Lex Fridman Podcast - #199 - Roger Reaves: Smuggling Drugs for Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel

The following is a conversation with Roger Reeves,

one of the most prolific drug smugglers in history.

He worked for Pablo Escobar and Jorge Ochoa,

the leaders behind the Medellin Cartel.

Roger was the employer and close friend of Barry Seal,

the infamous drug smuggler who was the main character

in the movie American Maid.

Roger transported countless tons of cocaine and marijuana

covering six continents.

He escaped prison five times,

was shut down in both Mexico and Colombia,

and was tortured nearly to death in a Mexican prison.

Through all of this, his wife Mari, the love of his life,

was there with him, and when he was in prison,

she waited for him.

He recently got out of prison where for many years

he worked on his memoir called Smuggler.

This podcast is an exploration of his story.

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Let me say a few words about Roger Reeves,

Pablo Escobar, and the war on drugs.

This conversation with Roger is unlike any I’ve ever done.

In the eyes of many, including the law,

Roger is a criminal, a bad man who was added

to the suffering in the world.

But he never directly engaged or participated

in the violence.

Unlike his bosses, Pablo Escobar and Jorge Ochoa.

His crime was the transport of drugs.

I thought about this, and about Pablo Escobar,

who was at once both a brutal murderer

and a Robin Hood figure who helped the poor

and was loved by thousands, if not millions.

We sometimes idolize murderers and destroy good, honest men.

We give power and money to corrupt politicians

and dictators that starve and murder their own people.

Given this, I think about what makes for a good man,

and what makes for a bad man, and who decides.

Sitting across from Roger, I saw a complicated man,

but one who has kindness in his heart,

a love for money and adventure, and a disdain for violence.

Again, his crime was the transport of drugs.

Since 1971, the war on drugs has cost U.S. $1 trillion.

Marijuana legalization alone would save

and make $13.7 billion, that could send

more than 650,000 students

to public universities every year.

Then there’s the human stories of the 500,000 human beings

sitting in prison for drug related offenses,

and the 1.1 million on probation and parole.

Their life is damaged or ruined beyond repair

due to the prohibition of drugs.

There’s a lot more to be said about the damage done

by the war on drugs, but when reading about Roger’s story

and talking to him, I couldn’t escape the thought

that while society wants to label him a criminal

and a bad human being, there are much worse men out there

who we give a pass to, even give power to,

even men who hold political office or run companies.

I also think about my role as an interviewer,

sitting across a man like Roger.

In these interviews, in life,

in many ways I continue to be myself,

a person who like Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot,

seeks the good in all people,

but is hurt by it on occasion,

and maybe is destroyed by it in the end.

I’m not naive, but I’m also optimistic

and have hope for humanity.

That’s who I am, and that’s what these conversations are.

I hope you join me, and I hope you understand

that I come from a place of love.

This is the Lex Friedman Podcast,

and here’s my conversation with Roger Reeves.

You are one of the most prolific drug smugglers in history.

What would you say motivated you?

Money, power, the thrill, or was it something else?


But isn’t there a point where you’ve had more money

than you can possibly know what to do with,

or is it always more money?

You know, I had plenty of money several times,

and I think it’s sort of like if you was in Las Vegas

and you had the slot machine handled down,

and the gold coins was tumbling around you,

and you had sweepers bagging them up,

when would you let it go?

But isn’t some part of that the thrill then?

Oh, there was a lot of thrill, sometimes way too much.

You made certainly tens of millions of dollars,

probably much more.

What memorable experience

did having that much money make possible for you?

So there’s one thing is the money,

and the other thing is what that money can buy.

Well, I bought everything that I could hide.

I bought seven farms.

I owned the city,

the land where the city of Moreno Valley, California is.

I had an option on that land.

Did the planning and development of that.

The most expensive coin in the world.

Yachts, ships, airplanes galore.

Did that bring you happiness?

No, absolutely not.

In fact, I think I’m happier now.

I know I’m happier now.

So looking back, would you do it the same way all again?

No way.

Really, even the thrill of it?

Not even thrill of it.

It wasn’t worth 33 years in prison,

being away from my lovely family.

So money, what about the power?

Just being on top of the world where nobody can,

not the governments, the police,

all the big, bad agencies chasing you,

and you could do whatever the heck you wanted.

As far as having to look over your shoulder

everywhere you went and every phone call you made,

make sure that you was naked with somebody in the ocean

before you talked.

It’s rather uncomfortable.


I like to make phone calls the same way.

What was it like meeting and working with Pablo Escobar,

the leader of the Medellin Cartel?

He was just, just seemed like a gentleman when I met him.

He was just like you and I, sitting here, shook hands,

and I had flown one load for a fellow,

and it didn’t work out well.

The fellow that I gave it to got shot,

and it took a while to get my money,

and they didn’t put as many kilos on the plane

as they’re supposed to,

and so I wasn’t gonna work with him anymore,

and my contact down there introduced me

to Jorge Ochoa, and we went up,

and in Vigado, we went up and the gate opened,

and we was escorted in.

There must have been 50 men out in the yards,

hitching a rail on an old house,

and we was escorted right in,

and there was a beautiful woman in there.

I mean, gore, drop dead beautiful,

and she made us a cup of coffee,

then ushered in to see Jorge Ochoa,

and he had 12 telephones on his desk,

and all of them was a different color,

and he shook hands, was very friendly, spoke English,

and he said that each one of those telephones

represented another city in the United States.

This is Chicago, and this is New York.

If I ring, I knew who was calling,

and so we chatted a while,

and he asked me what type of airplanes I had

and what experience I had flying across the U.S. border,

and I told him he seemed pleased with it,

and he called the lady in, and she went next door,

and in came Pablo Escobar,

and he introduced me to Pablo Escobar,

and he asked the same questions again,

and I answered him, and I asked him how much he paid,

and he paid $5,000 a kilo to haul it,

and so I said, how much you put on the plane?

He said 300, 500, so that’s one and a half,

two and a half million dollars for an eight hour trip.

Sounded pretty good to me.

And we’re talking about cocaine.

Cocaine. And we’re talking

about Colombia.

Colombia, and cocaine, and Medellin cartel.

And Jorge Ochoa was one of the, what would you say,

founding members of the Medellin?

He was probably the brains behind the whole thing.

The brains, and spoke good English.


And they were nice people.

Really nice people.

Were you scared?

Not at all.

What’s wrong with your mind that you weren’t scared?

Here’s some of the most dangerous men in this world,

and you weren’t scared.

Well, I knew I was gonna do exactly what I said

I was gonna do.

Murray and the children were down there.

They went down and they stayed in the hotel,

five stars, treated royally on my first load.

And they just did ask security to make sure

that I wasn’t a DEA agent.

So I did the first load,

and they can say they were hostages,

but they really weren’t.

It was just insurance.

So there was some integrity to the way they operated.


I mean, straight up.

The money was ironed and banded,

banded and just right.

And the numbers were never once anything wrong with it.

What would you attribute that honesty to?

Within their own moral system and their own set of rules,

why weren’t people crossing the line

and shaving off the top and injecting chaos

into the system to where it would be unpredictable

and people would be dishonest and greedy

and all those kinds of things?

That’s true.

Most people are, but there’s certain people

at the top of the food chain that they don’t need that.

And if they’re completely honest,

then they don’t have to think of,

remember the lie they told.

And plus they’re just honest to start with.

They’re making plenty of money.

They was making as much money as I did.

I’ll tell you how that came about.

I understand that 10,000 people were killed every year

in Medellin, Colombia, and what they were doing,

they didn’t have any organization.

And if one fellow had 10 kilos

and he wanted it shipped to New York,

he would tell his friend and his friend says,

sure, I’ll ship it.

I have a pilot and I’ll ship it up.

And then he would look in the newspapers,

oh, 40 kilos was busted in New Jersey.

I’m so sorry, yours got busted.

Bang, bang, he’s dead.

So here comes Jorge Ochoa and the three Ochoa brothers

and Pablo Escobar and Gacho.

And they decided that we will make an insurance company,

that we will charge you $10,000

to take it to your contact in Miami.

If it gets lost anywhere between the time I put it

on the airplane or the time you give it to us

and the time we give it to your man,

we will replace it in Colombia for you.

So there was no way anybody could lose.

And I understand they got a hundred tons piled up

under that insurance program.

And I was right there the first day.

So I had all the work I could do.

I would land and I said, when do you want me to come back?

We’re waiting on you, Senor.

Well, let me ask a difficult question.

Some see Escobar as a brutal murderer

and some see him as maybe a Robin Hood like figure

who helped the poor.

How do you see the man?

Both of them.

I think he started out to be honest with help the poor.

And then they had a war down there

and they blew up and killed his people.

And the country was divided almost equally three ways.

They had the military.

They were just as much into it as anybody.

And then you had the FARC guerrillas.

They had about a third of the country.

And then you had the Contras.

It was like the white farmers

and they’re the ones that I was dealing with

and they were at war with one another.

And so if one of them started killing their people,

well, I’ll kill some of yours too.

So that’s how it happened.

And then when I heard about Pablo Escobar

blowing up that airliner

and killing those women and children,

I was sorry I ever shook his hand.

That’s brutal murder.

So you would say Escobar is not a good man?

Not at all.

He’s terrible.

Now, looking back on it, when I met him, he was good.

Did just exactly what he said he would do.

Could he be a bad man and a man you can trust?

Are those the things you…

Absolutely you could trust him, yes.

So from your perspective, in terms of business,

he was reliable, he was honest, had integrity.

You could work with him and he felt safe.


We flew up to his ranch

and we brought out motorcycles to start with.

And can you ride a motorcycle?

Of course I can ride a motorcycle.

So I took off across the grass

and there was a little ditch there

and the front wheel dropped in that thing

and I must have slid across that grass 20 feet

before I got stopped.

He almost fell off of his bike waiting

because they knew what it was gonna do.

And then we got on horses and we went out there

and pretended to round up some cows

and he put a Mac 10 machine gun pistol over my shoulder.

Do you know how to use this?

Well, I never had, but it was all right.

I think it was like, okay, you got 10 bodyguards,

what do you need me for?

So that’s the kind of time we laughed and talked

and drove some cows over the stumps.

You said Jorge Ochoa was perhaps the brains

of the Medellin cartel.

What was he like?

And why do you say he was the brains?

Well, he was a gentleman.

And I suppose he shipped,

and don’t tell me how many more times of cocaine

than Pablo did.

Just him and his brothers,

you could tell by the, they had on each load,

they was in duffel bags and his big football shaped

fluffy stuff made with ether.

And they would have three horns on it

or a rattlesnake or four Xs on each bag.

You kind of got to knowing which was which

and they shipped a lot.

So, and he was just a gentleman.

I took the family, we went one weekend to his ranch

or his palatial place out near Barranquilla

and oh, he just treated the family.

His family had, his younger brother made a bull fight

and we had skiing and little airplanes on floats

on the water.

He was really nice and he was really nice.

How do you make sense of the tension

that a man could be a gentleman,

can have integrity, but also be a murderer?

Well, murder is a stronger word than killing.

Can you explain the line,

the gray area we’re talking about?

I mean, I’ve just talking with Jocko Willing,

can we talk a lot about killing in the context

of military conflict in the context of war?

So there, there’s a line between murder and killing

that you can draw.

What’s the line that you’re referring to?

It’s something similar.

If people are shooting at you

and you shoot back and kill him,

that’s not murder whatsoever.

He’s trying to get away or out of the situation.

But if some woman don’t pay you

and you send a hit man over to kill her

and her children, that’s murder.

Was Jorge involved in those kinds of things?

I don’t think so at all.

I mean, he was just such a gentleman.

He had a restaurant before and he was just smart.

I understand that the first 10 kilos he sold,

he was sitting on a motorcycle in the sidelines

in a parking lot and when the DEA come in,

he sped away.

So he didn’t come back to America.

He was just smart.

Some people just are savvy.

And he was such a gentleman.

And the whole family, the mother and the father,

the two brothers, their sister,

I was there when she was kidnapped.

And finally, he kidnapped our, I guess,

100 leaders of the FARC and said, all right,

when she don’t come back,

none of these are gonna come back.

So they made a deal.

Is there something you can say about the power structure,

the hierarchy of the Medellin cartel

that you interacted with?

Was it a dictatorship where Pablo ran everything?

Was there a bunch of power centers?

Was it like a company where you have CEO, CTO kind of thing?

And then there’s like managers

and all those kinds of things.

How did it run from a leadership perspective?

I understand that about five of them got together

and made this, I would call it an insurance company.

And now known as the Medellin Cartel.

And I didn’t see any difference.

Each one of them had their own business.

And their people from the jungle or wherever made the cocaine,

gave it to them and they shipped it.

And so it didn’t seem to be any power play

between them at all.

