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Hello, podcast listeners, my name is Chris Walker, host of The Syndicate, the new podcast about how a group of college friends took advantage of Colorado's medical marijuana laws to create one of the longest, most lucrative smuggling runs in U.S. history. Subscribe to the syndicate right now on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
And stay tuned to the end of this episode for a special preview of the trailer.
13 originals. News of three people dead in what's being called a double homicide and a suicide spread quickly Monday.
I went out there and the car was gone and I was like, oh, good, they weren't home.
Sheila Throckmorton works next door to this home that burned down in Marion County near Lake of the Pines. She says she knows the woman and her son who were found dead, and the woman's husband, who was found dead in a car outside from what investigators are calling a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Every single day, he stopped in and he would stop in once or twice a day. And he said, do you need anything from the store or do you need anything? You know, like he would run an errand for us or whatever, and he would stop in and say, if you need anything, you just call.
Throckmorton says the last few months were tough on the family as the 88 year old woman cared for her terminally ill son and her husband watched helplessly.
I have to believe that he struggled with the decision. I don't I don't think it was a spur of the moment. I don't think it was a violence thing. I have to believe that it wasn't. I tell you this, I would sit right here watching TV and I was telling him about, like the past, his fellow killed his wife, his son in law that shot itself. They say people don't. It would have said that it would bail, you know, and my wife was in her sleep.
I got it. I walked in and I was afraid.
This is what they call Butch. Every wife said, Paul, don't. I said, he just shot himself. He just killed himself. He killed his wife and son in law.
You know, that kind of took the lid off. But so I got. OK, telephone. And I called Jackie. I had a very violent upbringing, so one of the things I strive to do with my children is to give them good memories of their childhood. I want them to look back and think positive.
So one of our favorite spots is to fly down to Florida, go to Disney World, go to SeaWorld and then go down to the Keys.
So at the end of our trip, literally our last night there, we all went to bed. And that night I'm sleeping in the hotel and it's like 11 o'clock at night and my phone starts ringing. It was actually Uncle Harry that left a message and said, something's happened, you need to call us.
So I call them back. And they said that they're seeing something on the news about a murder suicide. And they said that it looked like his house, that they weren't releasing any names. And I'm thinking, oh, fuck, my fucking father's dead. I would describe it like a. Like a chalkboard with a bunch of writing on it. The writing was that 10 days that I spent in Florida with my children, my father doing that was your race or it just a race?
I don't remember that trip, that trauma of finding out that that happened just blew everything else, like right out of the picture. That was just I am just that's all I got from now. Good goods, a man who's lost his soul can take a stand when these flames go, go. And all the. Me saying the jubilee with all the fire we can bring. I'm Jackie Taylor, and this is relative unknown. About a week after I got the news from my auntie and Uncle Harry back in July of 2013, I traveled to their farm in Camp, Louisiana.
Camped is a tiny town of about a thousand people a little over an hour away from Shreveport, which is where my father and a sister, Frieda, are from for most of my life.
I had no contact with my aunt and uncle, but we'd reconnected a few years earlier.
They were close to my father and live only 90 minutes from where his house was in Lake of the Pines, Texas, by my Uncle Harry is one of the warmest people I know.
Well, my Aunty Frida is much more guarded.
Hello, Auntie. Hello, baby. I'm better now that I'm here.
She's been looking over her shoulder for more than 30 years and she's not thrilled. I'm telling the story.
They're not using his real name or they? Yeah, I think so. Well, it's not going to get any of his family in any danger, but they're trying. You know, I didn't want to give it back that it would interfere with any of our family, you know, the kinfolks and stuff, but had a big history more ways, more, you know, not just because I go in the door for so many years, you know, it's just very, very intelligent.
Man He had a photostatic Membrey, he Newgate people just like that up the air. That's why they were so scared of that. I'm glad he's camping out in the open maybe to protect the people in the future instead of just throwing them out there. That's what I'm hoping because it ruined so many lives. Maybe you can get it straightened out.
So the very next morning, the three of us, we called ourselves the Three Musketeers because the journeys that we took together were kind of insane here and there. But it was always the three of us, my Uncle Harry, my Aunt Frieda, who was my father's sister and myself. So our first stop was, um, Sheriff David McKnight's. Jacqui showed up here and introduced herself, and she was. He said he was sorry for my loss. I wasn't sorry.
