SLIGHTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT, Robert “Snoop” George III and his brother Devell Hawkins, pulled to the curb and shifted the metallic blue Mercury into park. Lush palm trees and palmetto bushes peppered the upscale subdivision in Cypress Gardens, Florida. Mediterranean-inspired McMansions with pools and freshly cut lawns lined the streets. A concerto of crickets were chirping in the sticky summer humidity.
Despite the frigid air conditioning, the siblings were sweating into the black t-shirts underneath their Kevlar-vests. Adrenaline and anxiety coursed through their veins as Lil Wayne’s Fuck Tha’ World thumped out of the speakers. The two 25-year-old black males were less than inconspicuous; sitting in the domestic midsized 4-door in a predominantly white neighborhood, where everyone drove European luxury sedans and SUVs.
Most of the neighborhood was asleep that Tuesday night, but just behind the manicured hedges, there was a light on in the massive house at the end of the street. From the outside it seemed like the typical subdivision home resting beside the lake. The neighbors had no idea that the well-kept house was owned by a Jamaican drug dealer—one of the most ruthless kingpins in all of Central Florida.
Snoop and Hawkins had been told there would only be two occupants inside the house—the drug dealer and his sister—and a “shit load of gwop and product.” The brothers didn’t want any problems, but they were prepared for them with a duffel bag containing a crowbar, zip-ties and Glock .45s.
The house went dark and Lil Wayne went silent. Hawkins glanced at his watch and nodded to Snoop. It was time. They slipped on their black, cotton, ski-masks and popped open the Mercury’s doors.
Camouflaged by the night, the two men slowly, stealthily, approached the house. Surprisingly, the side-door to the oversized garage was open. With their weapons held high military-style, they crept by the hunter green SUV and the kids’ bicycles. They entered the unlit foyer, then the kitchen and the living room—clearing each room as they went.
As the two men slinked down the dark hallway in search of their prey, the brothers’ hearts banged away inside their chests—like bricks inside a clothes dryer. In the first bedroom, there were four people sleeping—adult women and teenagers—piled in like refugees. Two people my ass, thought Snoop. The place was packed with immigrants and family from the island. There were five more in the second room and three more in the next, but no Jamaican dealer.
The frightened occupants cringed in terror as Snoop and his brother woke them. One by one, they yanked the groggy residents’ hands behind their backs and tightened the plastic ties around their wrists. Then, the siblings moved them to the living room and placed everyone face down on the floor. Twelve civilians, crying and whimpering into the carpet, and they still hadn’t found the Jamaican dealer.
Snoop noted the time. They had already been in the house too long. He snatched the dealer’s sister off the floor and growled, “Where’s he at?” Terrified, she motioned down the hall with her chin. He led her to the master bedroom’s door and tapped softly with the butt of his pistol.
Within seconds, a massive, six-and-half-foot tall Jamaican yanked open the door. A jolt of fear rippled through Snoop as the man’s eyes pinged between himself and the woman. “What he here for?” snarled the man.
Snoop steeled himself, shoved the woman aside and jammed the barrel of his .45 into the Jamaican’s cheek. “I’m here for the bread and bricks bitch!” he barked. “Now, get on your fuckin’ knees!”
The dealer dropped to his knees and Snoop ordered him to crawl down the hallway to the living room. While Hawkins zip-tied the Jamaican, Snoop emptied the two safes in the master bedroom’s closet; stuffing a couple dozen bundles of cash and several kilos of coke into the duffel bag.
When they were finished, the brothers dashed out of the garage, leaving everyone lying on the living room floor—terrified, but unharmed.
Hours later, in Hawkins’ apartment, there was a knock at the door. It was 2:00 a.m. His girl looked through the peephole, and saw a concaved silhouetted figure holding up a chrome Polk County Sheriff’s Office five-point-star to the lens. Cop. She inhaled deeply, twisted the lock and the bolt slid open.
Snoop and Hawkins had just finished tallying up the score when the head of the county narcotics unit stepped into the apartment. His gaze ran over the ten kilos of powder cocaine peeking out of the duffel bag—with a street value of $230,000—and lingered on the stacks of bills sprawled out on the dining room table—$273,000 in worn U.S. currency, sporting the grim faces of Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson and Ulysses Grant. Over half a million dollars in cash and coke. It was a beautiful sight.
“That’s a nice lick,” grunted the deputy, as Hawkins plucked $50,000 off the top of the pile and handed it to him. “I’ll have another one for you in a couple a’ weeks.”
ACCORDING TO ONE PROSECUTOR, Robert “Snoop” George III was “a one-man crime wave.” However, he wasn’t a common street thug, a mugger, or a purse snatcher. Snoop was a professional—a modern day privateer—robbing drug dealers and traffickers with surgical precision all over Florida…and making millions in the process.
THE LIBRARY, at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Central Florida, is where I met Snoop. I should mention that I’m a very Caucasian, nonviolent, white collar criminal serving a 19 and a half year sentence. Caucasian will become relevant later.
All of us do our time differently, some inmates workout on the recreation yard. Others do nothing but study the stock market or bet on sports. I write my fellow inmates’ nonfiction stories. Sometimes it’s a true crime. Sometimes it’s a memoir—it probably sounds strange.
Still, Monday through Friday mornings, I sit in the library with a group of black guys—most of which have been convicted of violent crimes—all of which are writing urban novels. Fictitious tales depicting life on the streets, with ruthless drug dealing antiheroes, snitches and crooked DEA agents. Graphic sex scenes. Murders. The novels have names like: Bitch, Animal, Cartel, Drug Dealer, etc.
To look at these guys, my brethren, you wouldn’t think they could string a sentence together. Every one of them has gold teeth and tattoos—three out of the five have been shot. One guy’s been stabbed. Snoop and Hawkins have their prison GED’s; the other guys, who knows.
They’re a rough group, a serious group. However, over time, I’ve come to understand, they’re not all what they seem.
There’s Torron “The Somali” Perpall and Lonnie “CJ” Clanton. Then there’s Albert “Boogie” Avant, Darin “K” Givens, Devell Hawkins and his half brother Robert “Snoop” George III. At the time, The Somali was penning School Days, Boogie was composing 7 Recipes for Success and K was writing The Gambler’s Son, but CJ had already self-published Fed Wives, Hawkins had put out Saga and Snoop had written Son of a Gunna.
Sometime in February 2015, during a discussion about literary agents, I mentioned, “the urban novel market is saturated. That’s why you’ve gotta self publish. You’re writing is geared to young male blacks—arguably one of the smallest categories of literary demographics.” On top of that, they were subdividing that demographic based on urban fiction.
K rolled his eyes—he tends to do that when our opinions differ—and CJ said, “So what’re you thinkin’, we should be writin’ true crime?”
