The fruit that cocaine smugglers like to use

What is it about pineapple that’s so doggone attractive for cocaine smugglers. Some of the largest drug busts in the last few years have been finding coke in pineapples. Just think about the pineapples that have made it through.

If you like adventure novels with drug smuggling, check out our Tom Stone books on this blog site and on Amazon.

Savannah, Georgia — Coke in Pineapples

A news report from early 2019, revealed that cocaine smugglers from Colombia tried to sneak about 1,000 pounds of coke worth $19 million past authorities. It didn’t work. The CBP Area Port Director, Lisa Beth Brown, said the find was “an outstanding interception of narcotics by our CBP officers” and the work highlights what “our officers do each day to stop illegal activity at our borders and ports of entry.”

Spain and Portugal 2018

Authorities in Spain and Portugal got their notice a year earlier when inspecting a container of pineapples. The little white powder was everywhere.

According to Reuters, the coke-stuffed pineapples were discovered as part of a collaboration between police in Spain and Portugal that began almost a year ago. The joint investigation led them to search a series of shipping containers, where they discovered that the shipment of pineapples from South America was moving more than just fruit.

Around 745 kg of cocaine—1,642 pounds—were split into packages, coated in pineapple-yellow wax, and hidden inside hollowed-out shells of the spiky fruit. Police seized the fruit stash of blow and raided a lab in Spain where the stuff was allegedly going to be cut and repackaged, making nine arrests in the process, Business Insider reports.

Costa Rica Pineapple Growers are Ticked

Pineapple growers in Costa Rica are upset with the cartels for using their precious fruit to smuggle illicit drugs. The pineapple growers say the smuggling hurts their reputation and can damage their industry since the smugglers are coming out of Colombia.

In Costa Rica, exporters ship out about 2,000 containers of pineapples every week.

Abel Chavez , the president of the National Chamber of Producers and Exporters of Pineapple (Canapep), says “The damage that this is doing to the country’s image and to the sector is big. The country can lose competitiveness over this. The countries that import pineapple from Costa Rica might decide to scan the shipments of pineapple for security reasons, and this could result in an additional cost for the industry.

Cocaine Smuggling in our Tom Stone Novels

In Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas, we introduce cocaine smuggling using candy in vending machines. The find puts Detective Tom Stone onto the heels of Anthony Angelino, a story line that continues through Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights and Tom Stone: Day of the Dead.

All 3 novels are available on Amazon and our fourth novel Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill will be out in Summer 2019.

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Letters from Prison and Our Tom Stone Crime Thriller

This is an excerpt from an actual letter that I, Don, received from my godson. He’s that in name only. We adopted his younger sister when she was a few years old. We didn’t know about M until he was 11 years old. He was the product of not just a broken home and family but one that was smashed and devastated by abuse.

Background for the Prison Letter

He’s been in and out of jail and prison the last few years. Since our Tom Stone stories deal with real life, I felt this prison letter excerpt would be appropriate. I may post other excerpts. I left in some misspellings and bad grammar usage and corrected others for readability.

Note: S.B. in the letter stands for San Bernardino

So much, so much in the last 2 wks. Riots, stabings raids and kilings here in the prison an drug overdoses[.] People been dying left an right. It’s been crazy and I got into some fights but I didn’t lost time we are now getting off lock down. We were on 24 hour lock down for 2 weeks an a few days I’m still not in school or any classes because I’m too short to the house is what my CCII tild me so I won’t be in anything. Anywayz I still haven’t got no word back about my probation statis if I’m going to S.B. or LA.

Have they talked to you guys? I know I’m on gang file which is all Bad for me if I have to go back to the S.B. Because I’m from a L.A. gang an the S.B. gangs don’t like L.A. gang members  like me. So hopefully I can go to LA. Anyways going through a lot.

People are coming at me, saying things to get me to get mad because I’m going home so I plan on staying in my cell for a few weeks to stay away from everyone, I’m ok anyways.

