My short bio: I grew up in Dublin. I was locked up in Wexford and Mountjoy Prison (AKA 'The Joy'). I knew the Dunne Family and Tony Felloni. I was addicted to heroin in the 80s. I came to Colombia in 1986 to haul cocaine back to Europe. I was busted at the airport in Bogota, did time in La Modelo prison and have never returned to Ireland. I met M-19 guerrilla insurgents, the Pablo Escobar's killers 'Los Priscos', and many more rank-and-file Colombian crooks - mafiosos, thieves, conmen, killers, and more. My answers are being typed by someone more computer savvy than I am.

My Proof:

Comments: 1957 • Responses: 90  • Date: 

Ignacio14517 karma

What was the prisoner hierarchy inside like? If there was any. Were there any gangs, caste systems?

ExpatChronicles641 karma

of course. There was one guy who ran the whole show, El Donkey. There were three more guys at high levels, and loads of middle managers for every patio and pasillo in the prison.

Gangs, more than I could keep track of. I lived in a different area because I had a bit of money. There were the m-19 guerrillas, there were cocaine cartels, but no paramilitaries at that stage of the game.

CarnivorousAvenger249 karma

Let's say I'm in Colombia and go to prison, I don't have any money. I just want to chill, how would I fare? Would I be likely killed?

ExpatChronicles498 karma

You would not fare out too well. You have to buy your cell. If you don't have your own cell, you'd be in a pasillo or a horrible place with 5 or 7 other people. You're in the shit.

There was a Canadian who had no money, crackhead, and nobody respected him. I don't know what happened to him, but it was not easy time.

Ignacio1440 karma

What do you think, in South American culture, determines the brutal attitudes of the local people living there? We always hear about cartels or paramilitaries brutality throughout the continent. Is that because of lawlesness, corruption, socio-economic reasons or is it "in their blood", so to speak?

ExpatChronicles123 karma

Nobody cares about their next-door neighbor.

CrawstonWaffle22 karma

Are you at all surprised at the amount of vitriol you're receiving from people who look at you as little more than a junkie and a murderer? Do you think that attitude is more typically American--the primary demographic of reddit--or do you experience that from fellow Colombians as well?

ExpatChronicles54 karma

Not too surprised. No typical nationality, but it's common that people get to know me and are surprised when they found out my past. They're shocked because I'm gentle and easy going and all that.

Tsing_Tao303 karma

Another question :)

What was the craziest thing you saw while in the columbian jail? How was your day to day life? Do you still see people who were inside with you? and finally, what did you do to stay alive?

ExpatChronicles439 karma

The craziest thing, we were sent to patio 4 the crackheads' patio. They had this guy strung up and were showing off their capabilities with the knife. That was the closest night to hell I ever lived.

I lived every day like a king.

I saw two guys just last week. One is an extremely rich emerald dealer. The other is a complete street tramp derelict. I asked him about his nephew, and his nephew had been killed. The emerald dealer is OK. Most everybody I was in prison with have been killed by now.

To stay alive, I had a few quid. I also took care of that football mate of mine, another angle.

poopsicle007202 karma

I also took care of that football mate of mine, another angle.


ExpatChronicles303 karma

From an earlier thread. Read the story of how I had to kill a fella because of prison politics:

SandmanGA193 karma

FUCK ಠ_ಠ What a way to go out: Swiss cheese'd in the yard and have ya throat opened in the infirmary.... So did the cue-ball ever make it back to the table?

ExpatChronicles188 karma

I never found out what happened to the cueball but it never made it back to the table.

Tsing_Tao289 karma

What was the reason for killing the inmate? do you have any remorse for it?

ExpatChronicles624 karma

You have to understand that in La Modelo prison, life was absolutely worthless. Life had no value whatsoever. So this one fella, a football mate I was friendly with, sold me something that wasn't his. It became a tense situation in the prison yard because the owner of the item was a mafia guy, and I had this item in my pocket. YOU CAN NOT DO THAT. It was him or me, the football mate of mine. He did it so he could smoke more crack. If that's not a killing offense, nothing is. And in La Modelo, that definitely is.

I have zero remorse whatsoever.

ou-233 karma

How did you do it?

ExpatChronicles415 karma

It was me and another fella we got him with knives. Nobody suspected us.

ou-210 karma

Thank you for your answer.

I have another one - How did killing this guy affected you?

