09/08/13 George Martorano

George Martorano has served 30 years in Fed lockup, convicted of 1st time charge for marijuana + George's brother in law: John Flahive

Century of Lies
Sunday, September 8, 2013
George Martorano
Federal Prisoner
Download: Audio icon COL090813.mp3



Century of Lies September 8, 2013


DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.


DEAN BECKER: Thank you for joining us on this edition of Century of Lies. A bit later we are going to feature a segment from February 17th, 2004 but first we have a current interview with the brother-in-law of our featured guest.


JOHN FLAHIVE: My name is John Flahive and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida.

DEAN BECKER: John, your brother-in-law, George Martorano, is in lockup and this is the weekend he recognizes 30 years behind bars, correct?

JOHN FLAHIVE: Yep. September 9th it’ll be 30 years. He was sentenced on September 9th, 1983. He was a small time drug dealer in Philadelphia – nickel/dime guy. He’d buy an ounce and sell half to his friends.

He was approached by agents and they built him up into what they called a kingpin because Nicky Scarfo had gone on a bloodbath rampage with the mob scene in Philadelphia and the feds wanted somebody that was going to talk. They figured if they set Georgey up and bring him in that he would be the one to roll on the Philadelphia mob.

Georgey basically told them that the newspapers know more about my father and the Philadelphia mob than I do. I plead guilty of my crimes.

DEAN BECKER: In retrospect it seems a mistake now. Normally when you plead guilty you get a better sentence. What happened to George?

JOHN FLAHIVE: His attorney told him by pleading guilty he would get at the most 10 years. There was some back door dealings between Robert Samone and the judge at the time, John Hanem.

Samone was up on tax evasion and RICO charges and Judge Hanem actually testified for him prior to the sentencing of Georgey. The press made a big deal about it and the next thing you know they go in for sentencing and he hands Georgey a life, no parole sentence.

Even the parole commission recommended 52 to 70 months or 52 to 60 months as time that Georgey should serve. The judge basically crumpled it up and threw it back at them and told them to go recalculate. They did and came back with the same thing. The judge turned around and gave Georgey life, no parole.

DEAN BECKER: Let’s back up a minute here. You talked about George being a guy who would buy an ounce and sell half to his friends. Where did he get his supply.

JOHN FLAHIVE: That’s where the federal government came in. The agents were working with him. They were part of his supposed crew. The pilot was an agent. They were flying to Mexico to make-shift landing strips, making deals and coming back with 7-800 pounds of marijuana.

DEAN BECKER: He was only able to do this because of the support of the federal government, right?

JOHN FLAHIVE: Absolutely. The no way that Georgey could have done what they say he did without the assistance from the government.

DEAN BECKER: Now we have murderers and rapists and molesters and horrible criminals that get out in less time than your brother-in-law, George Martorano.

JOHN FLAHIVE: Absolutely. It’s crazy. I don’t know if you ever read of a case recently there’s a guy, John V. Martorano – no relation to George Martorano whatsoever. He was part of Whitey Bulger’s crew up in Boston. He was known as “the Executioner”.

This guy plead guilty to over 20 murders (gangland murders, mafia murders) and received 12 years because they said he cooperated with the government. My response to that is I don’t care who cooperated with. He killed 20 people. I don’t even care if he was Jesus Christ’s brother. He killed 20 people and did 12 years. That’s less than 1 year for each body that this man mutilated. What about the family of those people?

And here my brother-in-law is sitting in there on this 848 CCE which is basically a pot conviction of 2,400 pounds and we all know that marijuana does not kill.

DEAN BECKER: John, I know that this eats at you every day and yet your brother-in-law spending those 30 years behind bars has become a poet, a writer. He doesn’t hold a grudge. He just wants justice, right?

JOHN FLAHIVE: Yep. Dean, they’ve actually got him teaching re-entry courses now for the guys that are 12 months and shorter. I find that pretty ironic.

DEAN BECKER: Once again we’ve been speaking with Mr. John Flahive, the brother-in-law of George Martorano, a man who is behind bars 30 years for marijuana.

It’s time to speak up, stand up, do something about it.


And now from February 17, 2004 Mr. George Martorano.


DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir, George, if you would, tell my listeners how you wound up where you are.

GEORGE MARTORANO: Well, basically I put myself here. I’m the longest non-violent, first time offender serving time in the federal prison system – possibly United States. I have no other prison record at all. My years of criminal activity were less than three for marijuana.

I pled guilty to the defense assuming I was going to get 10 years but at the time there was a lot of political rhetoric going on in Philadelphia and I fell right into it. Instead of getting the 10 years I was sentenced to life, no-parole – the fourth person in America at that time and the first person in the state of Pennsylvania.

