war dogs real story

After Bush took office, private military contracts soared from $145 billion in 2001 to $390 billion in 2008. In a phone call from Miami, he asked Trebicka to use his contacts in the Albanian government to find out how much Thomet was paying the Albanians for the ammunition. The structure for AEY’s purchase of the Albanian ammo was standard in the world of illegal arms deals, where the whole point is to disguise origins and end-users. One evening, Diveroli picked Packouz up in his Mercedes, and the two headed to a party at a local rabbi’s house, lured by the promise of free booze and pretty girls. He wrote angsty rock ballads with titles like “Eternal Moment” — but it was hard to get a break in the music industry. They were first deployed to Fallujah in 2005, and then to Ramadi in 2006, where they were both wounded by an improvised explosive device. “It was surreal,” he recalls. We felt like we were on top of the world.”, In the evenings, Packouz and Diveroli would get high and go to the American Range and Gun Shop — the only range near Miami that would let them fire off the Uzis and MP5s that Diveroli was licensed to own. The girls were models or cosmetologists. One American arms dealer had complained to the State Department, claiming that AEY was buying Chinese-made AK-47s and shipping them to the Iraqi army. Kiss him. No one from the government has been charged in the case, even though officials in both the Pentagon and the State Department clearly knew that AEY was shipping Chinese-made ammunition to Afghanistan. “The marketing slogan for the building was ‘South Beach revolves around us,’ and it was true. 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The Wrap originally reported back in 2014 that Jesse Eisenberg and Shia LaBeouf were the first choices for the then-titled Arms and the Dudes. “Why don’t you kiss Pinari’s ass one more time,” Diveroli said. It’s actually a pretty classic Hollywood tale: an underachiever is promised wealth, achieves it, then flames out. The exhausted Packouz no longer had to work 18 hours a day to track down suppliers. He told Podrizki that he could supply cardboard boxes strong enough to hold the ammunition, as well as the labor to transfer the rounds to new pallets. “I just think it never occurred to the Army people that they were dealing with a couple of dudes in their early twenties.”, In reality, the Pentagon had good reason to disqualify AEY from even vying for the contract. AEY appeared to be in the clear. BUY TICKETS, Get 2x the points pay with World Elite Mastercard®. Also, Packouz is given a girlfriend in the movie (Ana de Armas), unlike the real story. “I took acid by the Dead Sea,” Packouz says. It was perfectly legal, but it had the stench of double-dealing. According to a report by Amnesty International, “Tens of millions of rounds of ammunition from the Balkans were reportedly shipped — clandestinely and without public oversight — to Iraq by a chain of private brokers and transport contractors under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense.”. It turned out to be a great place to get high. This was the “gray market” that Diveroli wanted to penetrate. Why shouldn’t a couple of inexperienced newcomers like Packouz and Diveroli get in on the action? Despite the celebratory air, they both knew that their work had just begun. At 25, he wasn’t exactly used to the pressures of being an international arms dealer. And under the Bush administration, small businesses like AEY were guaranteed a share of the arms deals. As they passed a joint back and forth, Diveroli decided it was time for Packouz to step up and take on a larger role. “It’s enormous — far, far bigger than anything we’ve done before. There are true stories, and then there's "War Dogs." “You and me are going to take over this industry. No one ever asked his age. Judge Lenard gazed at Diveroli for a long time. The money coming in from the Army went directly to AEY. Putin’s allies in the Kyrgyz KGB, it seemed, were holding the plane hostage — and Packouz was going to be charged a $300,000 fine for every day it sat on the runway. Although Diveroli has written about his experiences in a memoir titled One a Gun Runner, he wouldn’t meet with Jonah Hill. All told, AEY made 85 deliveries of munitions to Afghanistan worth more than $66 million, and had already received orders for another $100 million in ammunition. In fact, AK-47 ammunition was so plentiful that Albania’s president had recently flown to Baghdad and offered to donate millions of rounds to Gen. David Petraeus. Then the plane had been abruptly seized in Kyrgyzstan — and Packouz had been forced to swing into action once more, working the phones for weeks to get the ammo released. “The AEY contract can be viewed as a case study in what is wrong with the procurement process,” an investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform later concluded. But, for the most part, the true story behind War Dogs was there, especially in Diveroli’s single-minded ambition, as played by Jonah Hill. “Let me talk to my people,” the Russian said, taking one of Packouz’s newly printed business cards. “I’ve found the perfect contract for us,” Diveroli said. “ANY age ammunition is acceptable.”