But my main contact was Jorge Ochoa

and Pablo Escobar was right there.

And I saw plenty of stuff for him too.

It’s strange that they didn’t betray each other regularly.

You know, greed makes men betray each other.

How do you explain that?

How much betrayal did you see?

I didn’t see any, absolutely none.

If they shipped his 100 kilos, he got paid for it.

And if the other one shipped his,

I’m sure they got paid for it.

How do you explain that?

Well, there was no need to.

The money was just unbelievable.

You think about 500 kilos in the plane

at $50,000 a kilo at the time.

And they paid $5,000 to ship it.

And they made 5,000 without even touching it.

They just had somebody to load it on through the airplane.

I gave it to their man in Miami.

They gave it to whoever it belonged to

by the marks on the duffel bags.

So they was making just untold millions.

Just no reason.

But greed can blind men.

It’s still strange to me

that there was not more betrayal.

It speaks to something else perhaps

that’s bigger than money.

Maybe not.

But it seems like just like in the casino,

like you mentioned, we get accustomed

to whatever level of money we have,

we get accustomed very quickly.


And then there’s a tension that’s natural

between human beings.

And when that tension combined with money,

combined with power,

combined with, like you mentioned, beautiful women

and a bit of violence,

it seems that betrayal should be commonplace.

But it’s not.

It wasn’t, not at all.

Carlos later, I don’t know if he betrayed anybody,

but he started that.

He was running cocaine through the Bahamas

near the island.

I didn’t go.

I was offered to fly with a DC3 with that,

but I didn’t like it.

So I had my route through the old wells in Louisiana.

And so I wasn’t gonna change,

but he talked a lot and I don’t know if he betrayed,

but they didn’t like him.

Yeah, so as you expand,

there could be tensions that lead to conflict.

Columbia was, like you said, an ultra violent place.

How did you survive?

Who protected you?

I was a hero.

They liked me.

I mean, I was just treated royally.

All I did, I would come over El Banco.

There’s a radio station at the Forks of the Magdalena River.

I believe it was 720, if I remember right, on the AM.

And I’d fly in at 10,000 feet

and I’d see below me there’d be a Cessna.

And I’d wiggle my wings and he’d wiggle his

and I’d fall in behind him and we might go 100, 200 miles.

I’d land on some jungle strip or some banana plantation.

And they’d fuel me up.

I could eat steak in the night.

It was just like treated royally.

And I mean, take off the next morning whenever I wanted to.

It was just like that was protected.

And I was honored guest.

It wasn’t anything like in that movie,

putting a gun to your head

and taking your sunglasses and betting.

So one time I complained to Jorge Ochoa

that the runway was pretty short that they were using.

And I went back down and it looked like

Los Angeles International.

They had bulldozers in there.

Had that thing 5,000 feet long.

Just like, just the next week it was all done.

The jungle was gone and clay put up there.

And all the while you were not afraid.

You were treated like royalty.

Yes, there I was.

I was afraid when I landed in the United States.

Well, maybe let’s go back to the beginning.

What was the first time you flew an airplane

with drugs on it?

Tell me the story of the first time you smuggled drugs.

All right, I flew down to Jalapa, Veracruz

with a Cessna 182.

And we landed at the town.

It was a lovely town and just an old town.

Looked like Bible times.

People, women were washing your clothes in the streets

and with stone basins and the stream running through.

I just was just dumbstruck.

It was just so pretty.

And I went in a church and a Catholic church

and it had the stations of the cross

all carved magnificent.

I’d never seen that.

And I come home and told Mary about that.

That just almost brought tears to my eyes.

It was so beautiful.

And three o clock the next morning

I went out to the airport and taxied down to the taxiway

and there was a guard came out

and wanted to know what I was doing.

And I pulled out, I was on the fire department

at Redondo Beach, California.

So I pulled out my wallet and in it was

the fire department badge.

And oh, he shook my hand and was so glad.

So I taxied on down there and we loaded up

about 400 pounds in the plane.

And came on back and I was running to headwinds

more than I thought and I landed on a little strip.

You’re talking about on the way back?

On the way back, on the way north

after we loaded up early in the morning.

And that’s the only time I ever got vertigo.

The mountains were coming down at a 30, 40 degree angle

and the Milky Way was overhead.

And somehow I wanted that airplane

to be level with the stars.

And it got me, it’s a phenomenal pile of vertigo.

It’s the only time I ever had it was on that load.

So anyway, the wind was on the nose of that system.

I wasn’t gonna make it to the dry lake where I had fuel.

So I landed on a little bitty strip

and there was a little house.

It was caved in and it was a little boy named Lazarus,

about six or seven years old.

And he was herding some goats.

So we put the marijuana in that house

and the man stayed with it while I flew into some town

and got fuel and came back and we sat down

with the lunch that I brought back

and little Lazarus sat there and ate with us

and we had a good time.

We loaded on back and came on home.

Oh wow, I wonder where he is now.

So what was it like to fly,

maybe describe the details of, do you have to fly low?

Is there details that are unique to this experience

of flying an airplane with drugs on it, on board?

All right, well, one of the mistakes

that just thousands, hundreds and hundreds

and thousands of pilots make,

they don’t stop at the border,

going down and get their permit.

Once you get a permit to be in Mexico,

you’ve got it for six months.

You can go anywhere, any fishing village,

any little town, any little place,

show them this and you’re welcome.

If you don’t have that, you go straight to jail.

So you go down there and you think,

okay, they’re gonna have fuel for me to come back

and so forth.

Oh, sorry, Senor, that had a rusty leak in it.

We don’t have any.

Well, you better be able to go to town and get it.

So that’s what I did.

And when I was coming back for several years,

I would fly up at Mexicali and cross the border

right at Calexico.

I would act like I was landing on the Calexico side

just after dark and then I’d zip across the border

and I’d go over to the Salton Sea

and go below sea level, 100 and something feet,

I believe 170 feet, and come on up

and go out there above Palm Springs

and land at 29 Palms in the desert

and put my stuff under a Joshua tree

and fly into town and get my pickup

and go on back out and get it.

And that was fun.

And then it got really dangerous.

They had Operation Starlight, I believe was the name of it.

And they called a lot of pilots coming across the border.

So I changed it.

And by that time I was flying bigger planes.

I was flying Beach 18s.

And I would refuel in Mulahe halfway down

on the Baja Peninsula.

And then over in the middle,

20 miles from the nearest road was a goat ranch

where they milked goats and made cheese.

And I would go there and unload the load

coming up out of anywhere in Southern Mexico.

And I would land there and a guy named Juan

would put the marijuana under the trees

and I’d fly into Mulahe and they’d wash my plane

and gas it up and I’d eat a lunch

and rent a room for a few hours and take a nap and a shower

and then go back in the afternoon and fill up.

And then I would go Northwest out of there

and fly 200 miles off the coast of the island of Guadalupe.

And from there I would fly on a more Northwestern heading

about 300 miles out over the Pacific.

And then I would come in behind the Santa Barbara Islands

down low and then I’d come up and go out in the desert land.

And I did that for the rest of their marijuana trips.

What was the hardest part about flying those routes?

The hardest part was getting good in marijuana.

So the hardest part isn’t the flying.

No, it’s the flying.

It’s just like driving your car down.

But then I had people that would bring me on strips

that were just unworthy of an airplane.

Like when I’d land on a highway and in the rainy season,

I would come back to land again

and the guy wouldn’t think about it.

And he’d have like little hills on both sides

and the wings were out there.

Well, the grass and the weeds would grow up

and it sounded like, I mean,

it sounded like tearing the airplane apart

when those wings hit.

Mowing the grass down both shoulders of the airplane.

The weeds would grow up high in the tropics.

So some of that stuff was bad.

And oh, getting bad gasoline and telling me

that land here in the night

and knock the wheels off when you land.

Oh, you should have landed a little further up here,

Senor, they ditched down, that sort of thing.

What was it like landing on a highway

and when did you have to land on the highway?

I landed on the highway most of my life, most of the times.

In Mexico, first time I went down,

there was a place called Pichalingi

and it had a 900 foot strip.

And I would fly down and I’d carry gasoline wing with me

and Maury and I would go to the grocery store

and buy all kinds of little goodies and candies

and toys to bring to the children.

And that sand strip in the bend of a river

was just too short to take off with a load.

So there was a young man there named Pedro,

must not weigh much over 100, maybe 120 pounds.

And he’d get in a plane with me

and he’d direct me 20, 30, 40 miles away to a highway.

And the people walk in and the people would pull out

in a two ton truck with a machine gun on it

and a bunch of guys with arms with us

and they’d block the road

and then another one would block it up about a mile away.

And I’d land right over that truck

and they’d load me up and it looked like a bucket brigade

with the marijuana coming.

I’d shake hands with all of them

and I’d take off right over the other trucks.

And sometimes maybe 20, 30, 40 cars lined up.

One time I remember a patrol car, a highway patrol car,

he didn’t have his lights on, took off right over him.

And then when I started flying to Louisiana,

the bridge over the Mississippi River,

there were several contractors that went broke

and that thing was out for years.

And about five miles from the river

was flashing red lights and a detour.

And then they swamp on both sides of it

and the middle of it we’re growing up with 20 feet trees

and that was like an international runway

from anywhere in the world.

So I landed on that and over and over those red lights

just like the end of a runway.

And then the next morning we’d go out there

and scrub the marks off the highway where I’d landed

before daylight.


Let’s go to somebody you’ve known well,

somebody who’s also a drug smuggler is Barry Seal.

Who is Barry Seal?

How did you meet him?

Barry Seal is a friend of mine.

Murray and I and the children went down in Honduras

and we went up Lake Azul, I believe it was,

and we were looking at a ranch to buy.

I was looking for something in Central America

where I’d have a halfway place.

Oh, it was lovely.

We stayed up there for some days and our clothes got muddy

and we went in the river and all kinds of things.

So we got to San Pedro Sula

and we was going back to New Orleans.

So we went to the cleaners to get our clothes

and most all of them was in there.

And they go, oh, Senor, they’ll be ready tomorrow morning.

We’re not ready now.

Well, the plane leaves at nine o clock or whatever.

So I told Murray for her and the children

to go into the airport because it’d be easier

for one just on a standby flight.

So I went to the laundromat for the clothes

and they were ready and there was a pile of them.

And I put them on my back and got in a taxi

and the old taxi would drive him with it

and I’d give him a hundred dollars to go faster

and he just blew his horn more rapid.

So finally we got to the airport

and I jumped out and ran around on the tarmac

and here’s a brand new 727 taxiing out.

Oh no.

So I’m waving to the pilot and he’s a young fella.

He waves back.

Then I see Murray’s face in the cockpit

and the nose goes down where he puts on brakes

and he laughs and he puts some stairwell out.

And I run for the stairwell and he pulls it back up

and goes like a hitchhiker going to pick you up

and go again.

Then he put it out and I got on and the whole crowd clapped

and I’m coming home with that load of clothes.

So I go way down in the middle and the plane’s full

and Miriam, my daughter, was about nine years old then

and she was sitting in the middle

and by the window was Barry Seal.

Of course I didn’t know it.

And I sat in the middle and we took off

and the wheels come up with clunk

and then I got up about 5,000 feet

and we had a little clunk and she said,

what was that, daddy?

And I said, he just turned on his autopilot.

And that fella reached over and I looked at him.

I said, he looks like CIA or FBI, something.

He ain’t supposed to be here.

Clear blue eyes, gentleman looking man.

And he said, you fly these things?

I said, I got a few hours, mister.

He said, I’ll fly them too or something.

And he said, my name’s Barry Seal.

And he reached over Miriam and shook hands

and we got to talking and I thought,

there’s no choice of seats on this.

It’s just open seating so I don’t believe him one bit.

And he started talking about,

he just got out of jail that morning.

Just got out of prison.

And I said, uh huh.

And he told me that he’d been a pilot

with the TWA and this and other.

And told me what he was for.

So we had a nice conversation

for a couple hours to New Orleans.

I didn’t believe him.

So he got off in front of us

and what a crowd of people to meet him.

An old mother and a wife and little children

hanging on to him, crying and hugging and kissing him.

I said, he was telling the truth.

So I reached over and gave him a little piece of paper.

I had Murray to write it out with our address.

I said, Barry, I might have some work for you.

Come on out.

What was he in jail for?

He got caught with 100 kilos of cocaine in a small plane.

And so he served a year.

And that was from Colombia?

I don’t know where it come from.

He got caught in Honduras, probably refueling.

But he’d been in prison down there before

for bringing explosives to the Cuban Contras.

And he lost his job with the airlines.

And then later on, I found out he was ex CIA

and George Bush Sr.’s protege

and had a thousand parachute jumps and was there.

He was a hot shot model.

There’s a million questions I wanna ask here.

