By Ryan Woodford
His life was made famous by being the subject of the movie "Blow", but his life was infamous for being the largest drug trafficker in the United States during the 1970s. This is the life of "Boston George", George Jung.
Johnny Depp portrays Jung in the movie "Blow"
George Jung was born August 6, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was raised in the city of Weymouth, where his father operated his own business. It was said that from an early age George always had his ambition to succeed at no matter what he done. At some point in his childhood, his father's business went belly-up and George's father had a hard time earning a living for his family. His mother took this extremely hard and would often have breakdowns and leave them for a while, only to return a short time later. It was during this period of his life George made a decision to never allow himself become poor or let his life deteriorate like his parents.
During the 60's George and his best buddy "Tuna" pack up and move to California where the "new-age"/"hippy" scene has just started. It is here where George meets his girlfriend, and has his first introduction to drugs. Both of them being unemployed, "Tuna" suggests that they make money by selling marijuana. He is later introduced to a small time local pot supplier, and George and Tuna become very successful selling locally, literally amazed by the profits they reap from so little physical work. When an old buddy of theirs pays a visit, he informs them of the quality of their product and how much it sells for back east. The connection is made and George arranges for a stewardess to fly east with two suitcases of drugs and back west with the cash. By buying it at a low price of $60 per Kilo and selling it $300, it isn't long before they are rolling in cash, but Georges ambition tells him that he is capable of more.
Soon he begins to cut out the middle-man and flies to Mexico in search of the source. After spending two weeks in Mexico they are about to give up when they meet an American girl who sets them up with a Mexican general and his son who happen to be weed farmers. They start off the buy stealing planes and flying back and forth to Mexico themselves, but eventually their profits begin exceeding $100,000 a month and they hire private pilots.
Jung's first arrest was in Chicago, where he was apprehended with 660 pounds of marijuana. He was sentenced to Danbury, Connecticut where he would have to spend 26 months in prison. It was here that he met Carlos Lehder, a Columbian man arrested for grand theft auto. George and Carlos became friends and later began teaching each other new aspects of the business. Carlos taught George about cocaine and introduced him to the cartels, George taught Carlos about smuggling.
When George was released he immediately contacted Carlos and made arrangements. The plan was to take the cocaine from Pablo Escabar's ranch in Colombia to Georges contact in the US. At first they began to build up a sample of what was to come by hiring two American girls to fly back and forth to Antigua and the US with cocaine in their suitcases. After just a couple trips they had collected enough funds to buy their own airplane.
Soon they began to fly the drugs in more inconspicuously by routing it through the Bahamas. They began to build their reputation with the Colombian suppliers and even paid off Bahamian government officials for protection.
Jung once again found love in his life with a Colombian woman. Together they had a daughter named Christina Sunshine Jung who became George's pride and joy.
The partnership with Carlos wasn't so fairytale as it first may have seemed. In the late 70's, Carlos being hungry for more power, decided to cut George out. Using the Island of Norman's Cay, which Lehder had practically bought out, as a jump point to the US, he began trafficking cocaine straight to Richard Barile, who was George's connection to the US market. Jung was betrayed out of his own business after making more than $100 million.
Later in 1987, Jung was arrested in his mansion on Nauset Beach, near Eastham, Massachusetts. He skipped bail to spend time with his family but was later back to his old habits and planning another operation. This time he was betrayed by a pilot who was an old friend of his. While Jung was in prison, Carlos Lehder began cooperating with the government against Noriega. With the advice and approval of Pablo Escabar, Jung testified against Lehder and won his freedom.
Jung spent the next while working legitimate, however he just couldn't stay from the business. He was arrested for a final time with 500 pounds of Marijuana in Mexico. He pled guilty to three counts of conspiracy and was incarcerated at Fort Dix Correctional Institute in New Jersey.
George Jung is scheduled to be released at the age of 72 on November 27, 2014. During the release of the movie he had not yet seen his daughter since the last arrest. However, since then, In the spring of 2002 she finally paid him a visit and said she was sorry for not coming sooner.
Quotes from George Jung
"The war on drugs was an ideology the government came up with, and there never really was a war on drugs. I mean, to stop the importation of drugs into the United States of America is an impossibility. There's 2,000 miles of border along the Mexican border and the coastal areas, thousands of miles, and there is no possible way to stop the importation of drugs into this country.
But then, you know, we have to come to the pool of self-reflection and therein lies the monster of reason and we ask ourselves: was it the fact that Carlos and I the courage to be bad or why did millions of Americans not have the courage to be good?"
Note: A lot of the movie Blow was also fictionalized and names were changed to protect interests. I have done the best I can to organize all the facts and any errors could be due to that transition process.
Different sources also conflict in saying where George Jung is being held, it is possible he is now in Otisville Correctional Institute.