John Wesley Egan

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John Wesley Egan

According to John Jiggens: "The pioneer of the SE Asia/Sydney/US drug route was a tall, handsome NSW Special Branch detective named John Wesley Egan who was twice recommended for bravery awards for his part in rescues at the Gap. His baby face graced the Sydney afternoon papers. They called him a hero.

"Egan’s involvement in heroin smuggling began in 1966 after he joined the political police, the Special Branch, and came via a CIA contact who recruited Egan as a drug courier for an Asian drug army, the Hmong army of warlord Vang Pao, who were fighting a secret war in Laos as a proxy for the CIA against the communist Pathet Lao. Egan made the first trans-Pacific heroin run from Southeast Asia to New York via Sydney in 1966, carrying two kilos of heroin hidden in a specially made corset. Over the next months, Egan made regular flights to New York, taking periodic leave from his police job. Within four months he had exhausted all leave, and he resigned from the NSW police force and moved to New York.

"From then on Egan hired other couriers to complete the chain — ‘clear skins’ like himself - usually NSW police officers on leave for the seven-day run. Egan used the ‘shotgun technique’, booking three or more couriers on the same flight, with a ‘supervisor’ riding along to make sure no one absconded. He kept 20 couriers in motion between Sydney and New York. Over a six-month period in 1966-1967, Egan and his gang smuggled $22 million worth of heroin into the USA, before a mistake by a courier led to Egan’s arrest." [1]


  • ‘Confessions of a crooked cop’, The Bulletin, April 18 1978, pp 20 - 24.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. The Mystery of Nugan Hand Bank: The Murder of Don Mackay, John Jiggens, accessed September 15, 2009.