Producers of ‘Lone Survivor’ Tied To Cocaine Trafficking
Remington Chase and Stefan Martirosian possess shadowy pasts that also include connections to the Russian mafia and the African diamond trade.
Mark Wahlberg’s latest film, Lone Survivor (2013), is a heroic tale about four Navy SEALs trapped in an ambush and has received generally favorable reviews. But beneath the courageous struggle of survival lurks a sordid tale of drugs and murky alliances that until now has been relatively unknown.
The movie’s high-flying producers, Remington Chase and Stefan Martirosian, mere nobodies in the film industry just a few years ago, have emerged as film financiers with hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal who hobnob with A-list celebrities and have offices in Beverly Hills. But in a recent interview in L.A. Weekly, it turns out that Chase and Martirosian have pasts steeped in cocaine, Russian mobsters, and even contract murder. The details are obscure at best, but what’s clear is that Martirosian was busted with four kilos of cocaine in 1989 while traveling through Texas by bus. Both then and now, Martirosian claimed the bag found above his seat was someone else’s. "I've never seen any cocaine in my life," he told the L.A. Weekly. "I've never touched it."
Martirosian pleaded guilty, but skipped sentencing. Two months later, he was found in Las Vegas and ultimately sentenced to nine years in prison. Lucky for him, an appeals judge threw out the conviction on the grounds that he wasn’t advised of the mandatory minimum sentence. But in 1993, he was back in cuffs after agreeing to sell undercover DEA agents 800 kilos of cocaine, something Martirosian again denied. "They knew I had nothing to do with drugs," he said. "I'm not a drug dealer. There is nobody in the world that can say I did any criminal act."
Meanwhile, Martirosian’s old friend Remington Chase – according to their telling of events, the two met in Moscow in 1979 and went into business together in 1985 after Martirosian emigrated to the U.S. – was also busted in 1993 for setting up a 1-kilo buy on the promise of securing 20 more kilos of cocaine. Like Martirosian, Chase refused to accept responsibility. "I loaned an individual money who got involved in a conspiracy to traffic narcotics,” he told L.A. Weekly. “That money was used for an illegal narcotics transaction. I wasn't involved."
From there, Martirosian and Chase allegedly became involved with a wealthy Armenian oil baron, contract murderers, and African diamonds. Somehow that translated into a sudden appearance on the Hollywood scene as the producers of Alex Cross (2012), Broken City (2013), and 2 Guns (2013). But the questions that the L.A. Weekly raised are sure to linger, as their dark pasts start to overshadow their work. "To have 'drug conspiracies' is gonna destroy us – absolutely destroy us," said Chase. "The chairman of the board of J.P. Morgan is not going to be interested in getting in bed with a drug conspirator. I might as well just hang it up right now."