Let everyone in the church group I thank them so much for all the letters. It realy made my day. I even dropped a few tears. Please let them know I really thank them.

Well thank you so much for being by my side. Thank you an love you.

P.S. Can you please put $50 on my books?

M is the basis for the boy Andrew who’s featured in each Tom Stone story.

Detective Stone meets Andrew at a foster care group home in Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas and befriends him, seeing that Andrew needs a family or else he’ll grow up in foster care and head right into prison.

Crime Thrillers and Stupid Criminal Stories: Week 2 Feature

Stupid criminal stories gives us a chance to chuckle while we write our Tom Stone Detective thriller novels and short stories. In week two of each month, we’ll feature a story that shows not only does crime not pay, it’s sometimes good for a laugh or two.

Here are selections from the Reader’s Digest: The 15 Unluckiest Dumb Criminals Ever featuring this little escapade that gets you right up the nose.

Drug thieves in Silver Springs, Florida broke into a home and saw three jars. Whoa! Their lucky day. Cocaine, no question about it. They grabbed the jars, took them home, snorted them down, got caught and discovered the jars were urns and they were snorting the remains of the victim’s husband and two dogs.

We’ll have the link to the Reader’s Digest crime shorts down below. ‘

In other news:

Hey, look at what’s new: a sneak preview of Tom Stone Chapter 1 from our upcoming book Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill.

Get in on the fun this month by clicking here and joining our reader’s group.

You can also email me, Don, directly at dsimkovich@gmail.com if you have any questions or problems accessing the sign up form. We do not spam. We send out our newsletter from one to two times per month.

In other thriller and crime news, we got a new 5-Star Review for our thriller novel Tom Stone: Day of the Dead. It’s brief but nice. And you can read it by clicking here on the Amazon page.

If you’re new to our blog, here’s a good post that will orient you to what it’s about. It’s titled If you’re new to our crime thriller blog.

Now, you can dig into those Reader’s Digest brief stupid criminal stories by clicking here on this url: https://www.rd.com/funny-stuff/dumb-criminals-unlucky/.

Real life inmates and our Tom Stone thriller stories

In our crime fiction novels and short story, we bring in many real life elements including foster care and interracial romance.

In our first three novels, our criminal on the run, Anthony Angelino, was a realistic person. Part of our writing comes from Don’s relationship with an inmate, a young man who grew up in a group home and then spent almost two years living with Don’s family.

CRIMINAL REALITIES: EXPENSIVE CARE PACKAGES

One of the realistic elements of having an inmate relative in custody is that sending approved care packages through the available services is incredibly expensive.

Look at this below: would you pay $55 for this collection?

Item 1 of 1

Winter Wishlist

Christmas Cookies (1)
Yogurt Dipped Holiday Pretzels (2)
Mint Dipped Oreos (2)
Holiday Card (1)
Hawaiian Punch – Juicy Red (1)
Ramen – Chili (2)
Ramen – Cajun Chicken (2)
Ramen – Picante Beef (2)
Hot Chocolate (2)
Maxwell House (1)
Vanilla Cappuccino (1)
Mocha Cappuccino (1)
Creamer (10)
Reeses Peanut Butter Cup (1)
Snack Crackers (1)
Big Haus Summer Sausage (1)
Hot Pepper Cheese Bar (1)
Jalapeno Cheetos (2)
Nacho Doritos (2)
White Cheddar Popcorn (2)
$55.99
REFORM SHOULD REDUCE THE COST OF INMATE CARE PACKAGES
We’ve not checked to see if some of the legislation for justice reform impacts the cost of gifts like this or the lack of hygiene products available.
In a state like California, which boasts the seventh or eighth largest economy in the world, inmates in county jails and state prisons have a tough time getting basic hygiene products like soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste unless their friends or relatives pay for it.
Well, more reality to work into our future stories. 

Covers for action thriller Tom Stone Detective Stories on Amazon
Racing through the streets of Los Angeles neighborhoods in pursuit of justice.

