Tim Allen, the popular Michigan-born comedian and actor known for his roles on Home Improvement and Last Man Standing, has a past that not many people know about. In 1987, Allen was arrested for possession with intent to distribute over 650 grams of cocaine.
At the time, Michigan had a law known as the 650 lifer law, which mandated a life sentence without parole for anyone convicted of possessing that amount of drugs. Despite being just 17 years old at the time of his arrest, Allen was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
However, in 1998, the 650 lifer law was overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court, and those convicted under the law became eligible for release. Allen was finally paroled in 2018, but is currently serving time in Florida for a car theft conspiracy case.
Before his arrest, Allen was a drug trafficker in Kalamazoo, Michigan, dealing cocaine to college students in the 1970s. He built up a reputation as a supplier of cocaine to the party crowd at Western Michigan University, where he was a student.
After graduating, he continued to expand his drug business until it was infiltrated by an undercover FBI agent who set up the sting that led to his arrest at the Kalamazoo Battle Creek Airport in October 1978. Despite facing the prospect of life in prison with no chance of ever getting out, Allen decided to cooperate with authorities in exchange for a shorter sentence.
His cooperation led to almost two dozen narco busts, taking down substantial kilo dealers in West Michigan and the southeast region of the state. At the time of his arrest, Allen was trying to build a career as a comedian, performing stand-up comedy at various venues.
Childhood friends have said that he turned to the drug trade to support his early career aspirations. He served his prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institute in Sandstone, Minnesota, and was paroled in 1981 at the age of 25.
Move to Hollywood
After his release, Allen moved to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune, eventually landing the lead role on the hit TV show Home Improvement, which aired from 1991 to 1999. He has since appeared in a number of movies and TV shows, including the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story franchise.
Despite his success in Hollywood, Allen's past as a drug trafficker and convicted felon has remained largely unknown to the public. It wasn't until recently that the Hollywood gossip media outlet Gawker posted an expose on Allen's drug-slinging past on its website.
While Allen may have had an easier time on the streets and in the justice system than some of his fellow Michiganders, his days as a drug trafficker and his time in prison have had a lasting impact on his life. His story serves as a reminder of the harsh consequences of drug offenses and the importance of rehabilitation and second chances.