It is not a felony if you’re doing it for the good guys but it is a felony if you get caught doing it for the bad guys.
Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) a TWA commercial airline pilot who graduated top of his class is working hard to provide for his family. The CIA recruits Barry to fly reconnaissance missions over Central America. He is told to hide his new job description from everyone he knows. He gets a small new airplane which he will use to fly over Central America for reconnaissance purposes.
The Medellin Cartel kidnaps Barry during one of his missions and makes him a proposal. The proposal was that he shall fly their cocaine to the United States and receives payment in cash for it. He finds a hiccup in the arrangement. The airstrip had a very short runway which became a challenge for him. He takes it as a challenge to fly the airplane out of there. Barry takes off successfully and delivers the package to the United States. He makes numerous trips after and is rewarded handsomely for each delivery made. As time passes Barry catches the attention of DEA and other agencies. Schafer, Barry’s CIA handler moves Barry and his family to Mena, Arkansas to avoid attention.
Schafer makes Barry fly arms and ammunition to the Nicaraguan Contras in Honduras, Central America. Barry soon learns that the Contras are not serious about the war. Barry then starts trading those arms and ammunition to the Medellin Cartel. The CIA sets up a base in Mena, Arkansas for the Contras to help them fight the war. But as they arrive at the base some of them escape.
Barry’s wife, Lucy has a brother named JB. Later, JB moves in with Barry and his family. Barry finds JB a job which would help JB earn some cash. JB soon starts stealing cash from Barry. One day, the Sheriff of the town arrests JB with a briefcase full of cash. JB was released later with no charges against him. The Cartel learns about this situation. Barry tells JB to disappear and gives him a plane ticket to Bora Bora. JB demands that Barry sends him cash every week. As JB drives off his car explodes killing JB in the explosion. Barry suspects that it was Jorge Ochoa of the Cartel who rigged JB’s car.
The CIA eventually shuts down the program and abandons Barry. The FBI, ATF and DEA catch Barry at the same time. He avoids prosecution by making a deal with the White House. The White House wants evidence that the Sandinistas are drug traffickers. The White House wants photo evidence which ties the Medellin Cartel and Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Barry gets those photographs and they are later releases by the White House. This makes Barry a target for the Cartel. The American authorities arrest Barry but the judge releases Barry with a mild sentence. The sentence being 1000 hours of community service for the Salvation Army.
With his photo released by the White House, Barry lives in fear. He feared that the Cartel would soon kill him. He just didn’t know when. Barry stayed in a different motel every night so that the Cartel’s assassins would not find him. The Cartel soon finds Barry and they kill him. The CIA seize all the evidence that might implicate them of drug smuggling.
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