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Will The Real Daniel Walcott Please Stand Up?

Joe Mozingo last wrote for the magazine about L.A. County lifeguards

On a warm, slightly overcast day, two friends driving in a rented Pontiac Grand Am notice they’re being tailed by a luxury sedan as they near downtown Los Angeles about 3 p.m. As the minutes pass, the 73-year-old driver grows increasingly nervous and tries to ditch his pursuers, gunning the white car past a row of sagging bungalows on a dusty hillside in Montecito Heights. He hits a dead-end on Homer Street and tries to swing a U-turn. Tires screech. The sedan rams the rental.

A man in a fur-lined hooded parka steps out, aims a gun at the Pontiac’s driver and orders him onto the street. The old man begs, “No, no, no.” The assailant fires two shots into the man’s chest, and he quietly crumples to the ground.

The passenger runs for his life and is shot from behind. He, too, falls, screaming to neighbors for help, and then passes out against a chain-link fence as the attackers peel away in both cars. He will survive. The driver dies on the street in his blood-soaked blazer.

Detectives arriving on the scene find the two well-heeled out-of-towners and figure the incident is a carjacking: two senior citizens on holiday, hunted down for a rental car. It is the type of crime that breeds public anxiety.

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But as details about the case emerge, it becomes clear that this was not any tourist, nor was it a random attack. Police report finding 200 pounds of cocaine in the small plane that the pair had flown in from Miami. More important, the dead man is Daniel Hailey Walcott Jr.

The U.S. Justice Department and Interpol know Walcott well. And soon even veteran homicide detectives are astounded by what they learn. “I’ve been involved in a lot of homicides over the years but have never seen a victim as colorful and interesting as this one,” says LAPD Capt. Al Michelena, who first worked the case last year. “An international man about town, and he dies on the streets of East L.A.”

In accounts pieced together from Interpol reports, court records, newspaper articles and interviews with family, friends and U.S. and Canadian law enforcement, Dan Walcott emerges as a man compelled to live dangerously. He had a list of aliases, bogus passports and criminal charges in at least half a dozen countries. A longtime pilot, he flew French and Belgian refugees out of the Congo in the 1950s. He eluded the Lebanese army after he was charged with espionage, and he spent almost seven years in an Indian prison for smuggling gold, diamonds and ammunition. Up to his death, he claimed to have been a CIA agent cast adrift by the government, which the agency denies. An Interpol official told Time magazine in 1966: “Mr. Walcott knows how to be a very good bad man.”

Even in old age, he didn’t let up. In 1990, Walcott attempted to sail almost a ton of hashish from Pakistan to British Columbia--a farcical odyssey from start to finish. And before he died, he allegedly tried to urge a good friend, a Bay Area veterinarian and wine connoisseur, to fly to Dubai and help launder $4 million. He plotted endless schemes large and small, always colorful and often ending as bumbling failures. “Dan Walcott was, without a doubt, the most unusual person I have ever run across in the criminal justice system,” says Jay Stansell, an assistant federal public defender in Seattle who represented him in the 1990s on drug charges. “Meeting him was like entering a John LeCarre novel.”

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Even Denys Dodds, the wealthy accomplice whom Walcott sold out to the Justice Department for a lighter drug sentence, had some complimentary words for the “son of a bitch”: “He was one of the greatest characters on earth.”

Yet most of Walcott’s closest friends and family had only inklings of his life flying under the radar of international law. To them, Walcott was a conservative businessman and jet-setter who moved in the elite social circles of San Francisco, London, Miami and Vancouver. He had an easy charm and dapper good looks--the only guy in a Yemeni bazaar wearing a Brooks Brothers blazer and Gucci loafers. Walcott could expound on almost any subject, spoke French fluently and was conversant in several other languages. In his later years, his knowledge made him a bore--the blowhard at the corner bar. He blatantly fabricated details of his life, inflating himself while holding back the most harrowing and illicit stories.

Even to good friends, he was enigmatic. You never fully knew him, or liked him, or hated him. People were drawn to his worldliness and put up with his insufferable racism and bombast because of it. On vacations to the Caribbean, they would spend warm nights on his 52-foot French-made ketch, the Manukai, sipping rum and lime, gazing at the sky as he explained the concepts of celestial navigation.

Like much of his life, Walcott’s death in January of last year is still a mystery. The case went to the LAPD’s robbery-homicide division, where high-profile murders are sent. Leads grew cold. Witnesses were scared to talk because of the narcotics connection. And detectives say the surviving victim, Miami attorney Richard Reynolds, has stonewalled them. “He just gave us the bare minimum,” says Capt. Michelena.

