Lori Arnold, the sister of actor and comedian Tom Arnold, was a major methamphetamine dealer in the midwest. Her production grossed more than $200,000 per week at the height of its success. In 1991 she was arrested by the DEA and had $100 million in assets seized.
Arnold spent 15 years in prison after being convicted of drug trafficking and money laundering. She tells her story in a 3-part documentary. The story is one of a dealer, addict, and redemption. She had planned to bring her story to film but never settled on any production company she trusted until Discovery came along.
At the height of her operation, Arnold bought a biker bar (The Wild Side) and a ranch. “It was too easy”, she says. She has said that retelling her story was the hardest thing she has ever done. She doesn’t want people to think she’s bragging or trying to glorify what happened.
Her brother, Tom, was gaining fame as a comic actor while his sister built her illegal empire. He participates in the documentary and also spoke in interviews.
The Arnolds speak of their childhood as “normal” until their mother left and their father married a neighbor. They then went to live with their mother with no oversight. At 14, Lori developed a drinking problem and began dating a 23-year-old man. Her mother drove her to Missouri (where it was legal for teens to marry). Tom says her life changed for the worse when she was allowed to marry the man.
They divorced, Lori married a motorcycle gang member and became a meth addict. She shared it with friends, they wanted more, so she began to capitalize on the opportunity.
Lori served her prison time but returned to the drug trade after getting out. She returned to prison but also completed a nine-month drug rehab program. Lori works an “honest” job and is deeply sorry for her part in the meth epidemic she brought to her hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa.