In the 1970s, Les Riley and Barry Foy co-ran a crew that supplied the eastern seaboard with Colombian and Jamaican cannabis for more than a decade, and Skip Sanders handled the stateside storage and deliveries at his family's riverfront property.
"I got 8,000 pounds of weed stashed in my mom's guest room," recalls Sanders. "There's a slight chance somewhere down the road that's probably going to be a problem."
The group, known as the Gentlemen Smugglers, eventually became a prime target for the feds, and a cravenly ambitious federal attorney named Henry McMaster—now South Carolina's governor—pulled out all the stops to take them down. The story of the Smugglers' rise, chase and eventual fall represents the first major battle in the Nixonian drug war.
The Gentlemen Smugglers series is based on the bestselling 2011 book Jackpot: High Times, High Seas, and the Sting That Launched the War on Drugs by journalist Jason Ryan.