Retired Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins brings you the best in mob history with his unique perception of the mafia. In this second episode of the six-part series documenting the life and crimes of the marijuana smuggler kingpin Jimmy Chagra, Gary interviews one of Chagra’s low-level smugglers. Kermit Schweidel tells about the famous Folly Cove operation. In this famous operation, Jimmy Chagra partners with two other El Paso smugglers, and they orchestrate an entire sea-gong freighter load of Colombian marijuana. After an adventurous trip up the Atlantic Coast, they arrive off the Massachuttas coast at Folly Cove. Here Kermit Schweidel and others off-load the post and distribute it to hiding spots throughout the United States.
Click here to buy Folly Cove: A Smuggler’s True Tale of the Pot Rebellion written by my guest Kermit Schweidel.
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GARY JENKINS, Kim Schwiedel
Kim Schwiedel 00:00
Well, of course everybody started out using it, smoking it and liking it. The whole trick was, hey, I can I can buy half a pound or a pound or a kilo. I can break this down and sell it to my friends and then I can smoke for free. That’s probably how 90% of the people that were in it started. Just wanted some good good old free pot, our geographic location on the border being what it was. It was very tempting to take that pound and turn it into five pounds or 10 pounds and the border was wide open.
GARY JENKINS 00:38
Welcome while you Wiretappers out there. Back here in the studio Gangland Wire. I have a most interesting show today. Kim Schweidel I pronounced that right Kim? Yes, sir. Well, thanks a lot Kim. You know, guys, I’ve started down a path. You know, I like to do stories and take deep dives on the things and into the eggs that I started looking at this whole you know, the killing of Judge woods and by Woody Harrelson, his dad, Charles Harrelson and the Jimmy Chagra thing. And so I started looking at this guy named Jimmy Chagra and he was as he was Lebanese heritage out of El Paso, and he was supposedly this huge drug smuggler, and then I find out he has this whole life up in Las Vegas. And he’s, he’s spending millions and millions of dollars gambling in Las Vegas, I thought this is a heck of a story. And I got into it. I was noodling around on the internet and, and he’s supposedly Jimmy and his brother Lee had something to do with it may we’ll find out today. They made some huge score, bringing really a high quality Colombian pot from Colombia and a freighter of some kind, semi big ship, one of the early examples of this kind of smuggling in the narcotics business, clear up to Boston. And then the mothership has the little baby ships that bring it on to the shore, and they hide it up in Boston and then go from there. That was it was a big deal. And I found Kim here who wrote a book on that was part of that. So Kim, welcome. I really appreciate you coming on the show. Well, thank
Kim Schwiedel 02:19
you, Gary. It’s nice to be here.
GARY JENKINS 02:21
So can you tell us the name of your book and show that show that to us?
Kim Schwiedel 02:25
That’s the book Folly Cove A Smuggler’s Tale of the Pot Rebellion. And it really it really kind of takes place in the in the years from, from about 1970 to 1970s, early, early 70s, late 60s to about 1975, which was when the deal you’re talking about the Boston deal really happened. And the Chagras play a pretty important role in the book, I would say not as important a role as the DEA felt like they they play. Interestingly, when I made this point in the book when it comes to Lee, you know, Jack Strickland, Mike Halladay they were really the the kind of the ringleaders here and they got this whole thing going and Lee was their attorney, the DEA didn’t like Jack or Mike they just weren’t sexy enough for them to be considered. Kingpin. So the DEA set their sights on Lee as the kingpin as the as the guy that was really pulling all the strings of man behind the curtain. But Lee was an attorney. He was a drug lawyer. He was not. There was no reason he was making so much money as a drug lawyer. There was no reason for him to dirty his hands, you know, in the day to day nuts and bolts of the business and he was not he was not that guy. Although they spent years and years and millions of dollars trying to prove it. Yeah, they never did. They never could. And, and Lee, no doubt he crossed the line or two, but he was he was strictly a lawyer.