I was just angry at my father all over again. And I related to kind of what was going on up to this point and what we were running into if his true identity. And he asked me, do you do you know who your father was? He said he said no. What do you really know who your father was?
And I told you, I'll just go over and tell you what we discovered. And I told I had this truck. She was surprised that they had preserved it, but the thing that she was really interested in was the manuscript. I just wanted to rip into it. I want to see what was in there, you know, that's like a weird, sadistic treasure just to me. There could be so many answers to my life, questions that my mother unfortunately refused to answer.
And here I am. Everything that I probably need to know about my past is in this freaking trunk. And as soon as I opened up that trunk, I just.
I smelled the 70s and I get to this other part of the trunk, which has a lot of his memorabilia, and I pull out these red and white patches, he's got the three piece that he's even got the filthy few little patch.
He's got it. All these patches out there in a big Ziploc bag. I open up the Ziploc bag and I. I could smell motorcycles. Still, I can smell that fucking clubhouse. I can smell everything, smell my dad. And I'm pulling out the first rocker that says Hells Angels. I'm pulling out the death head. And I pull out the last one and it says Cleveland. And I said it on my lap, just how it would have been on his back, on his coat, and I'm looking at it thinking, wow, this does not belong on my fucking lap.
You do not have those patches in your possession or a death headscarf or rings or jewelry, anything if you are not a club member.
And Sheriff McKnight was concerned that something would happen if they found out that I had those patches and told her that if a Hells Angels member found he had them could possibly be dangerous.
After I left Sheriff McKnight's office with my father's trunk, I drove out to where his house once stood.
And as I pulled up into the driveway between the bait shop and the liquor store, I saw his house or work. What was left of the house.
I was shocked, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was just rubble there. It was just black, burnt everywhere. And, you know, it dropped me to my knees. And I was devastated for, you know, everything that the three of them went through. You know, they didn't have to die. He didn't have to do what he did. This isn't how it was supposed to be. It shouldn't look like this. So what exactly happened here?
Two people were murdered. A house was set on fire.
And somebody committed suicide, that being my father. This is just symbolic of a system that failed a man and ended up feeling an entire family and hurt a community in the witness protection program.
There's just so many flaws in the whole system. He just fell through the cracks. But they got what they wanted out of him. And I'm kicking myself now because I never fully got to know Paul Dohm, but I listen to a lot of other people about who Clarence Crouch was.
And that's probably going to haunt me for the rest of my life. There's a tremendous amount of guilt that's felt when I stand here. I just wish I would have known him a little bit better. I know I never really got to know him like everybody around here did. I just get mad at him sometimes. You know, we had so much in common, we could have fuckin. I don't want to be mad at him. I learned a secret to how to make mealtime easy and fun in my house, and I want to share it with you.
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Action can turn around, you guys are sure. I got tape over how many times I got to get away from the front of it. Everybody, Daddy, you could usually see it. It's a record look like it's recording. I told you it's recording to get away from it for you at the lake. Oh, boy. Come on. Come on. Back down here. Get away.
This is audio from a VHS cassette that my father recorded on his video camera. It's him, my mother, marry me, my younger sister, Jamie, and my younger brother Jeff. And we're sitting on a blanket next to a lake getting ready to fish.
Come on, go watch. Official Fruchter. It feels like a million years ago, but we look happy, open desert, we have one, we got nightcrawlers on one level, I think about Cleveland and growing up in Cleveland back in the 70s, that was the happiest time of my life.
I had my whole family together and there was a lot of love back then, I got this from Mom and like. My grandfather had lived on a couple of lakes and he'd bought my mother a house just down the path from him and my grandparents took great care of us while my mother was at work and my father was out on his runs.
I had a lot of uncles growing up, and those were all members of the Hells Angels, I grew up in the clubhouse, Uncle Whitey, Uncle Red, Uncle Scotty and I grew up with all of the members and I grew up with all of their children.
And we are all one big family.
When I heard a motorcycle, it was a comforting feeling to me because I knew that my father, my uncles were near, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with my father. He was constantly on the road when I was little.
So that almost brought a sense of excitement, the sound of a motorcycle, knowing that I might possibly see my dad. And I remember, you know, if I heard a motorcycle or if I drove by, I always looked for my father. I remember his bike, he had eight pingers and he had an old panhead that he painted orange, so I always kind of knew what to look for and I still actually kind of look when a bike goes by to see if my dad is just out of habit.
