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On This Day



On This Day… Cocaine And Fast Cars

Written by: George Chittenden : 09 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 19th Oct, back in 1982 when the automaker John Z. DeLorean was arrested and charged with conspiracy to obtain and distribute 27 KG of cocaine. The chairman of the DeLorean Motor Company had serious financial problems and needed $17 million to prevent DMC's imminent insolvency. Several people thought they’d take advantage and DeLorean was stupid enough to let them.

Automaker John Z. DeLorean

Automaker John Z. DeLorean

A former neighbour of DeLoreans who was in serious trouble himself, Timothy Hoffman, put together the cocaine deal in the hope he’d get a reduced sentence for a 1981 federal cocaine trafficking charge on which he was awaiting trial. DeLorean was recorded by undercover federal agents agreeing to bankroll a cocaine smuggling operation, and then he was caught in a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport with the cocaine.

Caught red handed right? Well actually John Z. DeLorean was successfully defended at trial with the procedural defence of police entrapment. DeLorean's lawyers successfully argued that the FBI and DEA had unfairly targeted and illegally entrapped him when they allowed Hoffman, an active FBI informant, to randomly solicit DeLorean into a criminal conspiracy simply because he was known to be financially vulnerable. DeLorean was found not guilty but by then DMC had already collapsed into bankruptcy and DeLorean's reputation as a businessman was irrevocably tarnished. So next time you’re watching ‘Back to the Future’, and you’re wondering why those cars are rare, well now you know.

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