Jail was one of two methods out of the drug commerce for the girl as soon as dubbed “Scarface in a skirt.”
A coffin was the opposite.
“I’m just grateful she didn’t get murdered,” actor Tom Arnold informed The Post of his drug-dealing little sister Lori, whose dope-, booze-, crime- and turmoil-filled previous is depicted within the new Discovery+ three-part documentary “Queen of Meth,” premiering Friday.
Lori’s wild world collapsed when she was arrested, twice — first in November 1991 after which once more in October 2001 — and served a complete of 15 years in jail for constructing a large, multistate methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution community on a 170-acre ranch in working-class Ottumwa, Iowa.
“There was no way to end it, except death or prison,” stated the 62-year-old “True Lies” and “Sons of Anarchy” star and ex-husband of Roseanne Barr. “And she got lucky.”
Lori, 60, is now eking out a low-key life with an understanding fiancé named Bill — “She’s paid her dues,” he says — and a blue-collar job in Sandusky, Ohio. But by the Nineties she was each a meth addict herself and a prolific vendor, reportedly peddling greater than 10 kilos of the lethal drug per week, every time raking in at the least $200,000.
The fixed cascade of crooked money helped feed the beast the real-life Walter White had created, which included reputable companies — together with a automobile gross sales lot, a 52-horse ranch and a neighborhood biker bar known as the Wild Side, all of which employed locals — in addition to extra frivolous pursuits, like a flashy purple Jaguar and even an airplane.
But she additionally used the cash for a twisted type of philanthropy that included, she stated, shopping for houses at auctions and fixing them up as Section 8 housing to assist poor space residents.
Looking again now, she acknowledged the “weird contradiction” of how she funneled the cash again into the group.
“I assumed I used to be doing good, serving to folks. ‘Cause I always like to help people and always protect the underdog and that sort of thing, you know?” she said. “But now, after all these years, you know, you look back you’re like, it most likely wasn’t the best means to try this.”
The documentary chronicles how center baby Lori — a self-professed “tomboy” and “tough girl” — and brothers Tom and Scott survived a childhood rocked by their mother and father’ divorce when Tom was 4, Lori was 3 and Scott was simply 2. The youngsters have been raised by their father, Jack, who ultimately married a neighbor, Ruth, who already had two youngsters and with whom he had two extra.
When Tom turned 15 and Lori was 14, they escaped that bursting family and moved in with their now-remarried and, they stated, hard-drinking and oft-absent mother, Linda — and “that’s where everything changed,” as Tom says within the sequence.
“I never realized that Mom was the issue because I thought Mom was cool, she was funny, everybody loved her. She was always fun,” Lori stated. “You know, I could smoke cigarettes, I could drink beer … She was just fun to hang around — kind of like a friend, I guess?”
But beneath their mom’s less-than-watchful eye, Lori developed an alcohol habit beginning at age 14 when she imbibed whereas working on the native watering gap that her mother managed. That additionally coincided with a bootleg relationship between Lori and a 23-year-old man named Bobby.
Her then-stepfather issued an ultimatum: “He had to dump me, marry me, or go to jail for statutory rape,” stated Lori, who dropped out of eighth grade (however later earned a GED). The pair agreed to get hitched in Missouri, the place it was authorized — with the blessing of her mom, who drove them there, in keeping with the documentary.
However, Lori divorced Bobby simply six months later as a result of, she stated, he was abusive and a cheater.
“I don’t want to say it ruined Lori’s life because she’s strong now, she’s doing well,” Tom stated. But, he added, “It was the end of her childhood.”
Lori as we speak acknowledges the influence her lenient mom would have on her troubled future.
“I forgive her because she was terrible for a mom, but at the same time — so was I,” stated Lori, who married native biker Floyd Stockdall in May 1980 and gave delivery to their son, Josh, in January 1981. (Floyd, who was arrested together with Lori in 1991, died in jail in 2004.)
“Here I am doing kind of the same thing, even though I’m not giving [drugs] to him personally,” she stated. “But I’m still breaking the law and making his life hell, you know, as a mother. So I guess that’s why, you know, I forgive her because I didn’t mean to hurt my son, either.”
“‘Queen of Meth’ is how people that don’t know my mom see my mom,” Josh, who was 10 when Lori was first jailed, says within the documentary. “But from the inside looking out, she was my mom, Lori.”
Still, there was lots he didn’t know as a child. “I would probably go with her on her drug deals but not really know it,” he stated.
And as a result of her repeat incarcerations, Lori wound up being an absent mother for a few years, which she known as her “biggest regret.” (In the docuseries, Josh says he “came to peace with the whole situation.”)
Tom, in the meantime, is simply glad that his little sister continues to be alive after years of mixing with “just horrible people” because the “Queen of Meth,” he stated.
“The thing about drug money, and Lori knows this better than anybody,” he stated, “[is that] it will always be over when you get a position like hers. She just was on a freight train and [it just got] too big.”