George Jung, also known as Boston George or El Americano, was an American drug trafficker and smuggler that was most active during the 1970s and early 1980s. Jung was a major player in the North American cocaine trade, working together with his partner Carlos Lehder to smuggle the drug into the country for the Colombian Medellín Cartel.
Despite his criminal background, Jung had a fascinating yet tumultuous journey through life that left a lasting impact on many people, but his story also served as a cautionary tale to anyone who would consider a life of crime.
His early life
Jung was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts on August 6, 1942. During his school days, he showed brilliant talent as a star football player and was described as a natural leader by his classmates. Sadly, his career as a rising sports star was cut short after he dipped his toes into criminal activities from a young age, being charged by an undercover police officer for the solicitation of prostitution.
After graduating from Weymouth High School, Jung attended the University of Southern Mississippi, but soon dropped out and started using marijuana, though he quickly realized that by selling a portion of everything he bought, he could break even and essentially smoke for free.
Jung realized early on that there was an enormous potential for profit in smuggling and selling drugs across borders. He started small by taking the cannabis bought in California back to New England, using the connections and access of his stewardess girlfriend to support his operation. The two began to transport drugs in her suitcases, which were largely unchecked due to her position.
After a while, Jung began to grow his business by bringing the drugs in from Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, and using aircraft that were taken from various exclusive airports. He would use his money to hire professional pilots, and partnered with new associates to find more buyers for his products. Jung and his partners were easily making over $250,000 a month at the height of this operation–and this doesn’t take inflation into account either.
Jung was eventually caught and arrested in 1974 during an attempt to smuggle marijuana into Chicago. Police were tipped off by a connection of his that was smuggling heroin at the time, leading to his arrest. This led to him famously arguing with the judge for locking up someone that “crossed an imaginary line with a bunch of plants.”
But this was just the beginning of something even bigger. Jung would eventually meet Carlos Lehder, a young German Colombian man who would introduce Jung to the Medellín Cartel, a powerful international drug-trafficking group. To repay him for the introduction, Jung taught Lehder the ropes on smuggling, educating him on all of the different strategies that he used during his time trading marijuana. After both of them were eventually released in 1976, they agreed to work together and Jung would upgrade to smuggling a far more lucrative drug; cocaine.
His later life
Jung would eventually be caught smuggling cocaine in 1994 and once again found himself in prison, serving a 60-year sentence which was effectively life. This is when he decided to start working with law enforcement agents, sharing information about various drug operations and providing details about his former associates. As a result, his sentence was reduced to just 20 years, and he began to put his criminal past behind him.
Additionally, Jung went on to release a biographical film called “Blow”, in which he was portrayed by Johnny Depp. The movie portrayed the rise and fall of his drug empire, and it offered some insight into Jung’s complex situation. He even wrote an autobiography, told his story to millions around the world, and ultimately lived an honest life until his passing.