Masterminds - A Smuggler Supreme   View more episodes

Aired at 02:30 PM on Tuesday, Jun 22, 2010 (6/22/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:00He calls on his old friends the shaferrothers.
00:00:03To the wl and chris shafer are wealthy playboys.
00:00:07In reality, they're drug smugglers with worldwide connections.
00:00:11O'dea convinces them to finance the de to the tune of $10 million.
00:00:16While the shafers are busy bribing vietnamese officials, o'dea uses their money toats he'll need.
00:00:22 was a 100-foot te used for packing fish.
00:00:27We bought and outfitted that.
00:00:28It cost seve the following year, we bought another boat called theent a lot of money on.
00:00:38fishing boats, but below deck, o'dea and tony convert the vast cargo space into a pot smuggling factory with scales, shrink-wrapping equipment, and accounting next, o'dea and franulovich hire their crew - man the boats and six to work below deck handling the marijuana.
00:00:57Because o'dea knows any leaks to law enforcement officials will strict rules, entrusting tony to keep the crew in line.
00:01:05>> Everyone was sworn to secrecy.
00:01:07No one was to know because the only you could be successful is if no one knew.
00:01:11If you you did tell your girlfriend, you were out.
00:01:13If you told your wife, you're ot fired.
00:01:16>> Narrator: You also got fired for doing drugs.
00:01:18>> You've got to be pretty frosty, and there was no tolerance for doing drugs.
00:01:23>> We had nt in our group that no one did coke, and that is a huge -- coke is a huge security breach.
00:01:31>> Narrator: With the boats and team in place, the next step for o'dea developing a communications system.
00:01:36>> We had to find a way to talk to one another over radios from boat to boat, from car to boat, from stationary homes to boat, and from mobile homes to boats as far away as the south china sea.
00:01:52>> Narrator: For important conversations, o'dea insists on using pay phones so their calls can't be traced.
00:01:58>> In those days you could actually receive a phone call at a pay phone.
00:02:02We must have left $10,000 in quarters in the pay phones up there in the space of each deal.
00:02:09>> Narrator: He also devises a unique code for these clandestine conversations.
00:02:13>> We spoke out of the dictionary as though we were speaking about part numbers that needed to be checked in certain vessels.
00:02:20I'd go to the dictionary, and i would see the page that the words were on.
00:02:26I would start with, "check part " that would be page 16, the 28th word on the page.
00:02:33It would take a long time to have a conversation as you can >> Narrator: Their system in place, o'dea tackles his next problem -- how to distribute the pot across the country.
00:02:43>> I got the trucks in '85, and then I got friends of mine, people who I had worked with in the business, and put them through truck drivin and that's how we got our drivers.
00:02:52They started driving up and down that highway between california and washington regularly, just so they could always know what was going on on the road at every scale just to get the lay of the land.
00:03:05>> Narrator: With the trucks in place, o'dea is now ready to send his team to alaska to bring in the first of two megashipments of pot.
00:03:11>> The first shipment was 25 tons.
00:03:14We brought it over in the north from the south china sea over to the bering sea, where the cathy b. met them.
00:03:22We transferred all of the pot , took off up for a fiord in alaska.
00:03:28>> Narrator: Here the below-deck crew checks the pot for mildew, then weighs and repackages the entire 25 tons in wet-lock fish boxes.
00:03:36O'dea is so brazen he has them put their logo in every package to identify his superior product.
00:03:43But as tony franulovich and the crew repackaged the pot in alaska, o'dea suddenly finds he has a serious problem back home, one that threatens the whole operation.
00:03:53>> One of the guys couldn't stop doing coke, and he'd show up at the house in a limousine with prostitutes and coke, and he was a nightmare.
00:04:01>> Narrator: O'dea knows he's dealing with a loose cannon.
00:04:04He fires the guy and, with a keep his mouth shut.
00:04:10The problem dealt with, o'dea gives tony the all clear.
00:04:13>> We came down from alaska down through the inside passage down and into anacortes into the shipyard it leverages.
