Recently The Independent Reporters covered the ongoing saga of Run, Johnny Run. The main stream media and National Public Radio carried the story, along with Unconstrained News on what is now becoming somewhat of a folk legend. John Robert Boone as been called an outlaw, fugitive, criminal , hero and a friend. The Kentuckians known him as the Godfather of Grass, but Boone was more a farmer than gangster. The article did touch on Boone’s past history with the law also.
The group became known as the “Cornbread Mafia” and Boone was tagged by prosecutors as their leader, earning him the nicknames “King of Pot” and “Godfather of Grass.” Eventually, 70 Kentuckians were accused of growing 182 tons of marijuana.
Godfather of Grass
Even if the Chrsitmas season comes and goes, over the years Boone has now been known to resemble a tattooed Santa Claus. Around the time of the 2008 raid on his property 60 miles southeast of Louisville, Boone sported white hair on his balding head and a shaggy white beard. Yet across his back are large, tattooed letters spelling “Omerta,” the infamous Sicilian word that describes the underworld code of silence. A small group of folks have started calling him “Sativa Claus” and since the time of the initial reports hishas grown to 2100+ fans and increased traffic which even spawned another Facebook page Run, Johnny Run.
Tracking down the fugitive who resembles a tattooed Santa Claus has proven as hard as “trying to catch a ghost” for the federal authorities canvassing tightlipped residents among the small farms in a rural area southeast of Louisville. Boone, who’s trying to avoid the life sentence he would get if convicted a third time of growing pot, has plenty of sympathizers in an area where many farmers down on their luck have planted marijuana.
The article also touches briefly on the prohibition of alcohol. An attempt at social morals failed miserable with the public’s on-going consumption of alcohol during prohibition. Many of the same conversations are being had again today as the public moves to end marijuana prohibition and the problems associated with black market activities.
Boone’s rough-edged stomping grounds — dotted with small towns, corn fields and bourbon distilleries — have a colorful history of fostering illicit activities.
The area was home to moonshine runners during Prohibition, who often darted into rows of corn stalks and barns to hide from federal agents. In the early 1980s, as the economy soured and prices for tobacco and farm products dropped, parts of central Kentucky had unemployment rates nearing 14 percent. The rate in the area now is around 9 percent — similar to the national average.
“A lot of the sons of moonshine makers turned to marijuana,” said Smith, a native of the area who now practices in Louisville. “That particular part of the state, that was the hometown of marijuana.”
Genesis 1:11 Tshirt
Boone was quoted his 1988 quote hearing talking about the hardships of the region and the need for marijuana reform.
“With the poverty at home, marijuana is sometimes one of the things that puts bread on the table,” Boone said. “We were working with our hands on earth God gave us.”
Where will Johnny’s run take him? The article suggests he could be right under a rock in the backyard or living in Belize somewhere, which I hear is nice this time of year.
Boone, who has marijuana-growing contacts in Central America, could be anywhere. Then again, Habib said he could still be hiding out in the rural, tight-knit area around his farm.
“It’s like trying to catch a ghost,” former Deputy U.S. Marshal Rich Knighten said shortly after Boone’s indictment in 2008.