ExpatChronicles657 karma

It didn't. I don't mean to be rude but I should've killed more of them, many situations called for it.

NSA_Headquarters4 karma

so you killed him because the mafia guy told you to?

ChristinaPerryWinkle48 karma

I just read the story here. The mafia guy owned the pool table that a crackhead stole a queue ball from. He sold the queue ball to OP. The mafia guy was understandably pissed, because you can't play pool without a queue ball. The mafia guy was losing the money he usually charged people to play pool because, again, the table was missing a queue ball. Word got around that OP had the queue ball. The crackhead begged OP to give him the pool ball back, and he did. Crackhead sold it again. It was then put on OP's shoulders to murder the crack head for the aggravation caused to the mafioso who owned the pool table.

TL;DR - Crackhead wrongs mafioso in pursuit of said crack, involves OP in misdeed.

ExpatChronicles38 karma

that is an excellent summary.

subterfug20 karma

  1. Why buy a cue ball?

  2. I know you said you can get you can get anything at any time for a price, but... a pool table? really? How did that get snuck in? I imagine it wasn't in a hooker's vagina.

ExpatChronicles17 karma

Inmates carved works of art out of pool balls. Cue balls were the best.

Nothing was necessarily snuck in. A pool table wouldn't even be prohibited. Look up what was happening in La Modelo when the paramilitaries arrived and had to live next to the guerrillas. Both sides had machine guns and grenades and more, and a fragile peace.

ExpatChronicles4 karma

Here is the full story.

BelRowley252 karma


ExpatChronicles395 karma

I was addicted to heroin and mad out of me head morning noon and night. I was desperate for money every minute of the day.

I have lived in Colombia since 1986. It's my favorite country in the world, once you learn the place, the people.

BelRowley159 karma


ExpatChronicles340 karma

Not at all. It was quite easy to find jobs teaching English.

The_Average_Joe_363 karma

Students- "Teacher, how are you so fluent in spanish and english" Mick- "Its a long story" Students- "How long?" Mick- "Three years in la pinta long"

But seriously, did any of your students ask how you learned?

ExpatChronicles324 karma

I tell them. I don't have to tell everyone but I tell them. No qualms about it.

mischievous_haiku90 karma

Did you have any sort of training in how to teach before you got there?

ExpatChronicles194 karma

No training.

You see they tried to teach me Irish, which you may know as "Gaelic", by the formal way of learning language. And it didn't work at all, for me or anybody else in Ireland. So I developed my own way in prison that would have made sense to me and it works for teaching English.

Adeepdelver217 karma

How was life in La Modela? Did/do gangsters run the show? How easy was it for the average inmate to get ahold of phrohibited items? (drugs, booze, etc.) Was there a great deal of corruption amongst the staff? More than back home?

ExpatChronicles515 karma

You could get anything you wanted at any given moment. Fantastic drugs. In prison was the only time I went for years without lacking marijuana ever. Maybe 2 or 3 hours at the most, waiting for a Sunday morning when the whores who visited would take the drugs out of their pussy or whatever. But the wait was never long.

The screws do not run the prison there. The prisoners run the prison. That's the main difference between here and there. And if anyone wants to kill someone at any time, you tell the screw to fuck off.

Adeepdelver92 karma

Wow, did the ganja smell fishy? How did one make transactions? Was there barter and trade? Also, were there many other Westerners locked up with you?

ExpatChronicles146 karma

The weed smelled great! Usually just bought weed with coins (colombian pesos). There was one guy Jack Tambour, who was involved with Carlos Lehder. He arrived a year after I got there.

bropez195 karma

What was your last day locked up like?

ExpatChronicles218 karma

Horrible. I was waiting over a week for the release. Los Angelitos ( delayed in paying a bond for my release.

TheMickBogota149 karma

How did you get caught?

ExpatChronicles218 karma

I was with my girlfriend at Wimpy, a hamburger joint in the second floor of El Dorado airport. I saw these little people on the stairs. They were cops and they said (in Spanish) "you are under arrest" .. but the bags of coke weren't even with us they were in the other corner of the restaurant.

mellomatt132 karma

But how did the cops know?

ExpatChronicles258 karma

We were guaranteed safe passage through the airport by this Colombian narco who was dressed like a pilot. I don't know how they knew. I suppose they got a tip-off. A gringo and a gringa 28 years ago in El Dorado airport wasn't very common, so maybe it was that.

street_philatelist169 karma

You were probably the decoy shipment so that a much larger shipment could pass through without the airport security/customs looking like they weren't doing their job.