00:04:21>> Narrator: But how do you unload 25 tons of pot without anyone noticing?
00:04:26>> If you're hitting a beach in the middle of the night and somebody sees you, "these guys " if you're just proceeding like you would normally proceed with an off-load operation for fish or any kind of cargo, then that's what you're doing.
00:04:38We invited people down in the boat to have coffee with us, you know, doughnuts, pastries, and stuff on the galley table.
00:04:43We'd actually had friends, relatives.
00:04:45The guys from the processing plant next door would come over and watch us unload, have no idea what we're doing.
00:04:50>> Narrator: To further ensure no one catches on, the team creates a diversion.
00:04:54>> So what we would do is, generally the first pallet off the boat, we'd drop it intentionally on the dock.
00:05:01You know, it's everywhere, the sea gulls are flying around.
00:05:05>> [ Indistinct talking ] >> Narrator: After packing the pot into waiting semitrailers, o'dea has yet another trick up his sleeve.
00:05:17>> We'd leave room at the back of the truck for one pallet, and we'd put a pallet of cedar in there, aromatic cedar shakes to kind of deal with the smell.
00:05:29And, you know, within four hours we had these five tractor trailers on the road heading for california.
00:05:35>> Product was sold immediately.
00:05:36The money came back.
00:05:37It was just -- there was -- the whole operation was just as slick as you could imagine.
00:05:44>> Narrator: 25 Tons of marijuana off-loaded without raising suspicion.
00:05:49But now a second massive load of pot is waiting for them in alaska, and this haul will prove A LOT HARDER TO LAND.nnouncer ] LET'S SAYYOUR Family's committed ..and saving money.
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00:09:26Who's he talking to?
00:09:34>> Narrator: After making millions smuggling a 25-ton shipment of pot, brian o'dea and his team are now preparing to land a second 42-ton load.
00:09:42But what they don't know is they've been ratted out by the employee o'dea fired.
00:09:49>> The informant was a person that had had, actually relatively speaking, minor problems with law enforcement -- work off his problems, had agreed to cooperate.
00:09:59>> The information was that there was what we refer to as a mother ship coming in from the pacific and that was going to rendezvous someplace in the ring sea off of alaska.
00:10:11>> When we set up the operation we all had scanners, simply to listen, see if anything odd was happening on the radio.
00:10:18We could only listen to local law enforcement.
00:10:21We couldn't listen to federal , d.e.a, a.t.f.
00:10:26>> At one point after we'd finished the first part of the load, and we were just getting ready to bring in the second part of the load, there was a guy in san diego getting ready to go to jail who had a spectrum analyzer and capability of finding these frequencies, so we brought him in, and we programmed all our scanners with the new freqs that he located for us, which were actually u.s. federal government.
00:10:51>> Almost all dope organizations do countersurveillance, but they were doing countersurveillence beyond belief.
00:10:56>> Narrator: Armed with the newly programmed scanner in his car, o'dea can now keep tabs on as well as local authorities.
00:11:04>> And a little bit south of anacortes, my scanner lights up and I hear them talking about following the suburban.
00:11:12I look in my rearview mirror, and see who surely is the d.e.a.
00:11:17So I just took off and started driving and drove for about 8 hours and ended up near spokane.
00:11:22I went down every dirt road, country road.
00:11:25If I saw a car coming the other way, it was a cop.
00:11:27If I saw a car anywhere near, behind me, it was a cop.
00:11:30Everybody became a cop at that point.
00:11:33And finally I settled wn and pulled into a pay phone and called one of our safe houses in seattle.
00:11:41to franulovich, who had pulled the stormbird packed with 42 tons of pot into an alaskan port.
00:11:46>> We were sitting at the fuel of town, and we went up to use the telephone, and the first communication was, " my heart sank pretty much on that deal.
00:11:57>> Narrator:a sends up surveillance planes combing the alaskan coastline for their ship.
00:12:02Franulovich had to think fast.
00:12:04>> We knew that the coast guard and everyone was on us, and we took the vessel, and we took it into a fiord, and we ran the boat aground in a head of a bay.
