You’ve probably heard the name Terry Lee Flenory before. He’s known for being one of the biggest drug kingpins in American history as the leader of the Black Mafia Family, one of the most prominent drug trafficking organizations of the 1990s and 2000s. But how much do you really know about the man behind the infamous criminal empire? Terry grew up in Detroit, Michigan in a working class family. He started out small, selling drugs on the streets as a teenager before building a vast criminal network that spanned several states. At the height of his power, Terry was making over $270 million a year and living a life of luxury. His story has it all: ambition, greed, violence, betrayal, and a dramatic downfall. Read on to get the complete story of Terry Lee Flenory and learn how a street hustler from Detroit built and lost a drug trafficking empire.
Introducing Terry Lee Flenory: The Early Years
Terry Lee Flenory was born and raised in Detroit. Growing up, his family struggled financially, so Terry dropped out of high school as a teenager to start dealing cocaine with his brother Big Meech. By the late 1980s, the brothers had built up a thriving drug trafficking operation.
Terry and Big Meech founded the Black Mafia Family, known as BMF, to help oversee their criminal enterprise. Under their leadership, BMF grew into a multi-million dollar gang that spanned several states and imported thousands of kilos of cocaine into the U.S. each month.
The Flenory brothers lived an extravagant lifestyle, driving luxury cars, wearing expensive clothes and jewelry, and frequenting strip clubs. They were seen as local heroes in some Detroit neighborhoods, contributing to local schools and youth programs. However, their largesse was funded entirely by illegal drug money.
In the early 2000s, the Drug Enforcement Agency launched an investigation into BMF that ultimately led to the conviction and imprisonment of Terry and Big Meech, as well as dozens of other members. At its peak, BMF was one of the largest criminal organizations in the U.S. and responsible for fueling the crack cocaine epidemic that devastated many inner city communities.
The story of Terry Lee Flenory and BMF serves as a cautionary tale of how the allure of “easy” money and power can lead to a life of crime. While Terry achieved wealth and notoriety, his illegal empire came crashing down, and he has spent most of his adult life behind bars. His tale is one of ambition, greed, and the ultimate folly of pursuing prosperity through criminal means.
Flenory’s Rise in the Drug Trade
Terry Flenory and his brother Demetrius started dealing cocaine as teenagers in high school, but Terry quickly rose through the ranks of the drug trade. By the 1990s, Terry oversaw the national drug ring’s Los Angeles hub, trafficking thousands of kilos of cocaine and making millions of dollars every month.
Terry’s Beginnings in Crime
Terry Flenory grew up in Detroit, Michigan and began selling drugs in high school. He dropped out of school in the 11th grade to focus on dealing cocaine. Terry and Demetrius founded the Black Mafia Family, known as BMF, in the late 1980s. The group started as a local drug ring but eventually grew into a multi-state criminal organization.
Expanding BMF’s Reach
Under Terry’s leadership, BMF expanded beyond Detroit into Atlanta, St. Louis, Memphis, and Los Angeles. According to the DEA, BMF trafficked over 2,500 kilos of cocaine each month, earning $270 million annually. Terry oversaw operations in LA, transporting cocaine and money between the West Coast and Atlanta, the organization’s base.
Downfall and Imprisonment
BMF’s rapid expansion attracted the attention of federal law enforcement. In 2005, Terry and Demetrius were indicted on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Terry pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. Despite his imprisonment, Terry remains an influential figure and BMF has retained its status as a prominent criminal organization.
Terry Flenory’s rise and fall in the Los Angeles drug trade serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of pursuing power and money through illegal means. Although BMF brought him wealth and notoriety, his decisions ultimately led to the loss of his freedom for decades. Flenory is scheduled for release from prison in 2032 at the age of 62.
Details of Flenory’s Major Drug Operations
Terry Lee Flenory, along with his brother Big Meech, built one of the largest cocaine distribution networks in American history. Between 1985 to 2005, the Black Mafia Family (BMF) operated in over 250 cities across 32 states in the U.S. At its peak, the criminal organization was moving hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and generating $270 million in profits annually.
