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George Jung

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George Jung
Jung (left) and Anthony Curcio
in La Tuna prison in 2010
George Jacob Jung

(1942-08-06)August 6, 1942
DiedMay 5, 2021(2021-05-05) (aged 78)
Weymouth, Massachusetts, U.S.
Other namesBoston George, El Americano
Occupation(s)Drug trafficker and smuggler
Mirtha Calderon
Conviction(s)Conspiracy (1994)
Criminal penalty60 years' imprisonment; served 20 years

George Jacob Jung (/ˈjʌŋ/; August 6, 1942 – May 5, 2021), nicknamed Boston George and El Americano, was an American drug trafficker and smuggler. He was a major figure in the United States cocaine trade during the 1970s and early '80s. Jung and his partner Carlos Lehder smuggled cocaine into the United States for the Colombian Medellín Cartel. Jung was sentenced to 60 years in prison in 1994 on conspiracy charges, but was released in 2014. Jung was portrayed by Johnny Depp in the biopic Blow (2001).

Early life[edit]

George Jung was born on August 6, 1942, in Weymouth, Massachusetts, to Frederick Jung, who owned a small business, and Ermine (née O'Neill) Jung.[1][2] In high school, Jung was a star football player and was described by his classmates as "a natural leader",[2] but was charged by an undercover police officer for solicitation of prostitution.[1] After graduating in 1961 from Weymouth High School, Jung briefly attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where he considered studying advertising, but dropped out.[1][2] Jung began recreationally using marijuana and sold a portion of everything he bought to break even.

In 1967, after meeting with a childhood friend, Jung realized the enormous profit potential represented by smuggling the cannabis he bought in California back to New England.[2] Jung initially had his flight attendant girlfriend transport the drugs in her suitcases on flights.[2] In search of even greater profits, he expanded his operation to flying the drugs in from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico,[2] using airplanes stolen from private airports on Cape Cod[3] and professional pilots.[4][1] At the height of this enterprise, Jung and his associates were reportedly making $250,000 a month (equivalent to over $2 million in 2023 dollars, adjusting for inflation).[2] This ended in 1974, when Jung was arrested in Chicago for smuggling 660 pounds (300 kg) of marijuana. He had been staying at the Playboy Club, where he was to meet a connection who would pick up the marijuana. The connection was arrested for heroin smuggling; however, he informed the authorities about Jung to get a reduced sentence.[4] After arguing with the judge about the purpose of sending a man to prison "for crossing an imaginary line with a bunch of plants",[3] Jung was sent to the Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury.[2]

Medellín Cartel[edit]

At FCI Danbury in March 1974 during his marijuana trafficking sentence, Jung's cellmate was Carlos Lehder, a young German Colombian man who introduced Jung to the dominant and powerful international drug-trafficking Medellín Cartel; in return, Jung taught Lehder about smuggling.[5] When they were released in 1976, Jung and Lehder smuggled large quantities of cocaine into the United States by joining forces with Pablo Escobar, and they made millions of dollars.[1]


Jung was arrested in 1994 with 1,754 pounds (796 kg) of cocaine in Topeka, Kansas. He pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy and received a 60-year sentence. His sentence was reduced to about 20 years after he testified against his ex-partner, Carlos Lehder. Jung was incarcerated at Otisville Federal Prison in Mount Hope, New York, before transferring to Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Federal Correctional Institution, La Tuna in Anthony, Texas. This was his third time in prison.

Release and death[edit]

Jung was due to be released in November 2014, but was released early, on June 2, 2014, after nearly 20 years.[5] In 2016, he was jailed for a federal supervision violation, then released from a halfway house in 2017.[1]

In September 2014, Jung contributed to the novel Heavy with T. Rafael Cimino, nephew of film director Michael Cimino. Heavy is a fictional story about Jung escaping from a Cuban prison and fleeing to Guatemala.[6]

Jung had been suffering from liver and kidney failure and was receiving hospice care when he died on May 5, 2021, at his Weymouth, Massachusetts, home.[7]

Further reading[edit]

  • Porter, Bruce (1993). BLOW: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-017930-4 – via archive.org.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Seelye, Katharine Q. (May 9, 2021). "George Jung, Who Made Millions Smuggling Cocaine, Dies at 78". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Graham, Renee (July 7, 1993). "Weymouth's Wayward Son". The Boston Globe. p. 49.
  3. ^ a b Pearson, Patricia (July 24, 1993). "Up and down on a mountain of cocaine". The Globe and Mail.
  4. ^ a b "Frontline interview with George Jung". Frontline. PBS. 2000. Retrieved November 10, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "George Jung released: Cocaine smuggler played by Johnny Depp in Blow". The Independent. June 3, 2014.
  6. ^ "Blow sequel book Heavy". TMZ. June 6, 2014.
  7. ^ Michallon, Clémence (May 5, 2021). "George Jung death: Drug smuggler who inspired film 'Blow' dies aged 78". The Independent. Retrieved May 5, 2021.

External links[edit]