BLOW: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel And Lost It All

BLOW: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel And Lost It All

by Bruce Porter

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Overview

BLOW: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel And Lost It All by Bruce Porter

BLOW is the unlikely story of George Jung's roller coaster ride from middle-class high school football hero to the heart of Pablo Escobar's Medellin cartel-- the largest importer of the United States cocaine supply in the 1980s. Jung's early business of flying marijuana into the United States from the mountains of Mexico took a dramatic turn when he met Carlos Lehder, a young Colombian car thief with connections to the then newly born cocaine operation in his native land. Together they created a new model for selling cocaine, turning a drug used primarily by the entertainment elite into a massive and unimaginably lucrative enterprise-- one whose earnings, if legal, would have ranked the cocaine business as the sixth largest private enterprise in the Fortune 500.

The ride came to a screeching halt when DEA agents and Florida police busted Jung with three hundred kilos of coke, effectively unraveling his fortune. But George wasn't about to go down alone. He planned to bring down with him one of the biggest cartel figures ever caught.

With a riveting insider account of the lurid world of international drug smuggling and a super-charged drama of one man's meteoric rise and desperate fall, Bruce Porter chronicles Jung's life using unprecedented eyewitness sources in this critically acclaimed true crime classic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466876248
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/18/2014
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 257,110
File size: 565 KB

About the Author

Bruce Porter, a former newspaper reporter and editor of Newsweek, teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is the author of Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All and Snatched: From Drug Queen to Informer to Hostage. Porter has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Connoisseur, among other publications.
Bruce Porter, a former newspaper reporter and editor of Newsweek, teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is the author of Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel And Lost It All, and he has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Connoisseur, among other publications.

Read an Excerpt

Blow

How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellín Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All


By Bruce Porter

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 1993 Bruce Porter
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7624-8



CHAPTER 1

Weymouth


1946–1965


Cohasset for its Beauty Hingham for its Pride If it weren't for the Herring, Poor Weymouth would have died.

—Old saying


In 1622 a splinter group of Pilgrims from the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts journeyed up the coast to Weymouth to try to set up a trading post, and if they'd only heard about the herring they might not have made such a mess of it. As it was, they turned out to be a pretty sorry crew, bickering among themselves and stealing corn and other foodstuffs from the local Wampanoag tribe. In return, the Indians found little reason to help out the following winter when the Pilgrims ran desperately short of food and ended up either dying of starvation or dragging themselves ignominiously back to Plymouth. A permanent settlement wasn't established in Weymouth until two years later, when people with farming skills, rather than traders, gave it a shot, and after no less a person than Miles Standish himself had come up to Weymouth to win over the hearts and minds of the Wampanoags, who had gotten pretty ornery by then. Standish accomplished the task in ready fashion by inviting two of the more influential sachems to be his guests for a nice sit-down lunch, and when the Indians began to feel a little under the weather—he'd taken the precaution of poisoning their food—his men dispatched them with knives and axes.

The famous herring that might have saved the settlers migrated in from the ocean early every summer and swam upstream to their traditional spawning ground in a body of fresh water known as Whitmans Pond. During the height of the trek, all but killed off in the early 1900s by industrial development, Whitmans Pond would virtually boil over with fish, providing townspeople a nearly effortless and bountiful harvest. As a little boy, George could see the pond from his bedroom window, and in winter he'd walk over from the house his parents had in a subdivision known as Lake Shore Park and go ice skating with his chums.

To the other blue-collar families in the neighborhood, the Jungs seemed to have it pretty good in those years right after World War II. Where most of the men and some of the women worked on the assembly line down at the Procter & Gamble plant or as welders and steamfitters at the Fore River Shipyard across the river in Quincy, George's father led a relatively independent life, servicing heating accounts throughout Boston from his own truck. The family certainly had money enough. Every other year Fred bought a brand new car, either a Ford or a Mercury, always the roomiest model; his wife wore the best of clothes, had a fur coat.

George was too young in those days to help his father on the truck, so a boy from the neighborhood, Russell Delorey, who was nine years older and would often baby-sit for the Jungs, went along with Fred on Saturdays and school holidays. "In the winter I'd walk over there at six in the morning in the dark," recalls Russell, who grew up to become a masonry contractor on Cape Cod. "He'd start that big oil truck and I'd climb up and sit in it while it warmed up. When he finished his breakfast, he'd come out and we'd leave, and we wouldn't come home until ten o'clock at night." Fred invariably drove the same route, from South Boston to the South End, from Beacon Hill to Washington Street, and for Russell the work often proved grueling. Hauling the heavy oil hose over back fences and sometimes a hundred feet up an alley covered with snow or ice or mud, the boy would often slip and fall. "Some of the settings were also a little frightening for a young person," Russell says today. "There'd be drunks sleeping in the alley, and black people around, but I never felt threatened because of Fred's ability to manage everything, be a friendly person with everybody, no matter who you were. It seemed to me that he knew everybody in the city of Boston. Driving home, he would talk about the merits of a wholesome life, about working hard all day long. We'd always stop in Quincy on the way and get a large loaf of Syrian bread to take home. We did that every night."

