Feds Focus Investigation On Former Crack Dealer In Queens

According to the New York Daily News, a federal

investigation over the past year investigating crime in the rap music business

is focusing on a former crack kingpin from Queens, New York.

Kenneth (Supreme) McGriff, who headed up a $10

million dollar a year crack operation in the 1980's, is the central figure in

the probe. McGriff, along with Lorenzo "Fat Cat" Nichols and Howard

"Pappy" Mason, led the Supreme Team. The Team controlled the Baisley

Park Houses in Queens, peddling an estimated 25,000 vials of crack a week.

Mason is serving life in prison. He was convicted

of ordering the 1988 murder of police officer Edward Byrne. Four members of

the drug gang shot the 22 year old rookie, who was guarding the home of a citizen

who complained about the drug gang's open air market. David McClary pumped 5

bullets into Byrne’s head. All four drug dealers involved in the murder

were apprehended and convicted.

Nichols turned informer when he was sent to prison

for murder and racketeering. He entered the witness protection program.

"We were very aggressive with them -- including

arresting both of their mothers," Federal task force head Leslie Caldwell

Caldwell told the Houston Chronicle, adding that the mothers were "intimately

involved in their drug operations." Caldwell is now heading up the investigation

into the collapse of Enron.

McGriff was hit with drug and weapons charges

by the city's special narcotics prosecutor in 1985. He pleaded guilty and was

sentenced to nine years to life. Due to a technicality with the search warrant,

McGriff only served 22 months in prison before his case was thrown out.

McGriff is about to serve 5 years for a July

2001 weapons charge. "He became a player in the hip hop entertainment industry

after he got out of prison," a law enforcement source told the Daily News.

McGriff is listed in the credits of the movie,

"Crime Partners 2000," starring Ja Rule, Snoop Dogg and Ice T. He

is described as co-author of the screenplay and executive producer of the DVD

only release.

Ja Rule thanks "Preme" in the shout

out's on his latest album, The Last Temptation.

"My nigga Preme you said it 'we will not

die until history records our greatness,' the notes read.

50 Cent also pays homage to Preme on his song

"Ghetto Qua'Ran," which names the main players of the Queen's crack

scene in the 1980's.

"Yo, when you hear talk of the south side,

you hear talk of the Team / See n*ggas feared Prince and respected 'Preme...

When 50 mentions Prince, he is referring to Gerald

"Prince" Miller, who took over as leader of the 200 strong Supreme

Team. Miller was known for his violence and is now serving a life in federal


On "Look Who's Back," 50 also asks,

"50 who shot ya?/You think it was Preme, Freeze or Tah Tah?"

Nas also pays homage to the Supreme Team on his

debut album Illmatic. "Hung around the older crews while they sling smack

to dingbats/ They spoke of Fat Cat, that nigga's name made bell rings/Black

Some fiends scream, about Supreme Team, a Jamaica Queens thing.."