   That amount translates to about $400 million worth of illegal drug sales during that period. Born   in   Goldsboro,   North   Carolina,   Ike   Atkinson   is   a   charismatic   former   U.S.   Army   Master   Sergeant,   career   drug   smuggler,   scam artist,   card   shark   and   doting   family   man   whom   law   enforcement   nick-named   Sergeant   Smack.   He   was   never   known   to   carry   a   gun, and   today   many   retired   law   enforcement   officials   who   had   put   him   in   jail   refer   to   him   as   a   “gentleman.”   Sergeant   Smack’s   criminal activities   sparked   the   creation   of   a   special   DEA   unit   code   named   CENTAC   9,   which   conducted   an   intensive   three-year   investigation across three continents. Sergeant Smack was elusive, but the discovery of his palm print on a kilo of heroin finally took him down. In   1987,   Ike   tried   to   revive   his   drug   ring   from   Otisville   Federal   Penitentiary,   but   the   Feds   discovered   the   plot   and   set   up   a   sting.   The events   that   follow   seem   like   the   narrative   for   a   Robert   Ludlum   novel.   Atkinson   was   convicted   again   and   nine   years   added   to   his sentence.   Ike   was   released   from   prison   in   2006   after   serving   a   31-year   jail   sentence.   Atkinson’s   story   is   controversial   because   his ring   has   been   accused   of   smuggling   heroin   to   the   U.S.   in   the   coffins   and/or   cadavers   of   dead American   GIs. As   this   book   shows,   the accusation is completely false. The   recent   movie,   “American   Gangster,”   which   depicted   the   criminal   career   of   Frank   Lucas,   distorted Atkinson’s   historical   role   in   the international   drug   trade.   Sergeant   Smack   exposes   the   lies   about   the   Ike Atkinson-Frank   Lucas   relationship   and   documents   how   Ike, not Lucas, pioneered the Asian heroin connection.