On Thursday, U.S. skier Julia Mancuso won silver in Women's Super Combined, her second medal of the Games, and her third career Olympic medal, making her the most decorated U.S. woman skier, ever. And no one could be prouder than her father, Ciro Mancuso, a successful real estate developer ... who roughly 20 years ago, was arrested as the head of one of the country's largest marijuana smuggling operations. It started as a small-time college operation with some buddies, but it hardly ended that way.â†µ
By the time federal agents stormed Mancuso's home to arrest him, yanking him out of the shower to do so, he had smuggled an estimated 45 tons of marajuana over a span of two decades.â†µ
Stories circulated of buried millions, Swiss bank accounts, Thai army generals, false travel-trailer compartments and sailboats making the 7,700-nautical mile run from Asia to deserted coasts in Oregon. It was said that Ciro's smuggling operation was so ambitious, so full-blown and so Sagarmatha over-the-top that if you ever fired up a bowl of weed during the 1970s and '80s in Northern California, you'd probably taken a hit from a Ciro stash.â†µ
Mancuso was sentenced to nine years in prison, but only served four after cooperating with officials (further reward: he was allowed to walk free during the trial, and even got to keep $2 to $4 million of the money made from his drug sales).â†µ
Through it all, he has maintained a close relationship with his children, including Julia. In fact, she credits her dad for much of her ski success. "My family is what has always grounded me, and, to tell the truth, my favorite moments are being able to do stuff with Dad."