But maybe can we linger on a little bit longer?

What was your relationship with him like?

You were a drug smuggler.

He’s a drug smuggler.

Your friends, how often do you guys talk?

How often do you work together?

What was the relationship like?

Well, I’ll back up and finish where I started off there.

I gave him the things, Barry,

I may have some work for you.

I know I got some work for you.

And I said, come out to Santa Barbara.

And so I don’t know, a week or two later,

he flew out and went to our house

and stayed with us a couple of days.

And I had a almost brand new Aero Commander 690B.

That thing with turbo prop and it was hot.

It was the hottest thing I’d ever had.

So I said, let’s go Barry, let’s see what you can do.

So I’m sorry I said that.

We got about 10,000 feet.

And he was like one of them blue angel pilots.

He rung that thing out.

And I said, that’s enough.

And then he did a falling leaf.

That’s where you cut the engines

and the plane falls from side to side.

And I saw Bob Hoover do that in the air show once.

And that’s the only person I ever saw do it.

And I was, my hands was white knuckle hanging onto the seat.

You shut off the engine?

Yeah, he shut off the engines

and landed flying side by side like this.

How do you explain that?

Was he just a wild man

or was he sufficiently skilled to work?

He was sufficiently skilled.


He knew what he was doing.

I can get a plane from one spot to another

and I guess I’m known as a good pilot,

but that guy, it was an aerobatic.

So anyway, he stayed with us a couple of days.

And then I told him, I said, this plane needs tanking.

And I said, I got some work down in Columbia.

It needs to come back to Louisiana.

And I need 2,500 mile range.

He said, I got somebody in Mena, Arkansas

to do that and keep their mouth shut.

So I gave him $10,000 and he flew away.

And in a few days he called me and says,

come to my house in Baton Rouge.

So I went out to his house in Baton Rouge

and I stayed with him for a few days.

And that plane was tanked.

I mean, beautiful from stem to stern.

I could went from Bolivia to Canada with it.

So then I hired him to fly.

And he was funny.

I paid him a million dollars a trip.

I paid him $2,000 a kilo, so about a million dollar trip.

And I didn’t get paid until the people received it.

They had to ship it to Chicago and New York

and then the money come back.

So it was a couple of two or three weeks pipeline.

Well, I always had to pay him before he’d go again.

I mean, and he barely ache.

I mean, he had moaning room.

So one time I gave him a million dollars

and I put it in a box real nice.

So how big is a box that contains a million dollars?

So we’re talking about a hundred dollar bills?

A hundred dollar bill, it’s not very big.

You can put it in a large briefcase.

It weighs exactly 10 kilos.

Each bill weighs a gram, so you can weigh your money

and almost get it exactly right.

20 something pounds is a million dollars.

22 pounds.

A hundred dollar bills.

But in one dollar bills, it’s one ton, 2,200 pounds.

We didn’t even accept them.

Were you the one that introduced Barry Seal

to Pablo Escobar?

No, I didn’t introduce him at all.

And our deal was that you don’t meet my people.

I mean, we just kind of crossed your working for me

to fly the airplanes.

So he wanted these Panther conversions

that cost $400,000 each with a storm scope and radar.

I bought anything you want.

What’s that mean, sorry to interrupt,

Panther conversions?

Panther conversion was, these people called Panther,

they took everything out from the firewall,

the instruments and all and converted them

and put Q tip propellers on them full bladed

and you very quiet and the CIA developed those

in Southeast Asia for running behind the lines.

And that’s where Barry had flown those things

so he knew about them.

So that’s what he wanted and that’s what we got him.

How does that connect to Pablo?

And so he worked for you and you got those upgrades.

I think he flew about 30 loads for me

and then I got arrested and was for everything in the world.

Got 35 years sentence.

But let me back up a little bit.

Barry was our friend.

Mari and I are both friends.

We should pause real quick and say Mari is your wife

and hopefully we’ll convince her to join us in a little bit.

She’s the love of your life and sort of she weaves in

and out of many of these stories that you tell.

Yes, she was there.

She was behind the scenes.

But I kept her out of it completely.

And then also you mentioned Mariam as your daughter.

Yes, our son was a baby.

And I remember we went out to a festival,

was my favorite restaurant in Carl Gables.

Oh God, it was good.

And Barry knew about it.

Anyhow, we went out to dinner

and so we came back and there was no rooms.

So Barry will spend the night with us.

So he goes to our hotel room with us

and we got two big beds in the Omni Hotel

and he lays over there and he gets down

to his stripy undershorts and his T shirt

and he puts the baby up on his belly

and gives him the bottle and said,

mm, ain’t that good, Red?

Oh my, my.

And he just feeds the baby.

We laugh and talk and that’s how close we were

that we could all stay in a hotel room together.

And would you say he’s a good man?

Oh, wonderful man.

A gentleman, Southern gentleman.

Just looked after his mother, his family,

everybody around him, everybody loved Barry.

He just had a little smile on his face always.

So you got arrested and then what happened to Barry?

Well, Barry knew the people that unloaded.

Of course he sent the cars down and all that.

So he met the unloader, a guy named Lito,

Luis Carlos Bustamante of Venezuelan.

So he just kept on flying.

But he, I believe he had three of my airplanes

at $400,000 a piece and they owed me some money.

Well, he collected a lot of that and gave Marie the money

and put it in his safe and took her to his house

and all after I got arrested and sent a lawyer in.

He got me the best lawyer in the country, Albert Krieger.

He was head of the defense team for all of America.

Wonderful man.

Can you tell the story of the months

that led up to Barry’s assassination?

What did you know, what did you sense, what did you think?

Okay, when I got out of prison, I hadn’t been out long.

I was eating breakfast and there was Ronald Reagan’s face

right in the television.

We have absolute proof that the communist

Sandinista government is in the cocaine running business.

And there was that fat lady, the C126 on the runway

with the belly down and I thought, oh God, he had done it.

So I had heard that Barry might’ve been working with him.

So it wasn’t long before.

Working with?

With the DEA or whoever, he was no longer on our side.

So can you clarify how you got that

from the Reagan making a statement about we’ve heard.

Okay, there was his plane.

There was Barry’s plane and okay, on the way north,

we could stop in Nicaragua and land on a military base

or on a base that they used as crop dusters and all

and refuel and so that shortened our trip.

We’d go further into the jungle and come up

and that was what Pablo Escobar and Ochoa and them

and they was associates with the people in Nicaragua.

So Barry was, if that plane was there,

that means Barry was feeding the DEA information.

He was working with them at that time.

But let me back up a little bit.

When I was flying and I told Barry,

we would refuel in Trange Airplane,

the loads in Belize where I had a spot up there

and then that’s when they told me

we can refuel in Nicaragua and then you fly all the way

and Barry couldn’t believe it.

He says, all right, but I wanted you to land.

I had a place in Louisiana for $10,000

that I could unload and the sheriff and all them was paid off.

And he said, no, no, no.

I can’t get caught in Meena, Arkansas.

I said, what do you mean you can’t get caught

in Meena, Arkansas?

You get caught anywhere.

He said, I can’t, but it’s gonna cost you $50,000

every time my wheels touch the ground.

Why, can you explain why he can’t get caught

in Meena, Arkansas?

He said he was hooked up with him at the very top

and he even said, I’m gonna have dinner

with the governor tonight.

That’s at that time.

Meena, Arkansas.

Mr. Bill Clinton.


And it’s like, did Bill Clinton,

did you give him any money?

And I said, no, I never gave the man any money,

but it was like the money that I had

that went to Grand Cayman Islands

and I told my lawyer, I said, I never touched that money.

He said, you don’t have to fondle it to be guilty.


So what, I mean, there’s a lot of conspiracy theories

around the relationship between Barry Seal and the Clintons.


What evidence do we have?

What would you say from your best understanding

of what was the relationship

between Bill Clinton and Barry Seal?

Barry said, and he knew that he couldn’t get caught

in Meena, Arkansas.

And when that movie was gonna come out,

be called Meena, somebody stopped it.

I mean, they stopped it dead in the tracks

for two or three years and the producer even quit.

You mean the American Made with Tom Cruise movie?

It wasn’t American.

It was gonna be called Meena?

It’s the name that was written and produced in Meena.

And waiting on Hillary to be elected,

they would not let that movie out.

And that movie was changed drastically.

But to push back on that,

that doesn’t mean there’s truth there.

That means they were worried about

the power of the conspiracy theory, which stuck.


But I don’t know.

I mean, you know, some conspiracy theories,

just because they’re popular doesn’t mean they’re true.

And ones that, but it also doesn’t mean they’re not true.

And there’s ones that are not very popular

that could be true.

But that one really stuck.

I mean, what’s your sense?

Well, I paid one and a half million dollars

for Barry to land at Meena, Arkansas.

So I was pretty well assured that he couldn’t get caught.

And I said, well, I can’t get caught in Columbia.

We can’t get caught in Nicaragua.

I guess we got a license.

So we went for it.

Oh, so when you say I can’t get caught,

just to clarify, there’s a sense

where this is a safe place to land.

Yes, like completely safe.

So you don’t think he was referring

to some kind of, you know,

like my grandfather who fought in World War II

would talk about bullets can’t hit him.

So it’s almost like believing.

He was taking that $50,000 and giving it to somebody.

And Barry was honest.

So he wasn’t just taking it from me

because he was making a million dollars.

He didn’t care for the $50,000.

Oh man, taking the story forward,

the months leading up to his assassination,

what would you understand why he was assassinated?

Who were the players involved?

Maybe could you have stopped it?

Well, I’ll tell you, after I saw Reagan’s face

on the television saying we have the absolute proof,

the phone rang and it was Barry.

I hadn’t heard from him in a couple of years.

He said, I’m coming out tonight, Roger.

And I, oh boy.

So he came out and he said,

I’ll meet you in this French restaurant.

I don’t even know it in Santa Barbara.

And I walked in, there’s about 20 or 30 people in there.

And they was all 30, 40 years old,

women with plastic or leather skirts

and me in the blue jeans.

And I looked around and Barry was at the back.

He was leaned up, he had gained weight.

And I walked up and I said, Barry, you wired.

He said, no.

I said, well, I’m not gonna talk to these DE agents.

He said, every one of them.


Oh, with jeans and skirts, I like it.

I said, well, Barry, I’m gonna set you

and you just talk to me, buddy,

and tell me what’s on your mind.

And he sat there and he just went to talking.

And he told me about, he was left holding a bag.

And it.

What do you mean by that?

Like that nobody’s supported him?

Well, I think it’s something or another.

He was, and I don’t know this.

I mean, this is just what happened, putting it all together.

He had some CIA buddies that was pretending

we’re going to supply all of our Northwood arms.

And with that, you can land cocaine back here by the ton.

So he’s taking his little planes and putting some AK 47s

and maybe ammunition or whatever,

and takes it down to the Contras

against the Communist Party of Nicaragua,

where we’ve been landing.

And Oliver North was involved in this.

So when all that, and so his CIA buddies

was certainly involved, and we know they were.

And Barry had been in the CIA earlier

when he first got out of school.

So when, as I say, the shit hit the fan,

they all fled and left Barry holding the bag.

The CIA and the DEA.

Yeah, not the DEA, the CIA.

The DEA wasn’t in on it.

The CIA was selling that cocaine, bringing it in.


Just to clarify, what’s Iran Contra scandal?

What was the alleged involvement of the CIA

in using drug trade to fund things?

What do you know?

What do you think is true?

What should we know?

Well, I know what I knew was true,

that Barry was taking a small amount of arms

back to Central America and giving them to

whoever Oliver North group were.

Who’s Oliver North?

Oliver North was a colonel that got implemented

and almost brought the government down.

And so they said, all right,

we’re getting the guns from Iran

and we’re taking cocaine to pay for them.

And since Congress won’t give us money to fight this war,

we’re gonna circumvent it.

So that was a whole thing.

So it was a CIA’s effort to circumvent

the funding mechanisms of government by selling drugs.

Yes, but it was a handful of renegade CIA agents

that were Barry’s friends that was making a load,

a load of money, tons of it come up.

If you would like to read the book,

The Big White Lie, The CIA and the Crack Cocaine Epidemic,

the CIA put, according to this,

the book and Michael Levine,

I didn’t remember his name last time I talked,

wrote that book and he was a head CIA agent,

he was a head DEA agent that exposed this.

And the CIA tried to kill him.

And he says, they put crack cocaine, they developed,

their chemists developed crack.

And they put it in every city in the United States

on one weekend.

So they were bringing it up by the tons

and that’s for sure.

And Barry was bringing it.

Can I ask you a small tangent question?

Do you think the public should trust the CIA and the DEA?

Do you think they’re mostly good people

that are carrying out a good mission?

Because this kind of makes it sound

like there’s renegade agents that are just doing

whatever the hell they want

and with sometimes no regard for human life.

