George “Boy George” Rivera

Boy George was a multi-millionaire by the age of 21. A brilliant and powerfully ambitious drug entrepreneur who saw an opportunity and seized it. It’s alleged he made over $15 million in his two year run. Government sources say that Boy George and his Bronx, NY based heroin organization grossed $250,000 a week. Boy George, barely out of his teens, built himself a reputation of being one of the wealthiest druglords to come out of New York and one of the youngest to be charged with the kingpin statute. At the end of the 80’s while America concerned itself with the crack epidemic, Boy George was running one of the most lucrative and aggressive heroin organizations in the city. Flamboyant and charismatic, the Puerto Rican drug baron was one of a kind. Equal parts gangster, CEO and gentleman who juxtaposed street smarts, innovative marketing and ruthless efficiency to create a heroin empire, while other kids his age were still worrying about what clothes to wear or what girls to date. Boy George and the Obsession case are street legend-the exotic James Bond cars, the Christmas Eve yacht party, the harem of girls tattooing his name on their bodies, the glamour, the jewels, the stacks of money, Boy George had it all. And he had it all as a teenager. He was definitely one of the best to ever do it in the drug game.

Part 5- The Legend

Boy George was the master of the Bronx universe. Using a management style that might have been honed in a corporate boardroom and a brand of violence common to drug dealers, Boy George carved out an empire and flooded the streets of Manhattan and the South Bronx with a brand of high quality heroin with the brand names Obsession and Sledgehammer. He was ruthless and powerful, federal authorities said and they linked him to a dozen homicides that marked his climb to the top. The 20-year-old CEO allegedly ran a $9 million a year heroin ring. “Boy George was making crazy money,” Sports says. “Everybody knows that.” He was known for having a temper and had been involved in several shootouts to cement his reputation in the streets yet he never missed an opportunity to intimidate. Boy George didn’t fuck around when it came time to get paid either. “Don’t fall for tricks about ‘Oh, I’ll see you tomorrow, blah, blah,’ when you are dealing with someone who owes me money. You say, ‘Listen homie, I want to eat today. So I’m not going to wait until tomorrow to eat. I want to eat today. I’m hungry. Pay up dude.’ That’s it.” He said.

The authorities alleged George killed mercilessly with hired hit men, killing anyone who crossed his path, workers who came up short, anyone who stole- Boy George was merciless. The murderous and smart dealer was so young that his own lieutenants called him a prodigy. “He kept loyalty strong in this organization,” Sergeant Billy Cook of the NYPD said. “By distributing cash bonuses, gifts and free vacations- the identical incentives that the head of a legitimate company would lavish on star performers.” But investigators maintained that behind the generosity there was a deadly face. At least a dozen homicides, investigators said, could be directly linked to George’s rise to the top, which earned him a reputation that encouraged loyalty by force of death. “If you weren’t with that clique they didn’t really fuck with you,” Sport says. And the one thing Boy George was known for, besides being calculating and violent was his cars. “The first shit was the Benz. The 190, kitted up, music blaring.” Sport says. And Boy George was on some white boy shit too he liked rock and roll, jamming to Guns-n-Roses in the hood. “The first time I saw his shit I was over there on Brook Avenue. On a drive-by too. He was just passing by. Everybody knew him off the rip.” Sport remembers. Boy George didn’t play when it came to cars. He bought Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s and a Bentley. All this only added to his legend. “He pulled up in a Lincoln Town car to show us,” Flaco says. “He had the Porsche pressing buttons showing how the license plate moved and the lights changed.”

Barely out of his teens, Boy George built an organization so lucrative that he registered a fleet of Mercedes, BMW’s and customized Porsches to one of his corporate fronts, Tuxedo Enterprises. “The press called me the Puerto Rican James Bond because of the gadgets in my car. I was on foot when I was arrested. If I could have gotten to my car they’d still be chasing me.” Boy George said. James Bond, one of George’s heroes, inspired 50 grand worth of special features added to the 190 Mercedes he had. Radar detectors manned the cars front and rear, the license plate slid into a side compartment and a strobe light blinded anyone following him. Secret compartments in the door panels and the floor hid weapons and cash. One device squirted bogs of oil from the tail while a hidden switch flipped a box in the trunk that sprayed nail-like tacks. Boy George also had a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a Bentley and a Porsche in his garage.

