The acclaimed Crimetown podcast tackles the groundbreaking Detroit drug gang, Young Boys, Incorporated (YBI) in Episode 5 of its second season. YBI boldly and flamboyantly ruled Motown’s heroin trade in the late 1970s and early 1980s, revolutionizing the way narcotics were marketed and distributed in a city long known as an international drug-world mecca. Original YBI lieutenant James (Pep) Cooper gave an interview for the episode and proclaimed “I’m YBI until the day I die,” in turn giving the episode’s it’s title.

Produced by award-winning Gimlet Media out of New York and co-created by Oscar-nominated documentarian Marc Smerling, Crimetown focuses on the convergence of politics, culture and crime in a different metropolis each season. Detroit is the subject of Season 2 after exploring Providence in Season 1 and procuring a scripted-television option from FX.

Season 2 premiered earlier this month. Episodes 3 and 4 center on the quieter Eddie Jackson era which preceded the YBI years in the Detroit African-American underworld. Jackson ran the city’s heroin game in the mid 1970s with virtually no violence, opposed to YBI where shooting wars with rivals and lethal infighting became commonplace. Listen to the podcast here.

Founded in 1978 by Milton (Butch) Jones, Raymond (Baby Ray) Peoples, Dwayne (Wonderful Wayne) Davis and Mark (Block) Marshall, four west side Detroit drug crew bosses who joined forces to create a megawatt enterprise that would rank up there with the richest and most powerful urban crime syndicates in American history, YBI made its name by installing a group of elementary school-aged kids as its primary retailers, transporting their product in taxi cabs with unsuspecting drivers and stamping catchy, designer-brand style names on the glassine pouches they sold it in. Before long, they had taken over the city’s heroin trade literally block-by-block.The YBI era was the first time teenage street dealers, foot soldiers and middle-managers were making kingpin-type money.

Jones famously referred to himself as the “Henry Ford of Heroin,” and owned multiple estates in the suburbs and out in Arizona. Davis expanded the YBI model to Boston and Seattle before returning to Michigan in 1982 and falling out with his fellow YBI bosses over a desire to go off on his own under his new H2o crew banner. Peoples and Jones fell out in the wake of a federal bust that same year and Peoples plotted an ill-fated robbery of Jones’ house when Jones was away in prison in which the two intruders he sent on the job were killed. Davis and Peoples were both allegedly slain on Jones’ orders.

Marshall fled town in 1980 following feuding with Peoples over a woman and Peoples shooting him. It was Marshall’s life-insurance payout from his parents’ double-murder — a crime he was suspected in perpetrating, but never charged with — that acted as the seed money for YBI’s start back in 1978.

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