Journalist Sam Anderson moved back home with his family in Ringwood, New Jersey when he learned one of his high school classmates, Zach, was accused of murder in California. Zach’s friends claim he’s innocent, so Sam went to investigate in-person.
Sam headed to Northern California’s remote forest region called The Emerald Triangle, a mountainous area where the most American-grown marijuana is sourced. Residents live off the grid and this place is often referred to as a “hippie nirvana” that offers freedom and a break from life’s expectations.
Sam soon learned The Emerald Triangle’s population was made up of hippies, cannabis growers, and outlaws. During his trip, Sam found out his former classmate was entrenched in a cult-like pot grower’s inner circle who had a fondness for psychedelic drugs. Sam realized that greed, desperation, ongoing acid trips, and paranoia could have set the stage for a horrific crime.
Start “Crooked City: The Emerald Triangle” from the beginning to hear the complete saga unfold. Episodes contain original reporting from Sam as well as archived tapes from law enforcement about the murder, transporting listeners to interrogation rooms and giving us a front row seat to cracking the case.
Sam arrived in Laytonville, California to visit the crime scene and was soon brought into haywire drug-fueled escapades. When Sam uncovered a stash of police tapes that explained what happened to Zach and talked to law enforcement, he made discoveries that could change the investigation’s course. Sam talked to locals about being “hill crazy,” mixing substances with an alternative environment where freedom isn’t always free.
Each “Crooked City” season covers a different true crime story, and last season traveled to Youngstown, OH, to unpack former Rep. James Traficant’s story. The season investigated corrupt officials, mob wars, and other issues about the town that was once named “Crimetown USA.”
“Crooked City: The Emerald Triangle” is presented by The Binge with new episodes available in advance for subscribers. Everyone else can catch new episodes weekly wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.