“Of course,” I replied, “the material’s all around us.” I pointed to Snoop and Hawkins. “These two have an amazing story. Two brothers working with a dirty cop to take down drug dealers; it’s Training Day meets Heat, and it’s perfect for urban nonfiction.” I then told them that black films were one of the fastest growing genres in the industry and the studios were moving away from fiction. “The majority of new films are based on nonfiction books and magazine articles.” Now I don’t know if any of that’s true, but I’m a college educated, Caucasian, white collar criminal—the upper echelon of federal criminals—and these guys pretty much believe anything I say, with the exception of K, so…
“Okay, so why don’t you write Snoop and Hawkins’ story?”
That’s how I ended up writing Cash & Coke. I told the two brothers I was willing to write a synopsis of their story and try to get it into FED or Don Diva—two of the more popular black magazines featuring true crime articles. “We might be able to sell it for the film rights.”
I explained that if Snoop and Hawkins were willing to sign over their life rights, and I was able to sell the rights in connection to the synopsis, I’d split it with them. Fifty/fifty. Hawkins wasn’t interested, but Snoop was. Not a bad deal for a guy that’s been locked up for several years and has done nothing with his story.
Our first interview took place in Snoop’s housing unit, several days later. I hadn’t written out our formal agreement yet, but Snoop didn’t seem concerned.
He’s a more urban version of the actor Wesley Snipes, with a well trimmed goatee and hard eyes. Unlike many of the other black inmates that populate the prison, Snoop has the unique ability to drop the tough guy persona, that so many convicts suffer from, and speak to me in a concise voice. But with the flip of a switch he can turn the guttural bravado back on.
However, I know it’s a mistake to characterize Snoop’s calm demeanor as manageable. At his core he is a ruthless savage. Dangerous and untrustworthy. “So, where do we start,” he asked, and I replied, “Childhood.”
BY AGE TWO, Robert “Snoop” George III’s mother was so hopelessly addicted to cocaine his grandparents had to take custody of the toddler. “She couldn’t kick it,” admits Snoop. “She loved me, but she couldn’t raise me. She loved the drugs more.”
His grandparents were migrant workers, following the harvest year round. During summer breaks, and weekends, Snoop worked in the fields from the age of seven on. As workers picked oranges and strawberries, he would carry baskets of fruit and get water. “As a kid, it was fun,” recalls Snoop. But even a child could see the toll that the back breaking labor had taken on his elderly grandparents.
He seldom saw his mother; and when he did she was typically high and sporting some new drug dealer boyfriends—as for his father, he was nonexistent. Reluctantly, Snoop told me, as a child, he felt abandoned by his mother and despised the men she spent her time with. And the drugs.
Snoop was born and raised in Winter Haven, Florida, located off Interstate 4; smack dab between Orlando and Tampa. Its sprawling city limits are interwoven with upscale retirement communities and affluent gated communities.
However, Snoop grew up wearing hand-me-downs and playing with broken toys, but he never went hungry. His grandparents had taken in aunts, uncles, cousins and grandchildren into their home—any family member in need. Despite the amount of people living in the cramped house, he had little to no supervision. By the age of ten, he and his half brother, Devell Hawkins, were shoplifting. “We’d take an extra-large Burger King cup and walk into K-Mart.” Once in the toy section, the boys would stuff Transformer action figures into the containers and casually walk out the front door. Just a couple kids drinking sodas.
Within a few years, they graduated to grand theft auto. It started off as joyriding and quickly evolved into a “for profit” enterprise—stealing cars and selling them to auto body shops and junk yards, for a few hundred dollars.
In 1991, he and Hawkins participated in a flash mob style car theft of roughly twenty vehicles; all simultaneously stolen out of a shopping plaza. Someone ended up running a red light and within minutes there were multiple sheriff’s cruisers pursuing the convoy of stolen vehicles. Most of the auto thieves escaped, but Snoop and Hawkins ended up in handcuffs, with a 21 day sentence in the Polk County Detention Center.
According to Hawkins, it wasn’t much of a deterrent. “We were two of the biggest kids in Juvie, so we wasn’t scared or nothin’.”
Upon their release, the siblings continued to steal cars. Over the next several years they were in and out of the detention center almost a dozen times. Eventually they were placed in a disciplinarian school.
By middle school, Snoop and Hawkins were All-Americans; leading the district in football, basketball, baseball and track. The teens were such gifted athletes that Westwood Junior High pulled the pair out of Lakeland Alternative School to play sports. “I daydreamed about being a professional athlete,” says Snoop. The game. The crowds. The fans. The money. “It was my only real shot at a future.”
As a six-foot two-inch, 225-pound linebacker and running back for Winter Haven Senior High School’s Blue Devils, Snoop was a freak of nature. He was a one-man wrecking crew, according to his coaches, says Snoop.
Sports overruled everything, his coaches were giving him Air Jordan’s and Tommy Hilfiger, and paying him for touchdowns. His teachers were giving him A’s. “I was an Honor Student and I didn’t even go to the classes,” says Snoop. “By the end of the eleventh grade, I had full scholarships to the University of Alabama, Arkansas and Michigan.”
Then, in early 1993, Snoop was supposed to meet up with several girls from his high school, and he thought they’d be impressed if he showed up in a new Cadillac. So he stole one out of a church parking lot. That one decision irrevocably changed the course of his life.
Just before midnight, a Polk County Sheriff’s cruiser pulled in behind Snoop and the three girls. The deputy hit the lights and Snoop punched the gas. He led the cops on a high-speed chase with the girls screaming and pleading for him to pull over.
Patrol vehicles seemed to be coming from all directions. Then he heard the shots. It started with a single pop that turned into a hailstorm of lead, pelting the exterior of the Cadillac. Snoop yanked the car down a side street and everyone ran. The star athlete leapt over several fences and disappeared. The doughboy deputies never even came close to catching him.
“Two of the girls got caught,” recalls Snoop. “They told the police who I was.” The following morning, Polk County Sheriffs surrounded his grandparents house. But Snoop wasn’t there. Later that day his grandfather convinced him to go to the sheriff’s office. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. “One of the deputies said I’d tried to run him over…” However, none of the girls corroborated the deputy’s fictitious story, so a month later the charges were dropped, and he was charged with over fifty grand theft autos. “That was virtually every stolen vehicle in the county.”
The star athlete pled guilty and was sentenced to four years at the Brevard Correctional Institution, a youth offender prison—what’s referred to as a “Gladiator School.” It’s the type of place that turns petty criminals into brutal thugs.
A few months after Snoop got to the facility, his brother was sentenced to a mandatory three years for armed robbery. When Hawkins walked into his unit they both started to laugh, but Snoop knew it wasn’t funny. “I’d blown it. The scholarships, my future… It was all gone,” says Snoop with a hint of a “gangster grin” and a glimmer of a gold incisor and canine. “Over the next several years I gave myself to the prison system.”
What emerged three years later was a mindless street thug with a get rich or die trying attitude.
