In a story reminiscent of Randy Lanier and John Paul, smuggling has reared its head in professional auto racing once again, this time involving Canadian NASCAR racer Derek White.
White, who was previously a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series regular, surrendered himself to police on Wednesday after being named as one of 60 people wanted in conjunction with what is being called the largest tobacco smuggling bust in North American history.
The arrest came as a result of 70 raids in Quebec and Ontario, which involved more than 700 Canadian and American law enforcement personnel. According to Bloomberg, police seized “52,800 kilograms of tobacco, 836 kilos of cocaine, 21 kilos of methamphetamine, 100 grams of fentanyl and 35 pounds of marijuana”.
Tobacco was purchased in North Carolina by the ring, of which White is said to be a leader, and transported illegally across the border into Quebec for cigarette production. The resulting products were then sold for as little as $5 for a baggie of 200 smokes on the Kahnawake and Six Nations reserves.
In recent years, White has stepped up from the NASCAR regional series here in Canada to compete in the higher ranks. With 22 starts in the Xfinity Series, White became the first native American to enter the Sprint Cup series where he finished 39th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last July.
The tale of successful IMSA racer John Paul Sr. certainly earns him the caption of infamous. Charged with marijuana related offences as early as 1979, Paul was charged with attempted murder but fled when let out on bail. In 1985, he was caught in Switzerland, where he spent 6 months in lockup before being sent back to the States. He was charged and was sent to Leavenworth until 1999. Then, things got really weird. Paul became involved with a woman who left her job and joined him on his schooner before disappearing. Paul was interviewed by police, but then vanished himself. Later spotted in Fiji, Paul sold his boat in Italy and is now suspected to be hiding somewhere in Thailand.
IMSA and CART veteran Randy Lanier discovered the weed as a teen in the late Seventies. Selling small amounts to fund his personal use taught Lanier that there was serious money to be made in transporting marijuana and soon ran a multi-million dollar importing effort. He was making so much money that he had to find places to spend it and not only discovered auto racing, but that he was good at it. Like Paul, Lanier attempted to escape the law, but in the end was tossed in prison until 2014 when he was released early. Lanier today resides in Florida and works at the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop.