Excerpt: BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family

“BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family” is an instant classic. But the book is not a shoot-em-up chronicle of BMF’s extravagant and violent life and times. Atlanta journalist Mara Shalhoup writes the book and deep-dives into the circumstances that lead to BMF’s creation and those that put their public leader behind bars. Below is an excerpt from the book.

For the past year, Burns, a member of the APD’s organized crime unit, had been working undercover to infiltrate a white-collar crime ring. A purported luxury rental-car company called XQuisite Empire had been using the identities of straw borrowers to purchase BMWs, Jaguars and Range Rovers for suspected drug dealers. Two months before the Chaos killings, Burns got a major break in the XQuisite investigation. On the night of September 7, 2003, XQuisite’s owner, William “Doc” Marshall, called 911 to report that he’d just shot and killed a home invader. When police arrived at the Midtown Atlanta townhouse, they found that it was outfitted with a peculiar feature. The home had a room-sized safe. If that wasn’t strange enough, in a tight passageway flanking the safe there sat a single shoe and a lone kilo of cocaine.

Detectives figured that somebody had been in a big hurry to empty the contents of the safe — such a hurry, in fact, that when his shoe slipped off he kept on running. The detectives also concluded that the home was a drug safehouse. At one point, they figured, the vault likely had sheltered a small fortune in cocaine. And the townhouse was probably targeted by burglars because the attackers knew they’d find drugs inside.

Detective Burns obtained a search warrant for the property, to see if he might find any records pertaining to XQuisite Empire and its owner, “Doc” Marshall. When he carried out the search, Burns found what he was looking for — and more. The day after the burglary-gone-bad, Burns removed several boxes of documents that divulged intricate details of XQuisite’s inner workings, including the names and phone numbers of its employees, a list of cars that had been diverted from straw borrowers to suspected drug dealers, and ledgers that listed the colorful nicknames of the company’s shadier clients.

Two months later, after stepping inside the White House (an extravagant drug spot), Detective Burns was surprised to find paperwork with strong similarities to the XQuisite files. In the White House, Burns discovered documentation for nineteen vehicles (including several limos) and applications for nearly as many cell phones. Many of the cars and phones were registered to the names and aliases of XQuisite’s employees. And the mysterious nicknames of XQuisite’s clients matched some of the nicknames jotted in the White House’s red, spiral-bound notebook: “E,” “Country,” “Cuzo,” “Wetback.” It appeared that XQuisite was funneling cars and phones to Meech’s associates. Now that Burns had established the link between XQuisite’s owner, “Doc” Marshall, and the murder suspect Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory, both his and Harvey’s investigations were going to get a lot more interesting.

Something else about the phone numbers listed in the White House paperwork: about a half-dozen of them had been in regular contact with numbers under wiretap surveillance in Detroit, where DEA agents were building a case against the Puritan Avenue Boys. That investigation was about to wrap up. Eight members of the Puritan Avenue Boys, including the crew’s leaders, Reginald Dancy and Damonne Brantley, were indicted on cocaine conspiracy charges three days after the White House search. Meech was not part of that investigation. But his apparent relationship with the PA Boys would help bolster the DEA’s suspicion that Meech and his brother Terry were big-time cocaine traffickers.

Rounding out their search of the White House, investigators found a photo in the office that showed the Flenory brothers posing with the PA Boys kingpin Brantley in front of Atlanta’s hip-hop mega-venue, Club 112. Also in the office, investigators found an electric money-counter, several bags of rubber bands, and a stack of business cards with the name Terry Flenory and the company 404 Motorsports. One of the owners of the company, federal agents soon would learn, was Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s son-in-law.

What investigators didn’t find, however, was anything connecting Meech to the Chaos killings. Of the three guns pulled from the house — the 9 mm, the .40 caliber and the .45 — none tested positive for a match to any of the bullets or casings found in the club’s parking lot. The big-picture investigation, into the scope of Meech’s suspected drug organization, was taking off. But the murder investigation was sputtering.


Two weeks after the White House search, Meech was granted bond — an unusual move in a double homicide, especially one that had grown so sensational. In the wake of the shootings, well-heeled and well-organized Buckhead residents were angrily calling for a crackdown on the violence in their neighborhood. (“My question is, how many more body bags have to come out of this area,” one exasperated resident, Katy Bryant, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.) The incident was so emotionally charged that, less than two months after it occurred, it was cited as the impetus for Atlanta City Council to roll back bar closing hours citywide.

Basically, the Chaos gun battle wasn’t the type of crime the Fulton County D.A.’s Office liked to leave unresolved. But the prosecutors were left with little choice. Their case against Meech was simply too thin. As it turns out, the seemingly strong lead — the woman who spoke on the phone to the investigator — fizzled out. She was quick to provide the name “Meechie,” but as for her own name she wouldn’t say. She told police she was scared for her life. Even after she agreed to come down to APD headquarters and give a statement, investigators kept her identity a secret. Investigators didn’t name her in any of the subsequent court hearings, either — of which there were only a few.