GARY JENKINS 04:08
Interesting. Now. Let’s let’s start back. How did you get into this business? I’ve read some other accounts of people and it was like out of the the 60s as marijuana became more prevalent in the United States or became more demand for it. They started out with mainly Mexican marijuana because you know, what we had, at least in Missouri is what they call ditch weed. And it really didn’t have enough THC to get anybody high but you know, it’s people who spent time in Missouri State Penitentiary for that ditch weed and never had gotten really high other than the beer they were drinking or why they were drinking along with it. But but these guys down on the border they had these connections into get that really good Mexican pot at the start of this and as that started coming up north and they finally they brought seeds up to northern California they but But But initially the good part came from Mexico and, and so this is the early days when everybody was, you know, a hippie and having fun. It was peace, love the Summer of Love in San Francisco. So tell us a little bit about that time in your life and you must have been part of that the hippie generation that got into this.
Kim Schwiedel 05:22
Well, of course, everybody started out using smoking it and liking it. And and the whole trick was, okay, I can I can buy half a pound or a pound or a kilo. I can break this down and sell it to my friends. And then I can and then I can smoke for free. Essentially, that’s probably how 90% of the people that were in it started. Just wanted some good good old free pot, our geographic location on the border of being what it was, it was it was, it was very tempting to you know, take that pound and turn it into five pounds or 10 pounds. And the border was wide open. You know, you could drive a truck across the border and for hundreds of miles, there’s places where you can drive a truck across the border. So that’s kind of how it started. The interesting thing Mike Halladay Mike and Jack are partners. And Mike Halladay is the guy that really kind of plumbed the border, because he he in with the grandson of La Nacha. La Nacha was a grandmother literally ran the entire northern Mexican drug trade. Yes, her stock and trade was opium heroin. She ran things. She lived in a forest she lived in the barrio in Juarez, while her grandson Hector became friends with Mike Hector controlled the growing fields in Sinaloa. Now law now says she didn’t really like the pot trade because big is bulky, it’s hard to deal with. She didn’t think there was that much in it, all of a sudden, she noticed her grandson was, you know, racking up millions of dollars. And so that so that changed things. But it was the it was the connection, Mike’s connection to Hector, that really, that really got things going turn turned it from buying a pound or two couple of 100 pounds and a truck coming across the border, then the DEA decided that that they would put checkpoints within 100 miles of every border. So once you got it across and you’re going to move it you had to move it through a DEA checkpoint, and that was no good. So then airplanes came in, and we started landing airplanes on highways in New Mexico outside the 100 mile limit. And, you know, you could get 12 1500 pounds on an aeroplane or mount probably more like eight or 900 pounds on an aeroplane. And that went on and was quite successful for a long time. And it wasn’t until the Mexican growers down there they would, they would yank it out of the ground and replant yank it out of the ground. They didn’t do anything to enrich their soil. They didn’t do anything to make the crops better. And pretty soon that feels just got played out. And that’s when we went to Colombia as people want to Colombia and after that, and so that’s when Jack really and Jimmy Chagra to an extent made that Colombian deal happen.
GARY JENKINS 08:30
So what was your part in this game? How did you get how did you get into this? I mean, you just guy just doesn’t get out of high school and go take an undergrad course in pot smuggling that guy.
Kim Schwiedel 08:43
Yeah, I grew up I grew up around I grew up friends with Jack I knew what Jack was doing. And I was working in was I was working. Yeah, I was working in advertising at the time. And my agency merged with another agency. And they had a copywriter and and so I was I was unfortunately let go. And you know, I didn’t I needed a job. Jack said to me, I got some big cooking. This was right before the Columbian deal. He said I got some big cooking Come on. Like I said, we were friends. I knew Mike very well. All the guys that were involved were friends. So I said okay, I got involved with Jack and did a couple of airplane deals. And the next thing I knew I was in Boston, and I was not a you know I I was not a planner. I was not a you know, part part of the brain trust of this although Jack Jack and I were pretty close. But you know, I was I was muscle at that point. I was I was just kind of a worker bee and it was it was one of the great experiences of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just It was really exciting. It was really fun. Nobody got hurt. It was it was really good time.
