Drug lord Lorenzo Nichols granted state parole and was handed over to the FBI

The boss of a murderous Queens drug gang was released from state prison – and immediately released into the custody of federal law enforcement officials on Tuesday, The Post has learned.

The release of Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols by the state parole board after 34 years sparked outrage among police officers, who vividly recall the 1988 ambush by his drug gang and the shooting death of rookie officer Edward Byrne while he was in his patrol car South Jamaica sat.

“This murderous drug lord and cop killer must not come an inch closer to freedom. Our hero brother, Police Officer Edward Byrne, gave his life to rid our city of Nichols and his gang,” said PBA President Patrick Lynch.

While not charged with Byrne’s murder, Nichols, 63, pleaded guilty to ordering the 1985 murder of probation officer Brian Rooney by reporting him for a violation. He had also served time in state prison for drug and gun possession felonies.

Nichols was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for state crimes while serving federal offenses. In 2010, Nichols was eligible for parole for the first time.

Nichols, who was eventually granted parole after a Feb. 23 hearing, was released from state custody on April 5 and placed in federal custody, the state Department of Corrections and Community Service said in a statement.

NYPD police officers gather for the funeral of fallen officer Edward Byrne on February 29, 1988.
NYPD police officers gather for the funeral of Officer Edward Byrne on February 29, 1988.
Don Halasy

The feared drug lord’s federal conviction on drug and murder racketeering convictions runs until 2026.

As of that date, some feared that parole from his state sentence could see him out soon.

A retired detective who worked on the Byrne case said it would be “outrageous” if Nichols were let go.

Parole officer Brian Rooney on an undated photocopy received in the mail on April 12, 1985.
Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols was originally convicted after murdering parole officer Brian Rooney.
Mary McLoughlin

“His crew was responsible for the murder of Officer Edward Byrne,” the detective said.

Police officers who dealt with Nichols and his crew in the 1980s said he wasn’t meant to breathe freely one day.

“He was one of the biggest crack drug dealers in the late ’80s. He is responsible for hundreds of deaths, either from murder or drug overdoses. He has not paid his debt to the company,” said a retired Queens officer.

Lynch said the move was an insult to Byrne’s family.

“The parole board spits on their victim and family just like they did dozens of other fallen heroes,” he said. “Reg. [Kathy] Hochul can no longer bury her head in the sand. She needs to fix watered-down parole standards and appoint new parole officers who care about protecting crime victims and upholding the law.”

The parole board, whose members were appointed by disgraced ex-government officers. Andrew Cuomo has come under fire in recent years for releasing convicted killers.

Other Escapists include cop killer Herman Bell; weirdo Bruce Haims, who beat a young woman to death with a club; and Sam Ayala, who raped and murdered two young mothers with their terrified young children within earshot during a Westchester County home invasion.

Nichols, whose nickname was used to describe his thick neck, still ran his drug operation from behind bars in his early years, ordering beatings on those who made him feel angry.

Joawave Nichols, wife of Lorenzo "fat cat" Nichols tries to cover her face during her husband's murder trial in Brooklyn Federal Court on September 6, 1988.
Joawave Nichols, wife of Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols, tries to cover her face during her husband’s murder trial in federal court in Brooklyn on September 6, 1988.
Kevin Cohen

He also confessed to ordering the 1987 murder of his ex-girlfriend Myrtle “Myesha” Horsham, his son’s mother, after he complained that she had been stealing money from his drug operation.

Nichols also admitted to ordering the 1986 killing of Isaac Bolden, who was fatally shot by his squad after Bolden was fingered for robbing his then-girlfriend Karolyn Tyson.

The US Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, which prosecuted Nichols, declined to comment. Drug lord Lorenzo Nichols granted state parole and was handed over to the FBI


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