This is the Official Website of Brian O’Dea Author of “HIGH: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler”
HIGH: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler
Having completed a ten-year sentence for importing
seventy-five tons of marijuana into the United States,
Brian O’Dea placed a classified ad headed “Former
Marijuana Smuggler” in the Employment Wanted section
of a newspaper–a typical act for a resilient and impudent
man. Among the advertiser’s references was the U.S.
district attorney who was responsible for his arrest in
The O’Dea family is well known in the Canadian province
of Newfoundland, where Brian’s father owned the local
brewery before going into politics. But the family’s
prominence could not protect their middle son. Abused as
a child by his local priest, Brian turned to using and
selling drugs for the escape and excitement they offered.
By the early 1980s, he was operating a $100 million a
year, 120-man business, and had developed a terrifying
cocaine addiction. Under increasing threat from the DEA
in 1986, he quit the trade–and the drugs–and began
working with recovering addicts in Santa Barbara.
Despite his life change, the authorities caught up with him
years later and Brian was arrested, tried, and sentenced
to ten years at Terminal Island Federal Penitentiary in Los
A born storyteller, Brian O’Dea candidly recounts his
incredible experiences in the streets of Bogotá with a
false-bottom suitcase lined with cocaine, to the engine
compartment of an old DC-6 whose engines were failing
over the Pacific, to the cell blocks overcrowded with
small-time dealers who had fallen victim to the justice
system’s perverse bureaucracy of drug sentencing.
Weaving together extracts from his prison diary with the
vivid recounting of his outlaw years and the dawning
recognition of those things in his life that were worth living for, High tells the remarkable
story of a remarkable man in the late-1980s drug business.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian O’Dea is now gainfully employed as a film and television producer in Toronto,
where he lives with his wife and son. He also regularly speaks about his own
experiences to young people struggling with addictions. High won the 2007 Arthur Ellis
Award for Best Non-Fiction Crime and it is currently being adapted into a feature film.
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