Weeks after Snoop’s release from prison, and days before his 21st birthday, the ex-All-American found himself living with friends in the St. Paul Project; scraping together a living on the backs of addicts—like his mother—along with hundreds of other drug dealers. He’d become exactly what he despised.
One night two men rushed into the apartment yelling, “Get the fuck down!” They pointed revolvers at Snoop and his friends, and demanded their money and drugs.
“They took everything I had,” says Snoop, “my cash and what little pride I had left.” He was in a hopeless situation—broke and desperate with nowhere to turn. “That’s when I decided to start jackin’ dealers.”
His first robbery was a local street dealer; a Haitian, Snoop had seen working the block. Snoop approached the man on the street corner and stuck a cheap chrome-plated Lorson .22 auto in his belly. “Gimme the money!” growled Snoop, nervously glancing around the neighborhood.
“Me give you nothin’,” spat the Haitian in broken English, cut with some Creole. Snoop couldn’t believe it. The dealer wouldn’t hand over anything.
He couldn’t leave empty handed, so Snoop popped the Haitian in the ass with a .22. The dealer hit the concrete and started squealing in pain. Snoop yanked less than $1,000 in crumpled bills out of the bleeding man’s pocket.
“It wasn’t even worth it,” recalls Snoop. After the botched robbery he decided to start doing his homework. “As a black man whose entire family lives in Winter Haven, I’ve got hundreds of cousins…and most of ’em sell drugs.” With the help of this vast network Snoop was able to begin targeting street dealers holding large amounts of cash and coke.
His next robbery yielded $6,000 and fifteen ounces of crack cocaine with a street value of $12,000. The one after that produced nearly $20,000 and some powder worth $3,000. “Sometimes it was as easy as pullin’ up to a dealer standin’ on the corner, and jackin’ ‘im,” says Snoop. Other times he would have to stake them out, kick in their front door and zip-tie them. Then rummage through the apartment until he came up with the cash.
Snoop’s reputation for robbing dealers in Winter Haven got so bad, when they saw Snoop or his vehicle, the dealers would start shooting at him and scatter like cockroaches in the light. “I could be drivin’ by a dope hole and these niggas would start shootin’.”
Eventually, he had no choice but to began hitting dealers in Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville…
THEN, IN NOVEMBER 1996, Snoop, and a small crew of “jack boys,” were returning from Orlando—jacked up on adrenalin—after robbing several street dealers. One of the crew, “Popcorn,” told Snoop to pull into an upscale subdivision near Winter Haven.
They were driving through the neighborhood in a grey Oldsmobile; wearing dark hoodies pulled tight around their faces. Popcorn saw a couple of “snow birds” walking out of their garage and said, “Pull over.” Snoop had never robbed a civilian, and he told Popcorn, he wasn’t about to. “Relax,” snapped Popcorn, “just stay in the car.”
Everyone but Snoop exploded out of the Olds and rushed into the garage. They snatched the man’s wallet and his wife’s purse; jumped back in the vehicle and Snoop took off.
They split up the cash and coke from the Orlando scores, but instead of discarding the credit cards from the home invasion, Snoop made the mistake of keeping them. Within hours of the robbery, he and his girlfriend ran-up the cards at Eagle Ridge Mall—without a problem. Then, on their way home, Snoop’s girl insisted they stop at Walmart to buy Pampers for one of her girlfriends.
With $130 worth of diapers sitting on the counter, the cashier told Snoop’s girl there was “a problem with the card.” At the same time, two Winter Haven Police Officers approached the register. While eyeing Snoop and his girl; the officer asked the cashier, “Is this the woman, using the credit card?”—a credit card connected to a home invasion. Snoop whirled around and smashed the cop in the face. The officer slammed into a display case and dropped to the linoleum with a thud. Out cold!
Snoop bolted past the second officer, out of the store and across the parking lot. As he crossed the highway Snoop could hear sirens in the distance. Within seconds the dragnet closed and there were cruisers everywhere. A nondescript sedan suddenly screeched to a stop in front of Snoop. The driver, some “Good Samaritan” citizen, according to Snoop, exited the vehicle with his hands held up, palms out. “Stop!” he yelled. “It’s over—” In a panic, Snoop grabbed the Good Samaritan, yanked him aside and jumped into his vehicle.
Snoop hit the gas and simultaneously realized the vehicle was equipped with a dashboard radio and laptop, along with a shotgun mounted to the console. “The Good Samaritan was actually the Chief of Police,” says Snoop. He had carjacked an undercover vehicle with a firearm in it. “I knew the cops would kill me, so, I immediately stopped the car and jumped out with my hands in the air.”
Seconds later, a dozen officers tackled him to the asphalt.
During the confusion, Snoop’s girlfriend had slipped away. He was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, battery on a law enforcement officer, two armed robberies, two burglaries and attempted carjacking. At the lineup however, the victims of the home invasion couldn’t identify him—he’d never gotten out of the vehicle. All they were able to say was Snoop’s hoodie looked similar to the men’s apparel that had robbed them. Nor could anyone say he’d used the credit card; his girlfriend had. As far as the carjacking, the Chief of Police wasn’t in the vehicle and Snoop didn’t have a weapon.
“The state prosecutor didn’t have much of a case,” says Snoop. However, after ten months of filing motions with the court, his attorney was unable to get the charges dropped. “My public pretender convinced me to plead no contest. He kept sayin’, ‘The judge is a friend of mine’—they played golf together or something. ‘He knows there’s no evidence… You’ll probably get time served.’ …I got thirty fuckin’ years.”
HAWKINS AND RODERICK “Mouse” Stevenson, were childhood friends from the neighborhood. However, for a time, their lives took very different paths. While Hawkins bounced in and out of jail, Mouse entered the police academy, he became a Polk County Sheriff’s narcotics officer and was eventually placed in charge of the COP’s (Community-Orientated Policing) Narcotics Unit; a taskforce specifically designed to fight drug activity in the Winter Haven area.
Then, in early 2000, Hawkins got a visit from his old childhood friend. He had a very lucrative proposal. “Here’s the deal,” said Mouse, “I set up the dealers and you take ’em down.” Mouse had been using his position to extort protection money out of large drug dealers and traffickers, then, when the time was right and the dealers had a significant amount of cash on hand, he was planning to set them up to get robbed. “As long as you don’t get caught on the scene, I’ll kill any investigation that points to you.”
Within a week, around 11:00 p.m., Hawkins got the call he’d been waiting for. Mouse was tailing a dealer who had just left his residence. He gave Hawkins the address and told him the house was empty.
“Who is he?” asked Hawkins, and Mouse chuckled, “Just some cracker.”
Ten minutes later, Hawkins kicked in the dealer’s front door. He tore the house apart, but didn’t find anything of value other then a safe—which he didn’t have the combination to—sitting in a bedroom closet. However, Hawkins was committed and couldn’t turn back. His only choice was to wait for the dealer to return.
