Gweek 110: "The Boogie Nights of the drug trade"


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This episode's guest:

Joshuah Bearman. In 2007 Joshuah wrote the now-famous Argo article for Wired, which Ben Affleck turned into a movie that won Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards. He has also written for for Rolling Stone, Harper’s, Wired, Playboy, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine. He also recently co-founded Epic, an online longform journalism site.

Today, I spoke to Josh about a 30,000 word story he wrote for GQ and The Atavist about a group of Southern California high schoolers who started one of the largest marijuana smuggling rings in the world. It's Coronado High, and is available on Kindle for $1.99, or for $2.99 as a multimedia iOS piece from The Atavist.

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Here's The Atavist's description of Josh's article:

Nobody would’ve figured the kids from the sleepy beach town of Coronado, California, for criminal masterminds. They were just some hippie surfers, high school friends who’d come up with the idea of swimming bundles of marijuana across the border from Tijuana during the summer of 1969. Within a decade, however, the Coronado Company had become the largest pot-smuggling operation on the West Coast, a $100 million empire with outposts from Mexico to Morocco to Thailand. And sitting at the top of it all was the most improbable of kingpins: Lou Villar, a former Spanish teacher and swimming coach at Coronado High School.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with Villar and his partners in crime, Joshuah Bearman—author of the Wired article that became the film Argo—tells the inside story of the Coronado Company’s unlikely rise and the intrepid DEA agents who brought its principals to justice. Coronado High is an epic saga of daring escapades, hedonistic excess, and friendships betrayed, played out across the era when the innocence of the Summer of Love curdled into the paranoia of the drug war.

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