From an interview with William Friedkin that appeared in Urban Cinefile, December 2002.
All filmmaking, especially at the intense level of Sorcerer, “is both an education and an adventure,” says the veteran filmmaker. “All kinds of crazy things happen. Like when I finally hire a small private single engine plane to fly me out of Mexico into El Paso, Texas, and one of the stuntmen, Freddie Wah, wanted to hitch a ride. No problem. So we landed and the customs guy came out, he knew me, knew my work, welcomed me, Hello Mr. Friedkin, welcome back to America…nice to have you back.”
The pleasantries soon evaporated, however: “Then the guy with the dog comes out and the dog goes crazy…leaps on the plane and goes right after Fred Wah’s briefcase, which was all he had with him. The dog’s going nuts and the customs guys are looking at us…” Friedkin revels in the story, now a safe distance from it.
As it turns out, Wah had stored a small amount of marijuana in his briefcase, but he had dumped it all out before take off. Except for a few grains. “All of a sudden this guy’s demeanour changed. I’d been in the jungle for months and had lost 50 pounds, I had malaria and I was finally back in the US, exhausted ….and this guy turns to me and says, ‘Mr. Friedkin, this aircraft is now the property of the United States Government. Please go inside and have a seat.’ I had to sit there for about eight hours, while they called the studio, people who knew me, checked me out, checked my record….. I finally left, but they kept Freddie for about 10 days, just sweating him out.”