Nothing to declare

In the third part of his personal story, Mark Dempster tries his luck with smuggling hash and finds some unsavoury new ‘friends’.

Terrorist Brian had been right about the cheque cashing charges – I pleaded guilty and accepted a slap on the wrist and another fine. I was lucky and I celebrated with a trip to India with my girlfriend. I was in the back of a hut in Goa when I first tried opium – I loved it and couldn’t stop taking it the entire time we were there. All she wanted to do was see the sights and do ‘couple’ stuff. By the end of the trip she made me promise not to use drugs anymore and stopped me smuggling some hash back to London – I broke up with her when we got back.  

Seeing how easy it could have been to smuggle hash, I convinced a friend that we should go back and get a few kilos of hash from Malana – we could sell it for thousands in London. We trekked through mountains to get to the village – we could have frozen to death in the Himalayas or been killed by angry villagers because we didn’t know the local customs. But with a guide and a lot of luck we got our hash through the airport at Delhi and would have got back to London if it hadn’t been for a detour through France. We had decided that I would be the hippy decoy and my friend would dress smart and carry the hash. It didn’t work. We lost the hash and he ended up doing several years in a French prison. I got away with less cash than I started. 

Back in London I used the contact with Brian to get a supply set up. Nick was helping, but got locked up for possession. At the time Brian was producing most of the speed in London and I was building a big business selling thousands of pounds of drugs a day. I needed help to run things so I brought in some friends – Walshy was my man who dealt with the customers. We had been friends since childhood and it felt good having him around. Besides, it gave me somebody to get high with. 

With the drug business a 24-hour job and the pressure of dealing with the chaos of Terrorist Brian and his psycho henchmen, I took more drugs to cope. I had gone from opium to smoking heroin and was drinking from the moment I woke up until I passed out at night. I couldn’t get up in the morning without downing a can and chasing the dragon. Walshy was a speed freak and Brian a cokehead. I wanted to get away from Brian, but I was locked in; he would kill me if I left. 

The business was getting dangerous too – the Hells Angels tried to murder Nick because they couldn’t find me to make me pay for a drug deal gone bad. Things weren’t going well. I thought that I just needed to get my own supply, and then things would be better. That was my new plan. 

Mark Dempster is author of Nothing to Declare: Confessions of an Unsuccessful Drug Smuggler, Dealer and Addict, available now on Amazon UK

Next issue: Life takes a more dangerous turn when Mark is taken prisoner in Morocco.