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TWISTED JUSTICE by Rube Waddell

TWISTED JUSTICE

by Rube Waddell

382 pages
Marijuana Smuggling and the sinkhole murders in Florida's panhandle.

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Category: Law
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About the Book

A seventy foot, steel hulled, shrimp trawler, The Gunsmoke, arrived off the coast of Panama City, Florida, on the night of January 23, 1977, loaded with 20 tons of high grade Colombian marijuana. The boat was purchased for the specific purpose of smuggling marijuana into Florida's sparsely populated gulf coast fishing villages. Seventeen smugglers gathered near the inlet to Sandy Creek in eastern Bay County, Florida, and waited to shuttle the pot to shore in small john boats and rubber rafts. Three ten-wheel, refrigerated trucks waited to haul the pot inland to other distributors. The smuggling operation went terribly awry. Within three days the Florida Marine Patrol discovered thirty one bales of marijuana floating in East Bay near Panama City, Florida. Further discoveries included a john boat with an outboard motor attached, sunk just outside of the Sandy Creek inlet.

That same night four people left a bar in Springfield, Florida, for deer spotting in the Sandy Creek area, a favorite deer hunters paradise. These four people unwittingly came upon a guard, posted for the purpose of preventing anyone from entering the area while off-loading was underway. These four people disappeared on the night of January 23, 1977. Their families reported the four as missing, and for seven months expressed the thought, 'they just vanished'.

On August 7, 1977, two teenagers from Greenville, Florida, were scuba diving in a sinkhole 20 miles west of Perry, Florida, and found the remains of a body weighted down with five concrete blocks. They reported their 'find' to the Taylor County Sheriff's Department. The body was brought to the surface and confirmed as a slaying. In the process, two additional sets of feet were discovered arising out of the silt. This started a nation-wide news story of multiple mob-like slayings found in the Taylor County sinkhole.

This crime and its investigation were buried deep in the files of the FBI, The FDCLE, and The DEA. When the bodies were discovered, the news-hounds covering the story created a ground-swell of outrage that nothing had been previously investigated. The ensuing investigation and manhunt became national news.

The public's call for 'flesh' started a lynch-mob atmosphere. Caught up in the lynching sensationalism was a man who was 150 miles away when the crimes were committed. This man was wrongly indicted, wrongly convicted, and sentenced to death for the crimes. For the past 27 years he has been fighting an uphill battle to correct this wrong. This book details the smuggling operation, the murders, the cover-up, the arrests, and the court cases.

 

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About the Author
Rube Waddell, a retired Air Force Colonel and previous author of Forget Me! Not!, has been writing since leaving the Pentagon in 1975. He and his wife reside in Panama City, Florida and maintains a summer home in the mountains of North Carolina, his home state.

 

 

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