I remember my father had his motorcycle in our living room, which he turned into his garage. I remember there being oil on the carpet all around his motorcycle. He was always dirty, his boots were always dirty, his pants were always dirty. He always smelled like. A motorcycle. I mean, he had a smell about him, it wasn't a pleasant smell, but it was my dad's smell. I remember the dirt under his fingernails or possibly the oil, his greasy hair.
He always smelled like cigarettes. He always had a knife on his belt. And he always had cocaine in his pocket or possibly Krank, I don't know, but he always had a knife that he would pull out and pull his little baggie of drugs out and do a little toot. He called it his medicine. He was your classic dirty old biker then. My mother and my father are there. I just I can't even describe how different of characters I mean, I still question that.
How did that happen? I don't know exactly how they met. Mary was the apple of everyone's eye, she was doted on by everyone in the family and she was just like the perfect one, the one that obeyed, kind of like the goody two shoes in the family.
This is my cousin Linda from Cleveland. She and my mother, Mary, are only about 10 years apart. And Linda knew some stuff about the family history that I didn't.
Mary got an education, became a nurse and worked in the hospitals, had a very good job, got her own apartment, had a nice car, and she was engaged to a very, very nice, very good looking gentleman. And all of a sudden it was broken off and it really wasn't ever talked about.
But it came out that this fella wanted to have sex before marriage and Mary refused.
And so that was the break off of that relationship. Now, somewhere after that relationship went awry, she got pregnant.
I have no idea who, what, where, how.
I have no idea. And then all of a sudden she decides to take off to California.
And she lived out there and she had this child and she gave it up for adoption, which was so out of character. So, OK, so now she's back in Cleveland and her brother Jean, he is down in the Cleveland Flats. Back in the 70s, the flats were a very, very dangerous place to be. And he happened to be down there and there was a fight.
My uncle Jean Ziga, who was called Meanjin, Armine was a member of the Animals Motorcycle Club, and he was also a Hells Angel hanging around. Well, one night in April of 1971, he was 25 years old and he got into a bar fight. He got shot and stabbed. And then he and another guy killed a 63 year old man.
Police said the man they killed was stabbed 65 times. And Jeanne was put in prison and his father fought day and night to get him out now while he was in prison.
Mary also gets involved working with her dad to try and get her brother released. And somewhere along the line, she meets Butch.
When Sheriff McKnight gave me my father's trunk more than anything in there, I was excited to read his manuscript, Hate and Discontent. But it's really hard to get through.
Imagine reading about all the illegal and awful things your father's done in his life. But since he's not here to tell his story, it's the next best thing. So throughout this podcast, you'll hear passages from it. Here he writes about meeting my mother during the time she was trying to help get me out of jail. And my dad was trying to help get some of his Hells Angels Brothers out of jail, too. I was appointed to get in touch with the families, see if they could come up with some money.
So I called up moeny Sister Mary, who had done a lot of the talking to the families and lawyers. She had come by the clubhouse a few times and I met her. So after I called her and she came over to the apartment, we started going around talking to the families. Then after we would go over to the apartment, sit around drinking wine, and after jumping into bed a couple of times, she got to calling me every night.
One night I just started hanging up the phone and she just kept calling back, which went on for hours. She wasn't really pretty. And most of all, she didn't fit what I figured a Hells Angels old lady would be.
But the more I talked to marry, the more I began to like her. She was different than all the bitches that hung around the club that I had been with. She was a registered nurse and had a good head on her shoulders. One day we loaded up my bike and split for Louisiana to see my family. Mary had all these credit cards and at first I was telling myself that that was what I was really after the spending and buying everything I wanted.
And after a while she would just go on down the road like the rest of those bitches. But as we got down in Louisiana and she began to shine in a better light, I began to really get into her. My grandfather was never OK with the fact that my mother was dating a Hells Angel. My uncle was the wild child, and I think that my grandfather did everything in his power to preserve the innocence of my mother and to at least try to get her out of that lifestyle, because that's definitely not where she belonged in his eyes.
My grandfather was a wonderful man, Frank Zagar. He was a hard working, middle class, blue collar man, worked for the railroad and then went to work for the shipyard. My grandfather was the love of my life. Him and my father were the exact opposite. My father never worked a day in his life, so they never got along. One day my father was home and he was drunk during the day and he was outside chopping wood and I was in the house.
