The first step in the process was tough enough: Sail to Colombia and Jamaica, load the boat with cannabis and smuggle it to South Carolina. But after that, someone had to load a quarter ton of grass into a car and drive it up the eastern seaboard. That someone was typically W. Pickney Greene.
In the 1970s, Les Riley and Barry Foy co-ran a crew known as the Gentlemen Smugglers that included the likes of Greene and Skip Sanders, and for more than a decade, these gents kept the east coast high with the Caribbean's finest. The group 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.