How Much Money Would Nicky Barnes Be Worth Today?

Federal judge and former special narcotics prosecutor Sterling Johnson, Jr, said of Leroy "Nicky" Barnes, "He had charisma. Have you been in the presence of Bill Clinton when he walks down the street? That was Nicky Barnes." In other words, the 42nd president of the United States had all the charm of a murderous drug lord who spent the 1960s and '70s flooding the streets of Harlem with heroin before his arrest. How much blood money did he amass before losing it? Let's take a look at the rise and fall of Nicky Barnes' bank account.

Mr. Untouchable flaunted his deep pockets

Nicky Barnes suffered from a very selective form of blindness — the blood of his victims turned invisible when paired with large stacks of greenbacks. He ordered the murders of his rivals and killed untold numbers of people intravenously by feeding their heroin addiction. The New York Times writes that in his heyday, Barnes boasted "as many as 200 suits, 100 pairs of custom-made shoes, 50 full-length leather coats, a fleet of luxury cars, and multiple homes and apartments." Seemingly invulnerable to prosecution attempts, Barnes was dubbed "Mr. Untouchable." In his ruthless hubris, he appeared on the cover of New York Times Magazine with a headline that boldly proclaimed, "The Police Say He May Be Harlem's Biggest Drug Dealer. But Can They Prove It?"

Mr. Untouchable becomes extremely touchable

The police accepted Barnes' challenge and proved that he was indeed one of Harlem's biggest drug dealers. He was sentenced to life in prison. While behind bars, Barnes obtained a college degree and found new employment as the world's bitterest snitch. Furious that his former partners in crime became "cavorting" partners with his wife and girlfriends and started "squandering" his crime empire, he stopped his former heroin business in its tracks. He helped indict 44 big-time drug traffickers, resulting in 16 convictions, according to Time. That cooperation bought him his freedom in 1998. He spent the remainder of his life in the Witness Protection Program, during which time he wrote an autobiography. He died in 2012.

How much would Nicky Barnes be worth today

If you ask the enemies who wanted him dead, Barnes was worth a $1 million bounty. But the crime king himself estimated that he earned at least $5 million from heroine sales before his capture. According to the Dollar Times conversion tool, this would amount to well over $21,580,000 in 2019. However, he also bolstered his bucks by investing in automated car washes, gas stations, travel agencies, housing projects. In his grossest business venture not involving heroin, he also "marketed something called a flake-burger, made from remnants of butchered beef." Celebrity Net worth placed the overall figure at $50 million and claimed his post-kingpin wealth stood $500,000. Given the underground nature of drug trafficking and the underground nature of witness protection, it's impossible to say how accurate these estimates are.