The Adventures of America's Original Meth Queen - Page 3

By Jeff Maysh 03/21/11

Lori Arnold single-handedly turned meth into an American plague, earning millions of dollars and two stints in prison. What does America's most notorious meth mogul (and Tom Arnold's kid sister) have to say now that she's out of the hole? An exclusive interview.

Lori Arnold (with then-husband Floyd Stockdall) transformed the drug landscape
of Middle America
Photo: Coleman-Rayner

(page 3)

Despite—or perhaps because of—the anemic economy, the industry that the Queen of Crank bequeathed to Middle America shows few signs of abating. After a brief decline in usage from 2006 to 2008, meth consumption is on the rise again nationally, with 502,000 Americans reporting past-month use and 1.2 million reporting past-year use, according to the 2009 National Drug Use and Health survey.

Yet Arnold displays little remorse for her role in the devastation. Instead, she’s happy to be a free woman again, married to a trucker, John Woten, and reunited with her son, Josh, a teacher. “Of course, I had some friends who got hooked on my meth, and they went down the tubes,” she says. “Yeah, I probably ruined a few lives. Sometimes I feel guilty. But I made millions of dollars and I had a blast doing it.”

Today Arnold’s existence is far more subdued. “I much prefer living a straight lifestyle,” she says. “Now if I buy an end table for my apartment, it means much more. Money meant nothing to me back then.” The biggest excitement of late was when the B.B.C. expressed interest in making a movie based on Methland. “I don’t know who would play me in a film, but let me say this: The actress will have to be smart—and very good looking!” she laughs. “There may be others today doing what I did, but there will never be another character like Lori Arnold.”

But for now, she is sentenced to eight-hour days working in the call center. “Sometimes I hate it,” she says with a sigh. “I make sales calls all day and often people swear at me, or even threaten me on the phone. But when they hang up on me, I just have to laugh—because they obviously don’t know who they’re talking to.”

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Jeff Maysh is a British/American non-fiction writer based in Los Angeles. He writes about unbelievable true crimes for publications including The Atlantic, BBC News Magazine, Los Angeles, Playboy, Smithsonian, and The Daily Beast. Jeff’s subjects have included bank robbers, spies, wrestlers, undercover cops, fake cheerleaders, pornographers, and candy smugglers. He is the author of The Spy With No Name and Follow and Handsome Devil. Follow Jeff on Twitter.