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Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler
Author: Brian O’Dea
Published by Other Press, New York
Publication Date: May, 2009,
Pages: 368,
Softcover $14.95,
ISBN: 978-1-59051-310-1,

Brian O’Dea was a drug smuggler extraordinaire, and tells his story in a straight forward
style which does not in anyway apologize for what he did, it just is about what happened.
He talks of having joined AA and slipping back into the using mode when it was

O’Dea discusses how he had gone straight and was living a calm, peaceful, and maybe
somewhat productive lifestyle when he was finally arrested in Santa Barbara California
for his past misdeeds. The story shifts to prison where he then describes his life while
constantly reminding us about being “counted” very often by his caretakers. Prison life is
described as a matter-of-fact adventure where he gets by because of his connections with
underworld characters that had been an interregnal part of his criminal life.

This story is unusual and noteworthy because of his large network of drug smuggling and
the amount of money which was being generated by this enterprise. Brian had 120
people in a coast-to-coast operation where semi-trucks traversed the United States with
cedar shingles used as a cover for his marijuana and cocaine smuggling. 100 million
dollars worth of product was brought into the country by ships which were either owned
or chartered by Brian and his cohorts. Sadly, there is much rejoicing about how they
outwitted the DEA and other governmental agencies with no regret about exploitation
and misery of others while achieving their own financial gain.

Brian describes his own addiction and use of many different drugs with a ‘poor me’
excuse because he had been abused by a priest. This may be true, but his hell-bent to
‘destroy himself’ attitude throughout the book does not absolve him from his own
actions. He was reckless and carefree throughout his years of trafficking. On one of his
missions, he flew as co-pilot in a DC-6 even though he had never sat in the cockpit of a
plane. Ultimately, his life was spared when the plane crashed and tons of marijuana was
lost. Once again, he picked himself up and continued on with his crime filled-life.

Ruination of life by getting HIGH is something that you will need to decide for yourself.
Those who recommend this book would probably do so only for a look into the seamy
side of smuggling. Prison terms which are meted out for breaking our laws appear to be
excessive in some instances when they are applied to drug cases. However, when dealing
with excessive amounts of money, tons of marijuana, and the horrendous addiction of so
many people, some sentences are not enough.
March 2009 Clark Isaacs


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