Unspeakable Times
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13 Shocking Facts About Lori Arnold, America's OG Meth Queen

Updated March 18, 2019 174.0k views13 items

In a real-life Breaking Bad situation, Lori Arnold, the sibling of celebrity Tom Arnold, was making $800,000 a month manufacturing and selling crystal methamphetamine, AKA "ice." Arnold was moving so much product, it's likely that some of it wound up in the hands of crystal addicted celebrities. Lori was born in 1961, in the small town of Ottumwa, Iowa, one of seven step and half-siblings. Her home life wasn't great - her father had taken off with the next door neighbor, and her mother wound up marrying six different men. 

Arnold ended up dropping out of high school, only to end up in the underground trade. Her nickname was the "Queen of Meth," due to the large-scale drug operation she controlled throughout the 1980s. After two stints in prison, she has turned her life around, and her brother Tom now pokes fun at her throughout his stand-up comedy routines. While Lori Arnold might be mistaken for an average citizen, during her formative years she was America's OG hustler. 

  • She Bought An Airplane With Her Profits - Just Because She Could

    At the height of her life of success, Arnold spent money hand over fist. She once purchased an airplane, for example, simply because she could. She also owned a yacht and claimed to own "$73,000 dollars of jewelry alone." At the time, her brother, Tom Arnold, was married to Roseanne Barr, who also traveled by private plane.

    However, her Hollywood connections didn't help her when law enforcement apprehended her the second time. Tom reportedly showed up outside of Lori's court hearing with $400,000 in cash to pay her bail. Unfortunately, the option of receiving bail was removed, due to the severity of her offenses. 

  • Her Prison Nickname Was 'Scarface In A Skirt'

    Her Prison Nickname Was 'Scarface In A Skirt'
    Photo: Scarface / Universal Pictures

    During her first stint in prison, after her ranch was raided by an entire alphabet soup of federal agencies (DEA, FBI, etc.), Arnold was sentenced to 12 years in prison. She was sent to Alderson in West Virginia. There, Arnold was given the nickname of "Scarface in a Skirt" due to her successful underworld business, a clear reference to the movie Scarface, starring Al Pacino.

    One difference, however, is that she never terminated anyone. Arnold served 9 years of her 12-year sentence. 

  • She Used Horse Racing To Launder Her Money

    As her business grew, Arnold found it increasingly difficult to launder the money that she was making. It was just coming in too fast. So, she turned to racehorses. She and her then-husband, Floyd, had a 144-acre farm that they filled with racehorses and stables. She soon wound up with over 50 horses and employed a fleet of farmhands and jockeys for them.

    The business that she had started to "clean" the spoils of her dealing cost her about $100,000 a month to run, but that was nothing to her at the time.  

  • She Owned A Bar Called The Wild Side - And Dealt Out Of It

    Over the course of her underworld career, Arnold bought quite a few businesses to help "clean" her exorbitant profits. One of these was a bar called the Wild Side. Arnold not only laundered her funds through the bar, but it provided her with an important way of reaching her customers (and selling to them).

    Eventually, she bought a second bar, as well as 14 houses in the town of Ottumwa.