GARY JENKINS 10:06
Now it’s my understanding that back in those days that people would just front marijuana, and then you would eventually get paid.
Kim Schwiedel 10:13
Exactly. You know, Mike was the guy that that ran them Mexican side of it. Jack really was the guy that ran the distribution side of it. Okay, so most of the customers were Jack’s customers, but there were three or four main ones. And yeah, most of those were dealt with, we’d get a load, we’d send it to him. And they’d say, Okay, give me you know, 10 day days, and then come down to collect. And that’s how that went.
GARY JENKINS 10:41
And once you got it into the United States do you have like, you’d have like a one guy in Denver, for example. And then somebody would take, you know, 100 pounds up to the gear guy in Denver, and then eventually, then he turned around and pay for what he had gotten.
Kim Schwiedel 10:57
Yeah, but mostly, mostly though, Jack was doing wouldn’t deal with 100 pounds. And 500 1000 times, customers were most of what he had, every once in a while, you get a smaller customer, and he tried to build build them up. You know, a lot of our customers were, were buying tons. Now, they can pretty much liquidate that and three weeks to three weeks. You know, it was during that during the growing season, it was you’ve got crazy
GARY JENKINS 11:31
that. So there’s a lot of cash money blood round, for example, you know, what would you get in case money for one job, you’d have one big load that came in that you then to help unload or load up trucks or store and load up trucks and then somebody else would drive it on north? So what would you get?
Kim Schwiedel 11:50
If you did if you unloaded it, if you’re unloaded it, you got a couple of bucks a pound. So if it’s a so it’s a, you know, an airplane lots 800 pounds on an aeroplane and you do two airplanes at a time, sometimes three, they’d be circling around overhead can land on the highway, you don’t vote it, man. And so, you know, in a night, you know, you can make a couple of $1,000 if you drove it, the going rate for drive and it was five bucks a pound. So if you pull a trailer with a ton of pot in it, you know, there’s $10,000 Of course, it was all tax free money. It was interesting, because those rates, I think became worth somewhat standardized throughout the industry.
GARY JENKINS 12:36
It’s crazy, it’s crazy. You know, it’s like, it’s just business, you know, it’s just business. That’s it has been better much.
Kim Schwiedel 12:44
It’s very much just business. It was interesting.
GARY JENKINS 12:48
So what about like, Do you do any counter surveillance? I mean, what what were you were you guys concerned about the cops at all?
Kim Schwiedel 12:57
Not for a while, you know, in those days, there was no conspiracy law. And Nixon enacted the conspiracy laws and sometime early 70s. But with no conspiracy laws, you actually had to be caught in the act, you had to be you had to have a pot in your possession. And, you know, pot Smuggling was a huge game of hot potato, you did not want the pot in your possession, you want to get it move it as quickly as possible. And get it out of your possession. You know, there’s 1000s of miles of border and really the only deterrent was the Border Patrol. But the Border Patrol was not looking to to police, the drug business that border patrol was about immigration. And if they hadn’t come across some kind of drug deal, okay, they’ll act but they weren’t looking for it. And and they weren’t a real effective deterrent, because there just wasn’t enough of them. They were underfunded and there wasn’t enough. So then along comes the DEA and the DEA moved into El Paso. Initially, the DEA was inexperienced, underfunded, kind of corrupt, not very good at what they did and and really didn’t pose much of a threat. Jack Strickland was a guy who was everybody’s friend. Among his friends was a guy named Matt Pereira who was a big time DEA agent drank together they know each other. And Jack on the bar and Matt Pereria came into the bar one day and said Jack, he said you can’t you can’t go you know driving around so fast to the city. I got guys that are trying to follow you and you know you’re driving a Jaguar X K E and some of these guys are going to be killed trying to keep up with you got to slow down. The DEA and the smugglers were really two sides. The same coin. Yeah. Oh, we were playing a game we were we were having our fun and getting off. And so were they, and they were keeping score just like we were keeping score. Really, there was a lot of similarities there and there was no hate. There was no nobody. If you got busted, you just took it. And you and and you went through the legal process and you did your time and Jack paid your lawyer and Jack, you know, help your family out while you were in and you got out and you went back to work.
