Broward News

How to Fake Your Own Death, Courtesy of Former Pot Runner John Darrell Boyd

​A promo shows a young bearded guy pulling up to the edge of the Everglades and shooting the windows of his station wagon -- from the inside.

"He wants the crime scene to convince investigators that he was killed in a hail of bullets," says the voice-over.

Then a white-haired fellow, former pot runner John Darrell Boyd, explains how he splattered some blood around the inside of his car and dragged a pair boots to the swamp to make it look like his body was disposed of.

"Off I went to visit the alligators," said Boyd, now 67 years old and living in Hollywood.

Boyd's story may be familiar to some New Times readers -- he was the subject of a 2007

cover story that detailed his days as half of the "Smith Brothers" -- a notorious marijuana smuggling duo that was chased and eventually caught by federal marshals. After serving time, Boyd was released from prison and found a new moneymaking scheme: operating health-care businesses that billed Medicare. Soon, Boyd was back in prison again for four years on charges of Medicaid fraud. He was released this past June 11.

"I got a sentence that nobody gets for Medicaid fraud," he told New Times on the phone recently.


But it was the early part of his life that intrigued television producers, and now, he's one of ten subjects in a three-part series on the Discovery Channel focusing on convicts who have faked their own deaths.

Boyd and his brother Tracy were notorious for running grass up and down the East Coast without getting nabbed. They once made front-page news for interrupting the Jerry Lewis telethon during a live broadcast and donating $10,000 in cash to Jerry's Kids.

"We were like the Robin Hoods of South Florida," he said.

That changed once they were indicted.

"I decided it was time to get outta Dodge," Boyd said.

He said he high-tailed it up to Buffalo. His wife and kids later followed. It took authorities two years to catch up with him. By then, he was living under a pseudonym, just a friendly family man who coached baseball.

"I was just one of the neighbors," he said.

He said his life on the lam was quite an adventure, but he wouldn't recommend it to anyone -- especially these days.

"If I'd have done that today, I'd have had my picture in every blog and paper," he said.

The I Faked My Own Death episode featuring Boyd airs this Saturday at 10 p.m.


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Kate Bradshaw