00:12:16We went out and cut trees with chainsaws.
00:12:19We h big cranes onboard, you know.
00:12:21And we took and cut down timber.
00:12:24So we drug timbers and trees and covered the vessel.
00:12:28And we took netting, and we covered the whole boat in boat, covered the whole boat, and there it sat for about 20 days.
00:12:36We turned off all the generators, turned off all the power, brought in coleman stoves because of the heat signatures.
00:12:41We knew that the coast guard and everyone was on us at this point, you know.
00:12:45They were looking for us.
00:12:46>> Narrator: The boat safely for an emergency meeting with money guy bill shafer.
00:12:53While waiting for them, o'dea hires his own investigator, a agent who ferrets out exactly what the feds know.
00:13:02>> He was able to tell us that they didn't know where we were, but were looking for us.
00:13:06>> Narrator: Meeting at a secret location, o'dea, tony, and bill shafer discuss their options.
00:13:12>> The options were this -- bag the whole load, probably $1 bag it, meaning destroy the load.
00:13:19Throw the towel in, meaning si the boat, burn the boat, or dump the weed out of it.
00:13:26Well, you know, it wasn't going to sink.
00:13:28The boat couldn't sink because it was full of marijuana.
00:13:30You couldn't burn it because then you'd have the coast guard there for that, too.
00:13:34I mean, there would be a horrendous fire.
00:13:37>> Narrator: O'dea tells the men the investigator he hired has valuable information.
00:13:42In spite of surveillance, the fed have failed to uncover the trucking business.
00:13:47Agreeing on a plan, o'dea and his team move into action.
00:13:51>> We went to a friend of ours and got another vessel that nobody knew anything about.
00:13:58>> We took the vessel from bellingham, and we ran it up.
00:14:02In the meantime they had uncovered the stormbird and brought it around to a bay on the outside of southeastern alaska, and we met up in a bay in the middle of the night.
00:14:11You've never seen guys happier to see another boat in your life.
00:14:14>> Narrator: As the crew transfers the pot, o'dea and tony make another smart move.
00:14:19Aware the off-load dock in anacortes is under surveillance, they decide to land the pot further north in bellingham.
00:14:26>> My right-hand man took off with the other vessel and steamed straight for bellingham, washington.
00:14:33It w an incredible ride.
00:14:34I stayed as a decoy boat up in alaska hidden for another day or so.
00:14:39We'd throw everything overboard, shrink-wrap machines, banding machines, everything.
00:14:45We took every drawer out of every bunk.
00:14:46Everything was vacuumed.
00:14:48There wasn't anything on the boat anyway.
00:14:50It was absolutely sanitary to start with.
00:14:52>> Narrator: While tony waits it out in alaska, o'dea and his crew are unloading 42 tons of pot in bellingham.
00:14:58>> On a saturday morning, 00 in the morning in downtown bellingham, we 00 in the morning it was all done.
00:15:06And that was an intense few hours.
00:15:10>> Narrator: Franulovich sails the stormbird, stripped clean of contraband, towards the waiting authorities.
00:15:15>> We knew were going to be boarded.
00:15:17There was no question.
00:15:18I told my cook to go down to the galley and put on some coffee.
00:15:21Put out the cookies and doughnuts 'cause they're coming.
00:15:23As soon as we cross the american/canadian border, there were two american high-speed coast guard cutters waiting for us.
00:15:29>> Narrator: But all they find is the coffee and doughnuts left for them by tony and his crew.
00:15:33>> It was like, "oh, my god.
00:15:35" >> so at that point, we had no arrests and no dope.
00:15:39>> For us to think for a minute that it was going to end there was incredibly naive.
00:18:10>> Narrator: Brian o'dea and his team distributed over 67 tons of , but this time authorities are determined not to let them slip away.
00:18:20>> And we just felt like we really needed to take the whole organization and just eliminate it.
00:18:24>> Narrator: The authorities target the crew of the stormbird.