GARY JENKINS 15:35
Kind of like the Mob is supposed to operate. There a lot of lot of people that end up turning witness on the Mob is because they don’t take care of their family. They, I mean, that was the mother of God. But
Kim Schwiedel 15:49
that was the only rule you don’t stitch. You know, the government knew Jack’s in Mike’s group didn’t snitch. They they just they just wouldn’t there was no reason for them to they would be taken care of so and that’s why Jack refused to Jack Strickland refused to snitch and he ended up spending 27 years in prison for pot.
GARY JENKINS 16:13
Set an example. Yeah. So during that time, that is that when they got involved that they used that he used Jack and Mike didn’t use Le Chagra down there in El Paso they used
Yeah, Lee was, Lee was very early on Lee became Lee became Jack’s lawyer, Jack and Lee were friends.
GARY JENKINS 16:34
Kind of like House Counsel down there was like these House counsel that if you had somebody that caught a case on farther away in another jurisdiction, maybe Lee would then go find a local lawyer and get that taken care of just handled all those things. Yeah, all
Kim Schwiedel 16:49
the all the guys newly all the guys had Lee’s phone number. Everybody knew you’re gonna get busted. You call me. That’s that’s the first thing you do very successfully mitigated a lot of those cases, you know, and that Mudiay they didn’t have a lot of hate for Jack or Mike for K hate is the you know, I didn’t have a whole lot to do with Lee. I met him of course, I knew who he was. And he knew who I was. But we weren’t. We didn’t. We didn’t socialize. I didn’t go to Las Vegas with him. Lee, it was a huge gamble. Yeah, you know, Lee, really was who Jimmy wanted to be. Jimmy was the younger brother. He looked up to me he wanted to be, but he didn’t want to go to law school. He wanted to have the money in the status and wanted to gamble, likely, but he didn’t want to put the work in to become
GARY JENKINS 17:42
so do you remember Jimmy Chagra during these times? Did he ever come, you know, within your purview or your
Kim Schwiedel 17:49
Oh no, Jimmy, I knew pretty well. I actually worked with Jimmy he came into my we worked together quite a bit, you know. Now as far as the judge would thing, I have no special knowledge of this. Everything that I feel about it is is conjecture, but I didn’t know Jim. I knew Jimmy pretty well.
GARY JENKINS 18:12
So like to work with. He’s kind of a flamboyant guy. It seemed like he was
Kim Schwiedel 18:16
very flamboyant. Jimmy was a classic narcissist. Every body in the group. Everybody on the crew knew instinctively that if it came right down to it, Jimmy would kick you to the curb. Jimmy would sacrifice you in a New York minute to save his ass. And everybody knew that and nobody totally trusted him. In that bag included Jack. That’s one side of Jimmy on the other side of the coin. Jimmy was Jimmy was fearless. Jimmy was brash, he could make connections in places other people couldn’t make connections. He was audacious. He pulled off some some major things. But he was obviously not careful. I mean building million dollar mansions in Las Vegas throwing money around he was just he was just not careful. And Jimmy was very very very much into the cocaine I’m sure clouded his thinking and I’m sure it was at the heart of whatever whatever happened between him and Charles Harrelson and judge would I feel like just just my opinion is that it was probably cocaine few more than anything. Jimmy got coked up shot off his mouth. Charles Harrison was probably there coked up and said oh okay far I’ll do that. And the next thing you know
GARY JENKINS 19:47
that’s kind of what I’m reading between the lines of study I’ve done on it that that it was one of those deals because Harrelson was those kind of guys but going back to Jimmy met so he what he brought to the table, Jack and Mike They had their own like organization going, you know, kind of a well tuned little organization. A lot of people were not dependent on it but owed them their loyalty oh boy and loyalty to those guys that Jimmy Chagra, he was he did he have his own separate organization or was he part of that and he brought what he bring to the table for you guys.