Reynolds insists that he and Walcott were just grabbing a bite to eat while taking a daylong tour around Los Angeles. “There was nothing in that airplane but us,” he says in an interview. “I’m absolutely certain of it.” Reynolds says they had been flying from Miami, where Walcott did business and spent a lot of time with friends, to Vancouver, where Walcott lived. When a large storm hit western Canada, they waited it out in Lancaster because Walcott kept a plane there that he wanted to check on. “I was just along for the ride,” Reynolds says. And while he claims they were doing nothing illicit in Los Angeles, he says it was clear the attackers were specifically trying to kill his friend.

In court testimony from 1991, Walcott said he had tried once to transport cocaine in a plane, from Colombia in 1984, but his plan fell through when Colombian authorities seized the drugs. Walcott named his alleged accomplices--a city councilman in Colorado, a supplier in Cartagena, and Dodds. He testified that it was the first and only time he would do business with cocaine dealers in South America. “They were fairly violent people down there, and then I decided I didn’t like hard drugs or anything to do with that part of the world,” Walcott said.

Police suspect Walcott was some kind of mid-level trafficker--a few notches above the street thugs who usually get arrested. “By no means was he any Mr. Big,” says Michelena, who was transferred to another division late last year. The two detectives now on the case, who are also handling the murder of rapper Biggie Smalls, will not comment on details and will no longer confirm what was found in the plane. But they say they have new leads and are about to launch a round of interviews that could take them anywhere. “This is definitely a high-priority case,” says Det. Adrian Soler.

Family and friends are trying to work out where Walcott’s assets are. His daughter hasn’t been able to recover the planes, which were impounded. No one really knows what, if any, property he had when he died. There’s rumors of a place in the south of France and Swiss bank accounts.

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But the most vexing question is why such a seemingly comfortable, remarkably intelligent raconteur would enter such risky and sometimes foolhardy ventures. Walcott did show a restlessness in his day-to-day life. At home he’d pace furiously and chain-smoke, then flop on the couch and watch TV for hours, bored. To many friends, his death made perfect sense. There were dark flaws in his well-honed persona that drove him to that cul-de-sac in Montecito Heights, they say. “All the people who knew Dan knew that he was going to get killed at one time or another,” says George Linton, the longtime friend whom he tried to enlist in the money-laundering scheme.

What is amazing is that he lasted for so long.

*

Q. Mr. Walcott, how ever did you get involved in smuggling hashish?

A. Well, that’s a tough question. I suppose it’s a combination of things. Certainly I didn’t do it unless I were feeling a money pinch. I suppose a certain amount of it was a little bit of adventure.

--Walcott testifying at Denys Dodds’ 1991 trial for hashish smuggling

*

DAN WALCOTT LANDED IN THE OLD-GUARD AFFLUENCE OF SAN FRANCISCO as a young man in the early 1950s. He was tall and slender, with a round chin and smooth, boyish features. In social settings, he was confident and debonair, and his hooded blue eyes gave him a look of stately calm.

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At a ball held by a visiting Iranian prince, Walcott met a beautiful blond debutante named Patsy Browne. They were engaged within nine days. Browne was the daughter of a well-established Woodside family. Her father was a powerful member of the Bohemian Club, an exclusive men’s association of former U.S. presidents, power brokers and giants of industry.

Walcott’s purported blueblood credentials were not as clear to his society peers. Some even saw a Gatsby quality to him--an interloper in the world of old wealth. It showed fleetingly, in the way he displayed hundred-dollar bills or ordered only the most ostentatious wines, the ones you’d likely read about. “He was a gate-crasher,” says Linton.

In truth, Walcott was born in Texas and spent a middle-class childhood moving around the country: Cleveland, Connecticut, Oklahoma. His father was a geologist and businessman who fared relatively well during the Great Depression--"a sweet man,” says Walcott’s brother Bill. “We came from a very smart family, but not aristocracy,” he says. Dan told people he was the son of a judge, while it was his grandfather who had served on the bench, and that he was a descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence named Oliver Wolcott.

Walcott briefly joined the Navy and then attended the University of Virginia from 1946 to 1948 before dropping out. By all accounts, he showed a rare, rapid-fire intellect that could have led him anywhere.

All Patsy Browne knew about him was that he was a pilot for Pan American--which, it turns out, was not quite true. He worked as a steward and in sales for Pan Am.

