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George Jung released from prison

George Jung, here portrayed on film by Johnny Depp, was released from prison this week
George Jung, here portrayed on film by Johnny Depp, was released from prison this week
New Line Cinema

George Jung, the man made famous by a Johnny Depp movie based on his life, was released from prison on June 2. According to Boston Magazine, Jung was released from FCI Fort Dix after serving nearly 20 years in prison for drug smuggling. His original release was scheduled for November, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons website now lists him as no longer being incarcerated. He will stay at a halfway house on the West Coast as he transition back into society.

According to, Jung became a major drug dealer in the 1970's. In 1974, though, he was arrested with 660 pounds of marijuana and sentenced to federal prison. While in prison, he met Carlos Lehder, who had connections with the Medellin drug cartel. Upon his release, Jung began trafficking cocaine. According to Newsweek, the Medellin cartel and Jung were responsible for bringing in as much as 89 percent of the country's cocaine. Jung was arrested at his Massachusetts home in 1987, although he skipped bail with his family in tow. He was later arrested again in 1994 for the drug smuggling charges on which he was most recently incarcerated.

Jung eventually became the subject of Bruce Porter's true crime book entitled Blow: How a Small Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellín Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All. He became more widely in known in 2001, when Johnny Depp played him in Ted Demme's Blow.

Keri Blakinger is a freelance writer and prison reform activist. Follow her on Twitter @keribla or visit her blog for a steady stream of prison reform stories.