Forums: Skydiving: Skydiving History & Trivia:
Old jumpers who went to the Big House

 

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NickDG  (D 8904)

Jan 2, 2008, 8:49 AM
Post #26 of 36 (903 views)
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Re: [Usetawuz] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

>>There was a guy who ran a jump operation in New Mexico, in the early 80s. John Early. The memory's fuzzy but seems I heard he got busted for 'gun running' and might still be a prison guest somewhere in Brazil. Anyone remember him or know his status?<<

I knew John Early in the early 80s too. He was former Army special forces, and some said, a gov't spook, when I knew him. And yes, he was imprisoned in South America for gun running. I believe it had something to do with a freighter full of CIA weapons. But he and a couple of other guys busted themselves out of the prison and made it back to the states. I have some pics of him, but I dont think I should post them in case John is still on the job somewhere . . .

NickD Smile


billabx  (D 9546)

Jan 2, 2008, 12:56 PM
Post #27 of 36 (845 views)
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Re: [NickDG] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

I also knew Chris back in Maryland in the 70's. (Had what I thought was the ugliest f'ing jumpsuit and canopy in existence!) He was a real self-promoter and it's really hard for me to connect the Chris I knew with the gun-toting, badass in the ABC story. Sounds like a bad Hollywood movie script. BTW Here's a link to the ABC story.

http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=132071&page=1

Bill


3331  (D 3331)

Jan 2, 2008, 4:36 PM
Post #28 of 36 (803 views)
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Re: [all] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

"All my old friends are either dead or out of prison."
Tom Waits


NickDG  (D 8904)

Jan 2, 2008, 6:33 PM
Post #29 of 36 (778 views)
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Re: [billabx] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

>>it's really hard for me to connect the Chris I knew with the gun-toting, badass in the ABC story<<

I know what you mean. When I knew Chris at Lake Elsinore he was an all around good guy. And he was doing well with his photography and getting regular Hollywood movie and TV jobs.

I think this is a classic case of a good guy making a really bad choice . . .

NickD Smile


piper17  (D 3362)

Jan 3, 2008, 5:00 AM
Post #30 of 36 (738 views)
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Re: [3331] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

I shoulda listened to my parents. When I took up skydiving, I ended up hanging around with too many people of the kind they warned me about.Sly


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Jan 3, 2008, 6:58 AM
Post #31 of 36 (712 views)
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Re: [steve1] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

Bob Branch - owner of Parachutes & Associates in Monroe, Indiana and longtime chief pilot at the nationals went to jail for is involvement in the midwest dope smuggling ring that sent numerous pilots to jail too (1985ish).

The then DZ Mgr Mark Schlatter (who bought the DZ from Bob after he went to jail and moved in to Frankfurt, Indiana) told me Bob told everyone he had sold the DC3 going into a winter season, but promised to have a replacement by spring. When the *new* freshly refurbished plane arrived, a mechanic recognized the plane as the original that was *sold* while performing an inspection.

Wasn't long after that the FBI showed up at the DZ to bust Bob and close the biz down. Apparently they also knew something about the plane, as well as a lot of other stuff that was going on.

Rumor was that it was part of the other "midwest based importing activities" that were happening at that time.

Chuck


johan420  (B License)

Jan 3, 2008, 9:03 AM
Post #32 of 36 (687 views)
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Re: [steve1] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

hmm, sounds like there where a different type of jumpers "back in the days"..i rarely(or never) hear stories like this now a days..
In some way i wish i jumped in the 70`s or 80`s..but when it come to equipment im glad i started only 8 years ago..


(This post was edited by johan420 on Jan 3, 2008, 10:19 AM)


BKR

Jan 3, 2008, 9:57 AM
Post #33 of 36 (671 views)
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Re: [johan420] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of you might know Fang (Richard Fenimore). He was our video in 87 FS 4way I heard he died in a plane crash when smugling, somebody could let me know about the story (PM)..
Thank you


Slyde  (D 7365)

Jan 3, 2008, 10:57 AM
Post #34 of 36 (648 views)
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Re: [chuckakers] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

Parachutes & Associates was in Mooresville. Branch never went to jail. He was out drinking with the chief of police that night.
Those were the days when jump ships made excellent 'disposable' cargo haulers. So most of the operators of DC-3's and costal twin-beeches had opportunities to haul questionable cargo.

There WAS some truth to the refurbished airplane story.
"I'll buy your airplane for $200 grand (in 1979 dollars) and sell one back to you next spring with new paint & tail number for $40."

I think I'd take that deal too!

A different DC-3 was busted at Mooresville in 1980 by US Customs or DEA. 4 grams of pot residue were vacuumed from inside. The pilot and co-pilot each served 18 months for contempt of court cuz they wouldn't answer questions before a Grand Jury with immunity.

Many years later, after all the statutes of limitations expired, I finally heard the true story from the co-pilot. Pretty scarey!

The DZ business shut down more than a year after the bust (end of '81 season) when the land owner died and left his property in probate. Neighbors were tired of Branch. Branch was tired of all of it.

That's when I bought the DZ assets and moved to Frankfort for 13 years.
MS


grimmie  (D 18890)

Jan 3, 2008, 11:03 AM
Post #35 of 36 (639 views)
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Re: [Slyde] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

A better thread may have been titled..."Old jumpers that SHOULD have gone to the big house"!Wink


Slyde  (D 7365)

Jan 3, 2008, 11:10 AM
Post #36 of 36 (629 views)
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Re: [grimmie] Old jumpers who went to the Big House [In reply to] Can't Post

I had lunch with Branch's attorney last week in Indy. Says Branch is retired, still living in Mooresville and still married to wife ... number 6 we think. He's 70 now.


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