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The Green Flash Profiles Infamous Florida Smuggler

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The new documentary “The Green Flash” chronicles the life of Steve Lamb, a notorious Florida drug smuggler in the 1970s. Lamb, a St. Pete Beach native, began his criminal career as a teenager by selling small bags of marijuana to help support his struggling family.[1] He eventually graduated to smuggling larger quantities from Jamaica on borrowed shrimp boats, earning him the moniker “the beach kid.”[1]

The Steinhatchee Seven

In 1973, at just 20 years old, Lamb was part of the “Steinhatchee Seven” group arrested for attempting to bring ashore nine tons of marijuana from Jamaica – the largest drug bust in U.S. history at the time.[2][4] He spent 20 months in prison for this offense.[4]

After his release in 1977, Lamb went on the run for over a decade, operating a smuggling operation primarily out of Venezuela to avoid further drug charges.[2][4] He was finally apprehended again in the late 1980s and served additional prison time before being released in 2003.[4]

Subject and Story

The film centers around Steve Lamb, who was part of the infamous “Steinhatchee Seven” group arrested in 1973 for attempting to smuggle nine tons of marijuana from Jamaica into Florida – the largest drug bust in U.S. history at the time.15 Lamb, just 20 years old then, spent 20 months in prison before going on the run for over a decade, operating a smuggling ring primarily out of Venezuela to avoid further charges.1The documentary tells Lamb’s full story, from his humble beginnings selling small bags of marijuana as a teenager in St. Pete Beach to support his family, to his years as a fugitive smuggler, multiple prison stints, and later life after his 2003 release.15 It is based in part on Lamb’s 2010 memoir “The Smuggler’s Ghost.”1

Production and Release

The Green Flash is directed by Ethan Payne and Jodi Cash.1 It features one of Lamb’s final interviews before his death in February 2024 at age 71, just months before the film’s premiere.15The documentary had its world premiere on April 26, 2024 at the Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.1 It does not appear to have a wider theatrical release scheduled yet.

Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.3 This was a fitting location for the documentary’s debut, as St. Petersburg is where the story of Florida smuggler Steve Lamb originated.The filmmakers, Ethan Payne and Jodi Cash, expressed excitement about bringing the film to Lamb’s hometown for a “huge night of celebration.”3 They encouraged audiences to purchase tickets for the premiere screening, which took place at the AMC Sundial Theatres in downtown St. Petersburg.3 Premiering The Green Flash at the Sunscreen Film Festival allowed the documentary to be showcased in the very community that served as the backdrop for Lamb’s infamous smuggling activities in the 1970s. This homecoming premiere celebrated Lamb’s life and legacy while shining a light on the area’s unique history with the marijuana trade during that era.

The Green Flash Phenomenon

The film’s title refers to the rare green flash that can sometimes be observed at sunset, caused by atmospheric refraction of the sun’s rays.[1] As Lamb explains in one of his final interviews featured in the documentary, this phenomenon was well-known to Florida fishermen and smugglers alike as a signal of the day’s end.[1]

Sadly, Lamb passed away in February 2024 at age 71, shortly before the film’s premiere at the Sunscreen Film Festival on April 26th.[2] However, his incredible story as one of Florida’s most infamous marijuana smugglers lives on through “The Green Flash” and his 2010 memoir.[2][4]

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Citations:
[1] https://stpetecatalyst.com/the-green-flash-documents-floridas-most-famous-smuggler/
[2] https://stpetecatalyst.com/smuggler-steve-lamb-dies-upcoming-film-tells-his-story/.
[3] https://www.thegreenflashdocumentary.com
[4] https://stpetecatalyst.com/smuggler-steve-lamb-dies-upcoming-film-tells-his-story/
[5] https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/weed-racer-the-unlikely-rise-and-epic-fall-of-floridas-marijuana-smuggling-kingpin-204041/
[6] https://hightimes.com/culture/from-the-archives-9-tons-of-pot-1974/

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