Around 3:00 a.m., the guy stumbled through the front door with some woman Hawkins assumed he’d picked up at a bar. The house was trashed; furniture had been flipped over and there were random household items lying everywhere.
Before the dealer could react Hawkins stepped out of the darkness, stuck his Glock .45 into the guys stomach and snapped, “Open the fuckin’ safe.” The dealer hesitated, Hawkins yelled, “Now!” and pushed him, and the woman, into the back room.
He zip-tied the couple and left them on the floor, then snatched $50,000 in cash—still in the bank wrappers—ten ounces of uncut heroin and a kilo and a half of cocaine out of the safe, and left.
After that Hawkins hit a Mexican running a grow house for 36 pounds of hydro, but no cash. Then, he smashed a couple homeboys babysitting a stash house for two keys and $90,000.
“It was a sweet deal,” says Hawkins, sitting in the library. “Mouse was never more then a few miles away listening to his police scanner.”
Despite Hawkins’ athletic six-foot four-inch frame, going into a house, knowing there’s possibly an armed criminal inside, seemed reckless to me. Dangerous. So I ask Hawkins if he was ever scared. He rears his thick upper lip in disgust and snarls, “No, I wasn’t scared.” I tell him there’s no shame in it. Everyone gets scared. Revulsion streaks across his face. “I ain’t some pussy ass cracka; I’m a real nigga. Know what I’m sayin’?”
“Yeah.” I know what he was saying. I’d listened to he and his brother describing precisely what “real niggas” were. Specifically, they prided themselves on being brutal savages. Ruthless, cruel and above all fearless. In reality, they were sociopaths, void of civility or humanity.
JACKSON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION in the Florida panhandle is a level-5 prison designed to house the state’s most violent inmates—an animal factory. The first night, according to Snoop, he laid in bed and listened to one of the other new arrivals getting raped several cells down the tier. Riots, stabbings and murders were a way of life at Jackson. There wasn’t a day that went by when inmates weren’t fighting or stabbing each other over something. “Tennis shoes, commissary…respect.” He hadn’t been there a year, when Snoop witnessed an inmate get stabbed to death over nothing. “I never thought I’d get out of there alive.”
Then, in 2001, Snoop started hearing stories about a jailhouse lawyer, David Lighthead, who was achieving astonishing results. “He took a look at my case,” recalls Snoop, “and told me, ‘I can get your sentence overturned.’…” Two months later, the court threw out Snoop’s conviction and moved him back to Polk County Jail for trial.
That’s where Snoop met his father for the first time. Robert George Jr. was an older more weathered version of himself, with a lifetime of regret written across his face. The older man timidly shook his 25-year-old son’s hand and offered a weak apology; for not being a father to him, for not being there to support him, but Snoop cut him off. “I told ‘im I didn’t have no hard feelings for ‘im,” he says. Snoop could see the older man had nothing and no one to help him. “I gave him everything in my locker: Top Ramen soups, chips, sodas—everything. It was all I could do for him… It was more than he’d ever done for me.”
While Snoop was waiting to go to trial, the court issued a $100,000 bond. “But I didn’t have the money,” he says. “I ended up dialing a wrong number and—by a fluke—I got a hold of a chick named Kimberlee Jones who’d actually done some time for fraud.” The two spoke several times over the next few weeks. Eventually Jones came to visit him. “I guess she liked what she saw,” snickers Snoop, “’cause she offered to put up the twelve grand required for my bond…and I was back on the streets.”
HIS BROTHER HAD TWO kevlar vests, ski-masks, black fatigues and binoculars laying on a table when Snoop arrived. Hawkins’ typically neat and tidy apartment was littered with weapons and ammunition—like he was gearing up for a black ops mission. “I need you, Bro,” said Hawkins as he tucked two clear plastic bags full of zip-ties into a canvas duffel bag. “I gotta lick…tonight.”
Snoop had been out of prison less than a week. “What the Hell’s goin’ on?”
“You remember Mouse?”
Snoop and Hawkins hit the Jamaican’s residence that night and scored over half-a-million in cash and coke.
IN LATE MARCH, about half way through the story, while sitting in the library one morning, I gave Snoop the contract spelling out our agreement for his life rights. He read it, but he didn’t sign it. “I need to have Frank look it over,” he told me. Frank, a disbarred lawyer serving a 22 year sentence for wire fraud—is the resident go-to-guy when it comes to legal work. Everyone knows Frank.
It wasn’t a big deal. The terms for our agreement were more than fair. However, days later Snoop still hadn’t signed. He told me he’d set up a meeting with Frank to discuss the contract further. Not a problem, I told him, and we continued working on his story. When another week went by and I asked about the contract, Snoop said Frank needed a few more days. Once again, I didn’t think anything of it.
SNOOP THOUGHT HE WAS RICH after he and Hawkins had scored the half-a-million. He bought a new, glossy white, Chevy Avalanche, got his “mouth grilled out” and moved into an upscale apartment complex in Tampa.
Within two weeks of robbing the Jamaican, Mouse gave the siblings the address to a Mexican drug dealer who lived in a secluded area on the outskirts of Winter Haven. “There’s only one guy at the house,” said the deputy. “But he’s armed.”
Snoop almost kicked the dealer’s door out of the frame around 11:00 p.m. The brothers rushed in and caught the Mexican off guard and nowhere near his AK-47 assault rifle.
They got $40,000 in cash and 100 pounds of weed—worth around $200,000—and left the dealer tied up on the kitchen floor next to his Kalashnikov.
“After that, we hit a Haitian for sixty thousand and eight keys of coke,” says Snoop. “A month later, we robbed another Jamaican for twelve keys and a hundred grand.”
Between scores, Snoop and his brother sold the stolen drugs to dealers and traffickers throughout Florida. When I pointed out the dichotomy between selling the drugs to drug dealers and selling them directly to addicts—either way they’d end up back on the streets in the hands of drug users like his mother—Snoop responds with a slight shrug and says, “I sleep at night.”
THE “CRANKSTER GANGSTERS” were a group of corrupt meth-head sheriff’s deputies that worked under Mouse in the COP’s Narcotics Unit. “Fuckin’ white boys think they don’t have to pay their taxes,” Mouse told the brothers one night in late 2001. He handed Hawkins the address of the Cranksters’ methamphetamine lab and growled, “Put a hurting on ’em, but don’t kill anyone.”
“They’re police,” replied Hawkins.
“Fuck ’em!” snapped Mouse. “They’re fair game.”
For hours the siblings cased the lakefront property located in an affluent subdivision of Winter Haven. At 2:00 a.m. with AK-47s in hand, they hit the house, quickly clearing the residence room by room. The place was empty with the exception of a massive amount of lab equipment and chemicals. There were glass beakers connected to copper tubing running into air filtration units in the living and dining room; and gallons of lantern fuel and plastic bags full of Sudafed stored in the garage. “I’d never seen anything like it,” says Snoop. “It was a massive meth lab. Everything in the place had a toxic yellow tint to it.”
