George Jung Release: Inspiration for Johnny Depp’s Character in ‘Blow’ Movie Out of Prison After 20-Year Sentence for Cocaine

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
June 2, 2014 Updated: June 3, 2014

George Jung, a major player in the cocaine trade in the 1980s who was later sentenced to prison for 20 years, has been released as of June 2, 2014.

Jung is perhaps best known as being the cocaine smuggler portrayed by Johnny Depp in the hit movie “Blow.”

Jung is now 71 years old, and he was serving time at the FCI Fort Dix prison in New Jersey.

He was supposed to be held until November but was released early for some reason, according to the TMZ website. 

Jung was such a big smuggler that it was said he was responsible for about 89 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States during the 1970s and ’80s.

“I was a guy who had a lot of money and unlimited access to cocaine and even if I looked like Bela Lugosi I still had the most beautiful women on the planet because everybody at that time, especially women, were in love with cocaine and of course in love with the money–the access to the automobiles, the clothes, the dinners, the lifestyle,” he recounted to PBS.

“Basically I was no different than a rock star or a movie star. I was a coke star,” Jung continued.

He started out by selling marijuana during the late ’60s before being sent to prison and making connections that enabled him to get into cocaine trafficking.

During his time in jail after being caught, he served in prisons in New York, Texas, and New Jersey.

While making the movie, Depp spoke about how he and Jung met and “talked intensely.”

“It’s very rare in life that any person opens up their heart and soul to you with unlimited access to their most profound thoughts, dreams, fears, regrets, intimacies… even more rare when you’ve just met that person and, because of the obvious predicament, it’s highly unlikely that you will be spending too much time with them in the near future,” Depp wrote in a letter regarding the visit.

“So for this and more, I owe a great debt of gratitude to George.”

Jung got his sentence cut by many years by ratting out one of his former friends.

“Well, the reason I made that decision is that Carlos Ledher had come to the end of his rope too and he was captured in Colombia by the DEA, brought to the United States, and I was approached to testify against him and I told them no, I had no inclination to do that,” he told PBS.

“And then several weeks later it came out in the Miami Herald that he had written a letter to the Vice President of the United States, George Bush, offering to cooperate fully for total immunity. I just felt that that was the final slap in the face and I picked up the phone and I agreed to go to Jacksonville, Florida. I made a phone call and I was taken up to Jacksonville and interviewed. My story was checked out and I simply became a witness.”

Jung is being released to a halfway house on the West Coast.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.