The weed came from Colombia or Jamaica, and the hash was from Lebanon, but in the 1970s and 80s Lowcountry most of the drug smugglers were homegrown.
Kingpin Barry “Flash” Foy of Charleston was a Columbia boy. He had scrapes with the law early in life and ended up learning the smuggling trade in Florida. He said when things got crowded down there, he landed on Hilton Head, invited by his friend and fellow smuggler Les Riley, who also grew up in Columbia.
Almost 200 people, all but a couple of them with no prior criminal record, were swept into a mighty rush of cash, marijuana and hashish that crash landed with indictments and jail time for many of them in a legendary twist of Lowcountry lore called “Operation Jackpot.”
And it could soon become a movie.
“We laundered a lot of money,” Foy, now 67, told The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette in a recent interview. “Millions. Plural. Tens of millions.”
For the kingpins, that meant parties, women, Lear jets, luxury cars, yachts and oceanfront homes.