For a brief period in the in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a criminal organization dubbed the “black mafia” directed virtually 100% of the drug trafficking and much of the violence and crime on the East Side of Kansas City.
The organization was responsible for 17 killings, if not more, of men and women who refused to cooperate, owed money or were suspected of being police informants, authorities said. The group has also carried out or organized several bank robberies.
“Gang Trafficking in Heroin and Death,” headlines a Kansas City Times headline on July 30, 1971.
On Thursday, a great leader of the group was released from prison prematurely. Eddie David Cox, the man who, according to the authorities, created the crime syndicate and was the “mastermind” of its leadership, has been released on compassionate release. He had served 32 years of a life sentence for drug and other offenses.
Cox, a white man, led the black Mafia along with James Eugene Richardson and James Phillip “Doc” Dearborn.
the The origins of Black Mafia date back to 1969. Cox, who had been paroled a year earlier from Lansing, offered Dearborn to take over and control the crime on the East Side of Kansas City. The two had served time together in Lansing.
Cox reportedly recruited Richardson, who was released in January 1969 from Leavenworth after serving time for breaking Mann’s Law. Richardson was a very well known and feared man on the East Side.
The three men started their organization to take over drug trafficking and control criminal activity.
A confidential report from the Organized Crime Section of the US Department of Justice titled “Black Mafia,” said the previous activities of Cox, Dearborn and Richardson were unclear as most of the witnesses had been murdered or were not. unwilling to talk.
“We learned that the men were wholesaling illegal drugs,” the report said. “They were also involved in the crimes of bank robbery, burglary, murder, loan sharking, gambling and prostitution. They had the Kansas City ghetto neighborhood under their total control through fear, intimidation, violence, and government corruption. “
At the height of the operation – from January 1970 to May 1970 – authorities estimated that the black Mafia was taking about $ 100,000 a day, most of it through narcotics.
The organization was disbanded in May 1970 when federal agents and police raided after midnight and arrested its members.
Murder of Leon Jordan
The black mafia was also linked to the assassination of politician and civil rights leader Leon Jordan.
Jordan, a former Kansas City cop and co-founder of black political club Freedom Inc., was shot and killed around 1 a.m. on July 15, 1970, outside his Green Duck Tavern at 2548 Prospect Avenue.
For nearly 41 years, his murder was never resolved to the satisfaction of the county prosecutor. But a 900-page investigative report released in June 2011 by the Kansas City Police Department revealed the mastermind of the murder and the shooter was James “Doc” Dearborn.
Although indicted in Jordan’s murder in the early 1970s, Dearborn has never been tried. He was later shot dead in a motel near the downtown Wheeler Airport in 1985.
Kansas City Police had reopened the cold affair following stories in The Kansas City Star in 2010. The police investigation, which reflected many of the Star’s findings, found that the The Italian Mafia and the Black Mafia both appeared to have played a role in the plot that led to Jordan’s murder.
Cox, 86, was released from prison on Thursday, according to a legal representative who also served time with Cox in Leavenworth. Cox has spent most of his life in prison, including convictions for bank robbery and conspiracy to violate narcotics laws.
When Cox was running the black Mafia, the federal government described him as a “cold-blooded killer” accused of participating in at least 17 killings in the Kansas City area. He was also charged with being involved in the murder of a federal narcotics officer in Chicago.
Cox has long been described as a cunning and highly intelligent man. He has gained a reputation as one of the nation’s foremost prison lawyers.
“He’s as good as a lot of them and better than some,” a judge once said when asked how he stacked up against licensed attorneys practicing in federal court.
“He’s thorough, diligent and focuses on areas where there could possibly be a legal question. It doesn’t strike all over the place like so many detaining perpetrators do.
Russell Marks, a paralegal helping Cox readjust to civilian life, said Cox helped him get on the right track while they were both in jail. Marks said Cox spent many years helping other inmates familiarize themselves with the legal system.
He added that despite all the bad things in his past, Cox has spent the last few years doing a lot of good.
“He deserved a compassionate release,” Marks said.