In 1953, the Walcotts were married in a ceremony that filled the society pages of the San Francisco Chronicle. The reception was in the ballroom of the Bohemian Club. Patsy and Dan honeymooned in Acapulco and moved into a ranch-style home on a large property in the tony suburb of Atherton. In 1957, they appeared in Vogue magazine, talking about their travels in their Piper Apache and plans for an eight-week tour around several continents. Walcott was described as a “Navy flier during World War II” who owned his own finance and aircraft business. In reality, Walcott never flew in the war, although he did take flying lessons while in the Navy.

Soon after his daughter, Allison, was born in 1958, he began to fly refugees from the Congo to Europe for a Belgian airline. That year he formed a company called Trans Atlantic Airlines, expanding his business into worldwide freight and importing exotic animals to the United States. Allison recalls a childhood living all over the world: London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, New Delhi and Palm Beach. “I had a kangaroo as a pet in Palm Beach,” she says. The family’s glamorous lifestyle showed up in newspapers and magazines worldwide.

Wherever Walcott lived, he seemed to mix with the rich and powerful. In the Middle East, he knew sheiks and Saudi royalty. In London, he claimed to know the relatives of Winston Churchill. His family says they have seen, yet cannot find, photos of Walcott and the former prime minister himself enjoying an afternoon sipping brandy in the south of France. Later he made the acquaintance of former President Gerald R. Ford, who was part-owner of a radio station near Walcott’s ranch in Colorado.

But the Walcotts’ marriage was soon foundering. Patsy grew tired of living abroad and seeing her husband only a few months a year. She moved back to Atherton. “No one really knew my dad on the inside,” says Allison. What Walcott did was a secret to his wife and daughter. He later claimed to be working for the CIA. Allison still believes him. Regardless, by the early 1960s, Walcott was appearing in the world’s most troubled spots: Central Africa, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Vietnam. It is not known exactly when he started smuggling and spying. But he soon landed himself in a quagmire.

Walcott won a contract from Air India to carry freight from Afghanistan to Indian rail centers in his four DC-3s and DC-4s. He was also hopping around the region in his twin-engine Piper, staying in the nicest hotels and chatting up beautiful women. At one stop in India in 1962, he assured inspectors that a crate he was transporting held spare parts for one of his cargo planes. To his dismay, they opened the box anyway.

They discovered 10,000 rounds of 12-gauge ammunition, “an item that fetches six times its U.S. price on India’s black market,” according to the 1966 Time magazine article on the bust, which documented some of Walcott’s early exploits. Later he told friends the shells were for a maharajah.

Walcott spent half a year in a New Delhi jail before the chairman of Air India posted bail. He was tried, convicted of smuggling and sentenced to time served. His Piper was seized and placed under guard at the airport.

Unwilling to part with the plane, Walcott convinced airport officials that the Piper needed to have its engines run every day or it would fall into disrepair. They agreed to let him do the maintenance, which was all he needed to make his move. “Five airport guards tried to stop him by hanging on his tail,” Time reported. “He blew them off with a blast of prop wash and headed for Pakistan, but not before circling over the jail to drop a packet of cookies to his fellow inmates. Flying low, he eluded the Indian Air Force jets that were scrambled to bring him back.”

The fugitive pilot landed in Pakistan, which harbored deep hostilities toward India. Already the blowhard, the 36-year-old held a press conference ridiculing the Indian officials. He declared: “The only violation of Indian law I have committed is to waive procedural red tape, because I have had more than I can stomach.”

Throughout his life, nothing clashed more with Walcott’s personality than the slow, rigid churn of bureaucracy.

*

Q. Did you ever have a pilot’s license?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened to it?

A. I think it was canceled at the time I was arrested once.

Q. Arrested for what?

A. Defense of India Rules.

Q. You used this license [pointing to exhibit], but it was in fact fraudulent?

A. I didn’t use it. I never had to use it. I just had it.

Q. . . . You didn’t need a license to fly?

A. That’s right.

*

FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS, WALCOTT PLAYED A CAT-AND-MOUSE GAME with authorities. At one point, Lebanese counterintelligence determined he had taken aerial photos of their military installations and sold them to the Israelis. He was tried in absentia by a military court and sentenced to seven years of hard labor, but authorities were never able to catch him. He left his beloved Piper, which had been impounded for a different violation, to waste away on the hot tarmac, turning to junk in the Beirut sun.