His $140,000 customized black Porsche had a trunk full of stereo equipment, a telephone system, a VCR, a color TV, ebony finish, thick custom rugs, gun compartments that slid open at a touch and a host of other exotic goodies. A button in his customized BMW would cause loaded handguns to pop out of concealed apartments. Boy George spared no expense customizing his favorite cars with $12,000 ostrich-skin interiors, 630 watt stereos, 10-track CD players, televisions, VCRS and cell phones. Several of his cars were straight out of a James Bond flick with all types of features to assist in escaping in car chases. “The biggest influences in his life were probably Gleason’s Gym and James Bond.” Sport says.

At 21, he owned shopping malls and commercial real estate. He flaunted a lifestyle as lavish as a New York socialite or those portrayed on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But his passion was boxing. “They used to be saying that he was into boxing,” Sport says. “His whole crew was all real nice with their hands. They would give you a fair one if that’s what it was. But they would beat dudes down too.” Boy George’s favorite charm was two tiny gold boxing gloves which symbolized the Golden Gloves boxing competition he’d trained so hard for. He trained at boxing and worked out religiously. “He’d always eat healthy food.” One of his girlfriends said. “He cycled and jogged.” And his trusted Lieutenant, Will “Love” Claussen, was the son of a professional boxer and helped to train George.

Handsome and debonair, Boy George wasn’t that big a dude. “He’s like 5-7 or something,” Sport says. In the South Bronx he was remembered wearing a black leather cap that matched his black leather trench coat. He cropped his dark brown hair short and kept his goatee neatly trimmed. His brown eyes were intent. “He had a good reputation,” Sport says. “Ain’t nobody got nothing bad to say about him. If you bubbling you got to respect that because he took that shit there. He was doing it.” Boy George dined at upscale restaurants like Victor’s Cafe in Manhattan. He liked expensive silk shirts and went by many aliases. He once sent a girlfriend to San Francisco on a day trip to fetch a pair of Nikes that weren’t in stock in New York. He was well-mannered, attentive and confident. Boy George had a big, echoing laugh. He loved Andrew Dice Clay, who was his favorite comedian. The in your face humor fit Boy George’s style but he had a generous side too. His workers would lug bags of groceries from the Food Emporium for the families of girlfriends, of which he had many. Most were Puerto Rican girls from the poverty stricken South Bronx. It was said he kept a harem of women in the neighborhood. “He had a lot of girls. He was all over with the broads,” Flaco says. George had all types too.

“One night stand girls who came back for more,” he explained. “Girls who clung to me like a cheap suit. Then there were girls who were my regular jewels of the Nile, more upper class than these regular girls.” Boy George’s girls were bejeweled in leathers and furs, reclining on ostrich-skin passenger seats of his Benzes and BMW’s. A lot of them tattooed ‘Property of Boy George’ on their bodies. To the girls sex was currency and they spent it on Boy George. He liked his girls customized like his cars. He demanded color coordination. He had a 50 dollar rule, nothing under $50 was to be taken off the rack while shopping. He had one girlfriend wear a twenty-two karat gold ‘Boy George’ name plate around her neck. And his women had to be on point. “He always liked everything spotless, house, clothing. He never liked to see anything dirty.” One girlfriend said. “He’d bring home a whole lotta videos and I would just watch TV. I didn’t have to get a job. I was to cook and clean and take care of things and I would get an allowance at the end of the week.”

Boy George would frequent Club 371, where his whole crew hung out. No waiting in line for Boy George. He strode to the front, sat in the VIP section and sipped on a bottle of Moet. Everyone treated George like a king. “They used to pass by the clubs- Riddler, Peoples and Kamikazi on Westchester, two blocks off of White Plains Road. Two opposite each other.” Sport says. “It was called herpes triangle. A lot of fucking was going on. Dudes weren’t going in. The party was outside the club. The bitches used to come to see who was driving up. Boy George and them drove up in all new cars, tricked out, jeweled up. All the broads were trying to get with them.” Boy George hosted several organization wide social events too including a fall 1988 party at a restaurant and dance club and the infamous 1988 Christmas Eve yacht party.

