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The True Story of a Drug Smuggler
This is a true story. I have changed a few minor names and places to protect those who are innocent. And a few who are guilty but served their time.
The events happened as I portray them.
There was a time American ships
docked at Rockfort pier. This led
to a thriving prostitution trade.
Herbie's mother was the product
of one of these liaisons.
As was Herbie.
Hence here was a boy who looked
white in a slum neighbourhood
which was 99% black.
To say that Herbie was bullied is not to explain how he grew up escaping to school where he could have a few safe hours, then racing home to hide in his house. Hence, he did a great deal of studying so gained a place at a very good High School.
In the Rockfort of the 1960s most people were illiterate, or went to an All Age school where they completed their education at the age of 14.
Herbie was the only one who went to a prestigious High School.
Hence when Herbie saw Copper kill that man, and the police questioned him, they believed what he said and Copper was not charged for that murder.
Hence Copper owed Herbie and cast his protection over him, and soon absorbed him into the Gang elevating him to tactician.
With the Best Intentions
Herbie's mother, seeing her son associating with dangerous criminals decided to send him to the United States.
In those days, in fact up
to the late 1980s the rules
was a bit lax. It was not
impossible to get Herbie
a birth certificate under
a different name and
list his Aunt, who lived
in Brooklyn, New York, as his mother.
At the age of 17 Herbie went to the United States under a different name (and a younger age). He was enrolled in a High School.
As Herbie looked white he did not experience racism. As far as his classmates were concerned he was white.
Many of those who had belonged to Copper's gang had gone up to America just as illegally as he did. It was not difficult for Herbie to make contact with these men and soon gain a position as a tactician.
When the leader of the gang disappeared, no one was really aware of it. And Herbie ran the organisation in that man's name. He held himself up as the messenger or go for, never as the boss. Never did he exert any power in his own name.
If he wanted someone removed he would tell another that "The Boss" says....
Hence for the 1970s -1980s everyone involved thought Herbie was just a flunkey.
Herbie had moved out of
his Aunt's flat as soon as
he left school.
He rented a flat on his own
under an assumed name.
Herbie emphased his
'whiteness' in the new
He had no contact with any Jamaicans, and spoke and acted as if he'd been born and grown in Flatbush.
He had other flats he used for his business. There he spoke with a thick Jamaican accent, and acted in such a manner as to leave no doubt he was not white.
Herbie created the first "standard' drug trafficking businesses. It was done with military precision and yet, as common place and simple as it could be.
In Jamaica, ganja was collected and bagged and transported to a particular field.
The fields changed at each 'operation'.
The method's didn't.
At a particular time a small private plane would fly low and suddenly see lights in a long line demarcating a 'landing strip'.
The landing strip had been prepared earlier that day by a bulldozer smoothing one long patch in a secluded flat land. . It was lit by men holding bottle torches . The plane would land, turn, be refueled and loaded. It would take off and fly to the United States.
It would land in a similar field, prepared and lit in a similar way.
The plastic which had covered the inside of the plane would be removed with the ganja, and the plane would continue to a small private airport.
The flight plan had been registered from X field in the United States to land at a small airport in Jamaica. The two brief side trips were very much under the radar, and as they didn't take ten full minutes there were no questions asked.
This method went on for many years.
The transportation of ganja was enhanced by the carrying of young men who needed or wanted to leave Jamaica.
They would handle the loading/off loading and eventual selling.
The men were chosen at the virtual last minute. They had no idea when they woke up that morning that they were leaving Jamaica that night. Further, they had no idea where they
were going exactly.
When the plane landed, they would load vehicles and travel with the ganja to various cities and given a piece of floor on which to sleep. They had no papers and had to work to survive. They were expendable and so would often be killed by rival drug dealers.
The brighter would create identities and slip into American society, almost safe; for unless they were arrested and proven to be Jamaicans, they could not be deported.
Many of the men graduated to higher levels of smuggling. The key feature was that whether they were in America five, ten, twenty years, they had no idea they were working for Herbie.
Towards the Finale
In the 1990s Herbie added Cocaine to his import line. He had never used drugs in his life. And lived a very quiet middle class life.
He was a multimillionaire with money stashed in bus lockers and other such places, yet never bought the flashy car or the big electronics.
He dressed as did his humble neighbours in a unremarkable building in Brooklyn.
He had a number of girlfriends, nothing intense. None of these women were particularly glamourous. There was nothing about Herbie which would draw attention. And no one knew who he really was.
He experimented with cocaine and liked it. He was caught at a club with a very tiny quantity on him. He also had identification which was not his but he used on occasion, which identified him as John Thompson, a Jamaican born in Westmoreland. He was deported in that name to Jamaica.
He spent a little time, then went back up to America on his own name, which was as clean as could be.
In 2000 he went back to Jamaica and booked into a guest house in Port Henderson, a nothing area more for those who paid by the hour than for tourists.
He was found dead in the room, a cocaine overdose.
Who Is This?
As Herbie had booked in as an American, using his usual alias, the Embassy was contacted. Somehow they learned that this person did not exist, and the fingerprints turned up John Thompson,
But the John Thompson he was supposed to be had died ten years before.
It was one of those peculiar flukes in which a Porter at the hospital, (who had been deported from America some years before) recognised the corpse.
This led to an intensive investigation both in Jamaica and America, which finally solved the riddle of Herbie.