And my grandfather walked down the little path there and I went to see what was going on at the front door, and my grandfather and my father both told me to go back in the house. I went back to my bedroom window and I saw that they were arguing and my father took a shotgun and hit my grandfather over the head with it. And my grandfather was bleeding, I remember seeing blood and he was holding his head and I was just devastated that he would do that to him.
I think my father wanted so bad to have that pure, sweet, loving family life that my mother strived so hard to give him and he just couldn't break away from his demons.
This is a request for a unique identifier regarding the investigation of Clarence Addae Crouch of Cleveland, Ohio.
This official document was submitted on April 16th, nineteen eighty one by a Cleveland ATF agent named Bernie Berkovich here.
But Kovik makes the request for what is called a unique identifier to enter my father's name as a person of interest Crouch going by street names of Weasel Swamp Fox, which our buddy is a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Cleveland, Ohio chapter. This outlaw gang comprises approximately 50 chapters located in eight countries around the world. They're heavily involved in firearms trafficking and have a propensity for automatic weapons and destructive devices. In addition, Hells Angels control the market on PCP in the United States and Canada.
Crouch has an extensive record of violent crimes throughout the country, having been arrested in Louisiana, Texas, California and Florida for such offenses as drug possession, rape, robbery and kidnapping. This investigation will determine the extent of Crouch's involvement in criminal activity as it relates to ATF violations. In addition to organized crime contacts where applicable, if appropriate, a criminal case will be perfected against Crouch and any associate Hells Angels members that fall within the scope of this investigation.
Just a month later, Bernie Butkovitz submitted another report. This one shows that he was trying to locate my dad. The report lists 71 phone numbers associated with my father, but he couldn't be reached to any of them. So Berkovich went and spoke with my grandfather on May 18th. Nineteen eighty one, Frank Ziga was interviewed regarding Crouch, Mr. Ziga, Crouch's father in law related that Crouch had pulled a gun on him back in October 1980. Mr. Ziegler promised his cooperation in our investigation, but could offer no substantive leads to Crouch's whereabouts then.
But Kovik spoke to my mother at her job.
Mary Crouch was interviewed at Giago Community Hospital. Miss Crouch related that she didn't know Clarence's whereabouts or would try and locate him. Mary Crouch was very distraught and didn't want to comment on anything related to her husband. My mother suspected that something was happening with my father. We lived on private property and there was a sedan parked out front. This obviously stuck out like a sore thumb. There was no hiding and it was two suits in a sedan and my mother knew something was terribly wrong.
I wasn't aware of anything back then. I remember the sedan and where it was parked, but I don't specifically remember anything except all of a sudden we were moving. My dad did not come with us. My mother was actually trying to escape him and whatever the hell he had going on, she knew that something was up. So she took us and she bolted.
It was scary and it was heartbreaking to leave my grandparents, there were the most stability and love that I'd ever had in my life, so I didn't want to leave that.
But it was an adventure. We were told it was an adventure and it was going to be fun. And we're going to get to go to Florida and go to Disney World and yada, yada.
I remember my mother telling us that we would see our father someday, but just not right now. And we started a new life down in Florida. We moved to a town called Sebring. My mother got hired as a nurse at a local hospital and us kids went to school. We missed our family back home in Cleveland, but we spoke to our grandparents and cousins all the time. The family knew that they were in Florida to be away from Bush and of course, to try and safeguard the children.
But then all of a sudden there was like nothing got done off the face of the earth, no contact by phone, by letter, nothing.
This is the part that's just like the movies. All of us children more woke up by these men in black suits that were ushering us. Come on. We've got to go. We got to go. We got to go. And it was in the middle of the night. And I just remember my mother's calming voice.
It's OK, guys. It's OK. Come on, let's go. We're going to go on an adventure.
I remember my brother and my sister both crying and I was crying because they were crying and it was just mass mass confusion with my mother's voice saying, it's OK, it's OK.
We're still in our nightgowns, we are being pulled out of bed and just very, very hurried, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry. It was really dark. It was scary. These men were scary. I didn't know what was going on. I had no idea who they were. We didn't know why. Why were we being woke up? Where are we going? We don't want to leave. We have school. I just grabbed a teddy bear off of my bed as we were ushered out and they brought us out into the driveway and I remember seeing two black vans with black tinted windows.
There was nothing you could see nothing inside these windows. And that's where we were. Pipe.
