This book is written by one of the very law enforcement officers that pursued Freddie Crow, an international marijuana smuggler that had been flying contraband over in and out of various countries for a long time.
But this isn’t the usual story you might think of. Before I start my full review, here is part of the summary on the back cover of the book:
“When an international drug smuggler makes a life changing decision, he finds himself pursuing a different type of thrill at the way into eternity.”
The summary on the purchase page on Amazon reads as follows:
“With a hunger for excitement, Freddie Crow becomes an international smuggler, piloting planeloads of marijuana from Belize, Central America, into various areas of North Florida. Because flying drugs into the United States requires avoiding radar detection and nerves of steel, Freddie eagerly embraces this thrill-seeking opportunity. Utilizing his unique expertise of navigating a plane so low over the Gulf of Mexico’s white capped waves that salt collects on its windshield, he earns the reputation of being one of the very few who can actually fly under the radar.
While Freddie busies himself flying in loads of contraband for his organization, a team of determined law enforcement officers and a prosecutor diligently busy themselves to make a prosecutable case. Their perseverance pays off, and the walls come crashing in on Freddie. Facing a life sentence, he decides to cooperate and turn his life around. After serving a reduced sentence, he finds love and redemption just before his world turns upside down again.
That’s when two people, once on opposing sides of the law, come together and become friends as if directed by God.”
The author is a man named Ed Hudson. He spent 34 years in law enforcement, the last 24 years spent in narcotics investigations including drug smuggling. In 2004 Hudson was promoted to Special Agent Supervisor with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Through his career he received numerous awards from the DEA, U.S. Customs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
So, why is this not the typical FBI agent chasing an international drug runner type of story? First of all, although Freddie was fairly successful at what he did, he always knew in the recesses of his mind and heart that he was doing wrong. It bothered him when his activities or choices affected his loved ones.
But it wasn’t the drugs or even the money that attracted Crow to this line of work. He was a thrill seeker. An adrenaline junkie. It wasn’t that he was getting paid to fly these huge loads of marijuana in and out of countries that got his heart pumping. It was the actual flying itself. Seeing as how smuggling requires one to fly below radar signals there were many times that Crow got to show off and test his limits and skills as a pilot.
Eventually, Crow became involved in some big-time smuggling. He also developed a cocaine habit. An adrenaline junkie with a cocaine habit is a dangerous combination. This mixture, along with the people he surrounded himself with, led to one bad decision after another until he was finally arrested for smuggling.
It is at this time that two life altering things happen that will work together to give him the motivation to change his ways and straighten himself out. He meets Ed Hudson and he has an epiphany about how he’s hit rock bottom with this major arrest and he begins to feel remorse for the trouble and embarrassment he has caused his family, the relationships he lost, friends lost. It’s as if it all came together and instead of looking at the end, he chose to look at a new beginning.
Within twelve hours of his final arrest, he agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and provide them with as much information about the smuggling trade and his own ring as he could. This would not only get him a lighter sentence in his own case but it was the perfect opportunity to confess and rid himself of the weight of knowing he’d wronged and been doing wrong.
The person he was most comfortable with was Ed Hudson. What began as initial standard interviews would grow into full conversations, eventually forging the most unlikely friendship.
This book is the story of who these two men are and how this all came together. The joy of this book is the chase of an international drug smuggler, his experiences as such, the cops and agents that pursued him and the unlikely bond created between two men on opposite sides of the law, both wanting to make a difference at the same time.
A fascinating read, full of all kinds of information and ins and outs of a long-time multimillion or more dollar smuggling business and all the different people one can encounter in such areas of that kind of business.
My only criticism would be that it can be a little slow moving at times. However, those are the parts of the book that truly provide a wealth of information. So, they are not tedious or boring. They actually cram a lot of information into these sections so you’ll want to pay attention through the whole book.
Anyone who likes true crime and things like that would probably enjoy this book immensely. Anyone who wanted to hear from law enforcement’s perspective would also be interested in this book. Since I have blue in my blood coming from a law enforcement family, I found this book particularly interesting.
About the Author:
Author Ed Hudson grew up in rural Northwest Florida, where he spent his youth working on farms, toting bricks and blocks, making mortar for his father’s masonry business and attending school. He later earned an associate of science degree in law enforcement and a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice administration. He worked with the Century Police Department and as a deputy at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department, where he patrolled the highways for nine years. In 1990, he transferred to the narcotics unit and became a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in 1993.
Hudson worked a variety of cases with his fellow FDLE agents along with agents from the DEA, ATF, U.S. Customs and Secret Service. He was promoted to Special Agent Supervisor in 2004 and remained in this position until retirement on October 1, 2014.
Today, Hudson spends his retirement gardening and fishing whenever possible. He enjoys time with his granddaughters, especially when fishing, and with friends if they’re going fishing. He serves his community through the Walnut Hill Baptist Church and as a member of the Walnut Hill Ruritan Club, an organization that lends a hand to those in need. Then he goes fishing. As the Crow Flies is his first book.
Connect with the author on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EdHudsonAuthor.
As the Crow Flies: The Redemption of an International Drug Smuggler
Publisher: Storehouse Media Group
Available from Amazon.com