10 episodes

"Best True Crime Podcast" Nominee, 2023 Ambies

Warsaw, Missouri, is a small, rural town of just over 2,000 people in the American Midwest. Locally it’s known as the “quiet end of the Lake of the Ozarks.” Very few realize that it’s the paddlefish capital of the world. But when a new group arrived driving flashy, imported cars and dropping hundreds of dollars on bait and tackle, the town became the setting for an undercover federal sting operation tasked with bringing down a suspected international caviar poaching ring.
 
The Paddlefish Caviar Heist is a production of Imperative Entertainment and Vespucci and is written and hosted by Helen Hollyman. For Imperative Entertainment, the Executive Producer is Jason Hoch. For Vespucci, the executive producers are Daniel Turcan and Johnny Galvin. David Gauvey Herbert is Executive Producer. Based on original script reporting by David Gauvey Herbert. The series producer is Aron Keller. The story editor is Matt Willis. Thomas Curry is the managing producer. Cover art and design by Jeana Sullivan. Audio recording by Austin Sisler at Eastside Studios. Audio mix and sound-design by Matt Peaty.

The Paddlefish Caviar Heist Imperative

    • True Crime
    • 4.0 • 120 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

"Best True Crime Podcast" Nominee, 2023 Ambies

Warsaw, Missouri, is a small, rural town of just over 2,000 people in the American Midwest. Locally it’s known as the “quiet end of the Lake of the Ozarks.” Very few realize that it’s the paddlefish capital of the world. But when a new group arrived driving flashy, imported cars and dropping hundreds of dollars on bait and tackle, the town became the setting for an undercover federal sting operation tasked with bringing down a suspected international caviar poaching ring.
 
The Paddlefish Caviar Heist is a production of Imperative Entertainment and Vespucci and is written and hosted by Helen Hollyman. For Imperative Entertainment, the Executive Producer is Jason Hoch. For Vespucci, the executive producers are Daniel Turcan and Johnny Galvin. David Gauvey Herbert is Executive Producer. Based on original script reporting by David Gauvey Herbert. The series producer is Aron Keller. The story editor is Matt Willis. Thomas Curry is the managing producer. Cover art and design by Jeana Sullivan. Audio recording by Austin Sisler at Eastside Studios. Audio mix and sound-design by Matt Peaty.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Fish Guts on the Roadside | Chapter 1

    Fish Guts on the Roadside | Chapter 1

    Journalist Helen Hollyman arrives in Warsaw, Missouri determined to solve the mystery of how a suspected international caviar poaching ring infiltrated this small midwest town to steal its most prized possession. When fish guts start appearing on the roadside, it takes a daring undercover sting — Operation Roadhouse — to catch the criminals. Could it really be true?
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    • 30 min
    Spanky DeFriese | Chapter 2

    Spanky DeFriese | Chapter 2

    Helen realizes that to get to the truth, she needs to start fishing where the fish are. Immersing herself in Warsaw’s ‘snagging’ culture, Helen discovers that this town has fallen prey to Paddlefish poachers before.
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    • 32 min
    Expensive Taste | Chapter 3

    Expensive Taste | Chapter 3

    Why would criminals travel halfway across the world to the Ozarks in search of fish eggs? To answer that question, we need to travel back in time to Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, to understand how caviar became such a coveted and valuable delicacy. 
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    • 29 min
    Operation Roadhouse | Chapter 4

    Operation Roadhouse | Chapter 4

    Back in Missouri, Helen lands a meeting with a top conservation official. She gets the inside scoop on why Operation Roadhouse was launched and how it was executed.
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    • 27 min
    The Caviar Mafia | Chapter 5

    The Caviar Mafia | Chapter 5

    Who was pulling the paddlefish poachers’ strings? Helen zeroes in on some of Roadhouse’s biggest suspects, but is also forced to confront a troubling question from her own past. 
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    • 29 min
    Bait and Switch | Chapter 6

    Bait and Switch | Chapter 6

    An old friend helps Helen shed some light on the shady side of the caviar industry. Meanwhile, a visit to a lawyer in the Hampton’s causes Helen to question everything she’s been told about this case. 
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    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
120 Ratings

120 Ratings

kwhite228 ,

Hot and cold

Host did a great job with the podcast. Really dislike Katy Perry, so I wish that wouldn’t have been a thing every single commercial

Sjsdidneb ,

Okay

Really enjoyed the narrator. Like her voice and her point of view. Was confused why no Eastern European people were interviewed, was a major part of the story. I liked the info on conservation but it should have been balanced more with the true crime/mafia/investigative elements. I also felt that ending it with someone trying to reconnect with their culture seemed out of touch. People aren’t risking jail time in a foreign country because they miss some food. All and all a decent podcast that was well written but could have used more substance.

dasher12 ,

This is a fun listen

Not sure why this is only a 4* I thoroughly enjoyed this story and found it entertaining and absorbing. Too bad that it didn’t have a big bang ending. But I learned a lot more than I will ever need to know about caviar and the lengths people will go to deceive to make a buck from it. That was really interesting!

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