UPDATE ON OUR TOM STONE STORIES

 

We are mid-way through Book 4 and we’ll reveal the title soon. Stay tuned. It promises to be an epic novel of drug dealing and battling in Los Angeles, bringing together the story lines of the previous novels.
Now, enjoy this excerpt from Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead, Chapter 2

 

EXCERPT: TOM STONE: DAY OF THE DEAD

 

Anthony Angelino’s prison-issued jumpsuit did more than mark him as an inmate in California’s state prison system. It seemed like a shield that protected him from his visitor ….
…. Prison inmates were responsible for requesting visitors and then applications were sent to the prospective friend or relative. Angelino let weeks and then months pass before taking action. In his mind, Amman was a foe and not a friend, so he had no problem waiting and making Amman write multiple letters asking about the visitation status ….
…. Angelino’s hatred for Amman had been reinforced during the visit. He sauntered back to the cell block and tried once again to shut out thoughts of the bustling dispensary he had owned in East Hollywood.
He reached his bunk where his cellmate, Calvin, lay with an arm covering his face. His chest heaved and Angelino could tell that the man was crying.
“You didn’t see nothing.” Calvin was doing time for holding up a check cashing store and his wife told him during their visit that she was divorcing him.
“No problem, man,” Angelino responded. Showing weakness wasn’t a good idea in lockup. It made a man vulnerable to predators and Angelino had no business ratting on people who didn’t cause him any trouble.
He stretched on his mattress and wondered what Sara was doing at the moment and if she was thinking about him. Tension built as he pictured her going to nursing school, taking classes, graduating, and leaving him.
Shit. He hated Amman and he hated Stone for getting him tossed into the system. And he hated his attorney for taking so damned long to do something, anything that would get him out.
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Discover a new author and thriller stories.
Read about our books on our Crime Books page or click on this link to Amazon.

Missing the Bad Guy in Our Book 4 Thriller Novel

We did it and I’ve felt the sting of loss for some time. So has Lon, even though he has nerves of steel and is more hardened by life’s experiences than me.

Writing and Editing Manual Typewriter

Loss is hard but at least in our Tom Stone Book 4 we’re referring back to the life of Anthony Angelino.

Killing off a bad guy that you kind of like isn’t an easy decision. He had likable qualities as noted by this reviewer:

I know that Anthony Angelino was a bad guy, BUT he was misunderstood most of the book. He was the sort of character that can open this marijuana dispensary to help the medical needs of sick people and then get caught up inside a nasty world. I loved him and even though he was walking a fine line, I found him very endearing! — Reading Renee, review of Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

We saw some growth in this wanna-be drug lord from Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas where he appeared a silent man, slipping in and out of the scene, escaping from problems.

But in Book 2 Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights, he decided to take a stand in his career and open a legal marijuana dispensary in East Hollywood. The mob couldn’t scare him and neither could Detective Stone who was in pursuit of justice and suspected Angelino wasn’t just selling pot, especially after Stone caught his teenage daughter inside the store:

[Stone] rocked on his heels. “You only got legal pot in here?”

“Medicinal cannabis.” Angelino spit the words in an effort to control his temper. 

“Bullshit.” Stone opened two desk drawers and spotted a bag of organic dog food. 

“Where’s the search warrant, Detective?” growled Angelino.

Stone didn’t listen. “You did it with candy. What else can you do it with?” He turned inside the tight space and knocked papers off the desk. He then headed to the back of the store. “What’s all this shit?” He swiped his hands along the counter and a few jars of products crashed to the floor. 

Angelino yelled out. “What the hell, asshole?” He wanted to punch Stone but held his fury in check. “I’ll bill the city for this.”

Angelino was one of those people who had ideas and big dreams but he couldn’t make things turn out the way he wanted them to. Something always went wrong as we finally saw in Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead.

We tip our hats to quite a character that we created and enjoyed, glad that future readers will find him and hopefully find him as endearing as we did.

Stay up to date as we work on our 4th novel –we haven’t released the title just yet. But will. 

