George Jung, drug smuggler and inspiration for the hit movie, dies at the age of 78
George Jung, the cocaine smuggler whose exploits inspired the film Blow, has reportedly died. He was 78 years old.
The news was first reported Wednesday by TMZ, which quoted sources close to the situation saying Jung died Wednesday morning at his Boston area home, adding that the “cause of death is currently unknown.” is although he recently had liver disease and kidney failure. “
TMZ reported that Jung had been in “home hospice care” since last weekend and died with his girlfriend Ronda and boyfriend Roger by his side.
A post on Jung’s Instagram account further confirmed that he died Wednesday morning at his home in Weymouth, Massachusetts.
George Jung: A wild life
George Jung, one of the most famous drug smugglers, was born on August 6, 1942 in the Boston area. His tamping ground would ultimately form the basis for his famous nickname “Boston George”.
His entry into the drug trade began in the 1960s when Jung began shipping marijuana across the Mexican border to the United States.
In an interview with PBS’s “Frontline” in 2007, Jung recalled his origins as a smuggler:
“Well, smoking marijuana – or almost everyone who smokes marijuana innocently enough passes it on to their friends in small quantities. I think it’s innocent enough, ”said Jung in an interview.
“Then I start to see the money aspect. That was the driving force. I suddenly realized that I would be pretty good becoming an entrepreneur in the marijuana business. And I also liked the lifestyle, my own working hours. Basically, the whole idea came about when a friend of mine came to Manhattan Beach for the summer in California. He attended the U-Messe in Amherst and I had a large punch bowl and pot on the table that anyone could use as they please. “
“He asked me how much it was worth and I told him about $ 60 a kilo. He told me it sold for $ 300 east of Amherst. The wheels started spinning and the next thing I knew we would buy the 60.00 pounds and ship the pot back to Amherst for a profit of about $ 200.00 minus the airfare. What do you have? That was a lot of money back then. “
George Jung was arrested in 1974 and sentenced to four years in prison at the Federal Correctional Institute in Danbury, Connecticut, where he met a Medellin cartel worker named Carlos Lehder. Jung and Lehder “conspired to rain a white powder blizzard on America that would stunt the serotonin reuptake of millions of party people in the late 1970s and turn them both incredibly rich men,” as High Times put it in 2015 .
It was Lehder who would eventually introduce Jung to Pablo Escobar, the notorious Colombian drug king.
Jung eventually found out that Lehder sold out the cartel, which prompted Jung to testify against Lehder.
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In a 2015 interview with High Times, Jung explained how he asked Escobar’s permission before testifying:
“I mean, that was a dirty word for me. And in fact, it was still one-third on parole – I wouldn’t do more than five years. I wasn’t afraid of the time in prison; Five years wasn’t much, ”said Jung at the time.
“I was approached to testify, and there was no way I was telling them I would never do that. Then, a few weeks later, Carlos had written a letter to George Bush in the Miami Herald saying he would give up all information about the cartel for his freedom. I was held at the North Dade Correctional Center and they showed me the paper and then blew the top of my head off. So I agreed – but I asked for permission and was told to move on. “
In 2001, Jung’s extraordinary life was immortalized on screen when he was portrayed by Johnny Depp in the biography Blow.
Jung told the High Times that Denis Leary, who was the producer on the film, told him the film was going to play Depp. The problem: Jung didn’t know who it was.
“The producer, Denis Leary, called and said, ‘I’ve found the right person – Johnny Depp,'” Jung recalled. “And I said, ‘Who the hell is that?’ And he said, “Edward Scissorhands.” And I said, “What the hell is that?” And he said, “Meet him.”
“And Johnny got the special visit and he came in and he looked like he slept in a dumpster – thin, his hair drooping and greasy, torn leather jacket, holes in his sleeves, Vietnamese army boots – and I said : ‘Jesus Christ, what happened to you?’ He said, “I was up all night trying to figure out what to bring you. It drove me crazy.”
“And he handed me over on the Kerouac road. He said, “This is my Bible. I carry it with me everywhere. I want you to have it. ‘I read it when I was in high school and that Kerouac made me look crazier than I would be, okay? And then we connected. “
Jung continued: “He would come on visiting days and I would just walk around in circles and keep talking and he would watch me, and one day I said to him, ‘I’m not going in circles anymore – it’s over.’ And he said, “Don’t worry, I got it.” And he understood the parts I saw of Blow. He became me. “
George Jung lived a full and interesting life, and his history and legacy were immortalized in print and on screen. Our deepest condolences to his friends and family. Rest in peace, George.