1. A former British army major goes from security contractor to extreme restauranteur in Iraq’s Green Zone as he opens a bar that offers peacekeepers, foreign soldiers and mercenaries a calm respite and fine bottle of Bordeaux.

    “James bought a contraband moped, a Honda 150, and scooted around Green Zone wearing bespoke suits brought from home. Just because you’re in country, he thought, doesn’t mean your standards have to slip. He was a soldier if fortune, but of a gentlemanly sort.”

  2. Meet Lou Villar. He broke bad before Breaking Bad. In 1967, he was a clean-cut Spanish teacher at Coronado High School in Southern California. By the mid-1970s, he was smuggling millions of dollars of high grade pot across U.S. borders. Read Coronado High for free, courtesy of warbyparker. Written by Joshuah Bearman, the journalist behind Argo. 

    Meet Lou Villar. He broke bad before Breaking Bad. In 1967, he was a clean-cut Spanish teacher at Coronado High School in Southern California. By the mid-1970s, he was smuggling millions of dollars of high grade pot across U.S. borders. Read Coronado High for free, courtesy of warbyparker. Written by Joshuah Bearman, the journalist behind Argo. 

  3. It’s a real-life Breaking Bad story, except the ex-teacher taught Spanish and not chemistry, the trade was in marijuana not meth, and the location was Coronado, California, not Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This chart shows the roles assumed by the alumni and one former teacher of Coronado High School in what became The Coronado Company, a well-oiled machine responsible for smuggling tens of millions of dollars worth of high-grade pot across American borders during the ’70s and ’80s.
Coronado High, written by Joshuah Bearman, the journalist behind Argo, is available for free for a limited time thanks to warbyparker. 

    It’s a real-life Breaking Bad story, except the ex-teacher taught Spanish and not chemistry, the trade was in marijuana not meth, and the location was Coronado, California, not Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    This chart shows the roles assumed by the alumni and one former teacher of Coronado High School in what became The Coronado Company, a well-oiled machine responsible for smuggling tens of millions of dollars worth of high-grade pot across American borders during the ’70s and ’80s.

    Coronado High, written by Joshuah Bearman, the journalist behind Argo, is available for free for a limited time thanks to warbyparker

  4. The drug-smugglers of the Coronado Company transported massive amounts of marijuana with custom-built barges like this one from Maravia Corporation. Little did the women who built the rafts realize what they would actually be used for.

“Elsewhere in the barn were the new Maravias, 35-foot-long Kevlar barges they had bought for towing the pot back from the mother ship. Dave had them custom made; he told the Maravia sales agent that they would be used to transport cattle across the Rhine. Where Dave came up with that, he didn’t know. It was the kind of cover story that just rolled off his tongue by now, the instinctive cloak-and-dagger of a life built on anonymous P.O. boxes and money orders and answering services and forged identities.”

Read the whole story for free and explore exclusive multimedia artifacts in Coronado High by Joshuah Bearman, an incredible true story about California surfers who became drug kingpins. Sponsored by warbyparker.
Image Credit: Courtesy Maravia Corporation

    The drug-smugglers of the Coronado Company transported massive amounts of marijuana with custom-built barges like this one from Maravia Corporation. Little did the women who built the rafts realize what they would actually be used for.

    “Elsewhere in the barn were the new Maravias, 35-foot-long Kevlar barges they had bought for towing the pot back from the mother ship. Dave had them custom made; he told the Maravia sales agent that they would be used to transport cattle across the Rhine. Where Dave came up with that, he didn’t know. It was the kind of cover story that just rolled off his tongue by now, the instinctive cloak-and-dagger of a life built on anonymous P.O. boxes and money orders and answering services and forged identities.”

    Read the whole story for free and explore exclusive multimedia artifacts in Coronado High by Joshuah Bearman, an incredible true story about California surfers who became drug kingpins. Sponsored by warbyparker.

    Image Credit: Courtesy Maravia Corporation

  5. Five rejected covers for Joshuah Bearman’s Coronado High. Read the story for free this month, courtesy of Warby Parker.

