From 1972 until the late 80s, Brian O’Dea was one of the world’s most successful drug smugglers. Then he got addicted to coke, and although he cleaned up following an overdose and a heart attack, the DEA tracked him down. So, throughout the 1990s, while everyone else was enjoying grunge (and coke), Brian was in prison.
Nowadays, he’s a big, reformed hit on Canadian TV as a host and producer, and he continues to work with addicts while advocating the legalization of drugs. Far from being a grizzled ex-con, Brian’s an erudite, hip kind of guy. Apparently, as he told me, guys like him used to be the norm in the smuggling game. Nowadays, it’s all cartels and guns. I caught up with Brian to talk about the good old days of smuggling.