Flenory and Big Meech started out purchasing cocaine from a connection in Los Angeles and selling it on the streets of Detroit. They quickly expanded into other cities, setting up BMF chapters run by trusted associates across the country.
- Flenory established connections with Colombian drug cartels to gain access to wholesale prices, allowing them to sell cocaine at a huge profit. BMF would transport shipments into the U.S. and distribute them to chapters in Atlanta, St. Louis, Memphis, and Los Angeles.
- BMF gained control of hip hop music studios, promoting up and coming artists in exchange for using lyrics to spread their fame and recruit new members. Flenory even founded his own hip hop label, BMF Entertainment.
- Money laundering was essential to hide the illegal source of funds. BMF invested in real estate, high-end cars, and hip hop labels to legitimize their profits. Flenory himself lived an extravagant lifestyle with mansions, luxury vehicles, and expensive jewelry.
- Violence and intimidation were frequently used to gain territory, force out competitors, and ensure loyalty within the organization. Flenory and Big Meech did not hesitate to order hits on anyone who posed a threat to BMF’s operations.
At its peak, the Black Mafia Family and the Flenory brothers were infamous, with their names echoing through hip hop lyrics and the streets. But their notoriety ultimately led to their downfall, as the DEA launched a years-long investigation to dismantle one of history’s most successful criminal empires.
Arrest, Trial, and Conviction of Terry Lee Flenory
Terry Lee Flenory, aka “Southwest T,” was the leader of the Black Mafia Family (BMF) drug trafficking organization based in Detroit. In the early 2000s, Flenory and his brother Demetrius, known as “Big Meech,” turned BMF into a multi-state cocaine and ecstasy distribution network. At its peak, BMF was moving thousands of kilos of cocaine a month and laundering millions of dollars.
In 2005, a joint FBI, DEA and IRS investigation led to the indictments of the Flenory brothers and over 40 other BMF members. Terry Flenory was charged with running a continuing criminal enterprise, drug trafficking, money laundering, and other related offenses.
Trial and Conviction
Terry Flenory’s trial began in late 2006 in Detroit federal court. Prosecutors presented evidence from wiretaps, surveillance, and testimony from former BMF members turned informants proving Flenory’s role as the head of BMF’s daily operations. After a month-long trial, the jury found Flenory guilty on all counts.
In 2007, Terry Flenory was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison without the possibility of parole. The judge cited the massive scale of BMF’s criminal activities and Flenory’s leadership role as reasons for the lengthy sentence. Big Meech received the same sentence shortly after.
Life in Prison
Flenory is currently serving his sentence at USP Coleman II, a high-security federal prison in central Florida. His earliest possible release date is in 2032 when Flenory will be 63 years old. Despite being imprisoned for over a decade, Flenory remains an influential figure and continues to gain notoriety and fame as the subject of TV shows, documentaries, podcasts and music. His legacy as a leader of one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in US history lives on.
Though Terry Flenory’s criminal reign has ended, his impact on hip hop culture and street life in the 2000s earned him a place in the pantheon of infamous crime bosses. His prosecution and downfall highlighted the FBI’s crackdown on large-scale drug trafficking in the US.
Flenory’s Time in Prison
Terry Flenory’s time in prison was no cakewalk. In 2003, at just 32 years old, Terry began serving his 14-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan. As one of the ringleaders of the Black Mafia Family, many saw Terry as a threat and he was a target for violence. He spent much of his time in solitary confinement for his own safety.
After serving over 11 years of his sentence, Terry was released in October 2014 at the age of 44. However, his freedom was short-lived. Just a few months later, Terry was arrested again on drug charges in January 2015. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to another nine years in federal prison.
Terry’s second stint in prison was harsh. He was sent to United States Penitentiary, McCreary, a high-security federal prison in Kentucky known for violence and human rights violations. While there, Terry faced health issues, abuse from correctional officers, and frequent lockdowns. His family fought for years to have him transferred to a lower-security facility closer to home in Michigan.
