If the person who answered didn’t speak English, he would say “English! Cargo planes filled with ammunition were taking off from airports across Eastern Europe. But nearly $2 million? Initially rated as “unsatisfactory” by the contracting office, AEY was upgraded to “good” and then “excellent.”. One of the illegal shipments of ammo they supplied to the Afghan army (bottom). Diveroli and Packouz needn’t have worried. So he persuaded the State Department to allow him to substitute Korean-made knockoffs instead of the high-end Herstals — a swap that instantly doubled his earnings. They were all eager to help.”. “Efraim called it the Save the King Project, but he didn’t give a shit about the king,” Packouz says. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Russian president didn’t like NATO expanding into Kyrgyzstan, and the Kyrgyzs wanted the U.S. government to pay more rent to use their airport as a crucial supply line for the war in Afghanistan. Diveroli did the same with a large helmet order for the Iraqi army, pushing the Pentagon to accept poorer-quality Chinese-made helmets once he had won the contract. The solicitation was only up for a matter of minutes before Diveroli spotted it, reading the terms with increasing excitement. Diveroli didn’t have to actually make any of the products to bid on the contracts. “It was bizarre,” he says. CNNMoney's Frank Pallotta sits down with stars … All he had to do was win even a minuscule fraction of the billions the Pentagon spends on arms every year and he would be a millionaire. My main motivator was making money, just like it was for General Dynamics. “I have good news and bad news,” Diveroli said. But Diveroli and Packouz had three advantages. Based on the numbers, it looked like it was going to be a lot of money. “The e-mails were incredibly incriminating — they spelled out everything,” Packouz says. But Diveroli wanted more than that: His ambition was to be the biggest arms dealer in the world — a young Adnan Khashoggi, a teenage Victor Bout. Podrizki fibbed, saying it was to lighten the load and save money on air freight. “I knew it was a long shot,” recalls Packouz. Afghanistan, guns, Iraq. “One firm fixed-price award, on an all-or-none basis, will be made as a result of this solicitation,” the tender offer said. A week later, Podrizki called to ask if Trebicka could hire enough men to repack 100 million rounds of ammunition by taking them out of metal sardine cans and placing them in cardboard boxes. The shipment was part of a $300 million contract that Packouz and his partner, Efraim Diveroli, had won from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. For six weeks, Packouz worked through the night, sleeping on Diveroli’s couch and surviving on weed and adrenaline. “Dude, if you had to leave the country tomorrow, how much would you be able to take?”, Diveroli pulled the car over and turned to look at Packouz. He picked up a phone book and found a cardboard-box manufacturer named Kosta Trebicka. War Dogs is in theaters on August 19. In January, Packouz was sentenced to seven months of house arrest after he stood before a federal judge in Miami and expressed his remorse for the “embarrassment, stress and heartache that I have caused.” But his real regret is political: He believes that he and Diveroli were scapegoats, prosecuted not for breaking the law but for embarrassing the Bush administration. It was May 2007, and the war was going badly. “Things were rolling along,” Packouz recalls. When Podrizki went to look at a cache of ammunition in one bunker, it was apparent that the Albanians had a haphazard attitude about safety; they used an ax to open crates containing live rounds and lit cigarettes in a room filled with gunpowder. Then he played his trump card. There was drinking, dancing, people making out in the Jacuzzi — sometimes more than just making out. “I inspected the stuff and it seems good,” Podrizki told him. War Dogs (2016) Plot. The temptation was too much. After six years of fighting, Al Qaeda remained a menace, the Taliban were resurgent, and NATO casualties were rising sharply. Packouz was in excellent spirits. We felt like we were on top of the world.”, In the evenings, Packouz and Diveroli would get high and go to the American Range and Gun Shop — the only range near Miami that would let them fire off the Uzis and MP5s that Diveroli was licensed to own. “Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it,” Packouz says. From 1914 to 1917 the French, Germans and others struggled with each other for control of France and Europe. But I had to get my shit together and put my best arms-dealer face on.”, Sitting in the restaurant, Packouz tried to clear his head, cupping a hand over his cellphone to shut out the noise. The pair met at Diveroli’s apartment to smoke a joint and discuss strategy. He figured everyone else was going to take 10 percent, but what if another bidder had the same idea as him and put in nine percent? Lawson then wrote a 2015 book, Arms and the Dudes, detailing the story. “There was no way to really know why the heads of state were doing things, especially when it came to something like invading Iraq,” he says. Packouz knew he was in a bad bargaining position. That was how he put it. As his workload (and bank account) began to grow, he brought on childhood buddy David Packouz to assist in 2005. Packouz was shy around girls, but Diveroli cut right to the chase, often hitting on women right in front of their boyfriends. If we worked hard. The Bush administration’s push to outsource its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in short, had sent companies like AEY into the world of illegal arms dealers — but when things turned nasty, the federal government reacted with righteous indignation. In January, dressed in a tan prison-issued jumper, Diveroli came before Judge Joan Lenard for sentencing at Miami’s gleaming new federal courthouse. To fight simultaneous wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration had decided to outsource virtually every facet of America’s military operations, from building and staffing Army bases to hiring mercenaries to provide security for diplomats abroad. The true origin story of Efraim Diveroli can make your head spin. Megan Leavey is a US Marine corporal who served as a Military Police K9 handler. 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