. There was even a term of art for it: circumvention. An experienced businessman in his sixties, Merrill had provided the financial backing needed to land the contract, pledging his interest in a piece of property in Utah. Send one of your girls to fuck him. Jonah Hill would later explain that he tried to buy the rights to Lawson’s original article soon after it was published, only to learn that Phillips had beaten him to the punch. But greed got the better of Diveroli. Diveroli brought in two more friends from the synagogue, including a guy fluent in Russian, to help fulfill the contracts. He didn’t give a fuck. The cheaper the better: The less the ammo cost, the more he and Diveroli would pocket for themselves. The phone connection was often bad, and Packouz had to shout to be heard. And he’s not going to get much — $20,000 from you.”, When Trebicka complained about being muscled out of the deal, Diveroli said there was nothing he could do about it. Packouz was in excellent spirits. “The Flamingo was a constant party,” Packouz says. Things only escalated (before they crashed and burned) from there. He wanted to renegotiate the deal. He contrived to act as a consultant to a licensed importer who wanted to buy Korean-made ammunition magazines. It was the last Packouz ever heard from the Russian. They had it made. Diveroli was the class clown, an overweight kid with a big mouth and no sense of fear. The hapless end-users were foreigners, and who was going to go the extra mile for them? CNNMoney's Frank Pallotta sits down with stars … When Packouz contacted the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, the military attache immediately wrote to the Kyrgyz government, explaining that the cargo was “urgently needed for the war on terrorism being fought by your neighboring Afghan forces.” Two weeks later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates traveled to Kyrgyzstan on a mission to keep supplies flowing through the airport there. Diveroli had also shown auditors his personal bank balance, by then $5.4 million. He located stockpiles of ammunition in Eastern Europe at good prices. Some of the crates were infested with termites, and the ammunition had been damaged by water. War Dogs may be more political than the average Todd Phillips movie, but it’s actually easy to see why the director of the three Hangover movies, Old School and Due Date would be attracted to this material. We were living the American dream, until it turned into a nightmare.”. He couldn’t believe that he and Diveroli were actually pulling it off: Planes from all over Eastern Europe were now flying into Kabul, laden with millions of dollars worth of grenades and mortars and surface-to-air missiles. “Money was all he talked about, literally — no sports or politics. As an apprentice arms dealer, he proved to be a quick study. He had used his contacts in Albania to get Diveroli a good price on Chinese-made ammunition for U.S. Special Forces training in Germany — a deal that was technically illegal, given the U.S. embargo against Chinese arms imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Not because I’m bragging.” Diveroli paused, as if he were about to disclose his most precious secret. Diveroli’s anxiety that his bid of nearly $300 million would be too high had failed to consider the corpulent markups employed by corporate America when it deals with the Pentagon. “People won’t do business with you unless you have experience, but how can you get experience if they won’t do business with you? Before the session, the two friends had a quick exchange. Reassured by the e-mail, Packouz got into his brand-new blue Audi A4 and headed home for the evening, windows open, the stereo blasting. In January, Packouz was sentenced to seven months of house arrest after he stood before a federal judge in Miami and expressed his remorse for the “embarrassment, stress and heartache that I have caused.” But his real regret is political: He believes that he and Diveroli were scapegoats, prosecuted not for breaking the law but for embarrassing the Bush administration. Whoever won the contract to arm the Afghans would essentially be serving as an official front operation, laundering shady arms for the Pentagon. Read the incredible true story behind the movie ‘War Dogs’, The real 'War Dogs': David Packouz (left) and Efraim Diveroli at a gun range near Miami (top). “But you haven’t fucked her yet.”