|The Task Force Members (DEA, IRS, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Customs Special Agents) were sitting around the war-room in the Jacksonville, FL Federal Courthouse, patting themselves on the back for a 39-count indictment just returned on one of the early Medillin Drug Cartel members. Thirty-nine squares of butcher paper, representing 18 months of investigation, taped to the wall ringed the room and summarized the evidence for each count of the indictment. The square shapes of the 39 pieces of butcher paper conjured up images of a popular board game. Charlie Inman, the Customs lead investigator, thought out loud, "Somebody ought to make a board game out of all this!" Everybody laughed and agreed that it was a good idea. Everybody soon forgot about the idea, except Charlie.
Over the next few years, Charlie kept coming back to the idea and thought of different scenarios, discarding anything to do with illegal drugs because he knew that it was not family fare and gave up on the "good guys vs bad guys" scenario. He settled on a theme of going to exotic foreign countries to obtain fabulous treasures, bring them back to near the U.S., where they would have to be declared or smuggled. SMUGGLE was a natural name for the game. Charlie wrote and re-wrote the rules of play, going down trails which didn't pan out and keeping the good ideas. After several years, he had a pretty solid scenario, but no game. He also had neither the business expertise, artistic ability, nor the money to pull everything together.
A couple of years ago, Charlie was talking to his brother-in-law, Bob Parkinson, who had recently retired as a Navy Captain. Bob had been a Gulf of Tonkin SAR Pilot in Vietnam. He later became a squadron commander and subsequently, Commanding Officer, Navy Test Pilot School. Pretty good for a left-handed chopper pilot! Bob, who had also earned an MBA at George Washington University, thought the idea was pretty good and started working on a business plan. He also enlisted the talented Gwen Kearley, the wife of a colleague and a professional graphic artist in her own right. Bob and Charlie formed INPA TV Alternatives, Inc., and set about to finance the project by recruiting investors in Smuggle Venture, a Maryland Limited Partnership.
In the Spring, 2000, the first round of investors had come on board and Smuggle Venture became a reality. Next came negotiations with the box and board manufacturer, the plastics manufacturer, as well as a myriad of details involving the financial aspects. The most recent accomplishment has been the creation of this website. Yes! The entrepreneural spirit is alive and well in America!
We, at INPA, TV Alternatives, are sure you will enjoy SMUGGLE'S theme and colorful format, but most of all, we know you will have great fun with family and friends!
By the way, that Drug Lord was convicted on all counts and is now serving a life sentence in federal prison. Maybe that's a good omen!