When you join our readers group, you’ll get a free chapter from Tom Stone: Day of the Dead and our short story for free.

Click here and stay up to date. You never know what you might hear. 

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My inmate son is reading a Tom Stone thriller story

He grew up in the foster care system, moving from house to house while his sister came to my wife and I at five weeks of age. M was the oldest of five or more children and was born into a violent family. We didn’t meet him until he was 11 years old and living at a group home facility between Pasadena and Los Angeles. It took a couple of years to gain his trust and see him open up when he came to our house for a visit.

CoverWhen I first started writing what became Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas, I thought of him. M helped shape the character of Andrew in my mind and I appreciate my co-author Lon letting the boy in the story flourish.

He’s now 30 years old and is in a county jail–again, for a parole violation–and voluntarily extended his sentence so he could get some help and have housing available for when he’s released again.

He had been asking for a copy of our Tom Stone stories and I finally remembered to send one. He called me today and had read the first chapter and was telling other guys in his block about the story–with the opening around Christmas time and Detective Tom Stone meeting Andrew, noticing the frenetic way the boy handled himself.

As we talk about social justice and racism in this country, one of the elements that frequently gets left out of the discussion is the importance of family in a child’s life. Sadly, foster care is a path to prison unless dedicated families step in. Det. Tom Stone does that and continues the relationship with Andrew in Book 2 Sweltering Summer Nights and Book 3 Day of the Dead.

We’re writing a short story and will release it soon where Stone also goes hiking into a canyon with Andrew, his detective partner Jake and Jake’s son.

M is excited about finishing the book and it helps pass his time. It also gives him a window on life choices and can alleviate the loneliness and boredom that can be tough.

Perhaps the Tom Stone stories can inspire him to write since he does have a creative talent that I’ve seen expressed. I’ll be interested to know what he thinks of the story.

Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas is available on Amazon, Kobo and iTunes.

Here’s an excerpt where Stone is visiting Andrew and his counselor Luke at the group after the Christmas party.

EXCERPT

Stone felt too self-conscious to play like Luke but he moved the dog around on the floor near Andrew. “Do you like dogs, Andrew?”

The boy waited and looked from Stone to Luke and then nodded. “They can be nice.” His face changed and he spoke in an ominous tone. “And they can snarl and bite.” Andrew grabbed the dog and growled in a low voice.

“Do they growl when they’re scared or angry, Andrew?” asked Luke.

Andrew let go of the dog, didn’t say anything for a few moments, and then spoke up. “Dogs run away from home.” Life seemed to vanish from his eyes after he spoke.

 

 

Discovering the criminal in a crime story: Al Pacino

A good crime story reveals the humanity of the criminal …

… and that’s what readers will discover with Anthony Angelino in our Tom Stone detective stories. We see in him a bit of Al Pacino’s Tony Montana from the movie Scarface.

Pacino Scarface Scene

Angelino developed from a quiet, elusive figure in Book 1 Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas to more of an entrepreneur shaking the mob in Book 2 Tom Stone Sweltering Summer Nights.

And in Book 3, Tom Stone Day of the Dead, his girlfriend Sara has dreams of living a quiet, family life and would love for him to do something—normal.

So why do we see a bit of Tony Montana in Angelino?

Scarface was not an easy movie to watch, but it was gripping. Al Pacino’s character has big dreams but unfortunately it’s through the criminal life. He sees others who have made it big and he knows he can do the same. He’s willing to sacrifice others for all the wrong reasons.

A memorable part of the movie was when Montana visited his mother and sister as we see in this YouTube clip. His mother knows what’s up. Below the clip is an excerpt from Anthony Angelino speaking with his girlfriend Sara.

Much of the world around us can look bright and shiny and we don’t realize how deadly it really is. Somehow we think we’re invincible. And maybe we’re too late in understanding what’s really important.

Tony Montana lived and fought for—?

It’s a question that’s worth pondering.

Why do people invest their lives in pursuing money when it’s fraught with danger?