In 1948, when George was six, the Jungs moved up, both geographically and economically, to a house on Abigail Adams Circle. Laid out as a subdivision just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Circle featured larger, two-story colonial-style houses, some of which, like the Jungs', occupied the crown of a hill and looked down over the salt marsh to the Fore River as it flowed into the sea at Wessagussett Bay, site of the original settlement. In Weymouth terms, the Circle rated as one of the better parts of town. Here the women mostly stayed home all day, and the men wore ties and worked as managers at General Dynamics in Quincy, or commuted on the South Shore Railroad to office jobs in Boston. The father of George's best boyhood friend, Malcolm MacGregor, had a degree from MIT and a prominent job as a ship surveyor that took the family overseas for long stretches. Across the street and three doors down lived the Fieldses. Mr. Fields was the president of a button company in Boston; his son went off to Colby College. It was in the Fieldses' driveway that George saw his first Porsche.

Financially, the Jungs held their own well enough, but the new neighborhood was something of a challenge socially. Looking back, Malcolm MacGregor's mother, Gladys, cannot recall Mr. or Mrs. Jung ever taking part in the annual Christmas dances that would be held at the Community Hall, or showing up for the Fourth of July picnics in the neighborhood. "They never mixed much," she says. Her memory of George's mother, Ermine, was of a "nice and quiet woman" who worked in the Ann Taylor shop in nearby Braintree. She was exceptionally pretty. In her looks and her flowing dress she resembled the actress Loretta Young; not by accident, it seemed, "The Loretta Young Show" was a program she never missed. Mrs. MacGregor recalls George's father as a heavy-set man, with a ruddy complexion and always a cigar sticking out the side of his mouth. "He was an ordinary man, a beer drinker," she says. "He'd park his oil truck in the family's driveway." And according to Russell Delorey, Fred got just about as much respect inside the household. "I don't believe that Mrs. Jung or the other family members really knew what Fred's day was like," says Russell. "I saw it as full, rewarding, and successful. But I'm afraid that at home he was simply regarded as an oilman."

Ermine was an O'Neill from Boston, and judging from her first impression of Fred when the couple met in the 1930s, she had reason to expect more in the way of a future when she married him. For one thing, in the hard times that characterized the Depression, the heating-oil business seemed safe economic territory, considering that people would prefer to stint on fancy clothes and cuts of meat long before they'd freeze to death in the harsh New England winters. For another, Fred seemed to be a man on the move. He owned a total of three oil trucks then, large tractor-trailer jobs; he had employees working for him and a long list of customers. There's a snapshot of him taken around then showing a prosperous-looking man in a suit and a fancy white hat beside a big Packard touring car. Family legend has it that Ermine's mother, a stage entertainer named Ethel O'Neill who sang in music halls of Boston, urged her daughter into the marriage on the grounds that Mr. Jung was obviously going places.

Unfortunately for his family, one of the places he was going fairly regularly was the Suffolk Down Racetrack. He had a winning streak at first, but pretty soon he was losing consistently and in large enough amounts so that he had to mortgage his fleet of oil trucks to pay mounting debts. He lost the trucks eventually, and when the war came, he ended up working at a defense job in the naval shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Fred recovered a little of his oil business after the war, when the family moved to Weymouth. He acquired a smaller oil truck and secured a contract with the Stetson Oil Company to take care of a list of customers in Boston. But it wasn't nearly the same. There was tension in the family. One day George remembers his father teaching him the art of poker and how to handle cards smartly, doing the one-handed shuffle, the reverse cut, fanning out the deck over the table surface. George's mother came into the room, grabbed up the deck, and threw it into the wastebasket, saying something sharply to the effect that there'd be no more of that in this household.