Well, that’s certainly true.

But that’s not everybody in there.

That’s just, sometimes you get a few policemen

in the department that do these things.

I don’t believe, I believe that our government is good.

I think we’ve got some fools running it.

I don’t know how we get them there,

but I don’t think I know.

Okay, so what was Barry’s involvement here?

So Barry leaned back in that chair

and he told me that he got caught with one and a half tons

and he bellied it in the runway in Nicaragua

and had cameras flashing inside and out.

And he flew it back to Homestead with an agent there

and he brought the agent over, Jake Jacobson.

Really nice fellow, I think he was a crop duster.

And we’d have got along if we’d have been on the right side.

And so we sat there and drank Chevy’s Regal

until I got pie eyed and Barry told me about it.

He said that he went to see Edwin Meese.

He flew his, he got out on bail

and he flew his Lear jet up to Washington

and went in to see the Attorney General, Edwin Meese.

And they run him out of the office.

The next day he went back and said,

I have absolute proof that the CIA

is bringing tons of cocaine

or they’re running tons of cocaine into the United States.

And Edwin Meese put him up with this agent Jacobson.

I believe it was.

And they went down and got one and a half tons.

And on the way back, they bellied it in

and Pablo Escobar and some of the other ones

on general there in Nicaragua,

you can see them toting it from one plane to the other

in the book called The Big Kings of Cocaine.

It’s got a mention of me too.

And also the other one has a mention of me in it.

Said I’m in more files for the DEA than Noriega.

So who was wanting to get rid of Barry?

Is that, who wanted to get rid of Barry more?

The cartels or the CIA?

The cartel.

But so Barry leaned back and he told me the story.

And the tears came down between his fingers

as he put his hands over his eyes.

And he said, I just couldn’t do it, Roger.

I just couldn’t do three life sentences.

So I’ve told him everything.

I went to Congress and I’ve testified before Congress.

He testified before Congress

for all these things that he had done.

And he said, I told him all about you,

but you’re under my umbrella.

You got to testify with me before grand jury in Miami.

And so the guy said, you can come down,

the DEA said you can come down tomorrow with Mari,

first class, or I’ll take you down in chains.

And if you don’t testify with Barry,

the only place you’ll ever see your wife and family again

is in a federal prison visiting room.

Was that a difficult conversation?

Oh, my guts was just like ice water.

I can’t testify against my friends.

I just can’t do it.

How am I going to do it?

I just, I can’t work with people.

And he was honest with me.

How am I going to testify against them?

I can’t spend the rest of my life in a federal prison.

What on earth, what a mess, Barry, you’ve got me into.


Is that a kind of betrayal there?

Yes, but it’s still, I wish he left me out of it.

I understand him getting in such a mess that he told,

because if the CIA and whoever else was behind him

betrayed him, then he’s going to tell everything.

So I says, all right, I’ll be in Miami.

So Mari and I flew down first class.

And I went to a lawyer,

one of the biggest lawyers in Miami.

And I said, man, I am in a mess.

This fellow’s told everything and I’ve got to say something,

but I’m not a snitch, man.

I mean, what can I do?

And he said, well, being a snitch is like being pregnant.

You either are or you’re not.

And he says, I don’t represent snitches,

but if you want to fight this case,

I’ll do it for $600,000.

And boy, my face turned red.

Well, I’m not a snitch.

He said, well, that’s what you’re talking about.

He said, let me tell you something.

If you go in there and say one thing and sign that paper

and you don’t tell them everything you know,

then they will convict you of everything you’ve ever done

and you tell them.

So you can’t do it.

So I said, Barry, I’m having trouble with a lawyer.

Give it, I’ll go to Mari, let’s go.

He said, all right, use my lawyer.

And he gave me his card, the lawyer’s card.

So Mari and I went to the festival restaurant that night

and Barry and Debbie came in.

She was dressed pretty and Barry wasn’t.

So we was already about finished.

So we had dessert together.

And I said, Barry, they’re going to kill you, friend.

He said, no, they ain’t going to kill me.

So and so, such and such is gone.

And this and the other.

I said, Barry, they’re going to kill you, man.

You can’t deny it.

And I said, I didn’t tell him I wasn’t going to testify.

So I hugged his neck.

I really, like, and we fled to Brazil.

But I took Mari and the children and went to Brazil.

So you decided there you’re not going to stay.

I knew, I didn’t know what I could do.

I talked to a lawyer.

I mean, I just didn’t, I didn’t know what I could do,

but the best in Miami said what he told me.

So I had to go.

And you went to Brazil.

We went to Brazil.

Did you have a conversation with anybody at the cartel?

I mean, that’s such an interesting moment

that tests the man’s character to not snitch.

And did you have a conversation with anybody?

No. Pablo with, about it.

Not at all.

So it’s just understood.

I just didn’t, couldn’t do it.

But how many men like you are there?

Not many.

I had all my friends testified against me.

I had 11 friends and every one of them put their finger up.

Roger did it.

And I was facing life,

continuing criminal enterprise care.

And still you couldn’t do it.

I just couldn’t do it.

Did you ever get respect from the cartels for that,

from the people in the cartel?

Oh, there was a whole time I got back and stuff.

They owe me money and I can’t get it.


Well, that’s about money.

I just mean about human beings.

Oh, I think so.

I mean, I’ve been back down there and I’ve been welcomed.

I have my contact.

And when I was in Brazil,

I was trying to get this money.

They owe me three and a half million dollars.

So I called up there and he was going to pay me.

Oh, I got 600,000 today and I’ll get you some more tomorrow.

And then the next week I called,

hey, hey, got great news, great news.

Barry Seale has been killed.

So, oh no.

And I went back to the hotel.

We was up in the northern part of Brazil

and where was it, Marty?

It’s been quite a job.


And so I went back and I told Mary and Miriam

and they cried and I cried.

I really cried.

How is that great news from the cartel perspective?

Well, now there’s no case against me and him and them.

Do you know who killed them?


I’ll tell you about that story.

On the first load I did,

I landed at a banana plantation and it was raining

and it was a muddy strip, clay.

And they put the 300 kilos of cocaine

and then the ugliest man you could imagine,

named Ronaldo got in there with a Mac 10

and he was making sure I took it to Louisiana.


This is many years before.

Yeah, a couple of years before.

So anyway,

we took off and the mud got up in the wheel well

so thick until the wheels wouldn’t come up.

Well, I’m going 200 miles an hour

instead of 300 miles an hour with wheels coming down.

Well, I can’t go back there.

If I do, I’m gonna be in the same situation

until the sun dries it out in a few days.

And so, but in Belize, I had a runway

that had been used for $10,000 used to refuel.

So I told the guy, listen,

we got to land in Belize to refuel.

No, no, no, we put the Mac 10 and I’ll shoot you.

Go ahead, fool, you’re gonna die too.

So it was in a term.


He wasn’t just ugly, he was also angry.

He was a bad, bad killer.

And so he’s the one to actually kill Barry.

The one that went up on the first load with me.

And Ronaldo, and he’s doing life.

He’s just a killer.

Yeah, he’s doing life in Louisiana.

I wonder who, is it known who made that decision?

The younger Ochoa brother, I understand, Fabio,

which one paid for the hit.

I don’t know that, but that’s what I’ve heard

and it probably sounds about right.

He’s done in Jessup, Georgia, doing a long, long time.

I think he’s about to get out.

He’s been in 30 years or whatever.

The movie American Made.

What do you think that movie got right?

What did it get wrong?

Almost everything wrong.

It was disgustingly wrong.

Okay, which parts?

Can you maybe elaborate?

It’s about Barry Seal and it just didn’t even,

it was nothing, whoever wrote it had no idea

who Barry Seal was.

They sat in a rocking chair and just tried to think of

what was some baby bashing drug dealer doing.

And it’s just like, God, you just don’t have any idea

of the spirit of the man.

So they wanted just to try to tell a fun story

without actually studying the story.

They didn’t know him, they just had no idea.

And Barry was such a nice person,

such a really nice gentleman person.

They talked to you or no?


The people that made the movie.

And I see all these people telling Barry never met him.

They telling all about him.

I think that’s just ridiculous.

And for one thing, for his character coming out

of warehouses and all that, that was just like ugly.

And then down in Columbia, putting a gun to his head,

going to take his sunglasses and then he put $25,000

million worth of cocaine on his plane.

And then they’re going to bet $100

he don’t have enough room to take off.

That’s just insane.

I mean, just the whole thing.

And then he’s talking to the DEA agents when he’s coming up.

You don’t know what frequency they own,

how he’s got five planes and they all split

when the DEA comes out.

These are just somebody just fantasy.

But those are like, those are details of the man,

details of the story.

Is there some big profound things they missed

about just this whole period?

But that’s something that’s really important to you

that was missed.

Yes, they just tried to sensationalize

on little things that people remember.

And it’s just not true.

It was just like a business deal and good people

and good airplanes and good flying.

And it was like a good watch that was made.

It just clicked and it just went on.

And they missed all of that.

They tried to make it sound like it’s something very ugly.

Do you think it was a story

that could have been told way better

and still be a hell of a good story?

Oh my goodness, yes.

Well, there’s a series called Chernobyl done by HBO.

And because I have sort of family connected to that period,

they did an incredible job of being historically accurate

and only not being historically accurate

when it helped the story, only in those rare cases.

When they on purpose left the story

to make it easier for people to understand.

But it was still somehow accurate.

And even though all the actors were British actors

speaking English with a British accent,

it was still somehow accurate.

Like they captured the spirit.

So it was historically accurate

and the spirit was captured.

That was one of the most incredible like series

I’ve ever seen.

It convinced me that the movie was made by non Russians.

It convinced me that if you really care about a story,

you don’t have to have been brought up in it.

You don’t even need to speak the language.

If you’re truly a scholar of it,

if you talk to a lot of people, if you learn,

if you just pour your heart and soul into it,

you can create something really special.

And so your son says you could do that with the story

with this period of time.

Oh yes, it was a story that needs to be told.

It need to be told in the correct way.

Not like we’re trying to bash a certain angle.


Well, if Netflix or HBO are watching this,

you need to tell the story of Roger Rees, in my opinion.

There you go.

This is a young picture of you.

Yeah. There you go.

That’s from National Geographic.

Jorge Archoa, Pablo Escobar, it’s you, Roger and Barry.


And the Muggler, a memoir.

Yeah, I really do hope that they make a movie of this one.

There’s a movie called Blow that tells the story

of George Young, Boston George.

Did you know George Young?

That’s one way to ask it.

The other is what do you think of the movie Blow?

I didn’t know George Young, but it was a wonderful movie.


It captured it.

It did.

Yes, it did.

That’s the way it should be.

So he was a little bit before your time?

Exactly the same time.

He was using stewardesses to fly the marijuana

out of Manhattan Beach,

and I was on the fire department in Redondo Beach,

10 miles away, flying it up, sending it back.

Somebody was sending it back.

He might’ve been sending it back,

but he didn’t have near the excitement that I did.

I was shot down twice.

I escaped from five different prisons.

I was tortured almost to death in a Mexican prison.

So he didn’t have all that fun that I had.

Fun in quotes.

Yeah, so yours is a heck of a fun adventure.

Just to linger on a little bit.

So Johnny Depp plays George,

and Ray Liotta plays his father,

and there’s this son father kind of scene at the end.

I don’t know.

It’s heartbreaking.

Like that scene paints a picture of a life

that could have been had if none of this wild drug

smuggling happened.

I don’t usually, I mean, I don’t, I’m almost,

I really never get like teary eyed in a movie,

but that got me.

It’s almost like confronting at the end of your life

what your life could have been with your father,

the way he calls him Georgie.

It, like you fucked up, Georgie.

Yes, I did too.

I really, really did.

Mario waited for me all those years

and the children raised them without me,

visiting me in prisons all over the world.

It’s unbelievable.

It’s just, nothing’s worth that kind of money.


Can you tell the story of when you were tortured

nearly to death in a Mexican prison?

I sure can and I’m smiling,

but it was nothing to smile about, I can tell you.

I was in a pool and a gentleman came over

and shook hands with me and put handcuffs on me.

And I thought, what in the world?

That was at one of the nice hotels.

They put me in a jail cell and I sat there

and all the drunks and thieves and stuff kept coming in

and they had a bucket and it overrun.

And I said, I remember like 18 people in a room

about 12 foot square.

Oh, it was hot and I thought,

somebody’s gotta come get me, this ain’t real.

I hadn’t done anything.

It’s like, it was a pilot come to see me up in Hermosillo

and he stopped and he made a mistake

and went to the International Runway

instead of where he was supposed to go.

And he had my phony name in his pocket, so they got me.

So they said I was a drug smuggler.

So after about three days, they put me back into the back

and it was a torture place.

