Former international drug smuggler gets high on life
Brian O'Dea talks to IrishCentral about his new autobiography, "High"
The circumstances are wearily familiar, but it was what didn’t happen, O’Dea says, that caused him the greatest problems.
“I told nobody. I kept it a secret. I was a Catholic and I thought that I had performed a mortal sin punishable by an eternity in hell,” he says.
“I just knew God was going to kill me and send me to hell forever. This internal thing secretly went on inside my head for years.”
When he discovered something that could take him out of his mind -- drugs -- he became a ripe candidate both as an addict and a supplier.
“At college in Nova Scotia I would buy pot and share it with other people -- because I became a people pleaser -- and I would spend my own tuition on it,” he says.
The transition from pot smoker to pot supplier was remarkably smooth, but O’Dea started out small time.
“My father was in the mind altering business selling booze and he was a good businessman. I used his business model to go from selling nickel bags of pot to selling 75 tons from South East Asia by the mid-eighties,” he says.
Orders kept expanding, which meant travel to other nations. In Jamaica he met many fellow Irishmen who had turned to the life of drug trafficking.
“These were all great guys on the lam. They brought it all in by the boatload to Newfoundland. They ended up living on the run in Jamaica and running operations from down there when they got popped and couldn’t return home.”
To build a nest egg to shore up his pot smuggling activities, O’Dea briefly got involved in the South American cocaine trade, where large amounts of money could be made shipping small amounts of the drug.
“In those days everyone who was doing it seemed to be having fun doing it. But cocaine abuse led to a complete and utter nightmare for me. It had a grip stronger than cigarettes and I couldn’t let go of it for years,” he said.
In the early eighties, after he had cleaned up his own act, O’Dea joined forces with another Irish Newfoundlander he refers to only by his last name, Murphy, who introduced O’Dea to the best drug smuggling operation he had ever seen.
“He introduced me to the very best offload situation imaginable for a pot smuggler, a fishing company in Newfoundland with a complete dry dock facility, everything you would need to make it look like you were a legitimate business,” he says.
“We used that as a beard to smuggle the pot. There were 110 guys working in our operation and all of them knew the real deal. It only came apart right at the end. We got away with it till then. But I ended up with too much money and not enough brains and back hooked on coke again.”
When he got sober, O’Dea went to work as a volunteer in a drug rehabilitation center, where he counseled addicts daily for two years. But then the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) showed up and arrested him for conspiracy to import more than 100 kilos of drugs.
- Bill O'Reilly claims the Obama administration...
- Chilling testimony before congressional hearing
- Enda Kenny rejects Dublin Archbishop's claims...
- Census shows more Catholics than Protestants...
- New reports suggest Robert F Kennedy’s wife...
- 'You attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims'
- Young people worst affected by Ireland’s...
- Prospects for immigration reform bill are...
- Gerry Adams accuses British government of...
- Ten castles to rent in Ireland for a vacation...