A Major US Drug Kingpin Moonlighted as a Pro Racer

Or was it the other way around?
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2017 7:06 PM CST
Randy Lanier, a once-promising professional race car driver, saw his career derailed by his other career: drug kingpin.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – "I very much still consider myself a race car driver," 62-year-old Randy Lanier says. And that's no small statement considering Lanier recently got out of prison, where he spent a quarter-century for importing at least 600,000 pounds of marijuana into the US. Rolling Stone takes a deep look at how Lanier managed a dual life as a promising racer and "one of America's most prolific drug kingpins." Lanier started dealing weed when he was 15; professional racing would come a decade and a half later. But Lanier's rise in each was equally meteoric.

Within his first three years of racing, Lanier had driven for Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona. He placed 10th in the 1986 Indy 500, winning Rookie of the Year and beating a record held by Michael Andretti. By that time, Lanier was running a massive marijuana-importing operation—one that started when he bought a speedboat at 19. He eventually graduated to a hollowed-out barge that could accommodate 100,000-pound shipments. "It was the 80s," he says by way of explanation. But within months of his success at the Indy 500, he was busted by the feds. A judge would eventually give him life in prison. Lanier was released in 2014 for unclear reasons—"I can't say enough about the Obama administration"—and now he's hoping to pick up where his non-criminal career left off. Read the full story here. (Read more drug trafficking stories.)

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