. But he finally won a contract to supply 50,000 gallons of propane to an Air Force base in Wyoming, netting a profit of $8,000. “We both know you’re delivering Chinese,” Packouz said. Given the obstacles to selling directly in the United States, Thomet wanted to use AEY as a front, providing him an easy conduit to the lucrative contracts being handed out by the Pentagon. He was about to be forced to pay me a huge chunk of change. Beg. Then she sentenced him to four years. For the Bush administration, the ammunition was part of a desperate, last-ditch push to turn the war around before the U.S. presidential election the following year. The nine percent planned for in the original bid was soon pushing toward 25 percent — enough to provide Packouz and Diveroli with nearly $85 million in profits. So when the cargo plane had finally taken off from Hungary on its way to Kabul loaded with 5 million rounds of ammunition, Packouz had breathed a sigh of relief. Packouz stared in disbelief. However, as the trailer makes clear, the film ups the action quotient. Chips served in General Patton’s Seventh Army in Germany, Italy, Sicily, France, and North Africa. And that was fine by the Wolf of the Wall Street Oscar nominee, who told EW: “This is a good sign: if I sign on to play a real person and they don’t want me to be involved and they don’t want anything to do with it? Thomet was singled out by Amnesty International for smuggling arms out of Zimbabwe in violation of U.S. sanctions. As AEY grew, it defaulted on at least seven contracts, in one case failing to deliver a shipment of 10,000 Beretta pistols for the Iraqi army. The Mormon gun manufacturer from Utah, Ralph Merrill, pleaded not guilty and was convicted in December. The Pentagon can be a slow-moving bureaucracy, a place where paperwork goes to die. The true origin story of Efraim Diveroli can make your head spin. It was convenient for both — their drug dealer, Raoul, lived in the complex. But there were the names and dates. AEY couldn’t do business with the firm — at least, not legally. “The e-mails were incredibly incriminating — they spelled out everything,” Packouz says. Once a week or so, the pair would hit the clubs of South Beach to let off steam. “I don’t really have time to source all these things,” he told Packouz. “I have good news and bad news,” Diveroli said. The company and Diveroli had both been placed on the State Department “watch list” for importing illegal firearms. My main motivator was making money, just like it was for General Dynamics. Stubby the War Dog tells the true story of a stray who finds himself a part of an army unit headed to Europe during WWI. Diveroli didn’t bring a weapon — he knew that would constitute a felony. War Dogs is a 2016 American dark comedy-crime film directed by Todd Phillips and written by Phillips, Jason Smilovic and Stephen Chin, based on a 2011 Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson, as well as Efraim Diveroli's 2016 memoir Once a Gun Runner as outlined in an ongoing lawsuit. War Dogs Main article: War Dogs (2016 film) The story of Diveroli's arms deals is the subject of the Todd Phillips comedy/drama film War Dogs, starring Jonah Hill as Diveroli and Miles Teller as his partner, David Packouz., which was based on the reporting done … But how much do you know about the decorated war dog? One day, Diveroli finally made his move. But if he was about to lose a deal, his voice would start shaking. War Dogs is in theaters on August 19. Outside my balcony there was always at least a few women sunbathing topless. It was the freight forwarder he had employed to make sure the ammunition made it from Hungary to Kabul. In April of 1917 America finally entered the war … We would say we were international arms dealers. English!” and then spend minutes on hold while they tracked down the one guy in the outfit who spoke a few words. Nobody else our age was dealing weapons on an international level.”, Packouz and Diveroli met at Beth Israel Congregation, the largest Orthodox synagogue in Miami Beach. The dizzying rise and devastating fall of Diveroli and Packouz was initially recounted in Guy Lawson’s 2011 Rolling Stone story “The Stoner Arms Dealers: How Two American Kids Became Big-Time Weapons Traders.” Lawson later expanded the story into the book Arms and the Dudes, which was the original title for the film adaptation. Aboard the plane were 80 pallets loaded with nearly 5 million rounds of ammunition for AK-47s, the Soviet-era assault rifle favored by the Afghan National Army. With things up in the air in Albania, Packouz was starting to feel the pressure. While the film is a conceptual departure from his past work, it’s easy to imagine the hard-partying Packouz and Diveroli (who would share cocaine snorted out of a plastic bullet the latter carried with him) getting along quite well with the wild, hard-partying bros of Phillips’ previous movies. The director raised his eyebrows, impressed by the scale of the operation. “Once a gun runner,” he boasted,” always a gun runner.”. Anticipating the big payday, he ditched his beater Mazda for a brand-new Audi A4. Rather than face a public debate over the war in Afghanistan, which was going very badly indeed, the Pentagon issued what is known as a “pseudo case” — a solicitation that permitted it to allocate defense funds without the approval of Congress. An upscale Italian restaurant, the two friends headed for Diveroli ’ s Seventh Army in Germany,,... Cut Thomet out of Zimbabwe in violation of U.S. sanctions many experiences in thick... 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