Tom Stone Sweltering Summer Nights Cover
Can Angelino escape the mob’s clutches?

EXCERPT TOM STONE SWELTERING SUMMER NIGHTS, CHAPTER FOUR

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

“What is going on?” [Sara] sounded like she was fighting to control her panic.

“Just leave me alone.” Angel looked in a mirror on the wall behind the counter and touched the cut. He winced. “Damn.”

“Angel let’s get out of here. Close it up, sell it off. Let’s leave LA.”

“And go where? And do what?”

“Here, let me look at that.” Sara reached her hands like she wanted to hold his face, but he slapped her away.

“My father took a bullet as a policeman in Yucatan to protect the mayor down there. It was a war between the cops and the drug lords. And with the help of the CIA, the cops ran the drug cartel out of town.” He shook his head. “Can you believe it? The cops actually won.

“But the mayor had other ideas. He just took over, formed his own cartel, and stuffed his pockets with all the dollars earned on the backs of cocoa farmers. Yeah, the drug lords did more for the community than the elected officials. And I knew then what I would do. Earn lots of money and give back. Sure, I could sell everything and run. And do what?”

Sara mumbled. “Sell cars.”

“Sell cars?” Angel laughed. “How about horses and buggies?”

“Angel.” She motioned to his nose and forehead. “What are they going to do next? Kill you?”

“They could have killed me a long time ago. They’re smart. They let me do the hard work and then come in and think they’re going to suck the profits away from me. I know more than they do, Sara. You’ll see.” He held her, kissed her on the forehead and his problems seemed to disappear for a moment until the front door opened.

Detective Tom Stone entered. He greeted Angelino and Sara with a half-smile. “Well, how about this?”

Angelino couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His first instinct was to strike out, but he stayed behind the counter and forced a casual tone.

“Yes. How about it? Good morning, Detective. To what do I owe the pleasure? Or are you here to find something to help you chill out?”

“If I did, this is the last place I’d look.”

Angel smiled. “Well, look anyway. There’s a lot of variety. Shatter or some crumble and if you want weed, we only carry the best like King Moses OG. I just need to see your medical ID card first.”

Stone ignored the comment and nodded at Sara. “How are you?”

“Fine,” she replied.

He had been impressed how she calmly gave her testimony during the hearings.

“Still making bad choices, I see.” He glanced around the shop. “Impressive.”

“Thank you.” Angelino beamed. “You should open up one of these places. You’d make more money in a single month than you would in a year being a detective.”

“Hey, I may not make a lot of money, but I got a little something for you,” said Stone.

“Oh, nice. What is it? Another false arrest?”

Stone smirked, reached into his pocket, and tossed a gumball to Angelino who caught it and popped it into his mouth.

“Mmm, tasty.” He blew a bubble.

Stone looked closely at Angelino. “You’re looking a little banged up.”

“Uh, yeah. Cut myself shaving.”

Stone smiled. “On your nose? And your forehead?”

“Shit happens. Life is funny that way.” He spit the gumball into the trashcan. “They lose their flavor too quickly.”

“How about that? I got it from one of your machines.”

“What do you expect for twenty-five cents?”

Stone looked at the shelves and surveyed the various flavors of weed. “I see you don’t have vending machines here.”

“Of course not.”

“Angel, what are you doing?”

“Making money while at the same time helping people.”

“This is illegal.”

Angelino responded. “Nothing illegal here. Everything’s on file. After all, this is a not-for-profit cooperative sanctioned by none other than the fucking City of Los Angeles.”

The Mercedes pulled into the front parking lot. What the hell?

Stone took his time browsing while outside Wu got out of the car and made his way to the store. Angelino kept a gun in his desk. Maybe this was the time to do away with both of them at once. He could only wish.

Sara looked outside and then spoke to Stone. “Nice seeing you again. I have work to do. I’ll be in the back.”

“You take care of yourself, Sara.” Stone sounded sincere.

“Of course.” She went to the back.