  6. Warby Parker: MANAGEMENT LESSONS FROM SMUGGLERS →

    warbyparker:

    The Atavist is our favorite source for original longform journalism. This month they feature "Coronado High", an epic (and true!) tale of California drug smugglers during an era of free love and Volkswagon microbuses.

    The writer, Joshuah Bearman, unspools an incredible (and worth saying again: true!) story about the criminals who made up a smuggling ring known as The Coronado Company. While reading, we couldn’t help but notice how nimbly this gang of rogues calculated their ascent—with special credit to the company’s “C.E.O.”,  a former high school Spanish teacher named Lou Villar. The more we read, the more Lou seemed like an unlikely encyclopedia of management lessons.

    We extracted a few to share.

    image

    Style matters
    After a few successful smuggling jaunts, Lou is quick to refine his image: he cuts his hair, acquires a Ferrari, develops an interest in fine wines, plays tennis at private clubs. He understands the importance of image—that in order to play the part, a man has to look the part.

    Precision is everything
    A good manager never loses sight of the big picture—or, indeed, the small picture. When importing thousands of pounds of marijuana, Lou’s deputy sets up an assembly line of workers to weigh, bag, and label the drugs—and Lou personally inspects the goods to ensure that the job is well done.

    Maintain an air of mystery
    Lou is careful to keep his personal history shrouded in obscurity. To those who pry, he simply replies, “I’m in oil, and if you ask any more questions, I’ll ask you to leave.” Case closed.

    image

    Recognize talent—and promote it
    As the operation expands, Lou is careful to make strong hires. One of these is a local kid named Don, who is recruited for grunt work. After Don distinguishes himself as a talented mechanic, however, he is swiftly brought up through the ranks—and promoted to chief engineer.

    "Paranoid" is just another word for "detail-oriented"
    Under pressure from the DEA, Lou arranges a secret meeting with his lawyer in a San Francisco hotel room. To make sure his attorney is not being followed, Lou watches through binoculars from the hotel’s eighth floor—and leads his lawyer through a back entrance just to be safe.

    Want more? Of course you do. Read “Coronado High” here for the next month- on us!

    Photos courtesy of Gary Kidd and Lou Villar

  7. Summer’s over but you can now read Coronado High for free, thanks to Warby Parker. 
(Don’t worry: if you already bought the story, you’ll receive a coupon for another Atavist story). 

    Summer’s over but you can now read Coronado High for free, thanks to Warby Parker

    (Don’t worry: if you already bought the story, you’ll receive a coupon for another Atavist story). 

  8. Welcome to Coronado, California. 
Where the surfers smuggle pot and the Spanish teacher is a kingpin. 

    Welcome to Coronado, California. 

    Where the surfers smuggle pot and the Spanish teacher is a kingpin. 

  9. Watch this animation from our new story about a group of surfers who built a $100 million drug empire.

    Get Coronado High here

    Animation by Colleen Cox

  10. gq:

Coronado High
The story seemed too incredible—too Hollywood—to be true: A group of twentysomething surfers and a former high school Spanish teacher form one of the most successful smuggling operations in the country. When writer Joshuah Bearman, author of the story that became Oscar-winning Argo, came upon the story, he thought it was improbable at best and, at worst, apocryphal. Then he started reporting… and reporting… making call after call, building trust with every surviving member of what would eventually be called the Coronado Company.

We’re publishing an extended version of Coronado High next week.
Pre-order it now. 

    gq:

    Coronado High

    The story seemed too incredible—too Hollywood—to be true: A group of twentysomething surfers and a former high school Spanish teacher form one of the most successful smuggling operations in the country. When writer Joshuah Bearman, author of the story that became Oscar-winning Argo, came upon the story, he thought it was improbable at best and, at worst, apocryphal. Then he started reporting… and reporting… making call after call, building trust with every surviving member of what would eventually be called the Coronado Company.

    We’re publishing an extended version of Coronado High next week.

    Pre-order it now.