Yann Novak was a young Hungarian pilot when he was hired to fly one of Walcott’s DC-4s, carrying cargo to Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Mogadishu. “He did have a legitimate business going,” says Novak. The operation was based in London’s Gatwick Airport and held numerous contracts for cargo and passengers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. When he and Walcott flew together, they would talk about art and politics and women. Walcott hated being alone and was quite sociable. But Novak quickly gathered that, despite his conservative appearance, his boss was extraordinarily reckless. “He had this buccaneer spirit,” he says.

Walcott made decisions instantly, with no second-guessing. After filing his flight plans, he’d decide to change his destination en route, telling no one. To visit his girlfriend in Israel, he’d fly directly from Cairo or Beirut to Tel Aviv--violating laws set by the enemy nations. He flew low to avoid the radar.

Novak soon began to hear the stories. He learned about the mess in India. “For a long time, he was public enemy No. 1 there,” he says. Officials everywhere knew Walcott. In Israel, guards made him cut open a watermelon to see if he was smuggling something inside. But the wily pilot could seemingly talk himself out of any situation. “He was a compulsive liar,” says Novak. “He couldn’t do anything legal if there was another way to do it.”

In the summer of 1964, Novak got caught up in one of Walcott’s schemes. He said he didn’t know it at the time, but his boss’ plan was to buy bars of gold in Beirut and smuggle them into India to sell on the black market. Novak was to meet him on a beach near Bombay. Walcott never showed.

Two days later, he knocked on Novak’s door at the Ritz Hotel in Bombay. He had met a Danish girl in London and it had taken him some time to get her into bed. After dropping the girl off to shop the fine boutiques of Beirut, he had headed to the Indian beach with another pilot in a leased plane, which did not have the proper gear for the sand landing.

The plane slammed into the beach, crushing the nose and bending the propeller. Uninjured, Walcott and his colleague scrambled out and buried the gold. They asked a police officer, who had emerged out of the palm trees with curious villagers, to watch the plane as they went to find Novak.

Knowing that authorities would be close behind, the three had to get out of the country. Walcott had no legal entry visa and knew that he would run into trouble with customs as he tried to depart. Thinking quickly, he mingled with incoming passengers from Nairobi and got a visa stamped on one of his bogus British passports, in the name of Peter John Philby. The three boarded a commercial flight and were gone.

Authorities soon realized what had happened. They found the gold buried on the beach and learned that the three men had escaped the country. The drama played out on the pages of the Times of India, with the final twist told in the headline “ ‘Philby’ None Other Than Walcott.” The story reported: “It is now believed that Peter John Philby, who, with [another pilot] escaped from Bombay airport after grounding their aircraft at Murud on June 8, is none other than Daniel Walcott, the notorious smuggler.”

After the India debacle, Novak decided he had had enough of his boss. “He already owed me so much in salary,” he says. “Everything was too dangerous. I didn’t want to take part in his stupid little schemes.” Novak went on to fly for commercial airlines, including Pan Am, for 30 years.

The law finally caught up with Walcott in 1966, while he was traveling from Ceylon to India using another fake passport. He was arrested in a Bombay hotel room with $32,500 worth of smuggled diamonds. Some of the rocks were in a sock, others were strapped to his foot with a Band-Aid. He broke down and confessed to authorities, according to Time magazine. It was believed he was working with a gang that had smuggled more than $150 million worth of gold and diamonds into the country. He spent the next six years in prison.

Friends who visited him in New Delhi reported that his place of incarceration was no squalid nether world. He had a garden and two servants, women could visit, and his roommate was a French spy. “It was apparently not the black hole of Calcutta,” says Linton.

*

Q. Now, Trans Atlantic Airlines, was that something that you spoke about to people in Vancouver, the airline itself?

A. I don’t see what you mean by spoke about.

Q. Did you tell people in Vancouver as late as [1990] and the year before that you owned a C-130 Hercules that was being flown in Saudi Arabia?

A. Yes. . . .

Q. . . . Were you lying to them?

A. Sure. There had to be some justification for, for instance--Well, people were asking what your business was.

*

IT APPEARED AT FIRST AS THOUGH DAN WALCOTT WAS SETTLING DOWN after his release from prison in the early 1970s. He co-founded a company in Wichita, Kan., to overhaul planes for resale. He bought a home in Evergreen, Colo., and a 1,600-acre ranch on the other side of the Rockies, in Durango. Now divorced, Walcott found a new wife, another socialite--though not one with a great fortune--and settled into life tending to his ranch among the aspens and elk herds along the Florita River.

