Real Life Barksdale Arrested on Federal Drug Charges

By - December 3, 2013
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BarksdaleThe man who claims he inspired the fear gang member Avon Barksdale on The Wire on HBO was arrested this week on federal drug and gun charges.

Nathan Barksdale was being held for federal heroin and gun charges this week, according to DEA spokesman Edward Marcinko.

The real Barksdale was described by the DEA as a high ranking officer in the Black Guerilla Family gang.

Barksdale, who is 52, has for years claimed to be what inspired the character in The Wire, a popular HBO series, and also produced The Avon Barksdale Story: Legends of the Unwired, based upon events from his live. He made the claim in the trailer that he is the real Avon Barksdale.

He told the Baltimore City Paper in 2009 that he feels that with the way The Wire is done, he thinks that they made money off his life, trouble and pain.

David Simon is the creator of The Wire and he says it is not true that Barksdale inspired the character in the show, or another character by the name of Bodie. Simon has said that the creations were composites of several people he knew in Baltimore. He noted in an interview that there are some anecdotal connections between Barksdale’s story and several others. Simon said that they have changed the street and given names in all of the characters so that nothing was too close to reality. He says that there is no character that is based off of a single, real life person.

According to Barksdale’s mother, her son’s life has been on track and she did not know anything about the federal drug and gun charges.

Barksdale has been working for Safe Streets, which is a Baltimore Health Department program where ex-criminals help clean up violent street crime. However, he was fired last month. It was reported that he was successful in the program but he did not show up for work in November and was fired.

Barksdale was a notorious criminal in Baltimore in the 1980s, and he had a violent operation in heroin. He also was reported to have viewed Hitler and Machiavelli as his idols.

About Federal Drug Crime Laws

The most common drug charge is for possession of a controlled substance. Generally, possession charges are handled at the state level.

A much more serious charge is drug trafficking or distribution. This means that you are guilty of selling or delivering controlled substances illegally. This type of charge often is handled at the federal level. The consequences of being convicted for this serious federal crime will depend upon several factors:

  • The amount and type of the drugs

  • Where you were arrested, such as in a school zone

  • Your criminal record in the past