October 2017


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

Everyone has a story. Everyone dreams. If I'm gonna tell a real story, I'm gonna start with my name. Steven Kalish...

December 1979, Freeport, Texas: The Game Changer

Along with the Americans, I supervised as the off loaders formed an assembly line. Inside, I jumped impatiently like I could make them move faster, but they struck as quick as snakes before the prey knew what hit. Two men disappeared into the cargo bay. Two men remained on the ship’s deck. In a flash, the first fifty-pound bale appeared from the cargo hold, and then handed to a deckhand. The deckhand tossed the bale into another guy’s chest knocking a grunt of air from his lungs. He heaved the fifty-pound bale onto the conveyor to be rolled along by a dozen hands until reaching the back of the tractor-trailer. Within minutes, the conveyor rolled ten bales to the men inside the container. Each off loader stacked the bales until there were 400 hundred total or 20,000 pounds of Gold Bud. I made sure each bale was accounted for. I never missed a beat like a seasoned drummer keeping perfect time. I realized no amateurs were among this crew at the rate of speed it took to fill the first truck, and how the next truck, with reverse lights on, ready to take its place.

The Mr. Jake operation ran smoothly. But I kept checking my watch as each moment turned critical because time, man-made or not, was what we needed, what I wanted. As the night grew colder and the sleet threatened to explode, I saw less than two miles to the southwest, the lights of a Coast Guard “Cutter” leaving the station’s marina. They chugged along at the wake speed of the ICW. I slipped the Nighthawk binoculars to my eyes, looked to my right.

The Coast Guard didn’t head into the Gulf. They headed our way.

I knew what the fuck was going on before the Cutter’s lights fired on, revving up their engines, the bow shooting up when yoked to full throttle. To my left I saw the helicopter suddenly appear, hovering like Zeus the Olympian supreme ruler of the gods, sky, and rain. I turned to the Americans just as the sleet shot sideways through the dark.

“We’re fucked,” I said, when we were rushed by a squadron of task vehicles simultaneously announcing themselves, screaming down the one way in-and-out road that led to the marina.

“Run for it,” someone in the crew yelled as the Cutter closed in only a thousand feet away.

No other escape but to dive into the fifty-degree ICW water or run beyond the fuel shed through the salt water marshes of swamp sludge mud, cottonmouth snakes and alligators. Tommy fucked us good, ratting out both operations and the Feds seizing the El Cobre, "Operation Mainstay," offshore just so they could catch us hands-on with 100,000 pounds of pot.

A brilliant bright light from the helicopter shot down over the marina. “This is the police! Lay down!”

Bud and Jud along with some off loaders hit the ground. Others scattered in the blazing light crashing into their own shadows. I stood on the dock beside the Mr. Jake. I desperately searched for my brother. I kept screaming for “Kyle,” but nothing could penetrate the deafening noise from the helicopter propellers. But I knew Kyle understood what he needed to do. He was running through the marshland or flat on the ground gripping his own survival with the same luck we all wanted in a world without guarantee. Only I knew better and later would find out that for five-thousand measly dollars upfront from the Feds and twenty-five if my conviction succeeded, Tommy slime ball could grin his sick-shit grin.

Then I saw Rob down the dock. Our eyes locked. I waved him over. He trusted me with binding arms, believing I held an answer unlike any other man at that moment.

“Follow me, “I yelled as Rob joined me to race straight to the edge of the dock. We skidded to a stop. I glanced down at the dark water below just as a Fed, gun aimed straight at us, stepped onto the opposite end.

I stripped off my green water-proof cold weather jacket as Rob followed my lead. I pulled off my low top water-resistant hiking boots.

Before we jumped off the dock, I pulled my one-thousand-dollar binoculars from around my neck.

“What the fuck?” Rob yelled as he flung his last boot aside.

“I’ll be damned if those motherfuckers take these babies.” I smiled then pitched the Nighthawks into the damning abyss.

“Freeze right there!”

I spun my head around in time to see the Fed charging until he reached the Mr. Jake a hundred feet away. He’d be on us in seconds. The last thing I heard before Rob and I jumped into the fifty-degree water was, “FREEZE!” and the shot fired from his gun.

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LARGEST DRUG SMUGGLING RING EVER DISCOVERED IN THE UNITED STATES...... COMING 2018-2019 the non-fiction crime epic "The Last Gentleman Smuggler" by former Texans Steven M. Kalish, a fifteen-year-old hippie drop-out to one of the largest pot smugglers and money-laundering masters in a tribe not his own, and Nikki Palomino, award-winning author/filmmaker DAZED Novel Trilogy, rock journalist, former grunge rock musician/radio personality. The true crime story about the largest smuggling operation in U.S. history.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

July 1984

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