On December 24, 1988, Boy George threw a black tie party for his entire crew aboard a chartered yacht. He rented the Riveranda at World Yacht’s 23rd Street dock. He and about 150 others in black tie attire set out to party while cruising around the New York harbor. George paid $30,000 in cash to rent the Riveranda, which included dinner for all and a disc jockey. He spent 12 grand to have Big Daddy Kane perform for 15 minutes and laid out more cash for Loose Touch and the Jungle Brothers to perform. The menu consisted of steak tartare, skewered lamb, prime rib and 12 grand in champagne. Boy George paid for the tuxedo rentals, dinner, open bar and entertainment, including a raffle with luxury prizes. The party goers were seated at tables organized by spot location.

The men from each spot wore bands of the same color- red for one distribution group, purple for another and gold for a third. Those that arrived together, stayed together. The managers sat among the pitchers and dealers who worked for them. It was like prom night but with an open bar and no chaperons. As the employees waited on the dock at 23rd Street in Manhattan to board the yacht and begin the party cruise, the men adjusted their bow ties and touched their gold belt buckles emblazoned with their names in diamonds. The guests arrived by BMW’s, Mercedes, by rented limousines and by dollar cabs. Boy George arrived fashionably late in a silk tuxedo and Bally shoes as his tuxedo-clad troops cheered and clapped while he strode up the ramp and waved with a girl on his arm. The DJ announced, “Mr. and Mrs. Boy George.” The king had arrived.

“It’s good to bring them together so they know, ‘Listen man you have a family here. If anything goes wrong this is the type of force that’s coming behind you.’” Boy George said. And the highlight of the night was the raffle. A fully loaded Mitsubishi was the grand prize, 20 grand in cash first prize, a Rolex watch second prize, a trip to Hawaii was third prize and a trip to Disneyworld was fourth prize. Boy George gave Walter “Ice” Cook a BMW 750, Six-O a gold Rolex and 50 grand in cash and gold and diamond Obsession belt buckles to his top four men, each appraised at over 8 grand. As the night went on fights erupted and during the course of the party a man was stripped on the main deck, beaten and spit on by Boy George for stealing a necklace from one of the other party goers. As the yacht made for shore at the stroke of midnight a man attempted to dive off the bow and race the boat on a bet. He was restrained. Unknown to George and his guests, there were three off duty New York City detectives aboard as part of the yacht security. However when it came time to talk to the DEA, these detectives were uncooperative and during George’s trial they remained steadfast in their refusal to testify to what they had witnessed. And Sport remembers when the party went down too, it was legend in the South Bronx, “When they had the shit on the boat, niggas was talking about they was giving away BMW’s. They said they had bows on them and shit.”

This is an excerpt from Street Legends. If you want to read the rest order the book right now.

49 Comments

  1. diane

    Julie Ann- I read your comment on one of my blog entries about Boy George. That is an excerpt from my chapter on Boy George in Street Legends Vol. 1 and in the book I cite Adrianne Leblanc’s book Random Family as a source. I always give credit where credit is due. But as this was just an excerpt from the book, a small excerpt, from a lengthier chapter I didn’t put any sources. But in the book it is cited as is proper. Thank you for your concern. Seth Ferranti

  2. ben

    I dig the article and story on Boy George. I was in prison with him and he is a very smart man. I real like that about him at a young man age. Going out to get it. Thank you.

  3. Leslie

    I know George who he is today not the animal you people are talking about i write to him i once almost married him in prison i just wish he could get a fair appeal and come home it has been to long his case was built on tax evasion….

  4. kim

    Sad that I know people who have killed who have received less time. I also have read the book random family, and written to him. If the heroin laws change like the crack laws did, he might have a chance to get out. I read his legal paperwork while I was incarcerated in the law library.

  5. Bingo

    So a murderer and pusher goes to jail and a bunch of fools get upset because he’s charismatic and good looking. He’s a criminal who wasted his talents creating junkies, widows and orphans. He should be used as example of how creative leaders should work for the good of others, while making money, not criminal endeavors. He sealed his own fate by choosing a criminal lifestyle. Rot in jail.

