Back To Previous Page

McCracken County Public Library presents Kentucky True Crime 101: Cornbread Mafia

Overview 
Listings 

Overview

McCracken County Public Library presents a book discussion with Author Jim Higdon.

Higdon will discuss his book Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code Of Silence And The Biggest Marijuana Bust In American History.
When you think of modern crime syndicates, big cities often come to mind: New York, South Central Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Not Marion County, Kentucky, but that is where this true tale takes place. It may come as a surprise that the largest home-grown marijuana syndicate in American history was not in California or somewhere else on the coast, but in the heart of the heartland, hidden amongst tobacco fields and Friday-night fish fries. But if you understand the history of this region, a history Higdon will discuss, it makes perfect sense.

The Cornbread Mafia is a national bestseller about the largest homegrown marijuana syndicate in American history who were a band of Kentucky farmers descended from Prohibition-era moon shiners. They first became known to the public in June 1989 when federal prosecutors revealed that 20 men were arrested for organizing a marijuana trafficking ring that stretched across the Midwest.

Author James Higdon—whose relationship with Johnny Boone made him the first journalist subpoenaed under the Obama administration—takes the audience back to the 1970s and ’80s and the clash between federal and local law enforcement and a band of Kentucky farmers with moonshine and pride in their bloodlines. By 1989 the task force assigned to take down men like Johnny Boone had arrested sixty-nine men and one woman from busts on twenty-nine farms in ten states, and seized two hundred tons of pot. Of the seventy individuals arrested, zero talked.

Higdon is a graduate of Centre College, Brown University, and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Since publishing The Cornbread Mafia, he has moved to Louisville, where he works as a freelance journalist for POLITICO Magazine and The Washington Post.

Listings