“Queen of Meth”: A look back on the life of Lori Arnold
OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) -
Excitement, money, power that’s all it took for Lori Arnold to get swept away into a world beyond her wildest dreams.
Born and raised in Ottumwa, Iowa Arnold recalls her upbringing in the 60s as “awesome.”
“I was raised by my dad and stepmom along with six other siblings,” she recalls. “I played outside with the neighbor kids, kick the can, hide and seek, bike races. I had to be in the house when the street lights came on. We always had family dinners together because if you weren’t in the house at dinner, you didn’t eat. I was always there!”
Her biological mom wasn’t in the picture for a period of time in her life, so her stepmom would step in to check on her as Arnold recalls to “keep me on the straight and narrow.”
Around 1985, while married to the President of the Grim Reaper Motorcycle Club Floyd Stockdall, and their young son, Arnold lived in a cabin on the Des Moines River.
It was also around that time she says she tried Methamphetamine for her first time.
“I remember feeling euphoric and forgetting all my problems and insecurities. I was motivated to clean and socialize and dream of a better way of life. It rocked my world. I loved it,” Arnold shared looking back. The drug dealing started out small - but turned into a way to bring in some extra cash – with that extra money Arnold says she was able to help friends who were in a tough spot financially.
It never occurred to Arnold this may be the beginning of a journey down a dark, dark path. Shortly after, Arnold became known as one of the most prominent meth dealers in the Midwest. Bringing in upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars a week, it didn’t take long until the FBI caught on.
In 1993, she convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Now years later, if you ask Arnold what her life is like now she would tell you it’s “calm.” “I don’t go out to bars except an occasional beer stop when out riding my Harley with my fiancé,” she says of her new life. “I don’t socialize much because I’m still embarrassed about my past and I work with good people that don’t do drugs and most never have. It’s the first time I’ve ever been part of a union, had vacation days, 401k, and work around decent law abiding citizens.”
A world without drugs and darkness has now turned into simplicity.
“I know I’m credited for bringing Meth into Ottumwa,” Arnold shared of her infamous title. “Yes, I guess I was the one that introduced it in such a big scale. But at the time I was just enjoying the feeling of helping myself and family and others. I had no clue or idea of how far it would escalate.”
With her new docuseries “Queen of Meth” set to premiere on discovery+ on Friday, May 7th, Arnold says she felt compelled to speak out.
“The drug dealers don’t care about their friends or what they are selling and to who. The drugs now a days are killing people,” Arnold began. “Kids are dying or killing themselves. I just can’t figure out why someone would sell something that would hurt their friends. All they care about is money. It doesn’t make sense to me that people make drugs out of anything and everything just to make a profit.”
She continues: “The money I made was shared with friends and the community. I would never sell something that would kill someone and I sure didn’t want my friends hurt in any way. I never sold anything that I wouldn’t do myself. The drug dealers of today and giving me a bad name! I know that sounds bad since I was a drug dealer but I had more empathy, morals, values than they do today. I know that sounds crazy too but that’s the truth.”
If she could do it all over again? An easy answer for a woman with once called the “Queen of Meth,” she says: “If I could go back in time and know what I know now, I would have listened to my parents, stayed in school and made something of myself that I could be proud of.”
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