    1. Papo

      That’s right this fool made money on other peoples misty dope habit
      Let that spic rot in the fess,there are many other spics that went to jail around the same time and for the same reason greed!! Work like I do ,make money the old fashion way , tham shame you PUERTO RICANS AND DOMINICANS LIKE THE EASY WAY OUT , SO THEN IF YOU PLAY UU PAY

  6. So the Man lived the life he wanted. Those that live a life of crime know that being robbed,going to jail or getting killed is all a part of the world they choose to be
    a part of. Ask him If he had a chance to do it all over again and he knew life in jail was at the end would he live the same life. I truly doubt if anyone doing life in prison would live the same life that put them there if they could do it again. Everybody would love to have big money and live the life that comes from it but most don’t want to do what it takes to have big money…the risk isn’t worth it in the in. All praises due to God who has given me a peace and a joy in and for life that money could never buy and i prefer to have my NEEDS met

  7. Albo

    Sounds very similar to the plot from ‘R Xmas, the Abel Ferrara flick, minus the cops abducting and holding Lilo Brancato hostage. Brancato should be getting out soon also, ironic how he portrayed the king pin dealer but was a real life fiend in the end. The drug game is no joke, regardless of what side your on. Growing up, I’ve seen some super wealthy kids from Park Ave steal from their parents, same thing going on with poorer friends who lived in the projects of the LES. Reoccurring themes in life, transcending socio economic status lol

    Donnymanhattan@gmail.com

  8. George

    Man listen, when you live in the hood and you constantly see drug dealers, drug users, murderers and people committing crime to the fullest extent, it becomes a way of life. I for one met Boy George in several occasions. I grew up in Cypress ave and I knew just about every dealer in the neighborhood. I was fortunate that I never use or sold drugs cause I believe in a higher power. He made mistakes like we ALL do, went a different route and it cost him freedom. It comes with the territory… But at the end on the day..Who are we to judge. KEEP YA HEAD UP BOY GEORGE! Peace my brother and God Bless.

  9. Elaine

    I also went to school with George, very charismatic, down to earth person, as a young teen all I have are Great memories of Boy George. He Loved life and was doing his thing. Was his sentence harsh, hell yeah…You have hard core criminals walking free & he gets life really thats some real b.s.

  10. Gary

    I lived a crossed the street from him. He lived in a group home. Nice guy. We would group up and walk to and from school together.(New Rochelle H.S.) I never saw him on the weekends.

  11. Junior

    Bronx Chester Houses. He did spread love though. If you would smell that Lagerfeld Colonge in the hallway (inside bldg. No. 520), you knew he was in the building. Me, Merwin and George went to Morris High School for a short while (we all dropped out). I read Random Family. Good book but missing alot of facts.

  12. People there was a lot of people getting it like George in the Bronx when people think Bronx and drugs they never think about the uptown part of the Bronx I know a Jamaican dude I won’t say his name at one time all the crack weed coke or whatever a motherfucker was getting from gunhill rd up to 233st on Bronxwood ave that’s 35 city blocks all that shit was held by one man even after they killed his brother in front of their home he still held that shit down 4 years and even with all that money he still drove a old ass car and dressed like shit that’s why he is not one of the assholes we reading about now R.I.P. TICKS

  13. KingChris

    How can a judge sentence a 20 year old man to life without parole for a non violent offense. Murderers have gotten lesser sentences. It is a travesty of justice. I hope someday he gets pardoned.

  14. Ruben Gonzales Jr.

    Very true, I got a letter from George and he didn’t have great things to say about this Street Legends piece.. Mel email me please I would like to speak with you 512knight at gmail

  15. Reslity check

    It’s a total copout to blame the ‘hood, the culture, the family for someone who would KNOWINGLY, WILLINGLY prey on other human beings vulnerability to feed their drug addiction for his own gain. It is a complete LACK OF MORAL CHARACHTER. To hold George up as a “hero” is a sickness itself. Yes, we all fail, yes we all do bad things on these short days on earth. BUT draw a line: work with ADDICTS who need compassion, love and support perhaps more than any of us, rather than FEED THEIR INEVITABLE MAYHEM, DESTRUCTION AND DEATH while profiting on their downfall with cars and gold? While “celebrating that somehow he’s a cool guy? “ The human beings who are addicted are our own BROTHERS, MOTHERS and loved ones and cannot help themselves. Hailing mere small minded DRUG DEALERS as heroes is a SICKNESS in itself. We are better than that!

  16. Bx

    These Hood stories are Lame as Fuck.Im from the Bronx.I have a certain level of respect for these guys because they are from the same streets iam from.I know how easy to get involved in shit.To me the Addict and the dealer are the same in a lot of ways.I seen alot of these things at home.My father ended up doing 17 and was heavily involved with gangs.Many people say this and that but a whole lot of people from that era made it out.Without killing people,destroying families stealing.No one wants to respect honest people and all of the educated people from the hood that have even made history doing great things.All of these things are in our music and culture but it’s not all we are.

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