George's uncle, George Jacob Jung—now there was a man for Ermine to admire! Whereas Fred came out of high school at the start of the Depression and went right to work, his brother, George, nine years his senior, had gone off to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, enlisted in the navy, and come home after World War II a full commander. A man of sound financial resources—he held a good-paying job as an engineer for the state, and his wife, Myrna, worked as a restaurant manager for Filene's in Boston—Uncle George traveled widely and frequently about the world. The couple occupied a substantial gabled residence on Norman Avenue in Melrose, a middle-class suburb located north of Boston, and considerably up the social scale from Weymouth. George and Myrna remained childless, but it was to their house that the Jung family members repaired for Sunday dinners, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Besides Fred and Ermine and their two children, there were the two Jung sisters—Auntie Gertrude, a divorcée who was also childless, and Aunt Jenny and her husband, Ray Silva, whose son, Bobby, was George's only cousin. Bobby Silva went into banking and eventually became the president of the Citizens National Bank in Putnam, Connecticut. Starting out, however, he'd worked at a bank in Danbury at the same time Cousin George happened to be in residence at the federal prison there, a piece of intelligence he was undoubtedly not too eager to share with the guys at the office.

In the house in Melrose, Uncle George's navy dress sword hung over the fireplace, along with a photo of him in his whites. There was a prominent picture of the battle cruiser he'd served on in the Pacific. Making a big deal out of mixing daiquiris for the ladies, Uncle George would regale the company with tales of his recent travel adventures—he journeyed abroad seventeen times during his lifetime. Or he might talk about the latest charity drive of the Shriners, of which he was a stalwart member, or a horticultural award he'd received for his roses, or the story in the local paper on the occasion of his attendance at the Fourth International Rose Conference in London, where Queen Elizabeth had put in an appearance. Indeed, in Fred's eyes, no less than in Ermine's, George had always occupied such a commanding position in the family that when his own son was born on August 6, 1942, after discovering Ermine had told the hospital the boy was to be named after his father, Fred marched down and had the name on little Frederick's birth certificate changed to match that of his brother. Although he certainly felt honored at the time, Uncle George had good reason later on, and on more than one occasion, to regret the gesture. One of them occurred at JFK International Airport in New York City, where, on the way back from Europe, he was detained for an hour or so by U.S. Customs officials while they investigated as to whether this sputtering, angry old man was the George Jacob Jung wanted by the FBI for jumping bail on a drug charge.

For all his wide-ranging interests and exposure to different cultures, Uncle George maintained a fairly stern and unbending outlook on life, a dour Dutchman to the core. "My brother was what you might call a straight-down-the-line kind of a guy," says Auntie Gertrude, who also worked at Filene's, as manager of its beauty shop. "You couldn't really say he had much of a sense of humor." On the occasion when an underling would come by his office to ask the boss for an approval on some matter, a request for a raise perhaps, rather than waste words giving a reply, Uncle George liked to direct the visitor's attention with a wave of his hand toward a sign he had printed up and sitting on the front of his desk. The sign said NO.

* * *

When it comes to divining the root causes of antisocial behavior, criminologists have produced murky speculation at best. With even less success have doctors and psychologists been able to predict with any certainty which little boy will grow up to become a public enemy. The most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM III-Revised, has nothing to say, for instance, about what to watch out for if you're worried your kid is in danger of becoming a drug smuggler. The "incipient criminality factors" detailed in the DSM are given to such generality as to forecast that a rascal like Tom Sawyer would emerge perforce as a serious menace to society.

Whatever the litmus test, little Georgie Jung scored very low when it came to committing the standard predictive acts: He showed no outstanding propensity for lying in his early years, or for stealing, playing hooky, vandalizing property, getting into fights, lighting fires, running away from home, or torturing helpless animals. At about age five he did purloin a neighbor's pet hamster to provide it the benefits of living in his own room, a move his father countered by getting a policeman friend to show up in uniform at the front door and scare George into taking it back. And he certainly was devilish enough to keep his mother on the run, chasing him about the house and poking for him with a broomstick when he'd wriggle under a bed to avoid his comeuppance. There are no reports from family members about any capital transgression on George's part. He received an honorable discharge after three years with the Cub Scouts. He dependably served the Quincy Patriot Ledger on his route every day after school, winging the papers with his left-hand sidearm pitch up onto the porches. He went sailing on the Fore River with Malcolm MacGregor in a little boat they kept moored down in back of the Circle. He dug for clams at Wessagussett Beach to earn spending money. A photograph of him in grade school shows a little boy with a carefully combed shock of hair sticking upright over his forehead, and a wide, impish grin that to one relative, at least, proved memorably disarming. "As a little boy he was a perfect charmer," Auntie Gertrude remembers. "He was really—what can I say?—he could just steal your heart away."