Kim Schwiedel 20:19
He had a few he had a few guys that he brought in. He had a few buyers that he that he brought in, okay, but his organization up until the time he met Jack was he wanted to be a smuggler slash dealer and it was his it was his affiliation with Jack that made that happen. I mean, his first deal he didn’t even have a buyer for and he took a load to Pittsburgh and found a buyer on the street, which is which was a very, very, very Jimmy thing to do. Mike had been to jail. Mike had gotten busted on a on a snitch Jack got busted in New Mexico by the game wardens. They thought he was poaching antelope. And he had a trailer full pot, Jack and Mike, neither one of them could do anything about putting a Colombian load together down at Columbia. But Jimmy could jets why Jimmy came in Jerry spoke perfect Spanish he was he was ballsy enough to go down to to Columbia and finally load. And he did and all credit goes to him for doing that. And the whole thing wouldn’t have probably happened without it. You know, the crew, as far as I was concerned, was completely loyal to Jack and to Mike. And and Jimmy was just kind of out there. He did play an important role in the deal. There are a lot of people that believe that it was all Jimmy Steele totally. But that’s not. That’s not true. Jack was able to distribute. When you look at Jack’s distributed
GARY JENKINS 21:56
pot. Yeah, what you read about this, and you’re trying to learn about this whole scenario back then, it looks like it’s all Jimmy Chagra, Jimmy Chagra, this Jimmy Chagra has his big smuggling operation and all that. And as I got into it, and I found a blog piece that interviewed you. And some other things, I realized that Jimmy Chagra really fell in with some other guys. But he and he did put that Colombian connection together. And what I’m hearing you say is the Mexican pot was not as good as it once was, and maybe not as plentiful and certainly not as good. But the Colombian was, is that what you’re saying? Like any
Kim Schwiedel 22:36
it’s like anything in the free market customers, our customers are asking for Colombia. They’re saying, Look, I can’t move this Mexican pot. I you know, you can give me all you want, but it’s gonna take me months to sell it because people don’t want it people want Colombia. Jack got that message loud and clear. You know, it’s a testament to him. I think that he and others that were involved, pulled off this whole Columbian deal. While they were under. After they had been convicted, and they were waiting to go to jail. They were going to they were all going to jail. And Jack, you know, had a baby come in and a new wife and he said, I ain’t going to jail broke. And he pulled this deal
GARY JENKINS 23:26
down. So let’s talk about the deal. The Folly Cove deal, which is okay, the books about you know, some of this, but it’s really about the Foly Cove deal, which is the, the historic movement of color. What is the Steely Dan song, the fine Columbian, you know, I mean, it was in the popular culture, to get the Fine Columbian did. And so to pull off this Folly Cove deal, which was historic. It was kind of the first of a kind, I think that I know of. So tell was best I can tell. Jimmy goes down and he puts it together and they get a freighter but boy after that, it’s quite a story. That old freighter, the old,
Kim Schwiedel 24:08
Oh, its quite a story and you got to talk. You know, it’s real interesting. You know, the guy that went down there was a guy named Ralph Armandaris, Ralph’s, a former Marine. He was a friend of Jack’s, again, another one of Jack’s guys. It was Ralph Armandaris that went down there, you know, he got it totally embedded with the Colombians. He saw to the loading of the freighter, you know, the weighing of the, of the product, the loading of the freighter and he rode that freighter, all the way from Columbia to Boston. The interesting part of it, you know, I didn’t know route that well. You know, I saw him when the third night of unloading he got off the freighter and I talked to him just said Hey, brother, how you doing and he’s, I need a shower. He took off in the shower. It wasn’t until I started interviewing him for the book 2030 years later than I really got the whole story. I didn’t I never heard the whole story of how it went down there and what happened on that boat. And what happened on that boat was just a goat, pardon the expression. I mean, first, they realized like two days out that they had all their fresh water had leaked away, they had no fresh water. And then there was a fire on board the boat and then they ran into in the middle of typhoon season boat was so old, they can only make about eight knots. It was just it was oh, it was just an incredible park since become really good friends. And he he remembered the whole event really well and really told the story. Well,
GARY JENKINS 25:48
that part of it folks you gotta get, but just that part of it is a heck of a story. That trip door. Oh, it really
- And we were in you know, we were in Boston at the time. And we were becoming pretty dispirited, we most of the crew, we were living in a house sleeping on air mattresses on the floor, you know, eating fast food, and we would go every night, we go to the Glass House, and we’d set up and we’d sit and we’d wait. And we’d sit and we’d wait. And then nothing happened. And we’d go back to the what we call the barracks do it again the next night.
