The sexy and seductive Harlem gun moll Beverly (Shamecca) Ash was at the center of a romantic feud that pitted legendary New York crime lord Nicky Barnes versus his protege in the drug game Guy Fisher. The fallout from the bad blood crashed Barnes’ Black mob ruling body known as “The Council” which operated in Harlem from the mid 1970s into the early 1980s and controlled a giant piece of the city’s robust heroin trade. Barnes wound up flipping and testifying against Fisher and his fellow Council members and by doing so decimating the very organization he had constructed his legacy upon — it was recently reported that Barnes died of cancer in the Witness Protection Program back in 2012. Fisher is serving life in prison. Ash was slain in the culmination of the beef between the two Harlem street gods on orders of a Jewish mobster associates of Barnes’ in 1982.

As flashy as he was resourceful and industrious, Barnes used ties in New York’s Italian mafia, specifically connections in the Luchese and Colombo crime families, to grow his drug empire and his reputation to meteoric heights. By the late 1970s, Barnes was the richest and most recognizable African-American crime figure in the country and graced the cover of New York Times Magazine underneath a headline that proclaimed him “Mr. Untouchable.” He consolidated much of the city’s African-American drug business under one roof by conceiving and founding The Council, a mafia-inspired board of directors made up of powerful Black drug bosses from different parts of town designed to share resources and maximize profit and stability.

Guy Fisher was mentored by Barnes, starting off as his driver and then jointing him as a leading member of The Council. In 1977, Fisher purchased Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theatre. Upon Barnes’ conviction and imprisonment the following year, Fisher became the top dog in the New York drug game.

Fisher angered Barnes when he began an affair with Barnes’ side piece, Shamecca Ash, a beautiful and bubbly temptress with a penchant for dating big-time drug bosses and bending them to her will. From behind bars, Barnes had been using Ash and her brother Steve in his business dealings on the outside.

Through an introduction via Barnes, Steve Ash began buying heroin on consignment from Gambino crime family associate Mark Reiter, a tough, slick-talking Jewish wiseguy and confidant of soon-to-be Dapper Don, John Gotti. Reiter was supplying an organization ran by Barnes’ nephew, Eugene (Mikey) Romero and much of Gotti’s mob crew as well.

Shamecca Brown wasn’t beyond helping out her lovers’ friends and relatives with hit work. She helped set up Harlem drug dealer and racketeer Ronald (Black Ronnie) Burroughs to be murdered inside a Midtown Manhattan disco called Reflections in the summer of 1981. Burroughs and his bodyguard Raymond (Big Ray Ray) Brown were shot to death on the dance floor shaking a tail feather alongside Ash who was used to lower their guard and lure them out into the open in the middle of the nightclub to be executed.

By the fall of 1982, Steve Ash and Reiter were barely on speaking terms, having fallen out over a $150,000 debt Ash owed Reiter. Ash was forced to hand over the keys and pink slip to his Mercedes to Reiter as a means of trying to square things with the dangerous Gotti-backed mobster.

It barely made a dent. That October, word had leaked to the street that Nicky Barnes was so mad at Fisher for starting a romance with Shamecca and at The Council for allowing it, he went to work for the U.S. Government in exchange for protection and a shortened stay in prison.

Seething with anger when he heard the news, Reiter ordered Shamecca, her brother Steve Ash and Ash’s bodyguard Barry (Bones) Wilson executed in retaliation for Barnes’ betrayal. He gave the murder contracts to Barnes’ nephew Mikey Romero.

Shamecca Ash was shot to death inside Manhattan’s Monarch Bar in December 13, 1982 by Romero’s main enforcer Raymond (Romar) Clark. Soon thereafter, Romero killed Bones Wilson by slitting his throat. Wilson’s battered body was found floating in the Hutchinson River in April 1983. Three months later in July, Romero lured Ash to an apartment and Clark shot him in the back of the head.

Reiter and Romero were both sentenced to life in prison for drugs, racketeering and murder after a 1988 conviction — Romero died of natural causes in 2005 at 50 years old. The 71-year old Reiter is locked up in a federal correctional facility in Pennsylvania today.

Fisher, 72, was convicted in 1984 under the federal RICO act. From his prison cell, he earned a PHD in sociology.

Barnes walked from federal custody in 1998 after serving 20 years of a life sentence and spent the rest of his days living under an assumed identity. Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. portrayed Barnes in a supporting role in the 2007 film American Gangster.

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