runjohnnyRun, Johnny, Run.

by Michael Velardo

Photo: Guilhem Vellut –

T-shirts say, “Run Johnny, Run,” but federal authorities are unable to locate the Sultan of Smoke, John Robert Boone, 67, who is wanted for a 2008 raid on his marijuana farm where the elusive entrepreneur was growing 2,400 plants in Springfield, Kentucky, according to an article by, 11-27-2010.

Boone has been on the run, and authorities can’t find him. They say he is like a ghost. A little help from the locals where John lived, and often helped in times of need, are not peeping a poem about the pot provider, except to maybe upgrade his cult status.

Boone’s problems started up again in 2008. Kentucky State police were doing farm fly-bys, and located marijuana plants on some trailers on Boone’s farm. When authorities raided the place, they found, and confiscated 2,400 plants, but John was in the wind already.

Back in the 1980’s, Boone was known as the leader of the “Cornbread Mafia,” an outfit that was growing, and harvesting marijuana by the tons. His status earned him nicknames like, “King of Pot” and the “Godfather of Grass.” Prosecutors were able to take down 70 Kentuckians alleging they had grown about 182 tons of marijuana in that operation. Boone received 20 years in prison in 1988 for the roll he played.

John, “…spent more than a decade in federal prison after being convicted in the late 1980s of taking part in what federal prosecutors called the “largest domestic marijuana syndicate in American history,” a string of 29 farms in Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Wisconsin,” reported

The locals in the area love the guy, and he’s non-violent. “Even if I knew where he was, I wouldn’t tell you,” said James “Jim Bean” Cecil, a 64-year-old Lebanon, Ky., resident who spent time in prison with Boone.” “He was just a good ol’ country boy, a farmer,” said Joe Pendleton, a Boone acquaintance whose shop sells the “Run, Johnny, Run” T-shirts in nearby Campbellsville. “He’s not robbing banks or nothing,” reported

This is not an unknown area in American history. Moonshine runners were rolling down there during Prohibition years.

Now federal authorities want to lock Boone up for the rest of his life if he is convicted a third time for growing marijuana. Boone faces that life sentence under the federal three-strikes law for a drug charge that is non-violent.

“Run, Johnny, Run.”

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