No grand jury would indict a case without a murder weapon, a witness or a confession. Indeed, the case never made it to the grand jury. The most that could be concluded was that Meech acted in self-defense, if he acted at all. Meech’s attorney claimed the charge was bulls**t. Two armed men, one of whom had been tossed from the club, fired on Meech and his crew. Meech said he turned and ran — a fact substantiated by his own bullet wound to the derriere. The injury was sufficient foundation for the defense his attorney would raise: that Meech, far from an aggressor, was in fact a victim.

To Big Meech and his crew, to residents of Buckhead, and to other concerned Atlantans, the Chaos investigation appeared to be a battle the police had lost. But while the murder case against Meech had fallen apart, the APD and DEA were able to take what they learned from the White House search and combine it with other information they’d already unearthed. Judging from the breadth of the evidence, investigators were able to see that they were onto something. It was something big. It was something organized. It was something called, formidably enough, the Black Mafia Family.



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  • behind da barz

    --------the chemicals R identical, we're one & the same / with 7 letters in all 3 of my government names / walked on water, nah, neither did jesus / its a parable to make followers & readers believers--------i gave her my honorable discharge & she took it like a soldier--------what's a black beetle anyway, a fuckin roach-------she told the director she tryna get in a school-he said "take them glasses off and get in the pool"---------what ya'll call swag to me is faggotry-------my outfit so disrespectful / u go 'head n sneeze let my presence bless u--------its quite amazing that u rhyme like u do / & how u shine like u grew up in a shrine in peru-------its hard fuckin with niggaz u hope u can trust / ure a fool if ure main bitch is easy to fuck--------beyond the walls of intelligence life is divine / i think of crime when im in a new york state of mind - ------THE WAY SOME ACT IN RAP IS KINDA WACK / IT LACKS CREATIVITY & INTELLIGENCE / BUT THEY DON'T CARE BECAUSE THEIR COMPANY IS SELLING IT / ITS MY PHILOSOPHY ON THE INDUSTRY--------From days I wasn't "Abel/able", there was always "Cain/caine-------know how to leave anything in 30 seconds / when you feel the heat coming & flee with the murder weapon--------ayo my silent moments' loud as the crack of thunder / my hunger like the crocodile that attacked the hunter-------i'm something between platinum & flop, underground & mainstream / conscious, backpack, scratch dat; same thing---------this phiscal year im'a stay hot, buzzin / wit dudes that help me shoot like a-rod's cousin-------i fight chicks who bite dicks / give 'em lock-jaw then make 'em fight pits ------all we see is terrorism on telievision ------i'm da illest nigga alive watch me prove it / i'll snatch your crown with your head still attatched to it ------slap your face till your head ache your neck break / the next day slash your throat thru the neckbrace ------ I'm ahead of the game, ahead of these lames / I'm a head case, the head nurse gets me better with brain ------ure now dealin with da kid who heat-holds & reloads / like god gave him a gta ammunition cheat-code ------once upon a time i used to grind all night / with dat coke residue that was ipod white ------ --i took trips with so much shit in the whip / that if the cops pulled us over the dogs would get sick (sniff) ------ i put my lifetime in between the paper's lines / i'm da quiet storm nigga who fight rhyme ------brain cells are lit ideas start to hit / next the formation of words dat fit / at da table i sit making it legit / when my pen hits da paper...aah shit -------i save money while u spendin ure doe / i must stash like da hair between your lip & your nose ------age don't count in the booth / when your flow stayed submerged in the fountain of youth -------when i'm writing i'm trapped in between the lines / i escape when i finish da rhyme - ------if we can't eat together then u aint my mans / so when u see me in da streets dont shake my hand- -----money is da root of all evil / dats why u always gotta now where u stand with your people--------i can show u how to gamble your money, handle a gun / & be a family man & go home to your sun- -------black diamonds in my jesus-piece / MY GOD-------its like da ball be over the plate & they dont call it a strike- ------i'm a gangsta & a gentleman, show you both sides of the coin / knife at your throat-gun at your groin- --------my testimonial be "death to a phony mc / you wanna impress me, show me a ki--------lord knows what homey would do if i showed him da 9 / a one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind--------on da road to riches & diamond rings / in the land of the blind a man with one eye is the king--------you lack the minerals & vitamins, iron & the niacin--------stares get exchanged then the 5th come out / the tough guy disappears then the bitch come out--------if you got a bith you dont argue with dat bitch / you dont listen to dat bitch all you do is fuck dat bitch-------know da bitch b4 you call yourself lovin it / nogga wit a benz fuckin it------went from $20Gs for blow to $30gs a show / to orgies wit hoes i never seen befo'-------i'm intelectual; passed more essays / than police motorcade parades thru east l.a.