After spending a year in solitary...getting the sentence I thought that I would finally go to an institution where I would be in population. Instead I was sent to the most severe prison in America and that was Marion. I wrote a little bit about that. It’s called “The Role of Words and Walls.”

I’ll just read the first few sentences. It was for Professor Ian Ross who writes a lot about prison chronology in America.

“No one knows what goes on in a body under the skin when sentenced to die within walls. I know. I was sentenced twice. Twice to come home in a body bag.”

Now, Dean, the reason I was sentenced twice is because I had the sentence vacated in 1986 but I was unfortunate to get in front of the same judge. His aka was “hanging high Hannem” who is now deceased.

Also there was a lot of media on him at the time due to the fact that while I was fighting for my life in court my then-lawyer, Robert Samone, was indicted by the IRS and facing 20 years in prison.

I didn’t know that during this trial his main character witness was going to be my judge. It was the first time in history that the judge actually walked in through the door where prisoners were escorted into the courtroom in his robes and took the stand as the main character witness.

Samone gets found not guilty but the press had a field day with the judge and Samone relationship. 60 days later instead of getting the 10 years because of the bad publicity I get life without parole.

There was a clandestine deal made. As a writer I did a lot of research. I haven’t written my life story yet. I’ve written many other books. There was a clandestine deal made in the shadows where I was supposed to get the life and higher a certain lawyer and the life was supposed to come down to maybe 20/30 years.

This is fine because if that was the case if my sentence was ever reduced which it wasn’t I would have been out by now. When they made the deal in the shadows no one told me. The certain lawyer I was supposed to hire I didn’t hire. I hired a lawyer out of New York, Jerry Shagale – a very prominent appeals lawyer there, and the judge thought, I guess, that I had double-crossed the deal because the deal was never told to me.

Here I sit after ...you said 21 years – it’s going on 22 years. I’m not bitter but all I want is freedom. I plead guilty to the whole indictment figuring I was going to get 10 years. If you were to add up every gram of drug (not ounce/pound) every gram of marijuana in my case my sentence under new law (which is much more stringent) I would get 15-22 years. Well, I did that.

This is why we believe group.com is there fighting for my freedom.

DEAN BECKER: You say you got life without parole but it is my understanding that you pled guilty. How in the hell can that happen?

GEORGE MARTORANO: You answered the question. Why would I do it if I wasn’t told something. All these years I’ve been trying to get this lawyer, Samone, to come clean. Incidentally he gets indicted again in 92 for RICO. Two of his counts were that he took $30,000 that was owed to me for a pot bill and never told me, pocketed it, so why would he want me in during the trial where that would have been revealed. The guy he took the $30,000 from was an un-indicted co-conspirator.

Also he was indicted for a conspiracy to murder my father.

DEAN BECKER: Along that line, George, is there not some ramification, some fall out, some innuendo that discerned from the scenario of why they applied these laws to you, in particular? Is it because of your family?

GEORGE MARTORANO: Yes, we want to be totally truthful to the audience because I respect this interview.

At the time in Philadelphia (the early 80s) there was a mob conflict and a lot of guys were killed. It had nothing to do with me or my father. There was no arrests being made. The violence got so bad I believe from research that I’ve gathered the fallout even came from Washington, D.C. – “What’s going on there? Not one arrest.” The violence went on for years.

Here comes me this young guy who falls with the pot case and they finally thought they had someone who had inroads with and they started squeezing me. It was totally...when I’m there for sentencing nothing was mentioned about the pot case. They all went on these other spills about the violence and the Nicky Scarfo. Right in front of me I have my sentencing minutes. Here’s one sentence:

“WE also have on the record an indictment that goes in alleged pattern of racketeering with Nicky Scarfo as head of the mod in Philadelphia in 1996. We further have an intelligence information that if this defendant was willing to cooperate and testify truthfully that he would be able to help us and cooperate with us.”

When I was indicted for this marijuana conspiracy there was no mention of mob. There was no mention of my father. There was no mention of Nicky Scarfo and there’s no violence. There’s no violence in my case at all. That’s why we say with our flyers being passed out around America that I’m the longest non-violent offender serving time in the federal system.

Greed was a part of it. The government actually brought the marijuana into Philadelphia and had me sell it. To make it CCE 848 count you must do that three times. So the government brings the marijuana into Philadelphia 3 times and I sell it.

They could have arrested me the first time but they wanted to apply pressure. You got to remember I never was in prison. I basically worked all my life. I paid taxes all my life so they figure this is a prime candidate to squeeze.

DEAN BECKER: The DEA or the local drug task forces are more than willing to make you wealthy for a short time in order to bust you in the long run. Am I right?

GEORGE MARTORANO: Oh, yes. I think the amount of what we sold – what the lawyers all ended up taking would have been over $300,000. That money was, like I said, the marijuana was brought in, was sold and all our guys split it up. Incidentally, all of us pled guilty because we were all first offenders and none of us had records.

