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7/05/2015

It was Morocco's 'Argo' — but with drug smugglers making the film

There are parts of Scott Stevenson's time in the 1970s as a drug smuggler he'd like to forget. Especially toward the end of the run, when the operation led by his older brother began selling cocaine and things turned sinister.
But the Downey native remembers the fun of it too, when he was a hippie teenager flirting with pretty girls in the belly-dancing bars of Fez and cruising the crowded streets of the Moroccan city in a Mercedes-Benz.
And he's still perversely proud of the idea he says he came up with to make it easier to move hundreds of pounds of hashish out of Morocco, an outlandish scheme with a Hollywood sheen: He and his brother Ron would make a film in the North African country as a front to cover up their illicit drug trade.

"The idea was that the movie would be a diversion if the feds or customs in Morocco" got suspicious, Stevenson said of the filming of the 1972 experimental short film "Medina."
"We wanted to always have a reason why we were there," said Stevenson, 61. "The whole point was to smuggle hash."
The "Medina" scheme — with a plot twist that was part "Easy Rider," part "Argo" — might seem hard to believe if everyone involved weren't so willing to admit their roles in the caper now, more than 40 years later.
"Yes, the movie was a front," said Rodney Stair, who worked with the Stevensons on the "Medina" operation.
William "Oley" Henrickson, who served time in prison in the 1980s on drug charges, makes no bones about his involvement in the Moroccan venture.


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