GARY JENKINS 26:24
Now, the glass now by the Glass House, but you have like a window that looked out over the ocean, you got someplace that you could, somebody could come right up and offload bales of marijuana. And so describe Well,
Kim Schwiedel 26:40
we call it a Glass House because it was it was like seemed like it was glass on about all four sides. And it was kind of like this little beacon up it was upon a hill up a rock cliff. And when this was where Mike came in, we built a pier down at the bottom of the cliff, a wooden Pier. And then we rigged a cable and pulley to go up to the top and we had gnats. And we could put about three four bales, which was maybe 200 pounds in the nets, and then guys would haul haul them up the hill. And that’s how that would done was done. But we never thought we’d get there. We thought that boat we really were thinking the worst. And in fact, the crew was getting a little out of hand. Jack gave everybody the night off said okay, you guys take the night off. Yeah, he’s, he’s got an airplane coming and we’re gonna fly around. I’m gonna look for him to take the night off. And so we took the night off and we were drinking at a yacht club somewhere and I was kind of the responsible one so so it was up to me to call every every hour got later guys got drunker, I finally made the last call of the hour to Bill Russell, who’s who was there and said, Okay, I’m just checking in. He said, You need to get here. Right? You guys need to get here right now. Oh, shit. I don’t have the phone. I mean, it was like it was that everybody was drunk. It was like the Keystone Cops going down the highway. You know? And now that was the day the night the load came? Was the Night everybody was drinking at the Yacht Club.
GARY JENKINS 28:24
So you work for several hours, I’m sure work your butts off the rest of the night. Did you have to discontinue during the day or just keep going? Oh,
Kim Schwiedel 28:32
yeah, we got one boat unloaded about 10,000 pounds. Yeah. But and again, I mentioned Bill Russell, who was also a big part of the bill was a former US Army helicopter pilot. And he was great. He was great at logistics. And he kind of organized this whole thing. By the time we finished that first boat load and went back to the barracks. That load was on the road into the market. No matter what happened from then on. You know, we had put 10,000 pounds into the marketplace a Jack who had who had offered every investor in El Paso three to one return on their money. Just a straight three to one return. could breathe a little bit of a sigh of relief. Yeah. So so we only got one boat done that first night. The second night we got about four boats done. And then the third night we had like one boat left. So So those three long nights.
GARY JENKINS 29:33
50,000 pounds, 60,000 pounds,
Kim Schwiedel 29:36
58,000 pounds, you know, so it had been a boat. So once we got it and we had stash houses, two or three stash houses across the country and people went I went and it was among the people that went because that pot had to be had to be turned, stirred up and turned and exposed to air so it wouldn’t mold and rot. It was Just a ton of work. That’s fun to see it was the stinkiest pot you’ve ever smelled and
GARY JENKINS 30:07
you know, your your end users ever thinks about all that stuff that has to be done in order right into their little pipe. Do they get there? No, roll that roll.