I said, “Listen, we got caught. Let’s plead guilty. We’re not going to get...” All my co-defendants got B2 sentences which means they were all eligible to be released in the 3rd.

Most of my co-defendants were all sentenced from 35 years and down and no one did more than 10 years. They’re all out.

DEAN BECKER: In a third of their time.

GEORGE MARTORANO: I fell under this whole political trap. When I was sentenced I was sentenced to Marion – the most secure prison in America. I pull up in front of Marion escorted by 2 Marshalls with 2 other prisoners. We were all chained together by the waist and by our legs. There was a whole regiment of guards and lieutenants waiting for us and they said, “We’re going to take so and so.” Meaning the other two prisoners and the warden, Jerry Wiliford, refuses Martorano.

They said, “What do you mean refuses?”

He said, “He’s sentenced from the court.”

I was the first prisoner ever brought directly from the courtroom to Marion because under that policy, lockdown policy – 23 hour lockdown – you only went there when you were extreme risk to other prisons for escape and violence.

I pulled up there and I was refused so the Marshalls didn’t know what to do so they called some other county jails while I’m sitting in the car almost 2 hours waiting for them to accept me. No county jail wanted me due to the fact that Marion prisoners at that time had a very bad reputation because there was 2 killings of guards a few months before.

How they got me through the door is the Marshalls wound up faxing Philadelphia and the U.S. Attorney there put max security on me and that’s when they walked me through the doors.

DEAN BECKER: We’re going to take a little break here. I want to alert the listeners that we are speaking with George Martorano, a federal prisoner. He was convicted of non-violent drug crimes and sentenced to life without parole.


MARK GREER: This is Mark Greer, Executive Director of DrugSense. To end the drug war visit http://mapinc.org – that’s mapinc.org. Get active. Stay aware. Stay informed and let’s bring an end to this nonsense.


DEAN BECKER: I want to read a small passage from the writings of George Martorano.

“Where Sparrows Fall

“Today I smile. There’s a small, small sparrow. He looks young. Please, not there. Don’t hop there and I begin to weep for the young, light thing hops where it should not go.

“Too young to know. Now it lays on the concrete floor. The whole leg and the severed one tucked under itself. His small head and the tiny eyes looking at his petite foot nearby.

“So little yet its innocent blood has spotted the prison ground. It will not move.

“Oh, I curse you razor wire. Hurt me and leave nature be. Hurt me.

“I should come back to the bunk. The day is ruined already as is my heart.”

George, wonderful writing, sir. I want to commend you for the work you do. I understand that you have a charitable cause for which you do some writing and hope to help. Would you want to tell us about that?

GEORGE MARTORANO: I was happy you asked that. The charitable novel that I worked on is called, “Each Stone I Cry.” It was written about a mother, true story, creative non-fiction about a mother and child. A very sad story.

As a matter of fact I believe Montel Williams has them on today. He did a whole special on the mother and child. The boy was born allergic to life. It was one of the saddest stories I’ve ever written.

It was very difficult for me to write because I lost my father a few months before in a very violent act. Angela, the mother, read my book, “Pains of Platinum Rose.” And she wrote me and asked if I would get involved in her story.

Angela is a very educated woman. She’s a medical technician in forensic research and it’s difficult for her to go earn a living because she cannot leave the house. She couldn’t even leave the house when Montel Williams did the show. They taped it in the house.

DEAN BECKER: George, speaking of Montel Williams. Are you aware of his recent stance taken in regards to medical marijuana?


DEAN BECKER: On a recent show, about 2 weeks ago, he did the whole show about the fact that he has Multiple Sclerosis and that he uses medical marijuana on a daily basis. He called for the medical community and right-thinking people to get behind this idea there on broadcast TV.

GEORGE MARTORANO: He’s a wonderful man. He even sent the little boy to his personal doctor.

If I could read a little something...

“Angela Clemente was destroyed on a Washington State dirt road. That night she knew the true smell of dirt and mud. It was her only bed of comfort.

“The passing breeze, pain and blood were her blankets. Yes, this beauty, this profile of her face brought a beast to her heart’s door as she lay prostate against an evil spot of earth – naked, her throat cut on a path of soil that one could say was waiting for her all her life.

“It was July 19th, 1997 when the horrible criminal act took place, when a mother of two was snatched off the streets by a monster.”

Dean, that’s why I did this story. This woman was apprehended, brutalized, raped and her throat was cut. She went on to have a child...she was functioning....sometimes intelligent people function under nervous breakdown.

In the book she flees with her 2 pre-teens, tries to start a life in LA but she was actually functioning on a nervous breakdown. It was too late and before she knows it she realizes she was pregnant. She wanted to give the boy up for adoption. The story goes she fell in love with it and 60 days later out of all the little children on earth (I believe there’s 108 who have this disease) and that’s why I wrote the story.

