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


Before he could assume the throne and start to flood the streets of Detroit with more pure heroin than the city had ever seen, he had to straighten things out with the Italians back in New York. The Gambinos had heard that Jackson and his operation had been raided and that he was facing major jail time if convicted. They wanted assurances of his trustworthiness. Eddie had something he wanted to discuss with his mob contacts out east too, since he had recently been informed by some associates of his that Doc and his men had been overcharging him for his product. Taking his lieutenant Black Butch with him as protection, Eddie boarded a plane for New York and readied himself for a confrontation.

Instructed to meet with Doc and his men at a bakery in Little Italy, Eddie and Black Butch arrived 10 minutes early to find the Gambino clan already there waiting for them. Putting to ease their fears that he would betray them, Eddie explained that his legal problems were in good hands with his lawyers and that the Detroit drug market was opening up for the taking with the untimely death of Blaze Marzette. Pleased by the news he was given, Doc perked up and smiled in Eddie’s direction from across a table in the backroom.

It was then that Jackson broached the issue of the price discrepancy in what he was being asked to pay for the drugs he bought. Doc was not pleased with the line of questioning and quickly changed tones and moods. In turn, Eddie was offended that the Italians were unmoved by his concerns and believed he was not being taken seriously. Never one to hold his tongue, he minced no words in telling Doc how he felt. With nothing left to be said between the two, Eddie motioned to Black Butch and they stormed out of the bakery and headed on the first plane back to Detroit.

After a couple of days past and both parties had time to calm down, Doc’s people phoned Eddie’s home in Southfield and requested another sitdown to resolve the situation. Eddie agreed to the meeting and returned to New York and Doc’s bakery with Black Butch in toe.

Doc greeted the pair at the door and got straight to the point.

“You were right to be angry, Mr. Jackson and I want to make it up to you,” he said. “But at the same time, you have to know speaking to me the way you did was unacceptable.”

Agreeing to let bygones be bygones, Eddie apologized and told Doc the way he could make it up to him was to start filling larger orders for him. He explained the current scenario in Detroit with Marzette out of the picture and a void at the top of the city’s drug supply line that needed to be filled.

“I’m going to give you what you ask for,” Doc said to Eddie. “I’m going to give you what you ask for because I respect you as a business man and think you can make us all a lot of money,”

Before ending the meeting, Doc left Eddie and Butch with one final thought to ponder as they set to depart.

“My hand reaches far and wide in this country and I can touch anyone, anywhere, any time,” he said, extending his right hand in a wide sweeping motion. “Try to remember that, Mr. Jackson, as we continue to do business together and it will serve you well.”

Nodding his head in recognition of what he was just informed of, Eddie shook Doc’s hand and returned to the Motor City with all the necessary tools to build his organization to the heights few had ever seen up until that time. He might have been facing one federal indictment and although he didn’t know it yet, he would soon face another, but Eddie Jackson was about to hit the prime of his career as a drug czar. Ironically, he would make more money and achieve more success with the numerous legal hassles hanging over his head than he ever did when he was arrest-free. According to those who knew him at that point in his life, the irony was not lost.

“He became The Man, the biggest dealer in the city all the while he was facing all those charges,” said Jackson’s son and namesake, Eddie, Jr. “That was always funny to him. It was like he needed to work out some of the kinks before things could really get cooking.”

Life was good for everyone in “The Empire” in 1973. It was practically perfect for childhood best friends Eddie Jackson and Courtney Brown, raising their families, side-by-side in a beautiful tree-lined suburban neighborhood, miles away from the dirt-laden streets and alleyways they made their fortunes in. The two sprawling residences formed a mini-compound, often littered with a cast of characters straight out of the early-70s classic blacksploitation flick, Super Fly. In the shadow of their husbands’ nefarious activities, Octavia Jackson and Theresa Brown, Eddie and Courtney’s wives, did their best to make living in the midst of a thriving crime conglomerate as normal as possible for their children.

“We’d be playing in the yard every afternoon after school when I was a kid and we’d see the FBI surveillance cars driving by at the same time every day,” said Eddie, Jr. “Other than that, we had a real normal childhood. But even that whole thing was normal for us because we didn’t know any better. I thought all people had dads that acted like my father.”

The money was coming in faster than they had ever seen. Overwhelmed by the deluge of cash careening through their pockets, Eddie and Courtney went on epic spending sprees and began piling up legitimate side businesses to wash their profits through. Later on when the government was analyzing Eddie’s financial records and asset holdings, it was discovered he owned several million dollars in savvy real estate and Wall Street investments. Only able to dump so much of their money into banks without raising the suspicions of the Internal Revenue Agents assigned to track all of their cash deposits, Eddie and Courtney bought a half-dozen residential homes to be used strictly for storing their illegal proceeds.

Ditching his Caddy for a sterling new Rolls Royce, Eddie self-proclaimed himself “The Crowd Pleaser” and got a vanity license plate adorned with the freshly-minted moniker. Living up to his new nickname, Jackson would drive through the ghetto in his Rolls and throw cash out the window to screaming and cheering kids. He would do the same at the night clubs he like to hang out at, cementing later claims by local dealers and kingpins that Detroit was the city that invented the recent hip hop culture phenomenon of “making it rain.”


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