A Look At George Jung's Life-Altering Moment In Prison

George Jung, possibly America's most infamous drug smuggler, started selling marijuana in the United States in the late 1960s and had a very successful business going before a drug bust got him sent to prison in 1974, according to Business Insider

Jung, who became known in the drug world as Boston George and El Americano, told PBS the marijuana business naturally evolved in those years because there was a big market for it.

"It went from more or less a college fun thing to a serious business," he said. "As the money grew, the power grew." 

Jung started out transporting weed across state lines but soon realized he could just go to Mexico and buy large quantities on the cheap and make more money selling pot back home. 

He told PBS it was 1968 when he "was buying it in Southern California and then conceived the idea of why not go down to Mexico and get our own pot and fly it across the border and then transport it back east in motorhomes, and triple our profit."

After years of flying marijuana into the U.S. from Mexico, Jung was finally arrested in Chicago with a "trunk full of pot," he told PBS. He was sentenced to four years in Danbury Federal Prison, which he described the mostly white-collar prison as "a very mellow, laid-back place."

Jung said, "You could more or less learn anything you wanted to learn in there in reference to illicit activities. It was basically a school."

George Jung's cellmate would bring him into the Medellin drug cartel

George Jung thought he was pretty big-time during his pot smuggling days, calling himself a "pot star," per PBS, but it turned out the drug gods seemed to have more in store for him.

Jung told Vice about the conversations with his cellmate at Danbury, Carlos Lehder, which were the catalyst for Jung becoming a drug smuggler for Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel.

Jung said, "I walked into a cell in Danbury, Connecticut and told him my story about the airplanes, and he said, 'Do you know anything about cocaine?' I said, 'No, tell me.' He said, 'Well, in Colombia, it costs $3,000 a kilo.' I said, 'How much in the United States?' He said, '$60,000.' Then the lights went on and started blinking."

The rest is the stuff of drug legend — Jung's story was even made into a movie, Blow, starring Johnny Depp as Jung. 

After Lehder and Jung were released from prison, they got a plane, hired a pilot, and started moving massive amounts of cocaine from Colombia to the U.S. Jung once said he helped smuggle more than 80 percent of the coke that came into the U.S. during his decade or so running drugs, according to the Patriot Ledger

According to Celebrity Net Worth, one of George Jung's off-shore bank accounts held around $100 million in the mid-'80s, about $273 million in 2021 value. 

Today, his net worth is $10,000, per Celebrity Net Worth