By Humphrey Carter
HOWARD Marks, the Marco Polo of hashish smuggling, once described as “the most sophisticated drugs baron of all times” is coming back to Majorca where he was finally arrested in 1988. “I'm coming back to my roots....but this time with my one-man show,” he joked yesterday.
Marks hit the international headlines in 1988 when the world's biggest hashish smuggler was arrested by the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) at his home in the Palma suburb of La Vileta. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail at Terra Haute penitentiary in Indiana, the toughest federal jail in the United States.

In 1995, after serving seven years, he was released on parole and returned home to Majorca.
The following year he released his biography “Mr Nice” which has since sold over a million copies world wide in various different languages and on the back of the huge success of his book, has been touring the world with the one-man show he is bringing to Majorca next week.

At the height of his “career” Marks, who earned a degree in nuclear physics and a post graduate qualification in philosophy at Oxford, was smuggling consignments of up to thirty tons of hashish from Pakistan and Thailand to America and Canada with contacts in the CIA, MI6, IRA and the Mafia.

During the mid 1980*s he had forty-three aliases, eighty-nine phone lines and twenty five companies trading throughout the world. He also used to sleep on top of most of his drug money.

His career as one of the world's biggest ever smugglers of hashish is obviously the basis of his one-man show. “I start with a short video about who I am, for those who don't know, and then go on to talk about some of my experiences and how to best smuggle drugs - tips for the budding smuggler if you like. “But it's a comedy night out,” he adds.
However, the second part of the evening touches on a more serious note and one he has been campaigning for since his release - the legalisation of “recreational drugs” in Britain.

More recently he has been a chair on one of the government's think tanks on drugs, the EU-funded Drug Policy Foundation Group. “There are judges, top ranking members of the police etc. I represent drug dealers and smugglers,” he said. “All that came about after I applied for the job of Britain's drugs Tsar, I didn't get the job but have had quite a close advisory relationship with the cabinet and other key politicians. Not long ago I had dinner with the present Drugs Tsar and Michael Portillo - that was quite a laugh,” said Marks. “The government is moving in the right direction on drugs, a little slow perhaps, but I think in 20 years time drugs will no longer be an issue. I believe that drugs should be legalised but controlled, that will take the criminality out of it and will make them less of a menace to society.” Next week's one-man shows will be in English.

How many will turn out to see him he is not too sure: “I admit I'm a little bit nervous about returning, it's my first public appearance in Majorca since my release.”


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