In 1979, Wisconsin native Tim McBride hopped into his Mustang and headed south. He was twenty-one, and his best friend had offered him a job working as a crab fisherman in Chokoloskee Island, a town of fewer than 500 people on Florida's Gulf Coast.Read more...
In 1979, Wisconsin native Tim McBride hopped into his Mustang and headed south. He was twenty-one, and his best friend had offered him a job working as a crab fisherman in Chokoloskee Island, a town of fewer than 500 people on Florida's Gulf Coast. Easy of disposition and eager to experience life at its richest, McBride jumped in with both feet.
But this wasn't a typical fishing outfit. McBride had been unwittingly recruited into a band of smugglers--middlemen between a Colombian marijuana cartel and their distributors in Miami. His elaborate team comprised fishermen, drivers, stock houses, security--seemingly all of Chokoloskee Island was in on the operation. As McBride came to accept his new role, tons upon tons of marijuana would pass through his hands.
Then the federal government intervened in 1984, leaving the crew without a boss and most of its key players. McBride, now a veteran smuggler, was somehow spared. So when the Colombians came looking for a new middle-man, they turned to him.
McBride became the boss of an operation that was ultimately responsible for smuggling 30 million pounds of marijuana. A self-proclaimed "Saltwater Cowboy," he would evade the Coast Guard for years, facing volatile Colombian drug lords and risking betrayal by romantic partners until his luck finally ran out.
A tale of crime and excess, "Saltwater Cowboy "is the gripping memoir of one of the biggest pot smugglers in American history.
- ISBN-13: 9781250051288
- ISBN-10: 1250051282
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press
- Publish Date: April 2015
- Page Count: 272
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-30
- Reviewer: Staff
In this genial memoir, former smuggler McBride portrays an idyllic, footloose, and lucrative career running marijuana on the southwest Florida coast in the 1980s. In 1979, McBride drove his Mustang Cobra from Wisconsin to “live like a beach bum" on Chokoloskee Island, just outside the Everglades. A month later he was smuggling pot from South American freighters. The money kept getting better as he began to run crews of his own. McBride embraced his version of the American Dream, buying the best toys, flinging $100 bills at waitresses, and falling in love with a beautiful, volatile bartender. Inevitably, a stint in federal prison led him to recalibrate his priorities. Chapters alternate between McBride's rise as a smuggler and his years of jailhouse blues. In both milieus he provides vibrant sketches of characters and situations, including a business trip via private jet to the mansion of a paranoid Colombian cartel boss. The best writing depicts the funky community of his sheltered corner of the Everglades, a seeming paradise where a big family of rednecks, fishermen, and freaks put one over on the feds. McBride offers himself as an American everyman who was both rewarded and punished for a national hypocrisy. (Apr.)