Wall Street Journal True Crime Bestseller!
The outrageous lives and crimes of the most colorful pot smugglers of the Reagan era
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a cadre of freewheeling, Southern pot smugglers lived at the crossroads of Miami Vice and a Jimmy Buffett song. In less than a decade, these irrepressible adventurers unloaded nearly a billion dollars worth of marijuana and hashish through the eastern seaboard’s marshes. Then came their undoing: Operation Jackpot, one of the largest drug investigations ever launched and an opening volley in Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs.
In Jackpot, author Jason Ryan takes us back to the heady days before drug smuggling was synonymous with deadly gunplay. During this golden age of marijuana trafficking, the country’s most prominent kingpins were a group of wayward and fun-loving Southern gentlemen who forsook college educations to sail drug-laden luxury sailboats across the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. Les Riley, Barry Foy, and their comrades eschewed violence as much as they loved pleasure, and it was greed, lust, and disaster at sea that ultimately caught up with them, along with the law.
In a cat-and-mouse game played out in exotic locations across the globe, the smugglers sailed through hurricanes, broke out of jail and survived encounters with armed militants in Colombia, Grenada and Lebanon. Based on years of research and interviews with imprisoned and recently released smugglers and the law enforcement agents who tracked them down, Jackpot does for marijuana smuggling what Blow and Snowblind did for the cocaine trade.
"Endorsement of The Day: A Great Book About the Early Years of the War on Weed.... Before Juarez was a war zone, before coke-rich Colombia was the hostage capital of the world, and before an ex-B-movie actor with a good haircut declared War on Drugs, a group of wayward Southern gentlemen yachted the globe with unseen amounts of marijuana and hashish, and did it with style. The adventures, the long-gone economy, and the sting that ultimately brought them down and changed US drug policy are meticulously documented and lucidly spun by reporter Jason Ryan in "Jackpot."... Part "New Yorker" feature-part Jimmy Buffet song. . . . The result is adventuresome, lavish, informative fun. Try it. You'll like it." --"GQ" "Over the course of "Jackpot"'s rollicking story, Ryan manages to pack in one amusing tale after another: the day after a shipment, the crew stumbles upon a bale of marijuana accidentally left on the side of the road; they pilot a pot-filled sailboat that is taking on water all the way back from Jamaica; ... they help U.S. forces during the invasion of Grenada, earning one trafficker, Bob 'The Boss' Byers, the nickname rocket launcher.... "Jackpot" is a rip-roaring good read." --"Charleston"" City"" Paper" "High times on the high seas: Investigative reporter Ryan recounts the glory days of dope smuggling and their terrible denouement.... The protagonists are, in the main, decent and hardworking guys who just happen to be engaged in something very illegal--a trade that, as Ryan notes, is an ancient one along the South Carolina coast, where contraband smuggling is a big intergenerational business, whether of cigarettes, booze or pot. The principals of the story long enjoyed a place at the top of the smuggling pyramid, landing, in one year, more than 30,000 pounds of marijuana in three moves alone.... A well-told tale of true crime that provides a few good arguments for why it should not be a crime at all."" --Kirkus Reviews " "[A] thoroughly researched account of O
Series: LYONS PRESS
Number Of Pages: 309
Published: 15th June 2011
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.5 x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.499