00:18:28>> We identified one of the vessels, one of the fishing vessels that was used to bring the marijuana in.
00:18:34>> And we went through who we thought was on that boat, and ironically there were some people that we thought were vulnerable because of age, because of their parents, and we really just took a flyer.
00:18:46We said, "all right, here's somebody that maybe would " >> here's how they did it.
00:18:53They started with tony's nephew, who worked for us in the boats.
00:18:57The kids who were crew.
00:18:59And then they -- "you want to go to jail for 30 years?
00:19:02Because that's what's going to happen here.
00:19:05" so they give their uncle up.
00:19:08>> And this point, we're starting really at the bottom of the pyramid.
00:19:12>> Every time someone told us something, we had to go out and try to corroborate it.
00:19:16Even on silly things, you know.
00:19:18"They traveled at this " we need to get all of the weigh records at this truck stop in washington for every truck that went through, and it was just painful because it was all so slow.
00:19:34>> Narrator: O'dea moves to santa barbara, california, where living the lifestyle of a rich smuggler gets the better of him.
00:19:40>> I ended up with a coke ..
00:19:451988, On the eve of my 40th birthday.
00:19:50And from there I ended up in hospital.
00:19:55And I just -- my life had to change right there.
00:20:00>> Narrator: As o'dea struggles to turn his life around, the authorities spend six years of painstaking investigation to get enough evidence to arrest him.
00:20:08>> I was working as a counselor in a drug and alcohol rehab.
00:20:12My life was so far away from that business.
00:20:14I was lying in bed one morning, and the knock came on my door.
00:20:20I knew, "this is it.
00:20:22This is the wreckage of my past " so I went to the door, and there were two guys standing there with guns in their hands and badges.
00:20:29They said, "are you " and I said, "i wish I wasn't, " accomplice, tony franulovich, are charged with conspiracy to import marijuana, and sentenced to 10 years.
00:20:43f their investigation, 49 people are brought to justice, including drug financiers bill and chris shafer.
00:20:52>> I think what you learn in investigations like this is that for the most part you have probably a lot of otherwise very decent people who become involved in doing something illegal for all the wrong reasons.
00:21:07>> The real reason I got into was the adventure of doing it, and that was the most seductive part of it to me.
00:21:12>> The fact that they really conceived of themselves as pirates and were really not doing anything wrong, but the reality is that they were.
00:21:20>> They got in a business that is corrupting by its nature.
00:21:26>> Narrator: After his release from prison in 1993, brian o'dea moved to toronto, canada, and started putting his life back together.
00:21:34Looking for a way to support his family, he ran a want ad in the newspaper.
00:21:38>> "Owned and operated aessful fishing business, multilevel, one airplane, one island, a processing facility.
00:21:45Simultaneously owned and operated a fleet of tractor trailer trucks.
00:21:48During this time I also participated in the executive-level management of 120 people worldwide in a successful pot-smuggling venture with revenues in excess of $100 m what did I learn?
00:22:02I learned what money looked like and what little difference it made in my life.
00:22:07--Captions by >> Narrator: Tonight on "most ..
00:22:20A thief with a mean thirst breaks in through the ceiling of a liquor store but bottoms outrd.
00:22:28Plus, a crook on crack hammers a helpless clerk.
00:22:33>> Hey!
00:22:35>> Narrator: And a delinquent dad ditches his family and sneaks off with two cases of smokes.
00:22:42Then, a car breaks down a wall, and three hoodlums go on a [ tires screech ] later, gangsters armh AK-47s OPEN FIRE IN A CROWDED Jewelry shop.
00:22:58[ Rifles fire ] this is not a movie.
00:23:02Everything you're about to see is real.
00:23:05Brace yourself.
00:23:17Late night at a fast-food restaurant.
00:23:22Two men wait at the counter.
00:23:26Wayne moore is here to eat.
00:23:28Tony swinnie, a career criminal, has something very different in mind.
00:23:42Wayne is stunned by the brutal attack.
00:23:45>> As I was standing at the cash the corner of my eye that this man was standing at the next register.