And they put me in a little cell like,

I guess it wasn’t hard even, it wasn’t six feet,

must’ve been about five feet square and about 12 feet high.

And it was June, the end of June, and it was hot.

I mean hot.

And they left me in there for, I guess a few days.

You didn’t know, so every once in a while

they’d come drag me out and first off,

they put my head under water

and it had seltzer in it or some kind.

And I took one whiff of that and three or four of them

couldn’t hold me down.

So then I learned that just before you have to breathe,

tear loose like that and they’ll let you up.

And that was the first treatment.

And then they started beating me.

And they beat me with a blackjack and rubber hose

until I was black and blue and yellow

from the bottom of my feet to my head.

What did they want from you?

They wanted me to sign a confession

that I was a drug smuggler.

And they put the papers under your nose.

This is all over if you’ll sign.

Well, I knew if you signed, you got six years.

I wasn’t gonna sign, I wasn’t gonna sign.

But they didn’t want you to snitch on anybody.

They just wanted you to say.

No, they just wanted me to sign that paper.

And you still didn’t.

I didn’t even bow to it.

I ain’t a beat and ate that bad.


So anyhow, it just got them into the good part.

So then they come and they take me out,

I’m bug naked and they bend me over

and they have things to pull you,

like chains click, click, click, click, click.

And they bent me over and they put butter

on my bum and they commenced to put hot chili pepper

up there and that stuff was bad.

I mean, it was red hot and that was, that was awful.

And still.

That was just awful.

Yeah, but still you didn’t.

I didn’t think about it.

I ain’t going to, I guess if I’d have known

he was gonna kill me, I wouldn’t have done it.

But I wasn’t about, you get hurt bad enough

you’ll pass out, so I didn’t pass out.

So I was all right.

So then the last thing they did was

they brought a dead man in there and he was wrapped.

He was frozen.

He was wrapped in newspaper, little strips

about a half inch wide, just like a mummy.

And he was frozen and they hung him on the wall

with a meat hook and you next son of a bitch, you next.

And so he’s sitting there like this

and as he starts to throw out, which is pretty quick,

it looks like he’s crying and it looks like he’s peeing

and the paper starts unraveling on him

and the formaldehyde puddles on the floor.

Ooh, what a smell that rotten insides

and the formaldehyde and there was a little space.

It wasn’t even a half inch high under the door.

And I lay on that filthy floor with my cheek

and put my lips right up under that door

and we’re sucking that fresh air.

And I went to sleep after some time.

And I know where Walt Disney gets his ideas.

I saw white pink pigs with wings on them,

all kinds of stuff flying around.

So when I woke up, I didn’t know which was real

and which was the nightmare.

It took me a minute to figure out where I was

and what was going on.

How did you stay mentally strong through that time?

Like what?

I don’t know that I did.

I was, yeah, I was mentally strong.

So I was just like I am now.


I mean, you could be that man that could have killed you.

Yes, I could have.

So what gave you hope?

Did you have hope?


Or you were just a stubborn son of a bitch?

I think some of both of it.

And I think they aren’t going to keep you here forever.

You know, you’re going to get out into the prison

or they’re going to let you go or something.

If you sign that paper, you ain’t going nowhere.

And I want to go home.

I got shot down a few weeks before that.

I got shot from out of the sky.

80 bullet holes through the plane,

killed a fellow on the ground,

shot the leg nearly off the man in the plane.

Where was this?

In that little place of Peachy Lingy.

You want to tell you that story?

And they were shooting you from the ground.

Yeah, yeah.

All right.

A little 900 foot strip there at Peachy Lingy,

a poor, poor village with starving donkeys.

And that’s where they’d,

I’d give them $17,000 for the load.

And I’d go over on the highway and load.

Well, on day 13, I did a load every day for 13 days.

They had a bunch of marijuana, pretty good piled up.

And I was going low today.

And on day 13, I had that little warning sign

going off in my stomach.

Uh oh, uh oh, don’t do it.

But I asked this Joaquin,

oh, we had the federal, all this paid off,

nowhere we were.

So I spent the night in a hammock

and walked down to the airplane,

just as it get in daylight.

And 10 or 12 men walked with me and Pedro got in.

I brushed my teeth in the little stream.

It was about foot deep,

a little river coming through there.

And got in the airplane and I fired her up.

Bam, blah, blah.

And bam, I thought a tire blew out.

I looked over and it still ain’t dawned on me.

And Pedro was yelling, police here, police here Roger,

police here.

Well, it dawned on me.

And I shoved it, the throttle to the firewall.

And I only had about.

So that was a bullet.

Yeah, somebody, there’s officer sides, they’d shot.

They’d shot just a warning, like get out, stop.

We’re gonna rob you, whatever it is.

That’s what they do.

They just taking the plane and me

and put me in prison, old thing.

So, but I, even though I had papers.

So I just shoved it to the firewall

and there wasn’t enough room to take off on that strip.

And there’s half of it was behind me

or some of it was behind me.

And so just at the end, I’m just like,

I think that thing stalls at about 50 miles an hour.

Just turning 50 and I just pulled it right up

and put the flaps on.

And as I pulled off the ground,

they opened up on both sides of me with machine guns

and they riddled that airplane.

I mean, the windshield came out.

I got hit three times.

You, like your body?


And I didn’t know I was hit.

I mean, it was just the gasoline just pouring in.

The world turned yellow.

I must’ve went into shock.

So it just stopped in slow motion.

And one bullet hit the strut right by my head.

And it just, parts of that bullet just went all over me.

I just looked like I’d been peppered with lead.

And the gasoline was just pouring in.

I mean, just pouring in where they’d shot the wing up above

and the windshield’s gone.

I mean, it was just like a hail storm.

So I was…

Airplanes did stall or no?

I was in a stall anyway, and I didn’t realize it.

And I guess you wouldn’t unless you trained for it.

But when you’re in a stall,

the elevator is kind of flappy.

And I didn’t realize it at the time.

I thought they had shot the elevator cable in too.

So I thought, oh God.

So I just reached over and switched it off,

switched the mixture, pulled everything.

And in the river, there was rocks

about as big as this table.

And they were like the turtle back

all the way up until there was a waterfall.

There’s quite a pretty place.

And I crashed straight onto it.

I thought if I get those rocks.

And when I did the first time I hit, the wings came off

and then it bounced.

And the next time the nose came up

and came under the plane and I’m sitting there,

I must’ve been knocked unconscious

called Pedro shaking me.

Come on, Roger, come on, Roger.

So I stepped out into the water

and here comes these four Federalists

still shooting at us.

And I’m bulleted to hit the airplane.

And I kept a nine millimeter Browning high power

taped to the top of the radio in case I ever needed it.

So, cause you didn’t want it in the airplane.

So I just, it was just handy just laying there.

So I took and popped a few caps out of them

and they ran into the rocks.

So we took off running.

And then I looked and Pedro’s foot nearly shot off.

They’d shot him on one side of the ankle

and it just blown out the other side.

And it wasn’t even hardly bleeding, the shock of it.

So I took my T shirt off and gripped it

and tied it best I could.

But you had still bullets in you.

So like you could still run.

I shot the top of my toenail off.

I shot it across my head and my kneecap.

So I was just nicked.

Okay, got it.

It was very painful later on,

but right that time I didn’t, it was just hot.

And there’s a bullet still in my foot from it,

a piece of a bullet.

Good size slug.

So we went on up the mountain through the cactus

and just running.

Just going, I want to go down.

No, no, the federal is going the easy way.

Let’s go, this young fella.

And we came to an old donkey.

She must’ve been 30 years old, long and way back,

long hair on her, Charlotte, Charlotte.

And he petted the donkey and we jumped on.

And we rode for seven.

Like an actual donkey?

A donkey.

There were donkeys all over the place.

Anyhow, he knew that one from the village.

And so we rode seven miles, two of us,

on a donkey with no bridle, no saddle, nothing.

And we came to a little man plowing a little horse

and a little ox.

Both of them were spotted and the ox was,

the yoke was across their back this way.

And he was plowing with a little plow among stumps.

It was like one of these people clearing

a little piece of land.

And he had a little house there.

And so we went into his house

and his wife and his daughter,

they put like a cloth over my wounds and on Pedro’s.

It was terrible.

And they poured diesel oil on it to keep the flies off.

So I’m covered in diesel.

So the man left and he was gone all day.

And then about dark, he showed up,

maybe about 15 or 20 horses and mules showed up

in the yard, walking fast.

And a doctor got out, he said,

I’m Dr. Benjamin Soso with Red Cross.

And he worked on my foot and he worked on Pedro.

He gave us a shot of morphine and tetanus shots.

And he said, you got to get to hospital.

He said, Pedro will die if he don’t get to hospital.

He said, they are looking for American pilots

been shot down and they think he’s dead.

There was a lot of blood in that airplane.

And so they rode, I don’t know how far we rode,

but we rode miles and we’d come to a road

and there was a big truck

and it was loaded with corn in the ear.

And they dug holes in that corn, put us in it

and covered us up.

And the road was rough.

And every time we’d hit a dirt road,

that corn would cover me up.

They’d scratch my face out again.

And when they came to the highway,

we went into a house and they got me some clothes

and mine was messed up and a white basin.

And they must’ve brought 20 jugs of water different times.

I kept washing and washing my foot

till all the blood and the crud got off of me

and put on those clothes.

And somebody went to, they said,

you can’t go North, the road’s blocked.

They’re looking for the pilot.

So you got to go South.

So they found a taxi in Mazatlan.

And it was a rather new taxi.

And the fellow would take me to Guadalajara,

which was, I don’t know, seven, eight hours South.

So we got in that taxi and they propped me up

with sheets and blankets and pillows in the back seat

and gave me these great big white pain pills.

And I was quite content.

Then I was shot down in Columbia also.

What, can you tell that story?

I sure can.

All right, I went down for a load of marijuana

and we got to the place and we got there too early.

And the guerrillas screamed,

you got to get out of here, you got to get out of here.

And so we went back to the place where we stayed from

and refueled.

I had a beautiful DC3, carried three tons.

And so while I was waiting,

I ate something for lunch and I went around behind the house.

We refueled a plane up and I had to wait till late afternoon.

They wanted me to come just at dark

so the military planes couldn’t see me on their strip.

So I’m leaning in the hammock asleep

and I hear this terrible roar.

And I looked right up through the trees

and at the end of two military jets going straight up.

They do a dive over and they came back down the strip

in front of that airplane and they just tear it up

with 50 caliber machine guns.

They just showing out.

So I run for the airplane, I just give that guy $80,000

and he ran for the truck

and all the rest of them ran for the truck.

I should have ran with my money,

but I didn’t, I ran for the airplane.

And the copilot got in and his name was Al.

He got in with me and two fellows got in the back.

We had drums of fuel in there to refuel

when we got down to the guerrillas.

So we took off and I couldn’t get the gear up

because I’d taken off in such a hurry.

These pins in the struts of a DC3 and with big flags on them

and you have to take them up

so that the plane won’t come up.

So these jets swarmed on me and they tried to get me to go.

They kept telling me which way to go

and the pilot would be just as close

as just right over there.

I could see him.

I just held up the old iffy piece.

I didn’t think they would shoot.

I really didn’t.

Nobody had shot before.

So I kept flying out and I kept getting slower and slower

and they kept slowing down, down, down

and the black smoke rolling.

And then they started shooting up under me.

Boom, boom, boom, boom with them 20 millimeter cannons.

And then the tracers just going up.

They looked like they’re curving up from me.

I woo and I pushed the nose over

so they couldn’t get under me.

And later on I heard they thought I tried to ram them.

So one of them went for fuel and I kept on going

and the one just tore the left wing tip up

with the 50 caliber.

And then he come back again and shot the tail up.

He’s warning me.

And I tell the feller in there, I says,

you know, if you bring me enough water,

I believe I can fly this thing.

My mouth got quite dry.

So I went on and I landed on a big pasture.

And it was huge pasture and it was rougher than it looked.

And the wings just flapped and I come to a stop

and jumped out and pull those tabs out,

threw them on the ground so I could get my gear up.

And I understand that during the 1980 World Series

baseball game that it says American DC three

has just been shot down by American jets,

by Colombian jets.

You know, it’s the first plane shot down

on Reagan’s new war on drugs.

But he’s up, he’s up and away, ladies and gentlemen.

We keep you posted.

So I took off again and I went into a thunderstorm

and they came close to the mountains.

So I spiraled up and every time I’d come out,

that jet was there, boom, boom, boom.

And I’d go back into that storm and boom, boom, boom

in there and at 20,000 feet, I started icing up.

So I went out one last time and he was right there waiting.

He had me on radar.

So I went back in and I kicked it over

and put it into a spin and went straight down to 2000 feet

and come out under it.

