Dynamic Duo in The D – Eddie & Courtney’s reign


Eddie Jackson needed a new drug connection. He couldn’t go through the Italians because of their ties to Marzette’s enemies and he couldn’t go directly through Henry Marzette because he had practically folded up shop to focus all of his attention on waging war with his enemies and dealing with his health concerns. Resourceful as he was ambitious, Jackson set his sights on New York City as the location where he could find what he was looking for. Knowing that any underworld player worth their weight in powder would be attending the “Fight of the Century”, the first in the trilogy of ring classics between legendary pro boxers Muhammed Ali-Joe Frazier, on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden, he decided that’s date he would make his mark on the East Coast.

With nothing but the clothes on his back and the money in his wallet, Eddie headed out to Manhattan to find themselves a wholesale supplier of heroin. Taking almost his entire bank roll with him on the trip, which at that time was around $300,000, and renting a fleet of Rolls Royces, Eddie and a small entourage drove from Detroit to New York. Checking into the ritzy Park Plaza Hotel on the morning of the fight, him and his crew took off for an afternoon on the town. As fate would have it, their choice of a clothing store to shop at that afternoon would prove fortuitous.

While perusing suits and sports jackets in an upscale Greenwich Village clothier, Eddie struck up a conversation about the fight with a nicely-dressed Italian man, who was being fitted for a tuxedo. The two men made a wager of $10,000 dollars on the fight with Jackson taking Ali and the man in the store, who introduced himself as only “Doc”, putting his money on “Smoking Joe.”

So impressed with Eddie’s taste in clothes and boldness in wagering habits, Doc offered Eddie and a ticket to watch the fight with him at ringside. Accepting with a smile and a hand shake, Jackson had a hint that there could wind up being more to the friendly gesture than then meets the eye. The pair sat together at the much-hyped prize fight and watched Ali drop a unanimous decision to Frazier.

Eddie Jackson and Black Butch Detroit Black Mafia

Leaving Madison Square Garden that night, Eddie and Doc ducked into Doc’s limo around the corner from the arena to settle up. Thanking him for his hospitality, Eddie forked over the $10,000 in cash and started to exit the vehicle. Doc grabbed him by the coattail and asked that he sat back down for a second.

“You know, Eddie, you don’t have to leave here tonight a loser,” he said.

Eddie shot Doc back an inquisitive look and then asked him what he meant.

“I think you and I are in the same business,” he explained to him. “And if we are in the same business like I think we are, I think you and I could make some nice money together out there where you live in Motown.”

It didn’t take Eddie Jackson more than a second to realize he had just stumbled upon exactly what he had been looking for. “Doc”, as it would turn out, by sheer coincidence and incredible good luck on Eddie’s behalf, was a top narcotics lieutenant in the Gambino crime family, one of the most prominent of the five New York mafia syndicates. Exchanging numbers, Doc told Eddie he would call him in Detroit in a few days with more details of how they could consummate a transaction. For Eddie and his crew, it was the beginning of a glorious and lucrative relationship. “The Empire” was about to fulfill its name.

Returning to the Motor City in good spirits, Eddie was ready to embark out on his own and leave the stifling umbrella of Blaze Marzette’s West Side Seven. With the exception of losing his bet on the fight and his brother Elijah sustaining a gunshot wound from an altercation with a Harlem pimp in the hours after leaving Madison Square Gardens, Eddie’s trip had been quite fruitful. If the New York connection turned out as good as he thought it was, he was about to go big time. The jump from rich to wealthy was imminent.

In the following weeks, Jackson sent Charles Rudolph and Ronnie Garrett out to Manhattan with $100,000 and instructed him to meet with one of Doc’s men on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. Rudolph and Garrett exchanged the cash for a large package of heroin and came back to Detroit to test it. The quality of the drugs were off the chart.

Calling to inform Doc of his satisfaction and desire to get as much more as possible, the pair cemented a business relationship that would benefit both greatly in the coming years. Nobody in Detroit, let alone the entire Midwest, had product so pure. Once processed with the proper cutting agent, Eddie could sell the heroin cheaper than anyone else in the city. Being of such premium content and providing such a superior high, the drugs would in essence market themselves. He would be able to undercut and outsell every dealer in town.

And that’s precisely what he did. He called the special blend of heroin he sold “mixed jive” and it was the biggest hit in town with all the junkies. The money started flowing in faster than they could count it.

However, almost as fast as things started to get off the ground, Eddie and The Empire, hit a few bumps in the road on their way to the top. None would be immediately damaging, nor undercut the Jackson’s ultimate plan of ascension. But almost all would wind up coming back to haunt them in the end.


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