May 2017


From The Pages of
"The Last Gentleman Smuggler":
A Book By Steven M. Kalish and Nikki Palomino


"He was a leader, a man who could inspire other people to work for him." Assistant US Attorney Robert Kennedy

"He's a marked man, no questions about that," said former federal prosecutor Jacobs. "If he ever gets discovered, they'll take him out."

"He lived a life that resembled something out of 'Miami Vice'." AP reporter Mike Yuen Feb. 7,1988.

Steven Kalish had no less than 150 US organization members, contacts with officials in Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Jamaica, Bahamas, Panama, Colombia and with the Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI) where he laundered money for the Medellin Cartel, connections to Suadi Arabia bankers in Middle East, Miami, London, Paris and more.

DEA tagged him with the title "The Last Gentleman Smuggler".


"Who knew the Cubans were as crazy as the Colombians would prove to be? Don Nichols and Peaches would be sitting in one of our safe houses, and fucking Tony or Armando would blow through the door, screaming for me, red-bronzed faces dripping coke sweat.

'I'm gonna kill dat piece of chit!' Every other day, the hyped-up Cubans would get pissed-off and go nuts.

Again, smuggler's creed that by now I'd drilled into my crew; diffuse the fucking situation. Kick their asses to the curb...

The New Drug World Order had begun." Don Nichols

"Dante's inferno depicts his journey through hell as nine circles within the earth for those who have rejected spiritual values. The allegory describes recognition to move the soul toward God and rejection of sin.

As a fugitive, I crawled to the next circle, successful importation of 250,000 pounds of pot to over a million, buying, arranging transport, off-loading, and finding distribution...even sending out millions of dollars to Colombia. At one point I had in excess of 38,000,000 dollars in my Tampa home. Guarded by an armed crew, we had counting machines but had to stop because we could not keep up with the volume.

Dealing with that much cash from large importations became a serious problem. My attention switched to removing the money from the US to abroad...I slipped easily into the next circle of Hell."

"This isn't a fuckin' charity I'm running," Doc McGhee said as he stared at the Gold Records lining his office wall. "I'm working with some really hot bands, and I don't need to see my name on the front page of the papers involved in some drug-dealing fuck-up."

"Plan's good. Thirty days from now, you'll love us." Leigh Ritch, the Hollywood party-boy who arranged Steven's cash to be deposited in the Cayman Island's banks charmed Heather Locklear until Tommy Lee stole her was a fast talker. He was as charming and handsome as Steven. Mike Vogel was third partner in the organization, a Detroit thug with teamster connections and distribution for transport. He also could bribe US Customs and longshoreman and anyone needed to import into commercial ports. The three were a gold mine to people like Doc.

"If this doesn't work, we no longer do business, and you'll be hawking programs at Motley Crue concerts till you die."

I was really glad Doc liked and respected me but the other two? Not so much.

An indictment was issued against Doc McGhee, but it was Bon Jovi's secret letter to the judge that brought his acquittal.

"A full moon can be intoxicating pulling up the scent of an ex-girlfriend who cheated with a friend. She was Don Nichol's girl while he was in prison for the arrest at Sarita's infamous checkpoint. All the time she would visit just to feast on his vulnerability. Know how it feels locked-up like an animal in a cage? Not a lot to hold onto except hope for a future she'd offered in the oppressive heat. The world could go up in flames, and he wouldn't notice because the paralysis receded with her promises. But back at the Savage Ranch after his release, Don knew she'd cheated and every word from her mouth fell empty. He had lived as intensely and as dissolutely as every other inmate decomposing from a life gone wrong. Freedom replaced the idea she'd inspired love." Don Nichols

"I was trapped but I had been long before this moment, probably as far back as when I first felt the feel of a dollar bill between my fingers from moving product or even farther back smoking a joint with friends and listening to a vinyl record of the Stones. Then I got smacked in the gut by the worst exhaustion I'd ever felt. I barely made my way to the bunk room. But I did, collapsed onto the bed.

I could get caught. I could lose everything I'd worked hard for. Thought a second about Mr. Jake, and the pot bust happening outside. But the fatigue kicked my ass as unstoppable as remaining a player in the shade of a powerful temptation..."

"I didn't have a clue in 1970 the predecessor Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) of the DEA was discovering Noriega had a potential for more than military prowess, all the drugs shared with friends. And I wanted as many friends I could have since my family didn't really give a fuck what I did. Had I only known, but then, I wouldn't have changed the path I would walk for fifteen years."

I had reached 'Kingpin Status' under A Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) charge. The US Marshals shackled my ankles with leg-cuffs which forced me to shuffle side-to-side like an ambling penguin across the ice. Then they wrapped a leather chain-belt around my waist and cinched it as tight as a corset.

"You uncomfortable?" the tough-ass burly one asked with a smirk.

I shook my head no, didn't utter a word because I'd learned protesting meant they'd tighten the belt even more.

"You sure? Don't want to hurt a high-profile Godfather important enough to be flown back to Tampa on Con-Air." A Boeing 727, looking like an FAA reject, 'The Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS).

I didn't have time to answer. The cuffs around my wrists were hooked through the chain-bel , making it a bitch to scratch my nose. Funny how the damned thing starts itching like a junkie's when hands can't reach up.

I sucked in the snot as a trickle tried running down my upper lip. Words of wisdom shot through the constellation of gray matter.

"You wiseguys out there? This shit is what you think'll make you a bad-ass?"

When Steven Kalish was arrested in 1984, he wrote an 18 page letter to Manuel Noriega to explain his position. Noriega never blamed Steven for testifying against him. The loyalty those he worked with over the years proves he really earned the DEA agent's title, "The Last Gentleman Smuggler."

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LARGEST DRUG SMUGGLING RING EVER DISCOVERED IN THE UNITED STATES...... COMING 2017-2018 the non-fiction crime epic about one of the most compelling stories in the twentieth century "The Last Gentleman Smuggler" by former Texans Steven M. Kalish, a fifteen-year-old hippie drop-out becoming one of the largest pot smugglers and money-laundering masters in US history, and Nikki Palomino, award-winning author/filmmaker DAZED Novel Trilogy, rock journalist, former grunge rock musician/radio personality. The book/film/TV series "The Last Gentleman Smuggler" will be a thrill-ride about the only rogue American white boy to ever rise as high in a tribe not his own. Confirmed by US Navy special ops Sonny Bradford in classified information while working to spot Pablo Escobar's shipments of cocaine into US until 2001 when deployed to chase terrorists in Middle East. Unforgettable!!!!!!

July 1984

“I have been involved in marijuana smuggling for most of my adult life....I am Steven Michael Kalish, convicted narcotics smuggler.”


Leigh Ritch AP press, Bon Jovi with Secret Letter, Doc McGhee, Nikki Palomino, Steven Kalish, Don Nichols: All copyrights allowed.

Leigh Ritch AP press

Leigh Ritch AP press

Bon Jovi with Secret Letter

 Bon Jovi with Secret Letter

Doc McGhee

 Doc McGhee

Nikki Palomino

Nikki Palomino

Steven Kalish

Steven Kalish

Don Nichols

Don Nichols