But he finally won a contract to supply 50,000 gallons of propane to an Air Force base in Wyoming, netting a profit of $8,000. Millions of dollars were being transferred via wire from the Pentagon into AEY’s accounts, and the $300 million contract was moving along smoothly. Second, the fledgling arms dealers specialized in precisely the sort of Cold War munitions the Pentagon was looking for: They had the “past performance” required by the contract, and they could fulfill the order using the same supply lines Diveroli had developed through Thomet. With a shaved head and intense blue eyes, Packouz was plenty smart and plenty ambitious, in his slacker fashion, but he had no idea what to do with his life. Diveroli had already hit the road, traveling to the Ukraine, Montenegro and the Czech Republic in search of suppliers. It was totally killing my buzz. As Diveroli arranged a line of coke on the dashboard, he warned Packouz not to make any mistakes with the grenades. At 18, after a dispute with his uncle over money, Diveroli returned to Miami to set up his own operation, taking over a shell company his father had incorporated called AEY Inc. His business plan was simple but brilliant. Based on the numbers, it looked like it was going to be a lot of money. “I have $1.8 million in cash.”. First, the Bush administration had started its small-business initiative at the Pentagon, mandating that a certain percentage of defense contracts go to firms like AEY. “One firm fixed-price award, on an all-or-none basis, will be made as a result of this solicitation,” the tender offer said. In an effort to protect his interests, Packouz demanded a meeting with lawyers present. Packouz and Diveroli had picked the perfect moment to get into the arms business. But I had to get my shit together and put my best arms-dealer face on.”, Sitting in the restaurant, Packouz tried to clear his head, cupping a hand over his cellphone to shut out the noise. “We’ve got a problem,” he told Packouz, shouting to be heard over the restaurant’s thumping music. The Pentagon, they said, was worried that a Democrat would be elected president in 2008 and cut the funding for the war — or worse, pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan entirely. I don’t understand your government. Several weeks later, as he was arranging supply routes for the deal, Packouz was informed that AEY would not be given overflight permission for Turkmenistan, a former Soviet satellite that had to be crossed to reach Afghanistan. The dizzying rise and devastating fall of Diveroli and Packouz was initially recounted in Guy Lawson’s 2011 Rolling Stone story “The Stoner Arms Dealers: How Two American Kids Became Big-Time Weapons Traders.” Lawson later expanded the story into the book Arms and the Dudes, which was the original title for the film adaptation. He didn’t give a fuck. It didn’t take long for AEY to strike cut-rate deals that vastly improved its profit margin. “People won’t do business with you unless you have experience, but how can you get experience if they won’t do business with you? The extraordinary, touching true story of Smoky, the smallest--and arguably bravest--dog of World War II In February 1944, as Japanese military advances threatened to overwhelm New Guinea, a tiny, four-pound Yorkshire Terrier was discovered hiding in the island's thick jungles. And under the Bush administration, small businesses like AEY were guaranteed a share of the arms deals. “It’s a great business, but I need a guy to come on board and make money with me.”. The meeting with Army officials proved to be a formality. Diveroli described his contrition to Judge Lenard. Rack up 500 points and you'll score a $5 reward for more movies. Sallie Ann Jarrett. Part of the Dogs for Defense program initiated after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Chips was given to the military by his owner in New York. If we didn’t e-mail, we could probably have denied the whole thing. Nights, he sat around with his high school buddies getting high and dreaming of becoming a pop star. “They said Bush and Rumsfeld were trying to arm Afghanistan with enough ammo to last them the next few decades,” Packouz recalls. The exhausted Packouz no longer had to work 18 hours a day to track down suppliers. They were laughing.”, To avoid indictment, Packouz agreed to cooperate, as did Alex Podrizki. The company and Diveroli had both been placed on the State Department “watch list” for importing illegal firearms. For once, at least, taxpayers were getting a good deal on a defense contract. Diveroli realized he could succeed by selling to one customer: the U.S. military. The movie, which stars Jonah Hill and Miles Teller and opens this weekend, tells the real life story of … No press release was issued, and there was no public debate. The