Finally, in January 2020 at the age of 50, Terry Flenory was moved to FCI Milan, the same facility where he had first served his sentence nearly 17 years earlier. After completing a residential drug abuse program, Terry was released from Milan for the second time on December 2, 2020. He had served a total of 23 years in federal prison over two sentences.
Terry has spoken about his determination to turn his life around after so many years locked up. Though the path was long, his perseverance and personal growth ultimately led to freedom. After enduring immense struggles, Terry has another chance to start anew and make good on his promise of redemption. His story serves as an inspiration and a cautionary tale.
The Black Mafia Family After Flenory’s Incarceration
With Terry and Demetrius Flenory behind bars, the Black Mafia Family (BMF) continued operating for some time but eventually fell apart without its leaders. Even so, the Flenorys had already established the BMF as a major force in the drug trade.
- The BMF was primarily involved in trafficking cocaine and marijuana across state lines into major cities like Detroit, Atlanta, Los Angeles and others. At its peak in the mid-2000s, the organization was moving thousands of kilos of cocaine and generating hundreds of millions in revenue annually.
- After the Flenorys were sentenced in 2008, remaining members of the BMF struggled to keep the organization running. Infighting and power grabs led to violence that attracted increasing police attention. Key players were arrested or went into hiding.
- The BMF’s downfall highlighted the importance of leadership and organization in maintaining a criminal enterprise. Without Terry and Big Meech to unite members and enforce discipline, the group crumbled from within. Their cult of personality and control had been the glue holding the BMF together.
- In recent years, interest in the BMF has led to renewed attention on the Flenorys and their role in building a nationwide drug distribution network. Docuseries like “The Kings of Atlanta” and “BMF: World’s Most Notorious Drug Cartel” explore how two brothers from Detroit created an empire that generated over $100 million per year.
- Big Meech was released early from prison in 2021, but Terry “Southwest T” Flenory remains incarcerated. Their story stands as a cautionary tale of ambition, greed, and the consequences of choosing a life outside the law. The BMF rose to become a criminal force but ultimately succumbed to the very same factors that led to its success.
Flenory’s Cultural Influence and Legacy
Terry Flenory and his Black Mafia Family have had an undeniable influence on hip-hop culture and music. His life story has inspired hustlers and entrepreneurs, and his name has become ubiquitous in rap lyrics.
Referenced in Music
Rappers frequently reference Flenory and BMF in their lyrics, recognizing their impact and legendary status. Songs like Rick Ross’ “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” and T.I.’s “About the Money” mention Flenory and the Black Mafia Family. Flenory’s name has appeared in lyrics from Jay-Z, Gucci Mane, Young Jeezy, and many more.
A Hip-Hop Icon
Flenory has become an icon and legend within hip-hop culture. His lavish lifestyle and rebel spirit embodied the hip-hop ethos of hustling, money, power and living extravagantly. Aspiring hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs look to Flenory as an example of making it big from nothing.
Flenory’s story of building a multi-million dollar criminal empire from the ground up has inspired hustlers and aspiring entrepreneurs. His ambition, vision, and leadership in establishing a vast criminal network have motivated many seeking power, money and success through any means possible. Right or wrong, Flenory’s rise to prominence from a life of poverty and crime has resonated with many.
Though Flenory is no longer the head of BMF and is currently serving a prison sentence, his influence on hip-hop culture and as an inspiration for hustlers has endured. His name continues to appear in rap lyrics, his story is still told, and the legend of the Black Mafia Family lives on. Flenory built an empire and brand that has had a lasting legacy and impact on music, culture, crime, and entrepreneurship.
Flenory and BMF’s influence on hip-hop culture is undeniable and long-lasting. His story has resonated with many, for better or worse, and cemented his status as a legend and icon. The ubiquity of his name in rap lyrics demonstrates the immense impact he and his criminal organization have had on music and pop culture. Though the Black Mafia Family’s reign has ended, Terry Flenory’s legend and legacy live on.
