Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gary Krist: The Einstein of Crime

Sailing Away

In the fall of 2001, at about the time he got his probationary medical license in Indiana, Krist and his wife's son, Henry Jackson (Jackie) Greeson, incorporated Greeson & Krist Construction Inc. with the Georgia Secretary of State. The company claimed specialties in sheet metal fabrication and "bullet-proof rooms."

They developed a secondary specialty, as well.

Gary Krist rented a 27-foot sailboat in Point Clear, Ala., just before Christmas 2004. Federal authorities believe he sailed to Cartagena, Colombia, where he bought a kilo of cocaine.

A year later, Krist and Greeson chartered another sailboat from a Mobile Bay marina from Nov. 14 to Dec. 4, 2005. The men again sailed to South America and bought six kilos of cocaine, about 13 pounds.

Map with Mobile Bay indicator
Map with Mobile Bay indicator

When they returned from that trip, the charter company grew suspicious when employees found aboard the boat a map of the Colombian coast.

The charter firm contacted authorities. When Krist reserved another sailboat for just a month later, in January 2006, federal agents installed a tracking bug on the vessel.

Krist again sailed to Colombia.

When he returned to Mobile Bay on March 6, an army of local, state and federal lawmen rushed the boat as it docked.

They seized four illegal alienstwo from Colombia, two from Ecuadorwho had paid Krist $6,000 each. And in a cooler they found 38 pounds of cocaine in paste form, with a street value of as much as $2 million.

Authorities believe he used profits from the sale of his earlier cocaine purchases to buy progressively larger amounts of the narcotic.

Dwight McDaniel, a federal immigration agent in Mobile, said Krist had rigged a clever quick release for the cocaine in case his boat was boarded at sea.

The cocaine cooler was filled with cement and lashed in place with a rope. McDaniel said it would have taken just seconds to cut the rope and slide the cooler overboard, where the evidence would have sunk.

"We would have never found it," McDaniel said. "It was a very good setup ... (by) a very smart man."

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