George Jung Released: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

George Jung, aka “Boston George,” has been released from prison after serving almost two decades behind bars. Jung, 71, was one of the biggest drug smugglers and traffickers in American history, transporting a majority of America’s cocaine into the country from Colombia for the better part of a decade.

Above you can hear him talking about Blow, the 2001 biopic based on his life, starring Johnny Depp.

Here is what you need to know about Jung, his recent release, and his place in drug-dealing history.


1. He Served Almost 20 Years in Prison

According to interviews, Jung began selling marijuana during the late 1960s, smuggling it on domestic flights from California to Massachusetts and making a healthy profit. Around that time, Jung was arrested for the first time in Chicago with a “trunk full of pot” and sent to federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. It was there that he made the connections to get into cocaine trafficking.

After more than a decade of cocaine trafficking he was arrested in 1994 and spent almost 20 years in federal prisons in New York, Texas, and New Jersey.

TMZ reports that Jung is being released to a halfway house on the West Coast. You can head over there to see a photo of Jung after his release this morning.


2. He & Johnny Depp Became Friends While Depp Made ‘Blow’

Although critical reception was mixed for the 2001 biopic, Blow became a cult classic. Johnny Depp stars as George Jung in the Hollywood-ized version of how the small-town kid from Massachusetts came to sit at the top of a drug empire. You can watch the trailer for the movie above.

While preparing for the role, Depp met with Jung, and for “several hours … talked intensely,” Depp wrote in a letter that would become the introduction to a later printing of the book about Jung called Blow by Blow.

Depp went on:

It’s very rare in life that any person opens up their heart and soul to you with unlimited access to their most profound thoughts, dreams, fears, regrets, intimacies… even more rare when you’ve just met that person and, because of the obvious predicament, it’s highly unlikely that you will be spending too much time with them in the near future. So for this and more, I owe a great debt of gratitude to George.

Below you can watch George Jung speak more about the film:


3. He Imported 85% of America’s Cocaine in the ’70s & ’80s

After meeting Colombian drug dealer Carlos Lehder in prison in Connecticut, Jung went into the cocaine business with his former bunkmate, taking trips to Colombia and convincing people to carry cocaine-filled suitcases from certain areas of the Caribbean. Capitalizing on America’s surging appetite for cocaine, Jung’s business exploded.

According to a PBS interview, Jung worked with Lehder and Pablo Escobar‘s Medellin Cartel and started making millions of dollars after purchasing his own plane to ship massive quantities of cocaine.

Between the late 1970s and early ’80s, Jung claimed he was suppling 85 percent of the cocaine in America.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, at his peak Jung was pulling in $15 million per drug run.

You can watch a documentary about his life above.


4. He Ratted Out His Friend to Cut His Sentence by Almost 40 Years

george jung partner, george jung and carlos lehder

Jung (left) cooperated in the case against Carlos Lehder. (YouTube / Wikimedia Commons)

Jung was arrested in 1994 with 1,754 pounds of cocaine in Topeka, Kansas. After pleading guilty to conspiracy, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He served time in New York state and Texas before being transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey, and is now being released after just 20 years for cooperating.

While in prison, Jung decided to help the authorities in the trial of his long-term business partner Carlos Lehder in exchange for less time. He told PBS:

Well, the reason I made that decision is that Carlos Lehder had come to the end of his rope too and he was captured in Colombia by the DEA, brought to the United States, and I was approached to testify against him and I told them no, I had no inclination to do that. And then several weeks later it came out in the “Miami Herald” that he had written a letter to the Vice President of the United States, George Bush, offering to cooperate fully for total immunity. I just felt that that was the final slap in the face and I picked up the phone and I agreed to go to Jacksonville, Florida. I made a phone call and I was taken up to Jacksonville and interviewed. My story was checked out and I simply became a witness.


5. He Briefly Left Prison in 2012 for a Medical Procedure

george jung

In 2012, while still serving time in a federal prison in Texas, Jung was briefly released so that doctors could remove a cancerous mole on his nose. At the time, it was believed the time he spent in the Caribbean and South American sun was to blame for the dangerous growth.

48 Comments

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48 Comments

Dewey

Like George said is it him and Carlos that made people bad or choose to use drugs. Like really they have the power to make millions of people to behave badly so to speak? Or is it people who choose to be bad or use drugs or alcohol? I’m mean come on? Really I look at the guy as an entrepreneur selling a commodity that could be taxed and regulated. Like alchoho. Or tobacco can it be abused? Ive seen more problems and fight come from liquor than anythin. and i lnow my. Drug of choice was alcohol, recovering now. or smoking cigarettes both my parents died from smoking and several relatives… But to lock someone up for 20 years or 100 years just seems crazy to me and some African American adults have been sentenced for rock cocaine. A much harsher sentence. I mean we need to question this method of modern day dark age brutality. I don’t do drugs I did when I was a kid in college, 25 years ago. For the most part all of my friends men and women moved on and turned out ok. We even took LSD. Which most of us were told you will see pink elephants and have flash backs 20 years later. Total Bs and propaganda. We have more people in the US locked and in jail or prison than in the entire European continent!!! That is crazy!! And that includes Muslim countries we so loath and are afraid of. And one more thing I have a friend that went to prison when we were kids.. Like 23 years old for LSD and Marijuana. He was a dead head total great full dead type kid. And you , mean to tell me he belongs in a harsh prison environment with career hard core criminals, child molesters who seem to only do two years and get released. (Tis blows my mind) rapist, and murders??? Really he has no business being put in or thrown in with these guys. It’s sad to think prison is our only alternative for some of these people. And these drugs laws are just way too harsh. Ok you sell to kids or someone under 21 years old. Lets set that into law. I sure we would all agree on that one. O well I’m done with my brant no one will read.