Where Is Terry Lee Flenory Now?
Terry Lee Flenory, co-founder of the Black Mafia Family (BMF) drug trafficking organization, is currently under house arrest in Detroit, Michigan. After serving over 13 years in prison for running a major cocaine trafficking ring, Flenory was released on July 17, 2020 to serve the remainder of his sentence on home confinement due to the high risk of COVID-19 in the prison system.
Flenory and his brother Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory founded BMF in the late 1980s. The organization grew into a multi-state drug trafficking empire that moved thousands of kilograms of cocaine and generated over $270 million in illegal drug sales. BMF gained notoriety for their flashy lifestyle and association with hip hop music. At its peak, BMF had over 500 members across several states.
A Life Sentence
In 2007, Flenory pleaded guilty to running a continuing criminal enterprise and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. His brother Demetrius received a sentence of 30 years as well. While incarcerated, Flenory renounced his criminal past and became involved in outreach programs to steer youth away from crime and drugs. His good behavior and health issues led officials to grant him early release to home confinement in 2020.
- Flenory will remain under house arrest and electronic monitoring until January 2028 when his sentence is complete.
- He is allowed to go out for work, medical care, and a few other approved reasons but must get permission and remain under guard.
- Flenory continues to express regret over his criminal actions and hopes to have an influence on reducing crime in his community.
Though he has paid his debt to society, the effects of BMF’s criminal acts still linger. Flenory’s early release has been controversial, but others argue that people deserve second chances. His future remains uncertain, but he seems focused on making the most of his restricted freedom and atoning for his past misdeeds. After 30+ years, the story of Terry Lee Flenory continues to unfold.
The Future for Flenory and the Black Mafia Family
The future is looking brighter for Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory. After serving 11 years of a 30-year sentence, he was granted an early release from prison in June 2021. Meech has paid his debt to society and is now ready to start a new chapter.
Meech has said he wants to pursue TV, film, and music projects that tell his story and shine a light on the harsh realities of street life. His life has already inspired the Starz crime drama “BMF,” which premiered in 2021 and is set to return for season 2 in 2023. Meech was an executive producer for the show. Viewers were fascinated by the story of him and his brother Terry building their drug trafficking organization, the Black Mafia Family, in 1980s Detroit.
There’s no doubt Meech’s charismatic personality and compelling backstory would make for an intriguing on-screen project. However, his criminal history may make some Hollywood executives hesitant to work with him. Meech will have to prove he’s moved on from his lawless past if he wants mainstream success. Some argue he shouldn’t profit from promoting a criminal lifestyle, while others believe he deserves a second chance. It’s a complex debate with valid points on both sides.
As for the BMF crew, most former members have moved on to live ordinary, lawful lives after serving time in prison. The organization was dismantled in the 2000s following a multi-year federal investigation. However, some worry the “BMF” brand could inspire a new generation of drug dealers if glorified in media. The producers of the Starz show have emphasized that they do not condone the criminal acts of the BMF, though critics argue the flashy portrayal of crime still does more harm than good.
Meech has been given an opportunity for a fresh start. The path forward won’t be easy, but with determination he can build a successful and legal career in entertainment. As for BMF’s legacy, whether positive or negative, it lives on through its notorious name recognition and place in hip hop culture and folklore. The story of the Black Mafia Family has clearly captured the public’s imagination, for better or worse. Whatever comes next for Meech and BMF, it’s sure to be a wild ride.
So there you have it, the story of how Terry Lee Flenory built an empire and had it all come crashing down. His rise and fall show how the desire for power and money can drive people to make decisions that end in tragedy. While Flenory achieved immense wealth and notoriety, in the end he lost everything that truly mattered – his freedom, his family, and his legacy. His life serves as a cautionary tale of how chasing greed and ego ultimately leads to self-destruction. The next time you find yourself jealous of the lavish lifestyles of drug kingpins and criminals, remember Terry Lee Flenory. His story reminds us that real success comes from living with integrity, valuing relationships, and making a positive difference.