‘Cornbread Mafia’ boss enters plea deal on drug charges


LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (KT) -  The reputed leader of the so-called “Cornbread Mafia” entered into a plea deal on federal drug charges in U.S. District Court.


John Robert Boone, also known as “Johnny Boone,” pleaded guilty to a manufacturing marijuana charge on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky.

In a statement, Boone admitted that on May 27, 2008 in Washington County he conspired with others to possess more than 1,000 marijuana plants and intended to grow the plants and distribute the marijuana when the plants were harvested.

According to a statement, “Boone admitted that on May 27, 2008, in Washington County, Kentucky, he conspired with other persons to possess more than 1000 marijuana plants, intending to cultivate and grow the plants and distribute the marijuana when the plants were harvested.”

“In furtherance of the conspiracy, Boone watered and fertilized the plants, and concealed them on a farm in Washington County on Walker Lane near his residence,” the statement said.

In a description of the book “The Cornbread Mafia,” written by James Higdon that appears on Lyonspress.com, “In the summer of 1987, Johnny Boone set out to grow and harvest one of the greatest outdoor marijuana crops in modern times.  In doing so, he set into motion a series of events that defined him and his associates as the largest homegrown marijuana syndicate in American history.”

Within two years, according to the description, 69 men and one woman were arrested on 29 farms in 10 states, and seized 200 tons of pot.  None of the 70 cooperated with investigators.

Boone fled to Canada, since under the “Three Strikes Law” he faced life in prison for what would have been his third conviction.  After eight years at large, he was captured in December 2016, outside Montreal, and extradited back to Kentucky in April 2017.   He has been in custody ever since.

As part of his plea agreement, Boone faces a maximum five years in prison, a fine up to $250,000 and possible three years supervised release, after completing his prison term.

Boone is scheduled to be sentenced March 15 at U. S. District Court in Louisville.



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