But no corner went uncut. Trans Atlantic was now defunct, yet he claimed otherwise to get cheap airline tickets through industry discounts. To avoid capital-gains taxes, he bought the ranch in the name of a Liberian company that he had set up. To this day, no one knows where he got the money. His friends say he was penniless after his New Delhi jail time. Walcott told his daughter he had gotten a large payoff from the CIA to keep quiet about his work for the agency in India.

The Walcotts would pull in from Evergreen in their Jaguar like visiting royalty. Daniel wore ascots and brought $80 bottles of Port. He would cook elaborate dinners for his wife, her son Rex and sometimes the caretakers. Yet even out in the wilds, the restlessness overtook him. He bought an all-terrain vehicle to jet around the forests. “He’d scare the hell out of people in that thing,” says Rex, then 6. The manufacturer claimed the vehicle could not be flipped, which galvanized Walcott into trying. He took his wife and a friend straight up a cliff, flipping the vehicle. He’d take on odd projects, such as buying dynamite to blow up beaver dens. “He’d love that,” says Jeff Miller, who took care of the ranch for the Walcotts. “He’d blow up all the trees.” Once when the sheriff’s department was looking for a fugitive, he allowed them to use his property as a command post. As a thank you, he was given an honorary badge, which he later used to get out of a drunk-driving arrest in England.

But even as he reveled in playing gentleman rancher, the IRS was cracking down on him for nonpayment of taxes. So he arranged for the sale of the ranch in 1980 in a cash transaction conducted in Canada to avoid the IRS, he said in court testimony, claiming a $1.25-million profit. He moved his family, with his two beloved Lhasa apsos and four cars, to a swank 5,000-square-foot home overlooking the sound in West Vancouver. His 42-foot sloop, the Red Coat, was docked just below.

Walcott’s soft spot was his dogs. He took them all over the world. As his friends watched, laughing, he once fought off a donkey that was attacking his dog, Rogue, on a Caribbean island. And he wept for hours when the same dog was killed by a car.

But as he aged, Walcott’s anti-government and racist opinions became harsher. He claimed blacks were not human, according to friends. A notorious cheapskate, he couldn’t stand the thought of paying taxes, and avoided it in Canada by living there only part of the year and traveling the rest of the time. All his assets were registered to sham foreign companies. He ruthlessly sued and harassed friends and family members with whom he had disagreements. His good looks and charm were fading. He was becoming ever more bloated and bald and lazy.

George Linton, a Brit who had met Walcott in the 1970s and was living in the Oakland hills, watched the change. “He would call the waiter ‘boy,’ ” recalls Linton, now 80. But Linton, whose own politics are liberal, found Walcott to be great entertainment and was sucked into his world of adventure. He had been made West Coast manager in Walcott’s now-bogus airline company and traveled around the world for 25% fares. But as much as he enjoyed his friend’s eccentricities, he saw cracks in the veneer: the superficial knowledge of wines and cigars, and his reckless overconfidence. “I’ve seen Dan Walcott make some dreadful mistakes,” he says.

Often the risks of arrest weren’t worth the small financial gain. He’d smuggle car trunks full of frozen salmon out of local Indian reservations and boats full of booze from Washington to evade Canadian regulations, using secret compartments in the Red Coat. And knowing his expertise with dynamite, his friends widely suspect that he intentionally blew up the Manukai in Miami to collect insurance money. He claimed it was an accident with the butane tanks.

Walcott derived excitement from besting the system in any way. He ripped the seat belts out of his Jeep Wagoneer when the federal law was passed requiring them. And he routinely drove 100 miles an hour, never looking in his mirrors as he changed lanes. When he was pulled over for speeding, he would hand the officers one of his fake British passports. “He thought he was infallible,” says his stepson. “He thought he was above everything. That’s what his downfall was.”

*

In 1984, I’d made a couple of bad investments in real estate. Where I live in Vancouver is rather expensive. We had a large house to keep up, mortgage payments and so forth, and the lifestyle we were leading . . . . I was in urgent need for money, and, furthermore, I still had property tied up in Europe I couldn’t get any money out of.

So, anyway, [my friend] proposed that we fly to an area of Colombia or something, and he knew a Colombian that he introduced as Roberto Ochoa . . . we could buy the cocaine from him, and . . . he would ship some with us.