military officials receiving the ammo in Kabul had to know it was Chinese: Every round is stamped with the place of manufacture, as any soldier knows. It’s actually a pretty classic Hollywood tale: an underachiever is promised wealth, achieves it, then flames out. The ammo worked, and that was all that mattered. Watch Exclusive 'The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee' Clip: What Did You Win An Oscar For? On the evening of January 26th, 2007, Packouz was parking his beat-up old Mazda Protege when Diveroli called. The War Dogs true story reveals that Miles Teller's character's girlfriend Iz (Ana De Armas) was inspired by David Packouz's real-life Spanish girlfriend at the time, a fellow massage therapist who Guy Lawson refers to in his book as "Sara." Furious at being frozen out, he called Diveroli and secretly recorded the conversation, threatening to tell the CIA what he knew about the deal. There are true stories, and then there's "War Dogs." “I will do whatever you tell me to do.”, Diveroli suggested that Trebicka try bribing Ylli Pinari, the head of the Albanian arms-exporting agency that was supplying the ammunition. The ammunition itself, though decades old, seemed to be in working order, but the rounds were stored in rusty cans and stacked on rotting wooden pallets — not the protocol normally used for such dangerous materiel. A shell company called Evdin, which Thomet had incorporated in Cyprus, would buy the ammo from Albania’s arms-exporting company. After six years of fighting, Al Qaeda remained a menace, the Taliban were resurgent, and NATO casualties were rising sharply. In the mid-’00s, two kids named Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz managed to secure a $300 million contract with the United States government to supply allied forces in Afghanistan with arms and ammunition. Efraim Diveroli, by contrast, knew exactly what he wanted to be: an arms dealer. Whenever possible, he threw in military lingo designed to appeal to the officers: He was working on an essential contract in the War on Terror, he explained, and the United States military was counting on AEY to complete the mission. “The marketing slogan for the building was ‘South Beach revolves around us,’ and it was true. The dizzying rise and devastating fall of Diveroli and Packouz was initially recounted in, Jonah Hill would later explain that he tried to buy the rights to Lawson’s original article soon after it was published, only to learn that Phillips had beaten him to the punch. So when the cargo plane had finally taken off from Hungary on its way to Kabul loaded with 5 million rounds of ammunition, Packouz had breathed a sigh of relief. He would literally cry. There was no question now. The trouble was, it couldn’t go into such a murky underworld on its own. “I know you hate me for saying this,” she said, addressing her son directly, “but you need to go to jail.” Diveroli’s shoulders slumped. In This Article: His title was account executive. Supplying the contract would mean buying up hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ammunition for the kind of Eastern Bloc weapons that the Afghans used. The company had inherited the Soviet Union’s global arms-exporting empire; now, as part of Vladimir Putin’s tightly held network of oligarchic corporations, Rosoboron sold more than 90 percent of Russia’s weapons. War Dogs is based on one of those true stories that no one would actually believe if it were written as fiction. They were all eager to help.”. He started coming in late and knocking off early. “But it seemed like we might be able to actually compete with the big boys. After all, it wasn’t like the military was buying weapons and helmets for American soldiers. He loved guns with a passion — selling them, shooting them, talking about them — and he loved the arms industry’s intrigue and ruthless amorality. Packouz showed him the list of munitions he needed, along with the quantities. “I never did find out what really happened, or why the plane was seized,” says Packouz. Tipped off by an attorney for Kosta Trebicka, who had begun a crusade against corruption in Albania, The New York Times ran a front-page story in March 2008 entitled “Supplier Under Scrutiny on Arms for Afghans.”. While the film is a conceptual departure from his past work, it’s easy to imagine the hard-partying Packouz and Diveroli (who would share cocaine snorted out of a plastic bullet the latter carried with him) getting along quite well with the wild, hard-partying bros of Phillips’ previous movies. The move made sense. However, Hill reached out to the Hangover trilogy director and requested to play Efraim if a film version got off the ground. He told Podrizki that he could supply cardboard boxes strong enough to hold the ammunition, as well as the labor to transfer the rounds to new pallets. Packouz was older by four years, a skinny kid who wore a yarmulke and left his white dress shirts untucked. He also had business cards printed up with an impressive new title, considering he was part of a two-man operation: vice president. But, for the most part, the true story behind War Dogs was there, especially in Diveroli’s single-minded ambition, as played by Jonah Hill. Unfortunately, the military later took back the medals, claiming that Chips was only equipment … We were cash positive.”