00:23:53This fellow attacked with a hard punch to the right side of my face, hitting me right below the cheekbone right here.
00:24:02>> Narrator: The savage blow renders wayne unconscious and fractures his jaw.
00:24:07>> Why, I certainly never expected him to do what he did.
00:24:10No time to think at all, no time to react -- it just happened.
00:24:15>> Narrator: Swinnie grabs his wallet but doesn't cash in.
00:24:21>> My wallet at that time only had $2.
00:24:24So the grand total that he got away with was $2.
00:24:28The randomness of this event was disturbing.
00:24:31I was very concerned.
00:24:33If he would do this to me randomly, he will do this to anybody.
00:24:38>> Narrator: A few weeks later in waco, swinnie strikes again.
00:24:44This time, his target is martha jane ezar, a tough texan who's operated her liquor store for 33 years.
00:24:57Martha's grandchildren watch tv nearby.
00:25:00Coincidentally, it's a movie about a robbery.
00:25:14Swinnie approaches the counter with a bottle of booze.
00:25:18He has no intention of paying for it.
00:25:26>> Aah!
00:25:34You know, I had no clue he was gonna do anything like that.
00:25:36Everything, like, happened just real quick.
00:25:40Blood was just coming down, and I couldn't see anything.
00:25:44He told me to get up, or he was gonna kill me.
00:25:46>> Narrator: What happens next is so violent that authorities are not allowing it to be shown.
00:25:51>> And then the next thing i knew, he had picked my register up, cash register, and hit me over the head with it.
00:25:57And then he just kept hitting me and hitting me.
00:25:59He told me several times he was gonna kill me when he was hitting me.
00:26:04>> Narrator: But martha's more concerned for her grandchildren.
00:26:07>> He told me to go to the back, and he told me to get in this room and shut the door, and if i came out that he would kill the kids.
00:26:14>> Narrator: Martha waits helplessly in a back room.
00:26:17Thankfully, the children are not harmed.
00:26:20Swinnie takes the money and runs.
00:26:23>> When I got the call, I was the first one there.
00:26:26I walked in the front door, and she was sitting in a chair, and she was the viciousness of the attack, the brutalness of it, it bothered me.
00:26:40>> Narrator: Martha survives the incident with a concussion.
00:26:43>> I felt like I was lucky i wasn't knocked out and dead from that first blow.
00:26:50Greets customers from behind a steel cage.
00:26:54Police make sure there won't be a third victim in swinnie's violent crime spree.
00:26:59Thanks to this video, he's apprehended and currently awaits trial.
00:27:10Adelaide, austra a popular feature of the sussex hotel is a store with its own drive-through.
00:27:20E owners had in mind.
00:27:27According to detective yvette clark, it's called a ram raid.
00:27:32>> A ram raid is when an offender or a group of offenders uses a motor vehicle to gain entry into a business premises.
00:27:43>> Narrator:, a trio of raiders goes after some high-priced hooch re's luna says that two of the alcohol snatchers are not old enough to drive, much less drink.
00:28:02>> Two of the lads were only probably, I'm guessing, 13 to 14 years old.
00:28:10>> Narrator: After several trips to the car, they decide to shorten the commute.
00:28:20>> They get back into the car and proceed to ram right through the whole door and take the door out, as well.
00:28:33The structure could have collapsed down around them.
00:28:35It could have seriously injured them.
00:28:38>> Narrator: The gang quickly fills up their backseat, leaving the store in shambles.
00:28:46>> I found the drive-in dges were smashed, stuff all over the place -- a pretty big mess.
00:28:57>> Narrator: The group hops into their stolen ride and takes off.
00:29:05The car will be ditched and emptied of its load.
00:29:09>> There was about $3,000 worth of alcohol stolen and about $5,000 damage.
00:29:15>> Narrator: But they don't get far.
00:29:17Officers identify the oldest suspect from the video.
00:29:22>> We were able to identify one adult offender and two juvenile offenders.
00:29:30>> Narrator: As for the underage ..