They found $30,000 in a kitchen cabinet and seven pounds of what looked like bags of broken glass—meth. “We got over one hundred twenty thousand for the ice.”
IN EARLY FEBRUARY 2002, Snoop’s new criminal defense attorney called him with an offer from the Assistant State Attorney—nine and a half years. “My lawyer didn’t want me to take it,” says Snoop. The state couldn’t locate the snow birds who Snoop’s crew had robbed five years earlier. “He kept saying, ‘The State doesn’t have any witnesses. We can win this at trial.’ But I was there…and a trial could go either way.”
On February 15, Snoop accepted the state prosecutor’s offer. Despite the credit for time served, he still owed the Great State of Florida a few years behind bars. While Snoop was counting down the days until his release, the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) launched an investigation into Mouse’s operation.
IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS of February 26, 2004, the DEA arrested Mouse, along with 30 of his co-conspirators, on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine—Mouse immediately began cooperating.
While sitting with Hawkins during one of our interviews, I ask, “Were you worried? You’d been robbing drug dealers for Mouse for nearly two years and he was cooperating. People were being arrested.”
“Nah,” replies Hawkins with a, hard, sinister grin. “See I done a murder for Mouse. He had a problem with this fuckin’ guy, and he paid me to do ‘im. So I knew Mouse was gonna keep my name outta his mouth.” Had Mouse mentioned Hawkins, he could’ve opened himself up to a charge of conspiracy to commit murder. Potentially a life sentence.
Maybe I should have pursued the murder angle, but it didn’t seem relative to Snoop’s story. Besides, I doubt Hawkins would’ve given me much more had I pushed. He may be a brutal thug, but he isn’t stupid.
Regardless, one year after Mouse was arrested, Lenard Henderson—Hawkins’ roommate—sold a ten dollar crack rock to a confidential informant working for the COP’s Narcotics Unit. A week later, narcotics officers raided Henderson and Hawkins’ house. “I was dead asleep when they kicked in the door,” says Hawkins. Because Hawkins was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and drugs, his case was picked up by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He was charged with trafficking crack cocaine. “I was sentenced to twenty-two years… I hadn’t even sold ’em anything.”
SNOOP WAS RELEASED from Florida State Prison on August 15, 2005. His brother and Mouse were serving long, federal prison sentences with “Buck Roger” release dates. He was 29-years-old, broke, and he wasn’t about to work a real job. “I thought about robbing a bank, but the average bank robber gets less than five grand and a potential federal sentence,” says Snoop.
He quickly put together a “solid” crew of guys willing to do whatever he needed. There was “Meat,” a light-skinned, muscular, career criminal and Shandel Coats—Snoop’s sister’s boyfriend—fresh off the boat from Jamaica. “Shandel was a hustler,” says Snoop. “He’d do anything for money, sell drugs, drive semi-trucks, wash cars…anything.”
Snoop put the word out to his vast array of cousins and friends on the street. “I was willing to pay for information on large drug traffickers—anything that led to a serious lick.” They started by robbing a couple of low-level street dealers for several grand and some product. “Just like the old days,” he says. “But we quickly moved up the food-chain to the big time traffickers.”
At the same time, according to Snoop, several friends told him, local, state and federal law enforcement were “gunning for him.” They’d gotten his brother and Mouse, and now they were coming for him.
One of those law enforcement officers was Detective Clark, a tall, blond haired, fair skinned, “Boy Scout,” with the Winter Haven Police Department’s HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Taskforce Area) Narcotics Squad.
Snoop and his brother had been on their radar for sometime. Within months of his release the narcotics squad was getting tips from confidential informants. Drug traffickers Snoop had robbed were calling. HIDTA knew he was active. People in the drug community wanted him off the street.
DEPUTY AISHA WILSON with the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office was the sexiest chick Snoop had ever seen; a five-foot five-inch, high-yellow Rita Ora with curves you don’t see on a white girl, according to Snoop.
They met through a mutual friend during a Plies concert at the Winter Haven Bottle Club. The chemistry was unmistakable. She called two days later. They moved in together two weeks after that.
During the day the couple would lounge around at Clearwater Beach, and at night, they’d hit the infamous Mons Venues strip club in Tampa. “She was a bad bitch,” says Snoop, “and up for anything and everything.” The deputy knew precisely what her boyfriend did for a living and, according to Snoop, “She didn’t have no problem with it.”
ONE NIGHT, SNOOP, “Meat,” and another friend everyone called, “Skinny Dre,” who suffered from sickle cell anemia, were on their way back from partying in Orlando. They were driving up Interstate 4 in Meat’s Dodge Challenger, approaching Lake Alfred, when Snoop recalled a tip he had gotten regarding a Haitian moving coke up and down the coast. He’d been staking out the trafficker’s apartment on and off for the last week waiting for the right time to strike.
“Pull in here,” ordered Snoop.
“What?” asked Meat. “Some hoes live here?”
“No,” replied Snoop. “I done my homework on buddy up here.” He could see the anxiety in Dre’s face, but Snoop knew he couldn’t back down—not in front of him; and Meat was always ready for a “quick lick.”
As the three men pulled into the apartment complex, Meat spotted several vehicles at an adjacent recreation area, near the lake, with a dozen law enforcement types standing around in the dark. “What’s up with them?” he asked. “They police?”
“Don’t worry about them,” growled Snoop—in fact, the small group was made up of Detective Clark and several other officers with the HIDTA Narcotics Squad, suiting up for a raid on the Haitian’s apartment.
The Charger came to a stop, Snoop slid a clip into his Mack-11 sub-machine gun and chambered a 9 mm round. The three men shot out of the Dodge.
The ex-All-American took three quick steps and kicked in the front door.
There was a woman at the kitchen sink; she immediately started screaming as the two men rushed in. Snoop found the trafficker in his bedroom lying naked on the mattress. He jammed the barrel of the weapon to his temple and barked, “Where’s the shit?!”
“I got nothin’,” spat the Haitian as Meat stepped in the room with the female. Snoop smashed the butt of his Glock into the side of the Haitian’s head, but he wouldn’t give up the cash. The woman was screaming loud enough for the neighbors to hear and Snoop looked at his watch. Too long. They’d already been there too long. The situation was deteriorating fast.
Snoop was about to “bust a cap” in the Haitian’s ass when Dre walked into the room holding a toddler by his OshKosh B’gosh overalls. The couple froze and Snoop could see the fear in their eyes. He reached over and grabbed the toddler by his suspenders and slowly, effortlessly, lifted the child up to his face. He placed his weapon to the baby’s head and the woman frantically shrieked, “It’s in the closet! It’s in the closet!”
Twelve kilos of cocaine, worth $276,000, and $30,000 in cash—over $300,000 in cash and coke.
