“We were both teenagers looking for love, success, and adventure.” These are the words of Erika “Reika” Carter, used to describe her relationship with legendary Harlem kingpin Kevin Chiles during the tumultuous Crack Era of the 80’s and 90’s for VICE.
The two met at the iconic Rooftop skating rink as teens and soon fell for each other. She was embraced by Kevin’s family and they eventually moved in together. Reika stayed by her man’s side, teaching him how to cook crack and helping him count up his hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds. They would also go on to start their own family and run various legit businesses together.
Reika surely experienced the opulence afforded to women involved with high rollers. She was showered with diamonds and gifts, including a new car every year for a decade. She was the first person in the nation with a BMW station wagon. She would also drop tens of thousands of dollars on clothes, furniture and household items.
Though the couple naturally experienced the highs of being at the top of the crack food chain at its zenith, there were lows they associated with the game that they endured as well. In 1989, Kevin’s mother (who had been like a mother to Reika) was murdered. The biggest hit came in 1994, when Kevin was taken down by the feds for running a Continuing Criminal Enterprise that distributed thousands of pounds of cocaine to the tune of around $40 million. Reika was present when the FBI raided their home after Kevin’s arrest and taken in. She fought alongside Kevin while she was out on bail and he was remanded to custody. At Kevin’s request, Reika was taken off of his case after she took a plea deal. After two mistrials, Kevin copped out to ten years.
Life was difficult for Reika and her children after Kevin went away, but they made it through. Though their lives have moved on, Reika describes their bond as “unbreakable.” Nevertheless, Reika has kept her head up. She expressed, “God has kept me here for a reason. I survived because He has a plan for me. I released and let go of all past hurts, misunderstandings and grudges because I am abundantly blessed!”
Now, Reika is sharing her story as the ride-or-die partner of a multi-millionaire kingpin with the world.