That's what most of the people on the show LOCKED UP ABROAD were, just decoys. They were never meant to succeed.

ExpatChronicles158 karma

Los Angelitos were a family outfit connected to the Cali Cartel, and one of them was locked up with me. I believe the decoy strategy of the screws wasn't really used at that stage of the game, 1986 that is.

sinkwater102 karma

What happened to the woman you were with?

ExpatChronicles204 karma

She went to the woman's prison .. we discovered that she was pregnant while we were both in prison.

Today she is back in Dublin.

socksonmytoe130 karma

Did you ever meet the baby?

ExpatChronicles149 karma

Not in person.

NexusBoy147 karma

What is the one place you wanna visit once?

ExpatChronicles350 karma


malelion123136 karma

Hate to ask, but can you tell us more about your worst experience in the crack den in prison?

ExpatChronicles455 karma

We were hoping to save this for the book, but obviously AMA is anything. They had this fella strung up. He was being repeatedly raped, but mostly they were practicing their knife fight moves on him, just nicking him but dozens of times if not hundreds. In the morning his entire body was covered with these little knife cuts. I don't know how many times he was raped. And the whole time everybody in the large dormitory was smoking crack.

Hell on earth.

pondiki147 karma

What was the reason for doing it to that particular guy? And by raped do you mean with objects or dicks...or both?

ExpatChronicles320 karma

They just grabbed him off the train, the train is the newcomers. These are hardcore criminals and they know who to pick on and who not to pick on. He was weak, an easy target.

olololoy124 karma


ExpatChronicles235 karma

My childhood was the happiest you could possibly believe.

I started to use drugs because those priests and politicians told me I couldn't do it. Who are they to tell me? It's a great feeling getting stoned. It opened up my mind; the artistic side in me.

cmyer112 karma

Were you seen as more of a target being from a different country while inside? I haven't spent a great deal of time in Colombian prisons, but I can only assume there are not a lot of Irish guys running around.

ExpatChronicles172 karma

No, actually the opposite. More like a hero figure. I was treated like a king. I knew how to treat the people.

cdrthire86 karma

What does that entail in order to stay alive?

ExpatChronicles559 karma

It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice.

AwsmCookie101 karma

What do your kids think about you? And what do/did your family think about you and what you've done?

ExpatChronicles148 karma

My kids love me. My family loves me too. My brothers and sisters are all straight edge, but they still love me.

sinkwater83 karma

How's your Spanish? What did they call you in prison nickname wise?

ExpatChronicles124 karma

My spanish is great. My nickname was "El Gringo".. once I got out and was on the streets being a drunk, "Cristo Fua" Fua is a street name for coke here.

sinkwater57 karma

What did you do with yourself out of prison? Did you have a place to live?

ExpatChronicles86 karma

I went to live at Los Angelitos house. While there, I started to teach English. But then I was forced to move .. and the ones who moved in were the ones who killed Los Angelitos.

foliage632481 karma

Still doing drugs?

ExpatChronicles201 karma

I have a lot of weed in my fridge, but I haven't been smoking too much. A little snort now and then. But nothing like the 90s when I first got out.

bropez68 karma

Do you ever plan on returning to Ireland?

ExpatChronicles89 karma

I'd love to go back next year for a visit. Colombia is my home.

Comicus160 karma

Colombian women--are they as good as their reputations? Easy to attract women in jail / once you got out?

ExpatChronicles113 karma

As good as advertised. In jail very easy, once I got out very easy.

lobochan56 karma

What were your feelings after your first kill? Have they changed since?

ExpatChronicles246 karma

I killed a fella who had killed a grandmother and granddaughter and nailed them to the back of a door. I had no feelings after or since.

FullSexWithAWoman54 karma

What do you make about the girls who were arrested for trying to smuggle drugs into back into England?

Is it likely that they were really threatened into it?

ExpatChronicles51 karma

Are you referring to the Peru Two? I wouldn't be able to say.

FullSexWithAWoman24 karma

I think so. The two young girls. One of them is Irish.

I understand you can't say. So we you aware of anything what the say happened, actually happening?