Kim Schwiedel 30:18
Now, it was a lot of work, and it took, you know, distributing that and then collect the money and taking the money down and taking money down at Columbia. And all anybody wanted to do was party. So I worked harder after, you know, I drove a couple of loads and work harder after that.
GARY JENKINS 30:39
So the money now there was there anybody involved in money laundering for the organization down there in El Paso, who was how are they get rid all that cash money? Or did they just hide it in? Well, they didn’t get
Kim Schwiedel 30:51
rid of all that cash money. They changed the dollar for dollar through the cashier at Caesar’s Palace. They take what money they collected, they give it to Caesars Palace, Caesars Palace would take a percent give us back different money. And every every buck was washed through Caesars and we use Caesars jet to to collect?
GARY JENKINS 31:16
Because that’s That’s always one of the big problems when you get in this big time. Narcotics is the money.
Kim Schwiedel 31:21
Yeah, most guys just kept it in footlocker is their house. Okay, you know, I had a, I had a ton of cash under my bed and you write, you can’t go buy a house and you can’t go put it in the stock market. And they’re just, I mean, you could probably get away with buying a car and, you know, take trip dinners, stuff like that. But, you know, it’s just not money that you’re going to that kind of money is Jimmy Buffett said it was never meant to last? through it.
GARY JENKINS 31:54
Go get some more? Well, it’s
Kim Schwiedel 31:57
gonna get some more and we and we thought we found the money tree, we thought oh, God, we’ll do this again and again.
GARY JENKINS 32:04
And a lot of people they like, they’re gonna save up so much until they can just like get, you know, get away from it all figured out a way to put that behind them and then live, you know how they want to live the rest of their life. Is that kind of a common theme among all you guys that were involved with this? We’re getting well 4050 $60,000 at wack and, and even more.
Kim Schwiedel 32:25
No, I mean, it may have been a common theme to start. I mean, the old saying is they say you’re always chasing your first high. The first time you ever smoked pot. That’s the one you’re always chasing. Well, everybody was chasing the high, but I was not smoking it anymore. The high was going out and smuggling it and bringing it in and unloading it, just distributing it. That was I mean, I know Jack, that’s where he got off. Jack was going to be no Jack said he wanted $50,000 And he was going to quit while he didn’t quit. And he got a lot more than $50,000. Yeah. And you just you’re always chasing that high. You just You just kind of became addicted to it.
GARY JENKINS 33:13
And that’s certainly what those Chagras were doing, as I’ve read about them. They were they were losing millions and millions of dollars in Las Vegas and gamble li like a bet on athletic events. And it just was that he was betting so much they could hardly even cover his bets. The casino hardly good. It was just crazy. And so it’s all running through the casinos.
Kim Schwiedel 33:35
When he was legendary, the Black Striker they call them. Yeah, he was legendary. And Jimmy was trying to top him. I mean, Jimmy was just, you know, between the gambling and the cocaine and everything else. He I, I think he was just out of control. And it was and it was just a matter of time before before they got him. I mean they have the DEA had him in their sights, and they did get him and tell him you know, to be fair, he was never convicted of the Judge Wood assassination
GARY JENKINS 34:11
Jimmy got a not-guilty, they convicted his wife.