-------DEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF LITTLE ITALY LITTLE DID WE KNOW / WE RIDDLED SOME MIDDLE-MAN WHO DIDN'T DO DIDDLY-------visualizing the realism of life in actuality / fuck who's da baddest; a person's status depends on salary-------mechanical movement, understandable smooth shit / that murderers move with-the thief's theme--------DEEP LIKE "THE SHINING" SPARKLE LIKE A DIAMOND / SNEAK AN UZI ON DA ISLAND IN MY ARMY JACKET LINING / HIT THE EARTH LIKE A COMET - INVASION / NAS IS LIKE THE AFRO-CENTRIC ASIAN; ½ MAN, ½ AMAZING-------& why certainly i'm squirtin / bust a nut then get up & wipe my dick on your curtain-------walk by your casket & spit in your face--------i know how to get my peers off me / make 'em cry & die from high blood-pressure cuz tears are salty-------i'm not trying to give you love & affection / i'm tryna give you 60 seconds of erection / then im'a give you cab fare & directions / get your independent ass outta here - question?---------black cat is bad luck; bad guys wear black / must've been a white guy who started all that--------either you're slinging crack-rocks or you got a wicked jumpshot--------all us blacks got is sports & entertainment--------2 many athletes, actors & rappers / but not enough niggaz at nasa - ------why did bush knock down the towers?--------I REACT LIKE MIKE / ANY ONE TY-SON, JOR-DAN, JACK-SON / action, pack gunz, ridiculous--------all the teachers couldn't reach me & my mom couldn't beat me / hard enough to make up for my pop not seeing me---------kings from queens, from queens comes kings / we're raising hell like a class when the lunch bell rings---------excuse me miss, can i give you a minute? / may i buy you a glass of ice with liquor in it?--------what goes around comes around i figure / now we got white kids calling themselves nigga / the tables turn as the crosses burn...---------YOU LOVE TO HEAR THE STORY AGAIN & AGAIN / OF HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED WAY BACK WHEN--------i guess they got a grudge cause i won't budge / playin tough, staring down the judge with my hands cuffed---------A CHILD IS BORN WITH NO STATE OF MIND / BLIND TO THE WAYS OF MANKIND--------who shot biggie smalls? if we don't get them they gon' get us all / i'm down to run up pn them crackers in their city hall----------its kinda hard to be optimistic / when your homey is laying dead in a casket----------they say the blacker the berry; the sweeter the juice / i say the darker the flesh; then the deeper the roots---------i took your breath away then we'd perform cpr---------there's no real way it can be explained / i guess its just the way i smile when i hear your name--------CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME / C.R.E.A.M. GET THE MONEY, DOLLAR DOLLAR BILL Y'AAAAALL------------see I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day shakespeare / jesus christ the king of these latter day saints here / To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me as / a monger of hate and satan a scatter-brained atheist--------i remember marvin gaye used to sing to me / he had me feeling like black was the thing to be------------this be that put-you-out-your-misery song / that makes you ask your man 'is this the joint he's dissin me on?'---------foul all your life now ure 90 / on ure death bed u regret being grimey---------INDUSTRY RULE #4080, RECORD COMPANY PEOPLE ARE SHAAADYYYY / so kids watch your back cause i think they smoke crack---------society's a weak excuse for a man-----------planet earth my place of birth / born to be the sole controller of the universe---------the mic had my prints, on on it was a body---------a squealer tells, but the dealer still sells---------some young male put in jail / lawyer so good his bail was on sale----------i'm just takin a piss......unless you're gonna do it----------fuck street clothes, we thug it out in tuxedos / stomp niggaz with hard bottoms in casinos--------people higher up have the lowest self-esteem / & the prettiest people do the ugliest things-----------IF YOU ADMIRE SOMEONE YOU SHOULD GO 'HEAD & TELL 'EM / PEOPLE NEVER GET THE ROSES WHILE THEY CAN STILL SMELL 'EM-----------goddamn, what a nigga gotta do to make a million / without the fbi catching feelings--------i got a story to tell / in these streets we got drugs & guns for sale---------we keep the nine tucked chop dimes up rap about it / wild out fuck niggaz up laugh about it---------- read between tha lines of ya eyes and ya brows / ya handshake aint matchin ya smile---------what the fuck i rap for? to push a fuckin rav-4?-------fuck all the glamour & glitz, i plan to get rich / i'm from new york & never was a fan of the knicks----------the white boy blossomed after dre endorsed him / his flow on renegade-fuckin awesome...applaud him-------before i start you know i gotta / pay homage & respects to afrika bambaata---------DRUGS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS / MONEY IS THE KEY TO SEX------i pimped my crib so i must exhibit------- I - WILL - NOT - LOSE !
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