Marla

Exactly people spend more time in jail than a child molester. Crazy world isn’t it.

Anonymous

I agree i was in prison my charges were due to drugs anyway i had 7 years and there were freakin baby killers getting out before me.the whole system is screwed.the majority of people who are locked up is due to drugs.prisons and jails wouldnt be over croweded and tax dollars wouldnt be wasted if people just got the help they needed. It’s cheaper to send someone to treatment then locking them up. OK so George sold coke but he also did it. He should’ve only done a lil bit of time and then gone to treatment. Prison doesn’t teach you anything

Anonymous

Hell yea I know all too well I spent 2 years in prison for 1 pound of weed I know it’s crazy people act like it’s the worst thing you could ever use just cause I did not tell where I got it at the not so justice system is out of it’s mind and I think the drug laws should be really up to date but I’m sorry that I’m not the only one who this had happened to

Jimy Kraus

Thumbs up !!! I agree with you about the drug laws being to harsh and and everything else you mentioned !!! I only wish more people would use common sense as you and I seem to be able to do so.

Anonymous

U r pretty nutz and a liberal who can’t spell too. George did his time and deserves to be released. I,and everyone else,could care less about your smoking parents, ur legalization views, blacks who destroy their own community with crack,or ur socialist propaganda. George Jung paid his debt…long live George

Anonymous

what the fucking r u talking about i not once heard anyone talk about Crack in these comments..

daniel besse

dewey,s ..go down 5 paragraphs…–rock cocaine–..it dont matter..locking up criminals is a huge business..but does it make sense,,well look at it this way..i agree that anyone who harms kids,,rape woman..anything to do with sex slaving a child or a adult..should get killed right away…DONT SEND THERE ASSES TO PRISON..SEND THEM STR8 TO FKN HELL..AS FAR AS THE DRUG DEALERS ARE CONCERNED..SENDING THEM TO JAIL OR PRISON IS A WASTE OF TAX PAYERS MONEY..give them all 50k and tel them if they dont make good with there life..they will be shot in the head..no questions..50 k would be alot cheaper then to house them in prison fot the crazy amount of time in prison..ok lets say 15 k..or..just shoot every one and no more prisons..and all them fkn useless over weight baby sitters(-guards)..can go flip burgers at mc donalds..yea..kell em but 6..i always say…kill every one..

Anonymous

And we could care less about your opinion just shut up!

Joe

“We have more people in the US locked and in jail or prison than in the entire European continent!!!” Complete and utter nonsense. There are fewer than 2 million people incarcerated in the US. There are 740 million people in Europe. Get your facts straight.

ShaggyRawgers

I think he’s referring to inmates in europe, not their population. The fact that the u.s leads the world in prisoners per capita is nothing knew, the war on drugs is nothing more then a money making scheme for the rich and powerful.
They fund campaigns that blow certain things out of perportion and use scare tactics to push people into voting against things like legalized marijuana so that they can fill these privately owned prisons, then they use prisoners as profit against the state, states pay up to 35-40k per prisoner, times that by 2-3000 per prison and it makes for a very lucrative business for modern day slave owners.

Anonymous

You grammar is horrible. Please set drugs aside and return to school.

Tenna

Not that it matters what I say either, But I totally agree with you 100 percent.

Jose Ahmed

George Jacob jung , was also busted in 1985 FT .LAURDALE ,FLORIDA , in a DEA task force with U.S CUSTOMS in a 300 kilos 8 people were arrested , this case was the carlos ledher , time serve after testifying from 15 to 50 months,time serve, then again in 94 he got busted again,20 years.

JOSE AHMED

I MET GJ/CL,MC ,MC THESE PEOPLE WERE ALL RELATED TO US ,FIRST TIME GJ CAME TO OUR N.Y WESTSIDE APT BECAUSE CARLOS BROUGHT HIM TO MEET Humberto’s HOYOS AND MY mother Martha Calderon,mirtha older sister ,we were set up 7 apt in all 5 borough and more apt in Miami and the White HOUSE WHERE ALL THE MEDILLIN CARTEL HUNG OUT BACK IN 75 , CARLOS WAS MARRY TO JAMEL NACEL AND MY MOTHER HOOK UP GJ WITH HER SISTER ,THEY ARE WORKED FOR HUMBETOS AT THE BEGGING ,BUT THEIR WAS 50 OTHER GANG COMING IN AND OUT OF THE white house 3500 SW 94 terr ,Westchester ,Miami back in 75 ,Dadeland shooting , hUMBERTOS HOYOS PEOPLE ,THIS IS JUST THE BEGGING ,GEORGE WANT TO DEBATE ME YOU CAN BRING YOUR WIFE MIRTHA ,MY AUNT ” AFRAID OF FACEING THE TRUTH .

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