Were he enrolled in elementary school today, his parents might have been counseled to look at the possibility of dyslexia as a factor in his having to repeat the first grade because of reading problems, or Attention- Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as an explanation for his general behavior. Little Georgie certainly appears to have been full-blown hyperactive, at times difficult to control, even subject to fits and explosions of temper, to the point where his mother once felt the need to consult the family doctor. His advice was to stick the boy's head under a faucet the next time he had an outburst. George still remembers with some annoyance the series of duckings forced on him after that consultation.

By the time George was entering adolescence, his parents were having serious marital problems. These usually didn't evince themselves to George until they'd reached an extreme stage, when Ermine would pack up her suitcase and leave home. George remembers her walking down to the bottom of the hill to get the bus for Quincy, and from there the train into Boston. He would follow her down the hill and stand across from the bus stop by the minister's house shouting out to her to come back. "I didn't want her to leave, but I didn't know how to stop her, so I threw rocks at her," he says. "Not really rocks, they were stones. But I didn't know what else to do to make her stay." On these occasions Ermine would stay with her mother, who lived on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, or go down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where her brother, Jack O'Neill, owned a string of music stores. During one of his mother's absences, George lived for several months at the house in Melrose with Uncle George and Aunt Myrna. That was where he finally learned his multiplication tables, when he was going into the fifth grade. As George recalls, "Aunt Myrna sat me down at the kitchen table and said, 'You're not stupid, Georgie. There's no reason why you're failing all the time; you just don't know what discipline is.' There were these two little girls next door that I really liked, and she said I was never going to get to know those girls unless I learned the times table all the way up to twelve. And I did. I learned it that summer."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Blow by Bruce Porter. Copyright © 1993 Bruce Porter. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Epigraph,
A Note on Sources,
Prologue (1974),
1. Weymouth (1946–1965),
2. Manhattan Beach (1967–1968),
3. Puerto Vallarta (1968–1970),
4. Mazatlán (1970–1973),
5. Danbury (1974–1975),
6. Cape Cod (1975–1976),
7. Miami (1977),
8. Norman Cay (1978),
9. Eastham (1978–1980),
10. Fort Lauderdale (1985),
11. Jacksonville (1987),
Epilogue,
Acknowledgments,
About the Author,
Copyright,