And I was flying along the Guaviera River

and it was 20 feet above the water.

It looked like a pasture, it was just grass.

And I made several runs to tear the grass down

and it looked like, and it felt hard.

That old DC three weighs 30,000 pounds

and I put it down on the fifth run.

I said, all right, now we’re gonna land now.

And as I was.

Did you do like close several times?

I put the wheels down.

Oh, you put the wheels down without landing.

And just, so I’m making a run for it, you know.

So you, okay.

So you’re being tracked by a jet.

He’s going.

He’s trying to, well, before that,

I’m just like retelling this story, how insane it is.

So he’s trying to shoot you down

and there’s a thunderstorm that you’re escaping into.

And then you do a spin down to what, 2000 feet?

Whatever you said, like somehow escaping all of this.

And then you try to land on a pasture

on a giant heavy plane that carries three tons

by touching down five or six times

to make a landing strip for yourself.

Yeah, the grass is three or four feet high.

So it looked really good after about, after a few times.

So then just before it stopped,

I said, Al, take your feet off the brakes.

He said, I don’t have my feet on the brakes.

Well, I knew I had broken through the crust

and I put full power on, but it didn’t.

That old big plane just come on down

and it just did a head, as it came to a stop,

it did a headstand, 90 degrees to the ground.

Oh, wow.

And the engines held it up

and the nose and all just crushed in right on it.

We fell between the two seats to keep from getting killed.


And when it come to a stop,

all that fuel was pouring out on those hot engines

and there was an escape hatch at the top.

I just stepped out, took my suitcase with me.

Was there fire?

No fire, left the plane there

and the two guys that was in the back,

one of them broke his thumb and it was with the barrels

and they had to put a hose,

tie gas hose together to shimmy down to get out.



That’s an incredible story.

Well, let me just tell you,

they had a little bit more to it.

I learned to fly with the idea

of being a missionary aviation fellowship pilot,

fly the missionaries in and out of the jungle.

Well, I went 11 days through that jungle.

The rest of them went on down the road and went to prison.

I said, I’ll crawl on my belly six months in here a year,

eating snakes before I’m going down the road.

So I went in there and I was 11 days in the jungle

and I finally came to this place and it had airplanes.

I kept asking the Indian, dandistai avions.

I want to steal an airplane and get out of there.

And when I came to the place,

I asked, what is this place?

Lovely place.

It looked like Honolulu in World War II.

There was a runway there.

Said, you don’t know.

This is Loma Linda headquarters

for Missionary Aviation Fellowship for the Amazon.

And they flew me out.


You escaped from prison five times?

So what stands out to you as the most difficult

or miraculous escape in the bunch?

The most black miraculous was

when I was in the courtroom in Spain.

I think I was on the third floor of Real High

and I ran across the courtroom, handcuffed,

kicked the window out.

And I looked down and it was above the palm trees.

I thought there might be a power line

or something I could grab on as I went down.

There was nothing.

And there was a car parked, a station wagon on the side.

You just jumped out?

I jumped out from 31 feet and on top of that car.

And it exploded in the street.

The windshield went over three or four cars.

It looked like snow going up.

And I looked like Donald Duck with the thing coming off

and handcuffs and I got out.

And you just kept running?

Yeah, I kept running.

They ran me down and hit me in the back.

I still got a dead spot in my back

where the policeman hit me with a shotgun.

And they brought me back.

Murray was there and they were saying,

your husband is crazy.

That was spectacular.

But I escaped from Lubeck, maximum security prison.

And I cut out of there and got out.

That was a miraculous escape.

And that was where?

In Lubeck, Germany.

What was that escape like?

I was there and they was going to extradite me

back to the United States

where I still had all these charges

and 25 years special parole.

And I was cleaning the lawyer’s visiting room

and on it was bars that looked like piano notes

or this way to make it pretty.

But they was a little bit,

so I got a rope from a guy where they made boats in there.

And I had 20 minutes.

So I went in there and I wrapped it around

and I put a broom handle in it

that was cut off and wrapped it around

until they pull the bars together on that side.

And then I pulled them together on the other side.

But that only put me in inside the prison yard

where the soccer equipment was kept.

But they were putting new windows on one side of the prison

and they had it scaffolded up to the fourth floor.

So there was a little recess there

and there was guard towers every 100 feet or so.

I mean, they would shoot and kill you.

So I got behind that and climbed up holding to the bricks

on one hand and the scaffolding on the other

and went to the roof.

I lost my shirt and most of my clothes

going through the window.

I got all the skin off of me.

I thought I was gonna die.

And I was trying to go sideways like this.

And finally I got a grip and the bars let me through

and took all the skin off of me.

So I got up on that roof and I have asthma

and I just lay there trying to catch my breath.

Didn’t bring my inhaler.

With blood everywhere.

Oh, I was bloody, yes.

And so I got down to the end

and on the end, the reason I did it,

they would put it, they was putting a new wall again

around the prison to make it larger.

And they had taken all the wire off above the Sally port

where they could join the two walls together.

And I saw that when I came up and there was a guard,

a half of like a dome sticking out of that brick building

where there’s a guard there with a gun and he’d kill you.

And I mean, he was made,

he was surely trained to kill you.

And we had some bad people in that place.

So I lay up one floor above it

and I saw a guard and his wife come with a double umbrella.

It was just pouring down the rain.

Here I am without a shirt on, bloody.

And she had a little boy with him under that double umbrella

and I knew him and when he come

and she started back from the Sally port,

I hit the top of that guard tower, bam, with both feet.

And I jumped, I guess it’s three more floors.

I jumped, there was a pile of sand,

like a cone where they were digging it there.

And I hit that and my feet buried up to the knees,

but I didn’t fall.

And I ran straight towards her so he couldn’t shoot me.

And then I went around some bushes and went downhill.

And then I heard bam, bam, bam, bam, bam behind me.

And I looked and that fool woman was in a big old car

and she was knocking down the parking meters behind me.

She was trying to run over me.

And I ran behind the car

and she tore the fender off of her car,

trying to yell and yow, yow, yow,

and a terrible evil looking face at me, screaming at me.

And the sirens going off in the prison.

And there was a fence there, a wall.

And I jumped up on it to jump over

and it had glass embedded.

And I cut my hands and my arms all up getting over that.

And I hit the ground on the other side

and it was like, it was that mucked muck

where some farmer had dug it.

I dug in there and Maury had slipped me $200 into prison.

And I had that in my shoe and I lost my shoes in that muck.

But anyway, I got out of there and got to Holland.

Really a heck of a story how I did that.

What was prison like, whether it’s Germany

or whether it’s Australia?

What were some of the darker moments in prison?

The United States prisons are awful,

awful evil places now.

And just really, there’s nothing nice about them.

There’s the guards.

In LA?

And everyone I went to.

It seemed like the further east I went to Oklahoma

and it was nicer, but all of them on the West Coast,

they was hatred there.

And they got really stupid people hired, just incredibly.

Oh, hatred by the guards.

And the inmates, like I speak Spanish

and I walked in to the Spanish TV room

and it was saying, you know, no, you can’t come in here.

And I walked across to the black,

hey, get out of here, white boy.

It was just like, what?

Man, I like all you people, you know?

And so I walked down to the white people and said,

show us your paperwork.

You can’t come in here until you show your paperwork.

We don’t let snitches and homosexuals

and all this sort of stuff in here.

So they have, so it’s just like,

man, I don’t wanna be in here.

I mean, it sounds absurd,

but you’re saying like the basic humanity is gone.

Completely, completely in the guards.

It was just like, come here, Reeves.

And I woke up to him, get the fuck out of my face.

Sticks his chin out, like for me to break his jaw.

Like, what in the world, man?

I love people and it’s just.

Yeah, you got this joy to you.

You have a joyful nature.

And it didn’t seem like that broke you.

Not a bit.

How did you persevere?

Did you know, I didn’t even think I persevered,

but I try to enjoy my life wherever I am every day.

I do.

I ran every day.

And like I told you, why do you run so, Roger?

I said, to help me suffer these fools.

And I played a game of chess every day,

almost of my life in there.

And I read two books a week.

And I talked with people, storytellers,

guys would come in and, tell us another story, Roger.

Give us a poem.

Tell us one you never told us before.

And so it was just nice.

A lot of them have original boys.

They picked their country music and it was all right.

Red, Morgan Freeman’s character

in The Shawshank Redemption says the following.

These walls are funny.

First you hate them, then you get used to them.

Enough time passes you get, so you depend on them.

That’s institutionalized.

Is there truth to that?

100%, I didn’t even see the walls,

except whenever I was planning on escaping.

In Shawshank Redemption, he spent so many years in prison

that he almost didn’t know what to do with himself

once he left, once he was a free man.

That’s the, you get so used to the system,

the rituals, having to follow orders,

even being treated poorly,

all those kinds of things that you become dependent on.

Well, down in Australia, I spent the first,

a little over a year in the shoe.

It was like, did you see the movie,

The Silence of the Lambs, thank you, Marty.

And he said, I had five or six guards

looking at me with a one way mirror.

And that’s whenever I thought I might never get out,

I got a life sentence.

I had all this time waiting here in Germany.

And so that’s, they had a computer in there,

but it didn’t have a program on it.

And I wrote, so I just started writing

these little stories of stuff I did in my life.

And I wrote one line and I wrote over a million words

with them looking at me.

So it was after a year, they let me out.

It wasn’t long before they put me

in a place called Self Care.

And particularly, I was in what they call the lifers pod.

There was 268 men in Self Care there.

And it was unbelievably good that we were left alone.

Basically, they was there or the guards

were certainly there, but they had their shack

and we had apartments, four apartments to the building.

And six men to the unit with your own door

and a key to it and a kitchen, dining room,

freezer, refrigerator.

And they gave you, allowed you $360 a week to buy groceries.

And I cooked for about 16 years and learned to cook good.

And the people and other people have their specialties.

And so that was quite, it wasn’t so like being in prison.

It was somewhat living with me and it was difficult, man.

I had some good fights and carry on.

You don’t get along with everybody.

But then whenever I came back to the United States,

I was laughing and talking.

And when I got off the plane in LA,

I had three marshals with me from Australia.

I was slammed upside the wall.

I mean, hard, put ankle mics on and handcuffed so tight

till they cut my lane off.

Face forward, face forward, lands apart.

Good gracious.

And walked me 50 steps and turned me over to the marshals

and they took part of that off.

That was a border patrol that was there

over my marijuana charge from 1977.

I did 11 years for parole violation.

Now they want me for more violation.

And they put me in, down in Los Angeles,

they put me in, the marshals put me in there

and they put me in isolation.

I thought, what in the world they got me for isolation for?

I’m doing anything.

How long did you spend in isolation?

More than six months.

So I, after three or four days

as the little Judas window slide open

and a man, a nice looking man in a suit come there,

hello Reeves, I wanna, just wanna see what you look like.

I saw your National Geographic documentary

and it does me pleasure to keep you in isolation.

And he slammed the thing and I couldn’t get out of there.

And by law, the US Parole Commission

is supposed to give you a hearing within 90 days.

So Murray paid a lawyer $7,500

and he never picked up the phone.

Somebody got to him.

Who’s that somebody you think?

Christopher Cannon was his name

and I don’t know who got to him,

but he didn’t do anything to get me out of there.

I got one 15 minute phone call a month

and I couldn’t get out.

So then after six months, they put me on Conair,

double shackled and black box on my hands.

And I went to Oklahoma

and they let me out on the floor.

I couldn’t imagine.

Then I could call after a couple of days

and they said, there was a man here from Washington

give you a parole hearing and you only got here at 3.30.

So he left, he said he’d be back next year.


I’ve been in now over six months.

So then there was a lovely little lady,

she was a case manager or something.

She said, you can ask for parole on the record.

And I said, please do.

So I sent them an email

and the next day I got my parole.

90 days later, they sent me to Terminal Island

and put me in the place there with the invalid,

I guess since I’m as old as I am, 78 years old.

So they put me in the people in there dying

and wheelchairs and legs off and arms off and cancer.

So I was in there and I pushed the fellows around

and I went, come out of the chow hall there

and I went to go to the right to get me a haircut

and the two Mexican guys there, Lieutenant and another one,

walked between us and he went like the boop, boop, boop.

I could outrun you.

And they slammed me, put me on the ground,

handcuffed me and put me in the shoe for a week.

I got out and man, they put me back in the place.

They treated me rough.

So I got in a little more trouble

and they put me back in the shoe and I wouldn’t come out.

They had that, the virus was out killing people.

So they killed eight people in that unit I was in.

So I mean, I wouldn’t even come out to take a shower.

I had a little straw that I put in the sink

and I’d take a sock that I had and scrub myself with it

with some slope and a glass of water over my head

and then clean the floor up and put it in the toilet.

So that was your time during the coronavirus pandemic.