Snoop found out months later, minutes after he and his crew tore out of the parking lot, Clark, and the HIDTA Narcotics Squad rushed into the residence with a search warrant. They found nothing, but the Haitian, his girlfriend and the toddler crying in the bedroom.
SNOOP WAS WEARING Tommy Hilfiger and Polo, and driving a new, heart pounding 550 hp, cream Cadillac CTSV. “I was tradin’ stolen keys for vehicles from a guy I’d been locked up in the state with,” says Snoop.
The ex-Florida state prison inmate’s family owned H&K Auto Finance. Snoop had two Cadillacs in his garage and a Dodge Magnum with a Hemi sitting in his driveway.
Snoop, his buddy Joshua Furman, and his cousin “Bam Bam,” would party at Club 112 and the Underground until midnight; then hit strip clubs like Deja vu and Hollywood Nights. While other patrons were slipping single dollar bills into the garters and g-strings of the exotic dancers seductively working the stripper poles and twerking their asses; Snoop and his pals were throwing thousands of dollars of stolen drug money at them. “Josh was a real ladies man,” laughs Snoop. “There wasn’t a club he didn’t end up pullin’ some stripper out of.”
BY APRIL 2015, Snoop hadn’t signed the contract. He continued to say that Frank was looking it over and needed more time. I sensed something wasn’t right, so I made a point of sitting with Frank during dinner in the cafeteria. I asked him when he planned to meet with Snoop regarding the contract. “I already met with him, around two weeks ago,” replied Frank. “We went over the terms and I advised him to sign it, why?”
“He said you were still reviewing it.”
“No,” chuckled Frank. “I don’t even have it, Snoop does.”
In an attempt to get my head around Snoop’s lies, I tracked down K. He was standing outside his housing unit. “He’s plannin’ to rip you off,” K told me, after I explained the issue. “That’s what he does.” Actually that’s what they both do, K is here for armed robbery. “He’s plannin’ on takin’ the story you write, re-writing it a little, and sending it into Don Diva. He can’t write it himself, you’ve read his shit.”
I’d read a chapter and a half of Snoop’s urban novel, Son of a Gunna. Even by urban novel standards, it was pretty bad. Horrible. I can’t comment on the story line, since I didn’t read the entire book; however, the typos and grammar alone made it virtually unreadable. “I’m helping the guy out and he’s trying to fuck me over?”
K told me Snoop was a scumbag. “He’s just waiting for you to finish it up and hand it to ‘im,” said K. “Some people you just can’t help.”
Regardless of the revelation, the following morning, I sat at the writer’s table with Snoop and the other novelists, but I didn’t mention anything to Snoop. I was almost finished with the story’s outline. Instead, I asked, “When you robbed these guys, were you only interested in cash and drugs?”
“Nah,” he grunted, “I’d grab anything of value, drugs, jewelry, whatever… I robbed a tax fraud guy of twenty Turbo Tax debit cards with over a hundred grand on ’em.” He was always grabbing weapons. “AK-47s, Smith & Wessons. Once I got a cheap .380 High Point Blank with an extended clip. I only took it because I liked the way the extended clip looked.”
THINGS DIDN’T ALWAYS go according to the plan. During a robbery in Tampa, Snoop and a partner crept up on a gang of street thugs trafficking a significant amount of coke throughout Florida. “We yanked out our pieces and said, ‘This is a jack! Lay down!’ and they scattered off,” says Snoop. One of the thugs went for his weapon; instinctively Snoop pulled the trigger of his Mack, but nothing happened. “It went click, click, click,” reminisces Snoop with a grin. The dealer pulled out a revolver, Snoop spun around and took off.
The dealer fired three times. One round slammed into the back of Snoop’s Kevlar-vest. “It felt like someone hit me with a baseball bat,” he says. The slug knocked the wind out of him and Snoop was slammed onto the concrete sidewalk. A split second before the dealer finished him off, Snoop’s partner fired a double barrel shotgun at the dealer; throwing him backward through an open doorway—Snoop doesn’t know if the guy survived.
Another time, Bam Bam got busted by the DEA and decided to cooperate. He set up a dealer named Fat Tony on a conspiracy to distribute charge. However, Bam Bam didn’t anticipate Fat Tony getting out on bond.
“Me and Aisha were at Red Lobster when I gotta call from this chick yellin’, ‘They’ve got your sister and cousin, trapped inside Mr. Tony’s Clothing Store!’ She said, ‘They’re gonna kill ’em.’,” says Snoop.
Bam Bam wanted to leave the store, according to Snoop’s sister, Latoya Grant, Bam Bam kept saying, “Them fake ass niggas ain’t strapped like that. They fakin’.” But she wouldn’t let him leave. She was sure Fat Tony would kill him.
Aisha ran the red lights the whole way to the clothing store. Within a minute or two they pulled up on the scene. Snoop saw Fat Tony and a gang of eight street guys known as “The Turner Boys” blocking the clothing store’s entrance. Everyone was “packing heat.”
Snoop grabbed both of Aisha’s Smith & Wesson semi-automatics out of her lock box, as the vehicle screeched to a stop in the parking lot. He leapt out of the passenger side and opened fire with both weapons.
Fat Tony and the Turner Boys squealed like 12-year-old girls, as the 9 mm slugs slammed into the vehicles and surrounding buildings. As the mini kinetic explosion blew hole in stucco and disintegrated windshields the gang ran off into the neighborhood and disappeared. “I unloaded two full magazines into them—from twenty feet—and I didn’t hit one of ’em,” says Snoop with a shake of his head. “Not one of ’em.”
“HAITIAN MIKE,” a big-time drug dealer, contacted Snoop; Mike knew the day and time of a meeting of two dozen Haitian dealers. “They gonna be straight with chedda.” There was only one problem. “It’s in Little Haiti.”
“Shit,” hissed Snoop. Little Haiti was a block from the Winter Haven Police Department.
The day of the meeting, Snoop and Shandel drove by the neighborhood to check out the players; and Snoop couldn’t believe his luck, standing in front of several houses, with the Haitians, was his partner Meat. Snoop called him on his cell, explained the situation, and asked, “You got heat on you?”
“Uh huh,” he replied, “I got fire.”
“Bust a shot and tell them niggas it’s a jack,” said Snoop, as he and Shandel exited the Charger, and made their way down the alley. “Then chase ’em to the back.”
Seconds later, Snoop heard the pop, pop, pop, of a .45 and the Haitians shrieking in terror. They scurried round the corner of the house and ran head on into Snoop and Shandel holding AK-47s. “Oh shit,” screamed several of the Haitians, “it’s crazy mon!”
“Get on the ground!” yelled Snoop.
They dropped to their bellies, and Shandel quickly zip-tied them, while Snoop shoved their cash and coke in a duffel bag.