DEAN BECKER: The thing people should probably stop and think about is that at this time we have more than 2 million U.S. citizens in prison and a large, large chunk of them are in there for drug charges – non-violent drug charges.

If you could speak to the president or your local representatives, if you could educate anyone in government what would you tell them about those people that you see in that prison with you?

GEORGE MARTORANO: I’ve been a teacher for many, many years – over a decade. It seems now with this minimum-mandatory sentences I get these young guys...I got classrooms of up to 30 and...life, life, life. The educational lessons that I teach in creative writing and wellness and mentoring them is only part of it – now I have to instill hope.

If not these places will be unbearable to live in. No one’s taking a good look at what’s going on. The lines of getting chained up and the federal system...the lines are two football fields long going through Oklahoma Transit Center. Years ago the line was one-half of a football field long.

It took 20 years. Some people in America finally now these prisoner help groups are looking into it. But it is the politicians that have to look into it. The Supreme Court has been given the law and now their morality or their dignity has come to light and now they’re trying to get congress to make some changes.

DEAN BECKER: In my lifetime I know I’ve handled 2,600 pounds of marijuana. Whether it’s a seed, a ton or a world full I think it’s an outrage that anybody is charged for it.

I want to say this that for you to still be in prison without the possibility of parole and yet Manuel Noriega has the possibility of parole – it’s just unreal.

GEORGE MARTORANO: If they are going to let me languish here let me do some good. I’m man enough to take whatever they dish out.

Chain me up. Bring me to these county jails where these young kids are coming in for the first time. Let me do some good there. If they want me to die in these places let me be a deterrent. All I want to do now is...I lost my poor son in 2001 in a motorcycle accident.

In 2000 I lose the mother of my children to cancer. 2001 I lose my boy in a motorcycle accident. 2002 I lose my father in the streets of Philadelphia to violence. I think that made me nailed down and look at the walls in a very different light. So, if you’re going to keep me here – I just want to be more help to the guys coming in.

DEAN BECKER: You came in to prison as basically uneducated and you’ve improved your education there. Am I right?

GEORGE MARTORANO: Yes. I’m in front of President Bush for sentence computation which is reduction of sentence. The Bureau of Prisons has written a progress report. You get a progress report about every three years or when you transfer. The Bureau of Prisons has written a progress report to President Bush that’s unbelievable.

They document all my accomplishments. I came in with an 8th grade education and I went on to the GED and became a teacher in many fields. I’m teaching several courses here. I’m actually a chairman for the NAACP, Communities Connection, Chapter 5135. We’re the only NAACP chapter in prison. This went to President Bush. I’ll read you the last sentence:

“Martorano’s writing skills gave him the opportunity to publish a book in 2003 called, ‘Each Stone I Cry.” The royalties of this book have been allocated for charity work.”

DEAN BECKER: Let’s back up one more time to a point I was making. From what I was reading in your younger days they called you “Cowboy.”

GEORGE MARTORANO: Well, no. That was an aka put on me by the FBI. It was an informant working with the sting operation and I was down in Houston and the informant said, “I’ll have to call you on Tuesday.”

I said don’t call my name over the phone and he said, “What do you want me to call you?”

I said, “Call me Cowboy.”

The phone was tapped.

DEAN BECKER: Let me get to my question. For those young Houston cowboys that are out there – those guys who are making those smuggling runs to Mexico or doing the distribution runs. What can you tell them? What the hell should they be thinking?

GEORGE MARTORANO: They can go to the library and get the mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines. I would tell them if you’re going to get involved in any kind of criminal activity go there and get that mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines and you better read it if you’re going to get involved in crime and you’re going to see what’s coming for you down the road.

DEAN BECKER: That’s a strong message, George.

Once again, we’ve been speaking with George Martorano, longest serving non-violent prisoner. A man who has shown himself to be better than those who sentenced him, in my opinion.

George, I thank you for your time.


DEAN BECKER: I wish you the best.

Men like George deserve our support, our understanding and another chance.

If you would like to learn more go to http://www.webelievegroup.com/

There you can review George’s writings and poetry. On Facebook go to http://facebook.com/freegeorgejusticecampaign.

If Eric Holder was ever wanting to consider an appropriate candidate for early release it should be Mr. George Martorano.


DEAN BECKER: I did some calculations as I was finishing up this show. It turns out that U.S. non-violent, drug prisoners have spent more than 100 million years behind bars for drugs.

I wonder at what point do we begin to recognize that this is nothing more than a modern inquisition? Powders and potions, oh my.

There is no legitimacy to this drug war. It has no nexus with reality. It is time for you to stand up and speak up and do something about this, please.

Prohibido istac evilesco!


For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT, Houston.

Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org