Norman’s Cay, Carlos Lehder and the Medellin Cartel

Aug. 1:

It’s all history now, but the story goes like this. In the late 1970s and early 80s, this beautiful cay in the Exumas was the personal island headquarters used by legendary Carlos Lehder for his high-tech approach to smuggling cocaine from Columbia to the U.S. while the Bahamian government turned a blind eye. Lehder was the first to use small planes to bring cocaine into various out-of-the-way runways in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, evading U.S. authorities, and greatly increasing the amount of cocaine brought into the States.  In its prime, Lehder’s operation earned him $250 to $300 million a year and was responsible for smuggling up to 75% of the cocaine used in the US.

His story reads like fiction and probably much of it is. It is hard to dig up the real facts since he is now in an undisclosed Federal prison in the US in what is more or less a witness protection program. Why? The story goes that he exchanged a reduced sentence for information that lead to the conviction of Panamanian President Noriega. A megomaniac, Lehder claims the US failed to keep its obligations to him and he is thought to still   be involved in legal battles to reduce his life plus 135 year sentence.

Fascinating to say the least and just the kind of story for movies (yes, Blow with Johnny Depp is based on this) and books.

We are currently researching  his real story for part of a book we are working on.  We would love to hear from those who have factual knowledge of this period of history for Norman’s Cay.  We are not interested in hearsay. And of course we’d love to interview Lehder himself. Does anyone know if this is possible?


MacDuff’s, Norman Cay


Norman’s Cay is once again a safe, beautiful anchorage with MacDuff’s Bar and Grill currently undergoing renovations.


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
This entry was posted in book blog, Sailing adventures and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s