Keep ruthless Queens gang leader Lorenzo ‘Fat Cat’ Nichols behind bars: feds

The ruthless leader of a murderous Queens gang who ordered a hit on his New York state parole officer should not be released from federal prison — despite his plea to be cut loose, federal prosecutors argued this week. 

Notorious drug lord Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols “remains a danger to the community,” even after serving 37 years since his conviction for a slew of crimes, including ordering the 1985 murder of parole officer Brian Rooney for reporting Nichols on a violation. 

Nichols was granted parole by New York state earlier this year but was immediately arrested by the feds upon his release. 

The 1980s cocaine kingpin argued for compassionate release from federal custody in August, claiming he suffers from a host of health ailments, including migraines and high blood pressure. 

“I am now an old man who dreams of going home to be with my wife, children, and grandchildren someday,” Nichols, 63, wrote to Judge Edward Korman in his petition. 

Federal prosecutors argued that the leader of a notorious Queens gang, Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols, should not be released from federal prison.
Advertisement
NYPD

In arguing for him to remain locked up, Assistant US Attorney Adam Amir highlighted Nichols’ “appalling” criminal career. 

“The defendant combined that extreme violence with hostility for the law — running a large drug trafficking organization while incarcerated, murdering rivals as well as law enforcement officers, and intimidating or seeking the murder of witnesses who dared to tell the truth to Police,” Amir wrote in the memo filed Thursday. 

Advertisement

Nichols pleaded guilty to ordering a hit squad to murder Rooney, who was gunned down after being lured to a Queens location by an associate of the gang leader. He’d ordered the hit because Rooney had him locked up following a drug arrest while he was on parole, authorities said at the time. 

A picture of parole officer Brian Rooney before he was shot dead.
Nichols allegedly ordered a hit on parole officer Bran Rooney (seen above) in 1985, according to authorities.

A mugshot of Lorenzo Nichols.
Nichols pleaded guilty to murdering Rooney and has been in prison since. Nicholas is now pleading to be released.

Nichols’ former right hand, Howard “Pappy” Mason, was convicted of ordering the execution-style slaying of rookie NYPD cop Eddie Byrne, 22, who was slain while guarding the South Jamaica house of a witness. 

Mason is serving a life sentence. 

Korman has not ruled on the motion for compassionate release.

Advertisement