So my next memory was coming into this house in Tampa. It was huge. It was the biggest house that we'd ever seen or ever been in. We had our own separate wing and I remember there was a guy standing there with a semi-automatic weapon and that scared the shit out of us. We weren't allowed to leave and we were told that you have to watch out for motorcycles now. Motorcycles had always been a security blanket to me because it was my father and my uncles that were on motorcycles.
Now I'm being told that I need to be afraid of motorcycles because they pose a threat and to watch out for those patches. And it was then that we realized this house, this was actually a government safe house for federally protected witnesses. And this house was occupied by agents, U.S. marshals, 24/7, not just one, not just two, but many. Of course, we didn't know it at the time, but my dad had made a deal to become a federally protected witness in exchange for his testimony against the Hells Angels.
And part of that deal was to scoop us up and put us into the witness protection program. The Department of Justice, who handles the program, keeps all the details secret. Very few people know how the process works. Bill Mucci is one of them. The minute somebody rat somebody out, the mechanism of the government goes into full force where they grab everybody who is in danger and put them in safe houses.
Bill Mucci is an author, journalist and professor. And in 1996, he wrote a groundbreaking exposé for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about everything that's wrong with the witness protection program.
The minute the loved one goes into business with the government, the family no longer has its liberty and they become prisoners of the government for all intents and purposes, because they can't leave. They can't they have no control over their life. It's almost like they're in jail. And once they put them in the safe houses, they will have more than one family living there, which is bizarre to me. There are other protected witnesses in this house as well, and there is a man who was wearing white and tan and he was clean, he shaved his face, he cut his hair.
And I remember him sitting at a table with a lamp on the table. And I didn't know who this guy was until he spoke.
And he said, it's me, Jack in command, Jack in jacket, and I just remember thinking, your hair, your shirt, your everything. Why had he changed? It didn't make any sense. Where was my dad and this guy? I know this guy is my dad, but I'm fucking confused. And we were told that our name was going to be changed. We weren't quite sure why I had a notebook where I actually filled up that notebook with my new name, Jacqueline and Taylor, Jacqueline and Taylor, over and over and over.
And they told me that if I wrote my new name wrong anywhere or if I ever got my story wrong, that I could get my whole family killed without the.
Oh, the darkness comes on the next episode of Relative Unknown, as I tried to get the knife ready to lash out at the guy pulling on my patch, I heard him say he's still fucking alive.
He stuck the knife in and as he was going down, he kept driving that knife up into the chest cavity of the guy in front of them.
And later this season, my story growing up in the program, friend of the enemy singing the jubilee with all the fire we can bring. A relative unknown as a creation and presentation of S. 13 originals, a division of kadence 13 and Roomer Inc executive produced by Chris Corcoran, Zac Lovett, David Beilinson, Michael Golinski and Sooky Holly, written, produced, directed and edited by Zac Levit, produced and edited by Perry Croal. Our theme song is Change on the Rise by Avi Kaplan Original Music composed by Joel Goodman, Mixed and Mastered by Bill Schulz.
Production Support by Ian Mont and Lloyd Lakeridge Field Recording by Rich Berner, Michael Golinski, Perry Croal and Connor waddingham production, engineering and Coordination by Sean Cherry and Terrence Malick on Artwork, Marketing and PR by Kurt Courtney, Joe Sophina, Frances and Hilary Duff. I'm Jackie Taylor and thanks for listening to Relative Unknown.
Change Change the. Guys, I feel the change on the. As promised, here's a special preview of the new podcast, The Syndicate, but don't forget, you can listen to episodes right now by subscribing on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.
Here's the trailer college.
You get an education, you plan for your future, build a circle of lifelong friends and figure out how to make money, real money, late night binge drinking, hard partying, money, cocaine, girls, booze, you know, I mean, we're exchanging half a million dollars at a time stashed in the mountains kind of money, a bag full of cash with a GPS tracking device on it.
And as it just keeps rushing in, you're rolling in it.
I felt like I was on top of the world. I didn't think there was anything to worry about.
But all good things must come to an end and wow, what an end.
And they come right out and throw me down.
Had me pinned down against the ground rifle to my head and suddenly you and all your best college pals aren't such good friends anymore.
My name is Chris Walker and over ten episodes I'm going to walk you through a world of big money and big risks and introduce you to a tight knit group of friends who thought they were untouchable. All these guys are so cocky, that area, until they weren't DEA. We like to use a term to disrupt and dismantle. There's some organizations that we disrupt this organization we dismantled from Fox to pissing an imperative entertainment. This is the syndicate.