*

IF DAN WALCOTT WAS FINALLY brought down by his arrogance, then the denouement opens on a lonely road in Pakistan in 1990. Walcott is driving a Suzuki minivan on a sand spit in Karachi’s vast harbor. The summer sun is setting on the Arabian Sea. Stacked in the back is almost a ton of hashish he had bought from a man named Abdullah Bhai. And sitting next to Walcott is a young German chemist named Martin Nowitzki, whom he had picked up to help crew on the boat that will take the hashish to Vancouver.

Walcott’s good friend Dodds is supposed to be waiting at a spot on the beach with two dinghies, according to court documents describing the event. But he is not there. Walcott sends Nowitzki out to search in the gray light while he drives up and down the road, trying not to look suspicious.

Dodds is a well-established businessman from Vancouver in his 60s, a millionaire whose Johnston Floor Co. is laying the floors at the Vancouver police headquarters even as the drug deal goes down. He is also a member of the Vancouver Lawn and Tennis Club and vice president of sales in Walcott’s sham airline. Tonight he is helplessly drifting toward some mangroves, the motor in his dinghy dead. He had slammed the outboard’s propeller into the ground in shallow water, breaking the sheer pin.

Eventually he gets to shore and trudges through the swamp, dragging the disabled craft and a second dinghy. He meets Nowitzki, who fixes the engine. Walcott arrives and they load the 60-pound bags of hashish into the boats.

The overloaded inflatables can only travel about 2 miles an hour, and the hashish is getting wet in the choppy waters. The harbor is treacherous at low tide, turning into mudflats. Pakistani navy ships pass by while Walcott reads the navigation chart with a flashlight. They get to their boat, a ketch called the Ymeac II, anchored 300 yards off the Karachi Yacht Club.

After the contraband is loaded, Walcott fires up the engines, backs up and promptly gets stuck in the mud. Dodds and he start screaming at each other. Their quick exit from Pakistan is vanishing. They have to wait several hours for the high tide, then finally set sail for Dubai.

The Ymeac is listing terribly on the port side because of the cargo. Walcott cuts holes into the water tank in the center of the boat with a saber saw and stuffs the hash inside to help balance the boat. He spreads a coat of fiberglass to conceal the holes. When they reach Dubai, they decide to leave the boat and transport it later by freighter to Vancouver.

To help fund the cost of putting the boat on a cargo ship, Walcott and Nowitzki fly some of the hash in a private plane to Canada for sale. They load about 250 pounds into a small fuel tank in the plane and head back via the Arctic Circle. At one point, the heater quits and Nowitzki almost freezes to death. But back in Vancouver the trip begins to pay off as they sell the cargo to their contacts for $380,000, more than enough to finance transporting the sailboat. The rest of the contraband is soon on its way to the United States, where it ends up in Washington.

Almost eight months after the scheme is launched in the Karachi mud, Walcott is driving Dodds’ Mercedes with more than 500 pounds of the hashish in the trunk. The rear end is sagging as he heads west on the U.S. Boundary Road along the Washington-Canadian border. Nowitzki is waiting on the British Columbia side. The plan is to throw the hash across the muddy ditch that separates the two countries. Both vehicles flash each other. Walcott gets out and quickly realizes his mistake. A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been tailing him. He jumps back in and speeds away. He is pulled over, sweaty and nervous, and the agent opens the trunk.

Walcott pleads guilty and gets six years. He testifies to having twice before smuggled hashish by the same method. He and Nowitzki say that Dodds was also part of the plot. Although the Canadian businessman denies his involvement, he is sentenced to 16 years.

In an Oregon prison, Walcott teaches French to the other inmates and writes to friends about the importance of family. He is estranged from his second wife. “All of a sudden family matters,” says Linton. “Up to that point he could take everybody and love them and leave them.”

After his release, Walcott gets to know his daughter, with whom he was never close. He becomes good friends with his first wife, Patsy, who would not comment for this story except through her daughter. “They were soul mates,” says Allison. “The whole thing has just ruined her. She is so pissed at him for getting in the situation he was in.”

*

WALCOTT IS LYING ON THE warm L.A. asphalt in his blazer and gray trousers. Dogs are barking. The freeway is roaring across the Arroyo Seco. The sky is clearing above him. The neighbors slowly come out of their yards. It is a poor neighborhood, a slice of Latin America. A Peruvian woman who witnessed the shooting walks down to el gordito, the fat man, the racist. His hooded eyes are blinking and then stop, open. She closes them. Blood is streaming from his chest. Others come up. They bless him. The Peruvian woman walks up to her apartment and returns, gently placing a pillow under his head.


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