Sandi Logan Spikisi
By Sandi Logan
Sandi Logan SpikisiJun 16, 2022
Australian actor Michael Caton's many, many talents!
This podcast features legendary Australian film, TV and stage actor Michael Caton who, it turns out, knew drug kingpin and Drug Grannies' nephew Vern Todd. Unbeknownst to all but Vern’s tight circle of friends, Michael was Vern's official “taster” of cannabis and imported hashish. He also helped Vern build his wedding vehicle and then drove it from Melbourne to Sydney for him. The pair was living in a communal artists' house in Melbourne at the time. The vehicle drew the attention of police on the Hume Highway who eventually booked Caton for the noisy (in fact, non-existent) muffler. There are plenty of laughs, and a few tears in this podcast for sure.
Drug Grannies Betrayed: the Vern Todd/Phillip Shine hashish syndicate
Leading German investigator and prosecutor Dr Harald Hans Koerner, now retired, spent almost a decade pursuing the three leaders of the drug syndicate which set up Americans Vera Todd Hays (Toddie) and Florice Marie Bessire (Beezie) -- who became known as the Drug Grannies -- to smuggle almost two tonnes of Afghan hashish secreted inside an 8-meter long campervan into Australia. In this podcast, Dr Koerner's recollections of his investigations include not only betrayal, but also bribery, escapes and multple aliases used by the syndicate members. Journalist and author Sandi Logan, whose book 'Betrayal' is published by Hachette (Australia), shares his insights into the story behind the story of the two American "Drug Grannies".
Lawnchair Larry and the Drug Grannies
Lawnchair Larry -- or Larry Walters, aided by his girlfriend Carol -- made a 45-minute flight in 1982 in a lawnchair to which he had attached helium-filled weather balloons. The 'airship' prematurely lifted off from his backyard, rising to above 15,000 feet and into the controlled flight path of commercial jets landing and taking off from nearby Long Beach Airport. Lawnchair Larry was the nephew of one of the drug grannies -- Vera "Toddie" Hays -- whose story is told in my book 'Betrayed', released 1 June 2022 by Hachette (Australia). Here's a short audio story about how Toddie and her partner Beezie discovered Larry's air odyssey in a lawnchair!