OF GRASS AND SNOW: The Secret Criminal Elite by Hank Messick

OF GRASS AND SNOW: The Secret Criminal Elite

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Marijuana has surpassed sugar as Hawaii's largest cash crop, and a Portland, Oregon, investigator commented recently that ""two years ago nobody around here. . . was snorting coke. Now it's everywhere."" Journalist Hank Messick (whose 15 books include Lansky the Silent Syndicate) makes his point that grass and snow-marijuana and cocaine--are all over. His story centers on Florida, major port of entry, with Messick offering endless vignettes about seamy entrepreneurs in various coastal cities with boats and planes at their disposal-even the auto-train traveling between Florida and Washington, D.C.--to smuggle drugs in from Cuba and other islands. Chinese and Latins handle delivery, Messick says, while blacks do distribution, despite the FBI's ""charade"" that the Cosa Nostra controls organized crime. Unfortunately, Messick is a poor storyteller, so that despite a wealth of strangely colorful characters, his episodes are sometimes confusing. He tells of cocaine-loving anti-Castro Cubans in the Everglades being trained by the CIA for what became the Bay of Pigs fiasco. When the homeless Cubans settled in Miami, it became ""the abortion capital of the country,"" and they smuggled in cocaine--supposedly to raise funds for fighting Communism, but really to feed ""their appetite for quick money."" It isn't clear if Messick is blaming Cubans for the expanded drug market--a typical loose connection. So-so, then, or semi-addictive.

Pub Date: June 20th, 1979
Publisher: Prentice-Hall