I got out last April, right in the middle of it

and they were dying bad in there.

So I was treated worse for that last year in America

than I was for the whole 20 years in Australia,

the 18 years in Australia.

And then you were a free man at the end of that year.

They put me out and sent me home

and the parole officers couldn’t even come.

They weren’t working.

They were just doing everything by video.

They said, better not have a drink.

The only constituent thing was

I couldn’t even have a drink of wine.

So after a year, I had to take psychiatric treatment.

Every week I had to go talk to the psychiatrist,

psychologist and me and her got along great.

She was a good Christian woman.

We just chatted and talked.

And I think they said,

so I had to pee in the bottle every week.

I said, I’ve been in 33 years.

How many piss deaths do you think I’ve had?

Never been dirty.

Only thing if you all wanna clean when you come get me.

Before I talk to you about love,

let me ask you a difficult question.

You write in your book,

‘‘I don’t consider myself much of a criminal.

I don’t lie, cheat or steal.

And I always take up for the underdog.

Violence makes me sick.

Yet I know I’m an outlaw

and those that break the law must be punished.

I think many people listening to this

or some people listening to this

will see you as a criminal, as a bad man

who increased the amount of suffering in this world.

What do you have to say to them?

I would like to tell them

that they have been indoctrinated by the spin

of news and politicians

and they don’t know the truth of the situation.

You lay the truth out there in an envelope,

let me open it besides something else that is false

and it’s staggering.

The truth is that I was a tobacco farmer

and tobacco kills 500,000 people a year in America

and 6 million have debilitating diseases because of it.

Drugs, all drugs combined kill

between 10 and 15,000 people a year by overdose

and 60% of those are pharmaceutical.

Now, then when I was a tobacco farmer,

come sit on the front pew, Mr. Reeves,

come on up here, you’re a gentleman.

You just joined the Masonic Lodge and you joined our church

and you just come on and sit down with the good people.

You grow two marijuana plants,

get out of here you scumbag

and the marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody.

It’s just, that’s the truth of it.

And so in your career,

you walked amidst violence

but you never participated in the violence.

I didn’t even see it.

Just didn’t happen around me, in prison it did.

I sewed people up, they called me doc.

I had dental floss and one time I had to get a blade

and try to help keep from my patient from getting again.

But I was just like, if I shot at those people,

I shot at them to keep them from killing me.

I certainly didn’t mean to kill them.

So that’s just, some people are evil

and they will kill you and hurt you and lie to you.

I just don’t do any of that.

It just makes you sick.

I’ve seen it.

When I was in the shoe, three guys tried to kill a guy

and they stabbed him so many times,

but they stabbed Blake and the blood getting out of the room.

I said, you’re gonna kill him.

You’re gonna kill him and save his life.

Drug him up there where the guards could see him.

There’s stuff like that.

I’m just not of that nature of those people.

They’re just evil.

They’re people born evil, I believe.

It is heartbreaking to hear that the basic humanity

is gone in prison in the United States.

That’s heartbreaking because that basic humanity

is actually the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s the thing that saves us as opposed to,

when it’s absent, it’s the thing that destroys us.

The prisons are filled, absolutely filled with people

that have some mental problems.

Now, you see Tent City all the way up and down here.

I guarantee you, every one of those people

have mental problems, some degree.

However little it is, but they are a little bit off.

Now, then you get a DEA agent

that wants to make a name for himself.

He goes down there and gets two of them,

one of them to sell a little two grams of methamphetamine

to the other one, and he gets a conviction.

And a young prosecutor, he gets a conviction.

He wants to make a judge.

And we got the judge in, where was it?

I’m gonna give a million, what was his name?


I’m gonna give him in a million years

before I get off the judge.

You get fools like that in charge.

You’re gonna fill prisons up with pitiful humanity.

And those are the ones.

And then the other is people over drugs.

And drugs should be a health issue.

You cannot police it enough.

It’s just, they know the only thing

that overdoses is opioids, the heroin.

And if they can give it to him,

it costs about a dollar a day

to give the worst addict his fix.

But they’ll give it methadone,

which is from a pharmaceutical company,

which is just as bad.

Why in the world, we tried it all over the world

in Portugal and England.

And when they give the girls cleanup,

no more stolen cars, why?

Who wants to keep this farce going?

They just perpetuating it.

Like, oh, every little police place

is getting all these suits and armor and machine guns.

It’s just like, oh, it’s such a spin, it’s sad.

Do you think all drugs should be legalized?

I don’t know about that,

but they certainly should be controlled.

If a person is an addict,

he should be able to go down and get his fix

with somebody there to help him

with a clean needle and a glass of orange juice.

It’s so much cheaper than prison.

It’s so much cheaper than him stealing cars

or a prostitute having to go to work.

That’s sad.

You’ve lived one heck of a life.

Looking back, there’s a lot of young people

that listen to this, high school, college students.

What advice would you give them?

How to live, how to have a successful career,

how to have a good life, how to be a good man or woman?

To be a good man or woman,

if I had it to do over with,

I’ll just tell you what I’d have done.

I would have paid attention and studied my lesson

and did the best I could.

In school. In school, yes.

And went as far as I could have.

I would have liked to been a doctor.

I just didn’t have the stickability

or anybody to tell me, hey, go over there and do that.

And if you can do that at a very young age,

start in a trade, learn to do something.

It doesn’t matter what it is.

If you learn to do something good,

there is a great demand for you.

And I would say that in prison,

that the prison system should come in

and you get a thief, young fans of thief,

robber, and you say, all right, we need carpenters.

We need plumbers.

We need electricians.

We need sheep.

Sentence them to that trade.

And when you get an A plus in that,

where you can go out and make you $30 or $50 an hour,

you go home.

Now you can mess around 10 years if you want to,

or you can do this in two.

I think that’s just for the prison.

But anyway, I would say that they find somebody

and be true to them.

That we have, just be honest and true in your life.

You mean like relationships, friendships?

Relationships, yes.

I mean, so many, so many people,

particularly our children, are from relationships

where they not wanted their divorce.

Their father’s left.

They don’t know who their daddy is.

They’re just in foster homes.

500,000 children are in foster homes in America today.

And we have, and our government inadvertently

isn’t encouraging those people.

My daughter is a doctor and she delivered a couple

of years ago a baby from a 10 year old child.

That child, and she said in the visiting room

is four generations, all of them on welfare.

Now we got one more.

And it reminds me of Elvis Presley’s song, In the Ghetto.

So for an individual, learn a trade, become a craftsman,

learn a trade, become a craftsman of sorts,

and find somebody to love and who loves you.

That’s right, have a family and stick with it.

Surely you’re gonna get angry.

You’re gonna get disappointed.

You’re gonna get all kinds of stuff,

but come back and make up before you go to sleep.

Well, I did half of those things.

I got the first one and working on the second one.

So I appreciate the advice.

Well, Mari, thank you so much for joining us.

Can you tell me the story of how you two met?

Well, my parents every summer would go to the lake

in Canada and the place was called Turkey Point,

which is on Lake Erie, and just have a nice summer holiday

there, water skiing, swimming, sunbathing.

This was back in the 60s and I was sitting on the pier

with a few girlfriends and telling them my story.

And then all of a sudden I looked up

and I saw this figure in the distance coming onto the pier.

Now we’re all dressed in bathing suits and swimwear.

We’re swimming and this, that, and the other.

And here he comes, dark trousers.

In fact, they were black, white shirt and a tie

and a straw kind of a Panama hat.

And so he stood out.

And so I invited him to come and sit down.

And so he continued to talk and we just talked

and talked and talked and then later moved to the beach.

And I think the next time I saw him,

he was talking to another girl and I thought, yeah,

you know, I know, I was okay, okay, next.

Well, but six months later I receive a letter

and it’s a letter from Roger.

And then we start this lovely correspondence

and we just start writing, you know, in those days,

you just wrote everything.

And then the next summer he was coming up again.

He was on his way to Alaska and he says,

I would like to come by and see you.

And I said, well, I’ll be in the same place

that I met you last year.

And so when he came up this time,

for some reason Roger reached for my hand

and I reached for his and man, that was it.

It was like love at first touch.

That was love.

It was just like a silence, you know, and oh my gosh.

And we didn’t even look at each other.

It was just, oh my goodness, what happened here?

And I was the type of person, I never wanted to get married,

not way, way, way down the road, never have any children.

And I wanted to see the world first and then do all that,

you know, and.

But that was it, that was love

and you’ve been together ever since.


Well, the thing is about the love

that the two of you have for each other

is it had to persevere through quite a heck of a journey.

So how did Roger’s drug smuggling

change the nature of your love and your relationship?

Well, Lex, that remained steadfast.

It endured and since Roger’s been home,

I think we’ve rekindled the love that we had

when we first met.

Yeah, what?

But I think my faith, you know, my faith,

my steadfast faith and also the fact

that Roger and I communicated.

We wrote letters, you know, he never complained.

I know there were the children there.

He never had mistreated me.

I love this guy and we had a lot of experiences.

It was just, even though I.

He’s good looking, charismatic, he’s pretty, you know.

Yeah, and he was adventurous, you know,

and I, would you say that again?

But yes, it was just, I know, you know,

I missed him physically, but he was just,

we were just so strong in spirit, you know,

and we could talk to one another.


Well, what was it like, Roger, when you’re a free man

seeing Mari for the first time in person again?

I cried for three days.

Everything, I had to look at a picture of her.

I came home and there she prepared a meal for me

and it was the old oak table that I’d redone

and the chairs, the same one, and the green placemats

and the same china that we had and the same silverware.

And it just, just all of it just brought back

the same paintings on the wall.

It was just like unbelievable.

After 35 years, she had all my clothes cleaned

and my shoes shining and I put the shoes on

and I walked out on the strings on this

and the soles came off, but the shirts

and all fit perfect and everything.

So it was just wonderful.

And just to see her and then just to think about,

see her picture of her 50th birthday

or her 60th birthday or her 70th birthday.

I wasn’t there.

And the picture of her and with the children,

it just, it was heartbreaking.

And about the third day, I thought,

man up, fella, I mean, you’ve got to.

So I got over it and quit the tears.

It was, everything was just pulsating with life.

It was just unbelievable to get out of that place.

It really was.

Is there, do you regret the drug smuggling

that took you away from the woman you love?

Oh yes, 100%.

Just, you know, I wouldn’t have done it again

if you don’t think you’re going to get caught.

And it’s just, no, it’s just, I did it for money

and I had everything in the world I wanted

before I did that.

So the adventure, I mean, it was one heck of an adventure

for the two of you, for the both of you.

Were you able to enjoy it or was it always danger?

Was it always something that threatened your relationship,

your love, your family?

Or were you able to enjoy the adventure of it?

You know, we’ll all die.

Life is short.

And to live that kind of adventure.

Well, whenever I did the first loot, I got $10,000.

And that was just about, that was just about two years

pay on the fire department take home.

And I brought that home and.

I put my hand over my mouth.

I said, Roger, I can’t believe this.

All the money and money like, oh my, what in the world?

Roger said, let’s go have dinner.

And so we went to the little restaurant

that we would normally, we would go to, you know,

and he said, and don’t you dare look

on the right hand side of the menu.

He said, just order anything you want.

And it was just, as we were in the restaurant, you know,

it was just, we were giddy about it.

Yeah, I was giddy about it.


Were you afraid that, I mean, did you think about the fact

that it’s illegal and Roger can end up in prison?

Oh, yes.

Did you guys talk about it?

Well, I just, I kind of thought I was bulletproof.

I mean, they didn’t catch you.

I thought if they didn’t catch you, you was all right.

And it was hard to get you.

It was hard to catch you in the air.

So you never thought, hard to catch you in the air.

I like it.

I didn’t know that if your friend told on you

five years later, you’d still go to prison.

That was a problem.

I didn’t know that.

Did you guys ever talk about walking away?

I asked Roger to walk away.

And he says, I can’t, Mario, just now, you know.

And then of course, the amount of people

that he began to support, the family and the gifts and the.

The deals.

The deals, yes, the deals.

Big ones.

Yes, and then you always want to do,

what do you do with the money?

So you want to, I guess you clean it up

or you want to invest in an enterprise or in a business.

Well, it just doesn’t work.

They know the source of it and they take it and run.

Every one of them.


But he was very generous, extremely generous

and benevolent and.

And when I started, I would ask about,

I went to a lawyer and a good number of people

in California at that time wanted to legalize marijuana

back in 1973.

And I went to a lawyer and I says,

Mr. Lawyer, I put $100 on to say,

what would they do if I caught me

bringing marijuana across the border?

He said, if you have a criminal record, I said, no,

I’ve never had a speeding ticket, nothing,

not even a traffic ticket.

I said, he said, you work for the fire department?

I said, no sir.

