On February 23, 2009, 24-year-old Sam Brown of British Columbia was arrested by U.S. authorities in Washington State as he landed a helicopter he had piloted across the border. Sam’s crime: he was attempting to smuggle almost 200 kilograms of marijuana, “B.C. Bud”. Only a few days after his arrest, Sam hanged himself in his jail cell. In Over the Edge, Linden MacIntyre takes us into the world of drug smuggling in B.C. and the role in it of young people like Sam Brown.
Sam was an extreme sports enthusiast, who thrived on the adrenaline of risk taking. He grew up in the B.C. interior, living in Nelson, where the flourishing mountain biking scene offered him new challenges. Rugged and picturesque, Nelson is a hotbed for the young and unconventional, a magnet for extreme sports enthusiasts—and a centre for the lucrative, underground marijuana industry.
The homegrown pot, “B.C. Bud”, pours billions of illegal dollars into local economies in B.C. Huge demand for the drug has allowed Nelson to ride out normal economic swings. But “B.C. Bud” also fuels a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise on B.C.’s lower mainland and the United States, sustained largely by a core group of thrill-seekers like Sam—young people who smuggle drugs for the sheer high of the risk and their addiction to the money.
In Over the Edge, the fifth estate reconstructs Sam’s final smuggling mission. Linden MacIntyre speaks with a former smuggler who recruited Sam into that world. Viewers will also hear from his sisters and father, still grappling with the circumstances of his arrest and his death, as well as Sam’s American lawyers, some of the last people to speak with him before he took his life.
– Article from CBC News: The Fifth Estate on November 13, 2009.