Andrew Daulton Lee (born 1952) is an American drug dealer and former agent who was convicted of espionage for his involvement in the spying activities of his childhood friend, Christopher Boyce.
Lee was the adopted eldest son of Dr. Daulton Lee, a wealthy California physician. His lifelong friendship with Boyce led him into espionage activities after Boyce, a code clerk employed with the large US defense contractor, TRW (headquartered in the Los Angeles community of Redondo Beach), began stealing classified documents detailing how to decrypt secure US government message traffic and detailed specifications of the latest US spy satellites with the intention of delivering them to agents of the Soviet Union. With Boyce's stolen documents, Lee traveled to Mexico City, where he delivered them to Soviet embassy officials. Lee often also would use these trips as an opportunity to engage in drug deals when not working on espionage. A common tactic of Lee's drug smuggling was to learn of airline routes, where he would fly from Mexico to the United States, hiding the drugs inside a compartment of the plane (mainly the airline restroom), purchasing a ticket to whichever destination the same airplane was scheduled, then recapturing the drug stash after disembarking at the new destination.
Lee and Boyce made an agreement to evenly split the profits from the espionage ring. Boyce had used his share mainly for his personal use. Lee used his split of the profits to further his drug business, purchasing more expensive drugs, such as heroin, and being able to gain tremendous profits by selling the expensive, hard-to-obtain drugs in the United States. At one meeting with his Soviet handlers, Lee proposed that they assist him in his drug trade by transporting cocaine from Peru to the Soviet embassy in Mexico under diplomatic seal. At points when Boyce was doubting the effectiveness of his espionage, Lee had convinced him that the spy ring should expand. Lee had proposed adding his younger brother as an alternate courier, as well as recruiting a friend who was a US Navy sailor aboard an aircraft carrier, and having a fellow drug dealer be brought into the spy ring to sell the same intelligence reports to other foreign nations, namely China. Lee did indeed (behind Boyce's back) make copies of the reports with the intention of selling them to the Chinese.
In December 1976, Lee (with top secret microfilm in his possession) was arrested by Mexican police in front of the Soviet embassy on the misplaced suspicion of having killed a Mexico City police officer. Under torture he confessed instead to espionage, quickly implicating Boyce in the scheme. Lee was returned to the United States, where he was convicted of espionage. He was sentenced to life in prison and moved to the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, California. Boyce received a sentence of 40 years. Lee's heavier sentence for the same offense was likely due to his prior criminal record and admitted drug trafficking. While imprisoned, Lee lost access to drugs and had no choice but to sober up from his drug addictions. After a period of withdrawal, Lee ended his drug dependency. When Boyce escaped from prison in 1980, Lee was immediately remanded to another facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, a move that caused the end of their friendship.
Lee was portrayed by actor Sean Penn in director John Schlesinger's 1985 movie The Falcon and the Snowman, based on the book of the same name by Robert Lindsey. Lee's drug-dealing earned him the nickname "The Snowman," while Boyce's interest in falconry won him his own sobriquet. Boyce was played in the film by actor Timothy Hutton.
Lee was released on parole in 1998. Kathleen Mills, an activist who had worked towards earning Lee's parole, turned her attention towards the release of Boyce following Lee's freedom and eventually married Boyce. After his release, Lee was briefly hired by Sean Penn to be Penn's personal assistant.