The robbery took less than four minutes, and yielded over $300,000 and ten kilos of cocaine worth $230,000. As Snoop, Shandel and Meat pulled out of Little Haiti, police cruisers were racing out of the station’s parking lot to the scene; Detective Clark spotted Snoop and followed the Dodge to the Dinaway Apartment complex.
While sitting in his undercover Chevy Malibu, Clark snapped photos of Snoop and the others splitting up the proceeds. Then Snoop made eye contact with the detective and yelled, “Hall ass, it’s the police.”
They jumped in their vehicles and took off in different directions, losing the undercover in the maze of back roads that make up Winter Haven.
BY THIS POINT, Snoop and Aisha’s relationship was over. “She and a couple girlfriends were at the Mirage—John Gotti Jr.’s place in Tampa,” says Snoop. While at the club, Aisha met an NFL player with the Cleveland Browns.
“They hooked up that night and…I ain’t seen my bitch since.”
Roughly the same time, Snoop was introduced to a voluptuous, dark skinned, beauty, at a Gucci Mane concert. Kawana Robinson was a sharp, hard working woman that ran her own clothing distribution company. “I always thought she looked like the rap singer, Missy Elliot,” says Snoop.
It didn’t take long before Kawana started hearing the rumors about her boyfriend. She wanted him to stop, but he wouldn’t. Snoop told her he had it all under control.
HAWKINS APPROACHED ME outside my housing unit a day or two after I’d figured out what Snoop was up to. Although they’re brothers, neither seem to like the other. So when Hawkins asked me how Snoop’s story was going, I didn’t hesitate to say, “He’s trying to rip me off. He thinks he’s gonna get his hands on the story and pass it off as his.” Which was preposterous. I explained to Hawkins that everything I write is date stamped by the Bureau of Prison’s Corrlinks email system. “It would be easy to prove I was the author of the story,” I said. “Even if he were to sell the rights, I could easily prove it was my story.”
Hawkins grunted, “Yeah, he said somethin’ ’bout that when you started writin’.” Hawkins had told Snoop it was a bad idea, but Snoop wouldn’t let it go. “He don’t understand that half a’ somethin’ is worth more than all of nothin’. He always been like that.”
The following morning, I was watching the local news out of Orlando, and I saw a segment on K’s codefendant getting sentenced. He got nine years. However, during the segment the news showed video surveillance of the CVS Pharmacy K and his co-defendant had robbed—while wearing ski-masks of course—and both of their booking photos.
So, the moment I got to the library I began mercilessly mocking K at a factitious lineup. “The newscaster said the cashier couldn’t ID you, but she swore she’d recognize your voice; so the Orlando cops had a voice-lineup with you and four other guys,” I said, glancing around the table at my brethren. “K was number three.” At this point, K started shaking his head at me while trying to suppress a grin. Everyone else at the table was smiling and showing lots of gold teeth. “They had the first guy step forward and say, ‘Gimme all the cash bitch,’ but the cashier doesn’t recognize his voice. So the second guy steps forward and said, ‘Gimme all the cash bitch.’ She doesn’t recognize his voice either. Then, K stepped forward and said, ‘That’s not what I said.'” Everyone at the table burst into laughter.
When everything calmed down, Snoop asked me when he could read the synopsis. Everyone at the table glanced in our direction. “I’m almost finished,” I replied. K and Hawkins grinned at me. “Give me another week and I’ll print you out a copy, no problem.”
“Right, right,” said Snoop.
“So,” I asked, changing topics, “how’d you get jammed up in 2007?”
NATHANIEL EVERETTE, a kid from Snoop’s neighborhood, decided to cooperate with the HIDTA Narcotics Squad shortly after his arrest in late 2007; his thinking being, Why go to prison when I can send a friend. That friend was Robert “Snoop” George III.
“I’ve got an easy lick for you,” said Everette. He knew a local female dealer named, Toya Taylor. “She’s sittin’ on quarter of a million and twenty bricks.”
“Sounds good,” replied Snoop cautiously. “Where’s the house?”
Everette drove Snoop by Taylor’s “house;” a single family in a lower middle-class neighborhood. “There it is,” said the informant. “No one’ll be there tonight, but bring a gun just in case.”
What Everette didn’t know was that Snoop already knew who Taylor was. He’d been staking out her house for weeks, and they weren’t sitting in front of her house. Something wasn’t right. “Give me a couple of hours and I’ll let you know.”
He never called Everette back and he stopped returning his calls.
Several days later, Everette’s girlfriend’s aunt called Snoop. She had a buyer at the local Super 8 Motel. “A cracker that wants four ounces of hard,” she said.
It was a quick $4,000 for some stolen crack. Despite her connection to Everette, the deal sounded legit and it felt right. She gave Snoop the buyer’s number. When he and Shandel pulled up to the motel, Detective Clark’s informer climbed into the back of the GT; Snoop handed him the product and the informant said, “That’s real pretty.”
Then, all Hell broke loose; several undercover vehicles screeched into the parking lot, while HIDTA officers swarmed out of multiple motel rooms, screaming, “Outta the car! Outta the car!” with their weapons trained on the GT.
Oh Hell no, thought Snoop. He was in possession of crack and a weapon—armed trafficking. For a black man, according to Snoop, that’s a life sentence. He turned to Shandel and snapped, “Drive!”
“It’s the police,” he whimpered. “I’m not gonna run from the—”
Snoop jammed his semi-auto into Shandel’s ribs and growled, “Drive nigga!”
Shandel stomped on the accelerator and the Pontiac shot forward—side swiping an undercover sedan on its way out of the parking lot.
A minute later, they were racing down back roads; zig zagging until there wasn’t a police vehicle in sight with the terrified informant begging for them to let him out. Shandel slowed down slightly, Snoop leaned over the front seat, stuck his weapon in the informer’s face and barked, “Get out cracker!”
The man hit the asphalt with a thud and rolled like a ragdoll.
Within ten minutes, Snoop and Shandel had ditched the weapons and the drugs; and were sitting on Snoop’s sister’s couch—two blocks from the Winter Haven Police Department—waiting for the HIDTA to show up.
Suddenly, there was an explosion of wood and paint chips, the door flew open and ten officers, wearing full SWAT gear, poured into the apartment with M-4 assault rifles held high, yelling, “Get on the ground! Get on the ground!”
They slammed Snoop and Shandel onto the carpet, cuffed and transported them to the police department.
In the interview room, Detective Clark told Snoop, “You can thank your buddy Nathaniel Everette for this one… This time you’re going away permanently.”
“What’re you talkin’ about?” responded Snoop. “I’ve been home all day. You’ve got the wrong guy.”
After a few months, it became apparent to the prosecutor that there wasn’t any evidence. The informant had never gotten a good look at Snoop or Shandel. They didn’t have any drugs or weapons. Eventually the prosecutor’s office offered George a plea: simple possession and one year probation. He took the deal.
