5 Facts About Former 'Queen Of Meth' Lori Arnold
“I’m just grateful she didn’t get murdered,” says her brother, actor Tom Arnold.
Lori Arnold became infamous in the mid-1980s, but not because she’s the sister of actor Tom Arnold.
Known as the “Queen of Meth,” Arnold, now 60, was eventually arrested twice for drug production and distribution, and she spent a total of 15 years in prison for her crimes.
Ahead are five facts about Arnold’s criminal lifestyle and subsequent recovery.
Lori Arnold went from meth user to meth trafficker
In 1984, Arnold tried methamphetamine for the very first time. She then quickly turned meth into a moneymaker by buying a quarter pound of the drug for $2,500 and then selling it at four times that amount.
“By 1986 I was running a fleet of cars to and from California to buy huge 10-pound loads of meth with $100,000 in cash,” she said, according to The Sun. “Less than five years after I tried my first line of meth, I had sold enough of the drug to buy a bar, a range of sports cars, several planes, a 170-acre horse ranch, 14 houses and a car lot. I owned $73,000 in jewelry alone.”
Money was no object for the so-called “Queen of Meth”
“On any given day I would be carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in my purse,” she told The Sun. “I had so much money I didn’t know what to do with it. I had to stuff it in the walls of my house.”
Arnold figured out a way to make even more cash when she realized she could increase profits by cutting out the middleman and buying meth in bulk in Kansas rather than California. “I quickly moved up the food chain,” she said of raking in over $200,000 weekly at the apex of her drug-distribution career.
Arnold knew she was about to be busted
In 1989, the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration raided Arnold’s ranch — a drug super-factory that pumped out 10-pound batches of meth every two days.
“A stable boy had phoned me as I whizzed through town in my red Jaguar to tell me things were getting weird,” she told The Sun. “Cars had been parked nearby full of men with binoculars trained on the farm.”
Arnold said undercover surveillance agents observed her trading 350 pounds of meth with a value of $11 million. After her arrest, Arnold’s brother and his then-soon-to-be wife, Roseanne Barr, attempted to help rescue her. “Roseanne and Tom arrived at court in their limo with $400,000 in cash to try to bail me out,” she said. “But that just didn’t happen — the option for bail was removed.”
She ended up serving about eight years in a West Virginia prison for her crimes, and she was released in 1999.
Arnold wasn’t able to stay out of trouble and got arrested a second time
Less than two years following her time in prison, Arnold ran into trouble with the law again. Authorities took her into custody in October 2001 after she got caught selling a quarter pound of meth to undercover detectives.
“I tried to go straight, working at a meat-packing plant, but I hated it. Three hundred dollars a week feels bad when you remember earning $300,000 a week,” she told The Sun. “When someone offered me the chance to sell a bit of meth, I jumped at the chance. As long as I could keep it under control, I wouldn’t get caught, would I?”
She was arrested again and incarcerated for another seven years in Iowa.
She’s since managed to turn her life around
Arnold “hit a wall” after her second prison sentence. “I was tired of drugs, tired of looking over my shoulder,” she explained.
Tom Arnold, 62, told the New York Post his younger sister “got lucky” when she finally was able to leave meth in the past. “I’m just grateful she didn’t get murdered,” he said. “There was no way to end it, except death or prison.”
Today, the former meth queenpin is sober and lives with her fiancé in Sandusky, Ohio, where she works 10-hour days as a forklift operator. “Now, I think about my future and how I got here,” she told Fox News. “Going back to that life would be like driving down the road without a seatbelt.”
For more on the Lori Arnold's story, stream Queen of Meth now on discovery+.