Who is George Jung?

Drug lords and drug cartels are stories we hear about often in the media today. These organizations are producing and shipping large amounts of illegal drugs everyday throughout the world. Drug cartels today have become an international issue, with those behind the cartels being sought after by numerous police forces. Some of these drug lords become infamous in their countries and communities for the large amounts of drugs and money that they are responsible for smuggling. Of all the names we hear in the media, one of the most infamous drug traffickers of all time would have to be George Jung.

Who is George Jung? He was one of the biggest cocaine smugglers the United States has ever seen.  Between the years of 1970-1980 it is said that Jung was responsible for importing up to 85% of the cocaine smuggled in to the United States from Columbia. Jung became rich by establishing the American cocaine market, but to do this day is paying the price for drug smuggling. In 2001 the life story of George Jung exploded into mainstream media when Johnny Depp portrayed him in the hit movie Blow, with co-star Penelope Cruz playing the role of his Columbian wife Mirtha.

Like many people who use cocaine, Jung first started experimenting with drugs like Marijuana and alcohol (an approximate 90% of all cocaine users started out smoking weed and drinking alcohol). Taking some of the marijuana he had bought in California to his native state of New England and selling it (back then security checks at airports were almost non-existent), he began turning a major profit. This increase in income prompted him to begin looking for other ways make fast money in the drug trade.

With time and growth, Jung was able to expand his operations to the point where he was flying drugs into the United States on private jets, and was reportedly making $250,000 a month. After a few stints in jail (Jung was always able to bail himself out), he finally ended up in a heat which he could not escape. Betrayed by one of his long term friends who was working with the DEA, Jung was arrested in his mansion in New England in 1987.

Jung turned 70 years old this August and has spent the last 26 years in a federal prison. As of today, George Jung is set to be released from prison in November 2014, in which he will have served a total of 27 years in jail.

Under today’s current federal law, cocaine sentences and penalties are very severe.  A person who is only in possession of cocaine can face fines up to $500,000 and face prison time of up to 15 years. If a person is caught dealing or distributing cocaine, they can face fines of up to 1 million dollars and a life time sentence in prison.

How do you feel about Hollywood movies which portray the lives of drug users or traffickers? Do you feel that movies like Blow bring awareness to the temporary high that drugs can bring into one’s life while shedding light on the inevitable crash that drug users face? Or do you feel that Hollywood glorifies the illegal and self destructing lives of drug users? Tell us your thoughts below. As always, lets maintain respect for others when expressing our opinions and aim for a healthy discussion.

By West Jones