I said, yes, sir.

He said, you’ll get probation.

The worst you’ll do is you’ll get one year

and you’ll spend four months raking leaves

on a military base.

So my mother and my father died some years before

and I brought mother and baby sister came out

and I took them down to Disneyland

and she said, what you doing, boy?

I said, I’m hauling pot, mom.

She said, how much you making?

I said, I’m making $40,000 any day I want to go.

And she said, what do they do if they catch you?

And I told her, what the lawyer said.

Four months at the most raking leaves,

that’s what do you think?

She said, do you need a copilot, son?

Yeah, money is money, yeah.

So your relationship persevered through some big challenges.

Is there advice you can give about what makes

for a successful relationship?

Oh, well, you know, I think the initial igniting,

meeting someone, you know, that’s the love.

That’s it.

And that little fire, that fire just keeps burning

and burning and burning.

You can’t put it out no matter what.

It’s the love fire.

But it gets difficult.

It’s funny, the love fire.

So you’re saying the love fire is all it takes

to persevere through the difficulty.

Well, no, well, that’s a huge part of it.

And also I contribute my individual situation

to in order to endure the prison years is my faith.

Faith in God?


And friends who were unconditionally still loved me

no matter what, yes.

So you had love around you in general.

I did, and my children.

They, you know, and that was a real purpose

to guide them and to love them

and to help them become citizens.

What about you, Roger?

What advice would you give?

I just don’t know how to do it,

but I do know that you have to work on a relationship.

Mara and I’s had problems.

I mean, we get really.

You guys get in fights?

Oh, yeah.

That’s pretty regular, but not,

they don’t let them last long, you know,

but certainly we are so different.

We’re the same, and yet we’re so different, yeah.

Like little stuff?

Little stuff, yes.

And it might be big, but I usually win her over, you know?

But anyhow, I just feel like Mara was always there.

It was like she was my anchor.

I was coming home.

I was always coming home to her and the children.

And you can see throughout my life,

I’m working on getting there.

Are you afraid for his life, by the way?

Oh, yes.

Oh, yeah, there are times, yeah.

But you know, I had faith in him.

He was an excellent pilot.

For example, I always said,

Roger, if the ship’s going down,

I’m jumping in the lifeboat with you

because I know we’re going to get to shore.

You will save us.

And so I had that faith in him, you know?

I mean, he’s a man, but yet he’s the one

you want to get into the lifeboat with.


But then there is, you know, Pablo Escobar,

one of the most dangerous humans in history,

plus the U.S. government.


Worst by far.

Very difficult, very difficult to get away.

In terms of your faith, how has your faith helped you

to be the woman you are in this relationship

and seeing love the way you see it?

Well, I think my faith gives me hope.

I have lots of hope.

It helps me to dwell on the good side.

You know, when I ever meet someone

and there’s some negative,

I try to see why they are like that

or what’s the source of all that.

And I try to pull out the good.

I really do.

Not that I’m a goody goody,

but that’s what your faith does.

You know, you see them as God sees us.

You know?

How has he changed over the years?



He’s still the same.

Actually, I like him better now.

He’s a little calmer.

Yeah, that’s crazy.

Oh, yes.

And happy to be, you know, at home,

or he’ll say, Mari, I am just so happy

to be with you here in this condominium.

I’m content.

Because I used to call him my homing pigeon.

I just have to let him fly.

I couldn’t, you know, he has to fly,

but he always came home.

Do you think about the end of this ride, our mortality?

Do you think about your death?

I do.

Particularly, I’m going to have a heart valve replacement

in about seven days where I could not make it.

You know, it’s a very serious operation.

And I think about that very much.

And I ask for peace.

I just lost my brother about 10 days ago, so unexpectedly.

And that really put, you know,

makes you think of your mortality.

Are you afraid?

Somewhat, and yet not.


I want to live, Lex.

I want to live, you know?

This life is fun.


Do you think about your death, Roger?

I have visions.

Visions, and they often happen very, very clear,

like what I have seen in the future.

Scientists might call it wormholes,

or in the Old Testament they called it prophets,

but I see sometimes into the future around the corner.

It’s clear as we’re sitting right here.

What’s that look like?

I was on a porch,

and I believe I was in like Central America place.

I was an old man with khaki pants and a white shirt.

And it was a chair with a wide arms, and it was straight,

and there was like the beams coming out above my head,

and I’m on a porch.

Bokunbi, yeah.

And I come, I have out of the body experiences also.

And I came out of my body,

just, I just floated out of my body,

and went into a veil, and like into a mist.

And I believe that’s probably why it happened.

You talk about like it’s in your past.

This is your future.

This is in my future.

But this is something he has seen,

you know, in the past. I’ve seen it in a vision.

Yeah, in a vision. No, I know, but it’s funny,

just the tense you use, it happened,

and yet it’s something that will happen.

Yes. Two.

Both are true.

It’s just unbelievable that,

and I don’t know how many people have it, but I have it.

I walked out of my body just like,

just where I could come up to you and look,

and set up on the radio.

I used to be at work on the railroad,

and I had them there.

How do you explain that?

What do you think, what the heck is going on

in this universe that’s possible?

Oh, I don’t know, but certainly,

certainly a phenomenon which has happened.

And there’s a guy, Bill Monroe,

that wrote the book on it, Out of the Body.

He tells about it.

And who was the guy that writes The Alchemist?

Pablo Coelho.

He has them also, just like that.

And he tells about how it happens on him.

Mine happened differently.

But you certainly can come out of your body.

What do you think the meaning of this life is,

maybe from your faith,

but also from just the amazing adventure

that you lived through?

How do you make sense of why the heck we’re here?

I don’t know.

It’s just kind of like who you are.

Even when I was a child, I was like,

I’m different from other people.

You know?

And just as a boy, I was, like I had a…

Could you put into words how you were different

or it was just the feeling?

Yeah, like my brother, I mean,

he kept his hands clean and his shoes shining.

Here I was barefooted catching a wild hog

or a rattle on a horse trying to get it down.

I saw pictures of you climbing a tree recently.

When I first got out of prison,

always something like that.

So I don’t know.

It’s just that, and I noticed that something about me

is sometimes in prison, there’d be a knife fight.

And people just, you see them rough guys

that turn white from it.

I just kind of almost like smile.

I mean, if they come at me, I turn white and get away.

But it doesn’t bother, those things,

they still didn’t bother me.

I just, prison didn’t bother me.

So you don’t know what the heck the meaning is.

You just know you’re a bit different than the others.

Yeah, I might be a little bit kooky.

Well, maybe the whole point is you want to realize,

you want to let that madness flourish,

that uniqueness flourish.

That’s the whole point of life.

We’re all different in our,

in very interesting little ways.

And the more different you are, you want to let that,

you want to let that become, you want to let it be its full.

It’s like a garden, all the different flowers.

You did mention you weren’t sure

if there’s a free will or not.

Do you think it’s all predetermined?

Or do you think we make our choices?

No, we definitely make our decisions.

I just said, if it is, I hope that,

but I know that we make our decisions.

Yes, I agree.

And I know that we are spirits

that are living in this flesh.

That’s beyond a shadow of a doubt for me.

If you walk out of your body

and have out of body experience, you will know it.

So the body is just the temporary container

for something much bigger.

The spirit lives on eternally with no beginning and no end.

And that’s hard to fathom.

Yeah, this is just a little,

this is a shell to contain that spirit.

This is the way we work on earth.

But yeah, I know it.

I’m an eternal being.

So are you.

Do you think there’s a why to it?

Do you think there’s a meaning to this life?

Well, I think the why is beyond my capability

of understanding.

It’s someone greater than me.

I don’t understand it,

but it’s awesome.

I just know that it’s awesome.

And one day we will know the answers.

Once we get to that crossover to the other side,

I think we will understand clearly.

It says, you know, now we see through a glass darkly,

but then when we are face to face with God,

we will understand.

And until we know, let’s just enjoy this beautiful life

while we got it.


And we’re meant.

That was my gift.

I love everybody and everything I do.

And it just, and I’m sorry,

if I put a stumbling block in anybody’s way,

I wouldn’t want to,

but these are these things that when I just think about,

oh, what a hypocritical world we live in though.

Like most anybody, I’d say, listen, okay,

he’s a drug dealer.

And I would say most of them had committed adultery.

That’s a cardinal sin.

And yet they move, throw rocks at me for moving a marijuana,

cocaine across the road.


It’s just, if you saw the two different things,

you’d say, what a terrible difference it is.

But we become conditioned with this mad society

that we have.

You mentioned that your daughter, Miriam, wrote you a poem.

Do you mind reading it?

I’d be glad to.

I was doing 11 years up in Lombok Penitentiary,

maximum security prison for parole violation

for possession of marijuana in 1977.

They should have given me six months,

but they gave me 11 years because they wanted me

for what they call silent beef.

Anyhow, while I was in that dungeon,

I received a letter from my daughter, Miriam.

It’s called Daddy’s Poem.

A year ago, I became a poet when I wrote your birthday prose.

And here I am today, ready to give it another go.

First, I would like to wish you a very happy birthday to be

and to thank you so very much

for without you, I would not be me.

Secondly, I want to say that your support has been immense.

It has been true, honest, loving, and free of all pretense.

Thirdly, it goes without saying,

your love has surpassed all my wrongs

and you always made me smile

with one of your old country songs.

I can remember on Cuervo, Daddy,

with you holding me in your arms,

as you sang Jim Reeves songs and talked about the farm.

I can see you walking through the door

from one of your travels far and wide

and the thought of you coming home, Daddy,

kept a twinkle in our eyes.

I can smell you as I did when I used to climb into your bed

and you would talk to me again

about one of the adventures that you led.

I can see me and Mario asleep

in one of your airplanes extraordinaire

and remembering wondering to myself

why there wasn’t an available chair.

I remember having to meet you

and worrying that you wouldn’t be there,

but you would pop from behind some counter

and give us all a happy scare.

You gave us presents in Key Biscayne

and hotels pleasure galore

and three dozen roses that we came through the airport door.

I can see your face in Amsterdam with the luggage carousel

and you look like a boy with a secret

that you were just dying to tell.

You taught me mathematics in the sands of far away places

and taught me to sail and we left without any traces.

We climbed glaciers in Argentina

and saw the blue of the beautiful caves

and witnessed the majestic beauty of such a juggling maze.

I learned how to change gears on the dirt roads of Brazil.

We ate hot dogs in Paraguay, a memory we smile over still.

We talked about lions, elephants and bears

on a Hacienda in Uruguay,

but decided it was better if the Europe we did fly.

Oh, the old world and all its luxury,

what a good time it was.

From South America to the Krosnopolsky,

I think we fell in love.

The European jaunt, well, it is considered a book in itself

but it’s a story about beauty and knowledge,

suspense and worldly wealth.

We went from Holland to Sweden,

we went from France to Spain

and I promise you I have no regrets.

I would definitely do it all again.

I would see the world with you anytime, sir.

There’s no doubt in my mind

because being by your side, daddy,

always ensures a wild good time.

So our paths took a turn and we’re back in the US of A,

but life here isn’t so bad and I’m plumb content to stay.

I’m happy to be near you,

although I’m not as close as I was before,

but because of your love and encouragement,

I’ve been able to open new doors.

I’m grateful to be in school

and I’m genuinely happy where I am.

And I even like when you call and tell me to study

for the next exam.

What a life you’ve given me, daddy.

It’s a tremendous and a magical gift.

We already have so many stories to tell,

there are far too many to list.

But I want to thank you again this day

with a very big happy birthday to you

and to tell you just a few more things

that I knew in my heart to be true.

That I love you, daddy,

with all of your wrongs and your rights.

That you’re ahead of our family

and you’ve kept us all bound tight.

That you have a honest love in your heart

for God and all mankind.

And you truly do believe in yourself

when you say it will all be fine.

I know you will be there to catch me

if ever I waver a slip

and I know I’d want you as captain on any sinking ship.

I also know a new chapter is written.

It’s almost time to move on.

It’s time to sail another sea

and to witness a brand new dawn.

It’d be good to see you at the helm again

as you point out our destination,

the laugh and dance on the upper deckers

while the boat glides through.

It’d be good to see you on the go

as I know you like to be

and to know you can open any door without any key.

But while we revel in our days together,

we will know better than to hurry

because as you told me many times,

life is an incredible journey.

Wow, that’s beautiful.


Roger, I’m really honored that you would take the time

to visit me in Texas and to sit down and talk with me.

Thank you so much, Roger.

Thanks so much, Mary. Thank you.

Thank you, it was a pleasure.

It’s been a real pleasure.



Thanks for listening to this conversation with Roger Reeves

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And now let me leave you with some words

from Pablo Escobar.

All empires are created of blood and fire.

Thank you for listening.

I hope to see you next time.

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