The Merced Sun-Star is reporting today that a teen drug- smuggling scandal will become a true-story movie. "Kid Cannabis" will premier on April 18. The movie is based on an article in Rolling Stone magazine about teen pot smugglers Nate Norman and Brendan Butler.
"Kid Cannabis" synopsis/plot
Tired of delivery pizzas for a living, a high school drop out embarks on the idea of running a million dollar drug smuggling business. Learning everything he can by some of the best drug smugglers, the kid kingpin creates a $68 million-a-year business for himself by selling drugs to Americans. He is living the good life, along with another friend, until his empire is tracked down and cracked down by the FBI.
According to CDA Press.com, the movie was inspired by a true murder case involving Nate Norman, Brendan Butler, and Giovanni Mendiola. According to court records, Giovanni Mendiola stabbed his business partner and friend Brendan Butler, 20, over a money dispute. Mendiola had been hired by Brendan Butler to get rid of drug smuggling rival Nate Norman. The death of Brendan Butler brought down both drug smuggling operations.
Nate Norman, Brendan Butler, Giovanni Mendiola Drug Smuggling Timeline
In 2002, Nate Norman, a high school drop out and pizza delivery man, crosses the border into Canada and begins a marijuana drug smuggling business, along with friend Topher Clark. The two boys learn the Canadian drug trade and become millionaires selling B.C. bud, a premium marijuana. Their thriving business captures the attention of rival drug smuggler Brendan Butler, who becomes jealous of Norman's business success and decides to have him killed, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Brendan Butler hires a man named Giovanni Mendiola to kill Nate Norman. However, an argument between them causes Giovanni Mendiola to turn on him, instead. Police say Giovanni Mendiola eventually stabbed, strangled and cut Brendan Butler's throat over a money dispute on October 11, 2002. His body was discovered at the Mokins Bay campground by some workers a month later. Prosecutor Bill Douglas considers asking for the death penalty but later decides against it.
In 2003, 32-year-old Giovanni Mendiola pleads guilty to the second-degree murder of Coeur d'Alene drug kingpin Brendan Butler. He is also offered a plea deal which he accepts. A judge later sentences Mendiola to life in prison, making him eligible for parole after eight years. At trial, his mother and sisters plead with the judge for mercy.
In 2004, Nate Norman is sentenced to 12 years in prison for his participation in a drug smuggling business that brought in almost $40 million dollars a year. The FBI's case against Nate Norman is known as the B.C. Bud case.
As of April 2014, Nate Norman and Giovanni Mendiolas have not been released. Nate Norman is still incarcerated in a federal prison. Giovanni Mendiolas is still incarcerated in the Idaho Correctional Center. He was denied parole in 2011 and 2013.