Kim Schwiedel 34:15
His wife was convicted, his brother was convicted. And and and I knew actually knew his wife. Also, you know, that was kind of one thing that every bit Jimmy could have stepped up and saved her. And she didn’t have to die in prison. Yeah, but not as I said Jimmy was pretty much a narcissist. a narcissist. didn’t save anybody but himself. His brother was his lawyer. I mean, if his brother was privy to any of this information, it was privileged information and his brother Joe did not approve of the murder and the Federal Judge Joe was a straight ahead guy Joe was a pretty good lawyer and, and, and very much above board. They got they got Joe and they got Jimmy’s wife to put pressure on Jimmy and of course and somebody assassinated a federal judge, they were pissed off. Yeah, that’s the
GARY JENKINS 35:07
most expensive investigation. The FBI had done that for the JFK investigation. So it was yeah, it was it was crazy during those
Kim Schwiedel 35:15
times, you know, we were all indicted for years and 10 months after the Boston deal. indictments were handed down by the First Judicial District, two months prior to the statute of limitations. We were all indicted. And we all went to trial and Boston was a big trial. Oscar Goodman was there representing Jimmy and and that’s where I met him. And Oscar pretty quickly separated Jimmy from that trial. I don’t remember how they how they did it. But I don’t think the judge wanted Jimmy in his courtroom and allowed him to be separated. Okay, in that trial. And it was real interesting, because I, for some reason, Jack Strickland and I were commanded by the court to do handwriting and that they bought we registered in a hotel and Atlanta under assumed names, which we probably did. And they, they wanted us to take a handwriting analysis. So after the day in court, we went, we went back into the back part of the courthouse where the cells were, and I look up, and there’s Jimmy. And that was the last time I ever saw Jimmy, and I gave him a cigarette. No, we talked for a few minutes. You know, he was pretty sober at that point. And I got the impression that he pretty much knew at that point that, you know, he was he was screwed in his life was just about,
GARY JENKINS 36:45
I think maybe one last question here. We don’t want to give away everything out of the book. You guys need to get that book because I’m telling you, this is a hell of a story. What was the thread that the government started pulling that then brought this whole folly Cove thing down? And that’s what you were convicted on? Right? That particular?
Kim Schwiedel 37:03
Yeah, they got they, there was a group at a Michigan that was also involved. And this was another one of Jimmy’s Jimmy’s connections. And these guys were mostly the boat people. We were desert people we didn’t know jack about boats and tides, and any of that. So these guys were the boat people. And a couple of them were arrested on a deal they did in Oregon, and they promptly snitched about the Boston deal. They get off and they and so. So they gave states evidence on the Boston deal. Funny thing was, I mean, if we would have been indicted and tried in Texas, we would all gotten five years minimum, some people would have gotten 10 years and in the First Judicial District of Massachusetts. I mean, we had a great judge, a judge named Walter Skinner federal judge, great judge. We got a great jury. The jury didn’t like the snitches. And that’s always good. You know, we we did go we stood trial for three weeks, but at the end of three weeks, when it was time to present the defense, the judge said, I don’t want to hear it. So go make a deal. And the prosecution said well, you’re on and we’ve already offered them a deal and the judge said well then offer them a better so we all planned out for probation Wow. And that was that was the end of that so yeah
GARY JENKINS 38:39
tell you why killed that’s it is a heck of a story it’s got it all.
Kim Schwiedel 38:46
Yeah, that was the end of it. For me. I went on. I went on to life and advertising which may be a bigger crime
GARY JENKINS 38:58
selling those puppy dog clothes to people out there that Oh, I don’t want one of those. Give me one of those
Kim Schwiedel 39:07
things to people selling things.
GARY JENKINS 39:11
Really well. This is this has been great. Yep. I really appreciate you coming on and helping enlighten us and be sure to get that book folks. It’s it’s Folly Cove may have looked at
Kim Schwiedel 39:26
that book. It’s on Amazon,
GARY JENKINS 39:28
Amazon Kindle. It’s really been great having you on here. I really appreciate you coming on. Thanks a lot.
Kim Schwiedel 39:35
Thanks for having me
GARY JENKINS 39:36
here. So guys, don’t forget I ride a motorcycle so look out for motorcycles when you’re out there and if you are you have any problems with PTSD or you have any friends or relatives or anybody’s been in the service go to the VA website and they have a great hotline number. So thanks a lot guys. It’s been a heck of a story and check that book out. Thanks guys. book out thanks, guys. book out thanks guys. Book out thanks guys bye