. Can’t wait to find out how it ends? Heinrich Thomet simply vanished; according to rumors, he was last seen somewhere in Bosnia. Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog But how much do you know about the decorated war dog? “We were supremely confident,” says Packouz. Dogs have played an important role in the United States military since the early … We were living the American dream, until it turned into a nightmare.”. One American arms dealer had complained to the State Department, claiming that AEY was buying Chinese-made AK-47s and shipping them to the Iraqi army. Earn 125 points on every ticket you buy. Packouz was going to be rich. In the mid-’00s, two kids named Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz managed to secure a $300 million contract with the United States government to supply allied forces in Afghanistan with arms and ammunition. But in real life, the old friends and their former arms-dealing associates are still at war. But Diveroli had his own advantages: low overhead, an appetite for risk and all-devouring ambition. Tell them that if they fuck with us, they are fucking with the government of the United States of America!”. “That’s why we want to do business with you.”, “But as you know, there is problem. Loosely based on the true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a three hundred million dollar contract from the Pentagon to arm America's allies in Afghanistan. Maybe we can play on his fears. Trebicka was happy to help. They had already managed to clear three different government audits, hiring an accountant to establish the kind of basic bookkeeping systems that any cafe or corner store would have. Everyone has got to lie sometimes.” Fearing that Diveroli might decide it was cheaper to have him killed than to pay him, Packouz also bought a .357 revolver as insurance. He would say that he was running a very small business, even though he had millions in the bank. And unlike most federal contracts, there was no dollar limit posted; companies vying for the deal could bid whatever they wanted. I had never even owned a gun. Jonah Hill would later explain that he tried to buy the rights to Lawson’s original article soon after it was published, only to learn that Phillips had beaten him to the punch. Alone in a strange city, Podrizki improvised. Let’s get him happy. In January, dressed in a tan prison-issued jumper, Diveroli came before Judge Joan Lenard for sentencing at Miami’s gleaming new federal courthouse. In January, Packouz was sentenced to seven months of house arrest after he stood before a federal judge in Miami and expressed his remorse for the “embarrassment, stress and heartache that I have caused.” But his real regret is political: He believes that he and Diveroli were scapegoats, prosecuted not for breaking the law but for embarrassing the Bush administration. But even such a jaw-dropping sum didn’t satisfy Diveroli. Exclusive Interview: ‘Toy Story 4’ Director Josh Cooley on a Toy’s Worldview, Defining Friendship and the Challenges of Change, Watch Exclusive 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' Featurette: The G-Team, 'Spider-Man: Far from Home' Tops Moviegoers' Most Anticipated Summer Blockbuster, when you purchase a new Edible Arrangements movie-themed Edible Box. They then embarked on a globetrotting misadventure that saw them dealing with shady crooks and corrupt politicians and dangerous soldiers in the name of making a fortune. Packouz and Diveroli were by far the youngest in attendance, but they tried to look the part, wearing dress pants, crisp shirts and sales-rep ties. It was perfectly legal, but it had the stench of double-dealing. War Dogs finds these guys literally under fire while personally transporting their goods across enemy territory, which didn’t happen. But there were the names and dates. “It was how things were done in international arms dealing. Packouz had received excellent quotes from suppliers in Hungary and the Czech Republic. The court was packed with his friends and relatives, but they didn’t exactly give him the support he was hoping for. These fat cats in their boardrooms worrying about the stock prices of their companies have no idea what is about to hit them.”. 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