“IT WASN’T UNTIL KAWANA got pregnant that I started thinkin’ about quittin’,” says Snoop. Law enforcement was actively trying to build multiple cases against him and they weren’t going away. If that wasn’t bad enough, every drug trafficker, dealer and confidential informer on the street was working with them. In addition, Snoop was sitting on a significant amount of cash and coke; and someday—if things didn’t change—someone would come looking for the money. “That’s the kind of shit that keeps you up at night.”
His son was born in December 2007. “I remember holdin’ this perfect, helpless, little baby, and thinkin’ What if someone stuck a gun to his head.” He didn’t want to put his son through that. He wouldn’t put him through it. “I didn’t run out and get a job diggin’ ditches or anything, but I did stop jackin’ dealers.” He bought Kawana and the baby a new house and started looking for rental properties. “I was sellin’ off the last of the bricks and I was out.”
I HADN’T MENTIONED the contract to Snoop for a few weeks, but now I had an outline of the entire story. I was still writing, fact checking, but I had everything I needed from Snoop. So, sometime in late April 2015, around 9:00 a.m., while sitting in the library with my fellow writers, I asked Snoop about the contract.
He started to say something about Frank needing more time and I interjected, “I spoke with Frank.” But I didn’t expand on it. “You understand the contract was to protect you from me, not me from you,” I said. I explained that, as the author of the piece, I possess ownership and I could publish it—in any form I chose—and sell it as intellectual property. “I was willing to spilt everything fifty/fifty if you’d allow me to attach your life rights to the project, but now you’re tryin’ to fuck me over.”
Snoop leaned in very close to me and growled through his gold teeth, “See, I’m the kind a’ nigga that’ll kill a’ bitch if I think I’m gettin’ fucked.” His breath stank so bad I had to hold my own breath to keep from gagging. It could peel paint. It was that bad. “You know what I’m sayin’?”
The likelihood that Snoop will get out of prison and stay out of prison for any length of time in the future was slim, so I replied, “I’ll take my chances.” The following day I finished the story.
ON FEBRUARY 28, 2008, Joshua Furman called Snoop. He had a buyer for “two birds.” Snoop agreed to “meet up.” Kawana begged him not to do it. Not to go. But Snoop wouldn’t listen to her. He said he could trust the guy. They went way back.
However, later that night, when Snoop arrived at the meeting, Furman was on his cell, nervously bickering with his “girlfriend.” Who turned out to be Detective Clark.
Furman was so anxious and agitated—something just didn’t feel right. Snoop refused to give him the keys. He didn’t want Furman going home and fighting with his girlfriend with two keys sitting in the trunk of his car. Snoop told him to call him back when he got his shit together. He got into his black Dodge Magnum and headed home.
Two miles down S.W. Brent Avenue, a Polk County Sheriff’s patrol vehicle pulled him over. No big deal. Snoop had a fake driver’s license and the Dodge was clean, with the exception of the cheap .380 High Point underneath the driver’s seat and the two kilos of coke underneath the passenger’s seat.
Snoop handed the female deputy his ID and waited. Several minutes passed and the deputy returned with Snoop’s fake ID. “It’s gonna be a couple more minutes,” she said.
Simultaneously, sheriff’s cruisers and undercover vehicles came from all directions. “I mashed the gas,” says Snoop. He couldn’t let them arrest him with the two kilos and the weapon. “That wasn’t gonna happen.”
He hit the back streets going 100 miles an hour with a dozen vehicles tailing behind the Dodge. George broke the cocaine into pieces on the steering wheel and threw it out the window. “At one point the police looked like ants,” he says. “That’s when I tossed the gun.” The second the .380 hit the bushes, he thought, There’s no fuckin’ way they’ll find it. It’s gone.
Several turns later, the Magnum entered Highway 27. George saw the patrol car and the deputy, but he didn’t see the spike strip until it was too late. The tires blew and the Dodge swerved, then the rubber came off and the vehicle was on rims, shooting sparks into the air.
After ten minutes, the police had had enough, and one of the patrol vehicles slammed into the Dodge; causing the vehicle to spin and stall. The former All-American made his last run. He sprinted into a neighborhood and leapt over several fences with two K-9s at his heals. “That’s when they shot me in the back with the Tazer,” smirks Snoop. Nine thousand volts of current ripped through him and he hit the ground.
Sitting in an interview room, hours later, despite being tazed, bitten by one of the German Shepherds and kicked in the eye by a deputy wearing what felt like a size 50 steel-toed boot, Snoop was feeling optimistic. He’d discarded the drugs and the weapon. The most the police had on him was fleeing and alluding, and use of a fake ID.
Then Detective Clark walked in and set a clear plastic evidence bag on the table—containing a .380 High Point with an extended clip. “It took some doin’,” said Clark, as a mischievous grin crept across his face, “but we found your gun.”
The ATF agents showed up shortly after that. Snoop was transferred to federal custody as an armed career criminal in possession of a fire arm; and sentenced to 15 years. The Bureau of Prisons shipped him to Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Central Florida.
“Same place my brother was doin’ time,” says Snoop. Ironically, Snoop and Hawkins are locked up with some of the same dealers and traffickers they had robbed on the street. “None of ’em know it though.”
SINCE SNOOP’S INCARCERATION he has focused his energy into honing his skills as a writer. He self-published, Son of a Gunna, his first book in what he hopes will be a series, early last year. “I’m hopin’ to turn my street experiences into a writin’ career,” says Snoop.
However, when I posed the very real possibility of failing as a novelist and asked about his alternative career plans, Snoop smiled wide, displaying a mouth full of gold teeth. “Well,” he chuckles while conspiratorially glancing around the library, “I know where there’s this jewelry store…”
SOMETIME IN JUNE 2015, well after I’d finished the synopsis, Snoop must have realized he’d made a mistake. I was sitting in my cell—it’s more of a concrete block cube—and Snoop rushed in. Slightly out of breath, he glanced around looking for the correctional officer assigned to my housing unit—per policy inmates aren’t supposed to be in an unassigned unit. He could’ve gotten in trouble. “Hey,” Snoop huffed, “I was just talkin’ with Frank ’bout the contract. He said I should sign it, but he wants to read the story first.”
“Sure,” I replied, feigning excitement at the prospect of Snoop signing over his life rights. “I’ll get you a copy.” I jumped out of my seat and pretended to frantically sift through my locker. I could see a glimmer of anticipation in Snoop’s eyes as I flipped through several file-folders. Then, I froze, turned to him and said, “It’s not here, I’ll have to print you another copy.”
Snoop nodded while a grin crept across his face, but I didn’t move. “So,” he asked, “when you gonna print it off?”
“As soon as you sign the contract,” I laughed, and I dropped back into my chair. Snoop squinted his eyelids at me, knowing, and grinned. “Come on bro,” I said, “I’m a con man, there’s no scenario where you get one over on me.”