Who was the real Black Mafia Family? A story of cruelty, cocaine and crime (2024)

It's been almost one year since Season 1 of 50 Cent's Starz series Black Mafia Family came to a conclusion, and, now, there is some good news for fans of the crime drama.

Season 2 of is coming to screens in January 2023, and. in the meantime, fans of the show will get greater insight into the world of the Black Mafia Family (BMF), and its cruelty, cocaine-dealing and crime through Starz's documentary series The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast. As he did with BMF, 50 Cent serves as executive producer for the documentary.

The eight-episode series, which will air Sunday nights on Starz, depicts the BMF's operations, murders and more.

So, who was the real BMF? Newsweek has everything you need to know.

Who Was the Real Black Mafia Family?

Beginnings

The BMF was the name of a drug-trafficking and money-laundering organization, led by brothers Demetrius and Terry Flenory.

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Founded in 1985 in Detroit's Southwest neighborhood by Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory and Terry "Southwest" Flenory, the BMF had, at its height, over 500 members across the U.S. and made over $270 million between 1989 and 2005.

By 2000, the Flenory brothers had established a cocaine distribution network via their Los Angeles–based drug sources and their links to Mexican drug cartels.

According to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) documents, Demetrius was based in Atlanta, handling distribution, and Terry was located in Los Angeles handling incoming shipments from Mexico.

Demetrius also launched BMF Entertainment, a hip-hop music business that served as a front to the brothers' money laundering as well as an additional source of income.

However, BMF Entertainment was hugely successful, promoting and associating with notable hip-hop artists, including Diffy, T.I., Jay Z and Young Jeezy.

Who was the real Black Mafia Family? A story of cruelty, cocaine and crime (1)

BMF Arrests

By the early 2000s, the Flenory brothers' relationship had become strained, and they were barely on speaking terms. At the same time, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force began an investigation with the help of the DEA's Special Operations Division into the Flenory brothers. It was code-named Operation Motor City Mafia.

The task force began with seizing large quantities of drugs and relying on information from BMF members, in particular low-level dealers and high-level distributors.

In October 2005, the DEA carried out a huge drug raid, arresting 30 members of the BMF. During the raid, $2 million in cash and assets—such as weapons and 2.5 kilograms of cocaine—were seized.

Operation Motor City Mafia also seized $21 million worth of assets, including cash; jewelry; 13 homes in Metro Detroit, Georgia and Los Angeles; and three dozen vehicles.

It had also wiretapped Terry's phone, where it heard him raise concerns about Demetrius' excessive partying and the damage it was doing the business.

Who was the real Black Mafia Family? A story of cruelty, cocaine and crime (2)

When the Flenory brothers were indicted in 2005, the government had 900 pages of wiretapped conversation transcripts from Terry's phone alone over five months. The brothers were charged under the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute, conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and two counts of possession with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.

In 2006, the Treasury Department reported that 16 others had been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and with money laundering, bringing the total number of accused in the BMF to 49. By 2009, this number was 150.

In November 2007, the brothers pleaded guilty to running a continuing criminal enterprise "involving the large-scale distribution of cocaine throughout the United States from 1990 through 2005" according to court documents.

They were sentenced to 30 years in prison for being leaders of the BMF criminal enterprise.

Following sentencing, special agent in charge Robert Corso stated: "The BMF was a violent, sophisticated drug-smuggling and money-laundering organization that began right here in Detroit, Michigan. Terry and Demetrius Flenory expanded what was a small, local operation, into a multistate, multimillion-dollar criminal enterprise with direct links to Mexican-based drug-trafficking cartels.

"Today's sentencings demonstrate that no matter how large the operation, or how much money a drug trafficker makes illegally, eventually the law and justice will catch up. This community and communities across the United States are safer with the Brothers Flenory behind bars. This investigation is a shining example of the tireless efforts and exemplary cooperation between men and women of DEA and our federal, state, and local counterparts across the United States."

Where Are the Black Mafia Family Now?

Today, Demetrius is serving his prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Sheridan. He is scheduled for release in May 2028.

Terry was released to home confinement on May 5, 2020, after being granted compassionate relief for ill health. His release was also a result of the Federal Bureau of Prisons' move to limit the spread of COVID-19 within prisons.

The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast airs Sundays on Starz.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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