What a long, strange trip it’s been for Seth Ferranti.
Once he was an LSD kingpin and a wanted man, but today the St. Louis resident is a comic book writer. Over the past few years, he’s self-published more than 20 true crime books, but Friday he released his first true crime comic book, titled “Supreme Team.”
The book – the first in what the enterprising 45-year-old promises will be a series – details the criminal adventures of Kenneth McGriff, better known as Supreme.
For years, the Queens native ran a massive crack-dealing operation out of Baisley Park projects. At its height in the late 1980s, the Supreme Team was pushing 25,000 vials of crack a week, according to Ferranti.
The Supreme Team also had deep ties to early hip hop.
“Before these rappers got record deals the dealers used to throw these big parties and pay these guys so they in effect funded the hip hop movement before it went big and mainstream,” Ferranti told the Daily News.
In 2000, Supreme ended up as the subject of a 50 Cent song “Ghetto Qu’ran” and, as The Guardian reported at the time, feds believed he may have been responsible for the nine gunshots the rapper survived in spring of that year.
Eventually, Supreme ended up with a life prison sentence for murder charges stemming from other incidents.
For Ferranti, the decision to write about true crime was natural – he served 21 years in federal prison, so he was actually able to meet the guys he was writing about.
Raised in a military family, Ferranti was a self-described “Navy brat” and moved around frequently growing up. But, by 13 he’d started using drugs and by 16 he was selling so he could trip out and smoke weed for free.
“By the time I was 19, I was supplying 15 colleges in five states,” he said.
The feds caught onto his LSD-selling operation and collared him in 1991, but after making bail and getting out, Ferranti faked his own death and went on the run for two years. When the law finally caught up with him in 1993, he was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for a first-time nonviolent offense.
That’s where his interest in true crime blossomed.
“When I came in I was a 22-year-old white kid from the suburbs and I was trying to learn as much as possible about prison so I read as many prison books as I could – “Soledad Brother,” “In the Belly of the Beast” – and it was a gradual transition.”