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Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
LutherLS More than 1 year ago
Blow is a great book to read. I have also seen the movie and they make them both close to real life situations. I wish that they would have used the same names in the movie that they have in real life and the book. I also like how Porter structures his chapters into where they were at. I also like how deep the story is and how indepth he goes with his information and his stories. This book is a great read and i suggest it to everybody.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The movie is my bible, I love, I used to watch a 5 to 7 times a week, I cant anymore unless I'm alone, I say every line. The Book is the very first Book that I ever read front to back, UNreal, absoulutly Love it, I cant get enough of it, i have read probaly about 10 times....Cant seem to put it down!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i havent read the book yet but i plan on byeing it when i get to the book store the movie was great and i hear the book is even better i hope everyone enjoyed the movie as much as me and i recommend anyone to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
200 pages into book and its taken me 8 days to get this far. Nothing like I thought it would be as far as more detail into their operations . Here's to the last part of book being much better then the first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Bruce Porter’s Blow, Bruce takes you on a thrilling ride through the life of George Jung. George, a boy from Boston, Massachusetts grew up as any kid would, playing football, riding his bike, and helping his father with his modest air conditioning business. George’s father didn’t make much money and George took notice to this when he started his transformation to an adult. George realized he never wanted to struggle for money and made it his goal to be financially secure.  George tried some “real” jobs, home construction and fishing, but George wasn’t a huge fan of the hard labor that amounted to hardly any pay. So one summer when George goes to Manhattan Beach and begins selling pot he becomes addicted to the easy money of drug dealing. Bruce Porter takes you through the come up of George in the drug world. From a small pot dealer, no one could have predicted the cocaine king pin he would become. The luxurious trips to exotic destinations and brutal murders make for a very interesting business venture. Porter does a great job of accurately portraying the life of George Jung and his rise to becoming a king pin of the Medellin Cartel. This book keeps you hooked the entire time, the fantasy world George lives in would be appealing to all readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BLOW is the unlikely story of George Jung's roller coaster ride from middle-class high school football hero to the heart of Pable Escobar's Medellin cartel-- the largest importer of the United States cocaine supply in the 1980s. Jung's early business of flying marijuana into the United States from the mountains of Mexico took a dramatic turn when he met Carlos Lehder, a young Colombian car thief with connections to the then newly born cocaine operation in his native land. Together they created a new model for selling cocaine, turning a drug used primarily by the entertainment elite into a massive and unimaginably lucrative enterprise-- one whose earnings, if legal, would have ranked the cocaine business as the sixth largest private enterprise in the Fortune 500.The ride came to a screeching halt when DEA agents and Florida police busted Jung with three hundred kilos of coke, effectively unraveling his fortune. But George wasn't about to go down alone. He planned to bring down with him one of the biggest cartel figures ever caught. I enoyed this book because it is great to see how George comes from being completly poor to the luxury life and back to poor again. I think its good for teenagers to read also because it shows them selling drugs will always catch back up to you and you should never do it. anthony
Ataubert More than 1 year ago
This book is about Georges rise and downfall. He had a dream to never be poor because he dosent want to have the same fate his father did. He went from selling marijunia to cocaine. I enjoyed seeing his how he lived the luxury life and then ended up with jail time. I would reccomend this book to anybody who is interested in real crimes and stories of how everything catches back up to you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS SO KOOL. THE MOVIE EVEN KOOLER. I RECOMMEND IT TO PEOPLE WHO LIKE TRUE STORIES.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great book, with much more information than the movie. One of my Favorites
Guest More than 1 year ago
After i saw the movie i knew i had to get the book. The movie was excellent and the book was even better. George Jung rules!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truth is often stranger than fiction, and Blow is a good, strange story. Enjoyable to read, but the writing could have been stronger. I love this particular theme.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First seeing the moive help me to fine tune the book. Excellent if you like true stories that are good stories.kept your mind wondering!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a realistic, straight talking book that is a fantastic read! I had heard about the movie and thought the book might be even better which is always the case. This book reveals the basic ease with which drugs are brought into, distributed and sold to produce dream houses literally filled with stacks of good ole American currency! I enjoyed every page and would recommend this book. I did not dislike George or feel any sorrow for anything that happened to him. He is simply who he is and that is ok. He was no less a businessman than those who are legally engaged in commerce. George's last letter to his dying father has a universal appeal and a simple lesson of life that we all should be aware of. The book is not a book with a defined plot, it more of a narrative of an individual's action, reaction, interaction and the resulting outcomes. It covers the high rolling lifestyle of the drug money kings then shows the final comedown days as well. Like the Greek concept of the Wheel of Fortune, you may be on top but be prepared for the ride back down to the very bottom!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Upon first seeing the movie I was absolutely intrigued at the rise and fall of this man. I bought the book and couldn't put it down! The book was riveting, anyone who reads this will be amazed at just how lucrative and dangerous the drug world really is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was nothing short of fantastic. George Jungs life makes for a great read. Your really do fall in love with George. Porter definintely did his research before writing this book. I appriciated the way Porter always discussed politics and social issues as George went through his life. The way Porter wrote the book Jung is not villified yet he is not made the victim either. He is just a regular guy with a not so regular life. Really wonderful from page one until the very end!!!! The movie fails here, they not only turn George into a victim but a psycho at the end which is not who the real George Jung is. They really ruined the end in the Movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Blown, is the only word to describe George Jung's depiction of his life. I read this book several years ago and was more intrigued by George's magnetic and somewhat arrogant personallity, than I was with his adventuress lifestyle. George is the type of person who can walk into a room and manipulate its chemistry to fit his own persona. It find it interesting, that the word person was dirived from the Greek word persona. The original Greek meaning for, Mask. I believe George was hiding behind his 'Rebel Without a Cause' role, because he truly wanted to lead a productive life and receive credit from his family and friends for doing so. But there was something wrong, George felt he had a higher purpose in life. A gut feeling that he might be missing an opportunity to be apart of something big. The events that took place in his life, filled that void and allowed him to play the 'Rock 'N Role Rebel' character better than anyone else. Just ask him, he will tell you. George is a person to whom you can relate and would make you feel like you were the center of attention in any situation. For anyone who enjoys the rise and fall of a superstar, this book is for you. The rise is sharply intense and continues until the last page. I've anticipated the release of the movie and am optimistic that the writers will allow Jonny Depp to develop George's character and charisma for the big screen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
BLOW will 'BLOW YOU AWAY'.... The movie is 'Oscar worthy' and the book is better than the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
well written,gripping and entertaining. main character is easy to relate to. interesting look at the drug trade. can't wait to see the film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw the movie then read the book I enjoy both of them equally....The book is probably better. I think George Jung is a American Hero
Guest More than 1 year ago
The characters that Jung attracted were more interesting than him...which was revealing in a sense about the drug trade itself..that most people envolved in the drug trade are not just the typical people you would suspect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
George Jung has got the biggest cojones of anyone i know, and reading this book will prove it. He goes from a nothing to a something like that. Great book, Great buy.