ExpatChronicles40 karma

The Peru Two have admitted to smuggling the cocaine. Other than that, the best analysis is from thiat link shared by Slackroyd:

bulletwhiz50 karma

Did you grow up with any Roman Catholic influence?

ExpatChronicles80 karma

Of course. Catholic Ireland. There are over 500 priests in prison right now from Ireland.. from the time I grew up. Jesus Christ and Company Limited.

eraof948 karma

Were you scared back then when you realize what you got into?

and today, are you scared of anything?

ExpatChronicles62 karma

I was a drug addict back then .. So I wasn't scared. Today, I am not sure if I am scared of anything.

waynejonbrady43 karma

What was your scariest moment? Thanks for sharing with us.

ExpatChronicles47 karma

The prison riot @ Mount Joy prison in Dublin. Here is the full story:

Dhaecktia42 karma

What's the worst thing you have seen in prison?

How were you treated?

How was the food?

And the toilet?

ExpatChronicles85 karma

The toilet was full of rats.

purplepooters42 karma

Have you seen Locked Up Abroad on the National Geographic Channel? Sounds like your story would be great for it.

ExpatChronicles176 karma

When I was in the nick, the National Geographic was a magazine.

taat138 karma

Qubo hermano. What part of Bogota are you around mostly? I always keep an eye out for you in the center and Chapinero. I have been following your story on Colin's website for a while now. I was curious if you've met any of the Farc low level militia commanders around the city. It seems every couple of weeks there is an explosion in the center, Kenedy or on 26th avenue or some shit. Do you have any idea why that's happening?

p.s. era gol de Yepes?

ExpatChronicles45 karma

I'm naturally around the center, Chapinero, and the north. Plaza Lourdes would be the #1 spot of anywhere to find me.

I knew a lot of M-19 in the 80s, but never met a FARC. The explosions I know of have been perpetrated by drug dealers. They're trying to send a message to certain police stations.

Nobody ever spoke about the goal Brazil scored two minutes before that. It was a beaut.

ShadowPeaceHedges36 karma

What went through you head when you got caught?

I can only imagine the feeling and the scenarios one could create in their head, when getting caught like that.

ExpatChronicles78 karma

I'm up shit's creek without a paddle.

ReppeMetSeppe23 karma

What do you do now for a living?

ExpatChronicles62 karma

I teach English. Best English teacher in Bogota

cdrthire16 karma

English is my second language. A close friend asked me to teach him to speak fluent English within a month pretty much from scratch. Any tips?

ExpatChronicles90 karma

"You" is not pronounced "iuu" and "to" is not pronounced "tu". It's "ye" and "ta". And don't emphasize "can" or "was". Don't say i WAAAS talking or i CAAN swim. I was TALKING, or I can SWIM. Think about pronunciation and rhythm.

kevincoyne122 karma

When I heard of Irish, Colombia, drug arrest theses were the first guys I thought of.

Sounds like you served your stretch and came out a wiser man. Compared to an English nick how much worse is Colombian time ? I know someone who did a little time in Jamaica he came out a changed man

ExpatChronicles36 karma

I went into the nick the exact same day as Los Priscos, the famous assassins. When you go in the first day, you're friends. Everybody thought we were together.

I don't know anything about those Irish fellas who were building the bombs for the FARC.

I've never been in an English prison, just lockups. An English nick could be terrible for an Irishman in the 80s I imagine.

MayDayBayBay22 karma

Are you single?

ExpatChronicles46 karma

I have a GF. Together 5 years.

MiaYYZ20 karma

Did you speak Spanish before you went in? If not, what was it like to be locked up and not understand anything?

ExpatChronicles57 karma

I spoke no Spanish. I felt like I was in limbo. I was constantly spooked by the word, arepa. But I learned.

eraof913 karma

IS there a prison movie that you could connect with your experience?

ExpatChronicles25 karma

I thought Midnight Express .. but my experience was much better.

slimeybrine9 karma

Hey The Mick,

I was just wondering if you've ever read the autobiography of Salvador Dali?

If so what did you think of its voracity? If not, then how do you feel about the nature of storytelling as it relates to fact and fiction and the usefulness and possibly necessity of exaggeration in order to really spice up a tale with the proper juice to build an audience?

ExpatChronicles5 karma

Noo Noo Noo Noo no. No exaggerations at all.

showstopping6 karma

Great read! I was in Columbia last weekend visiting from the States, and a cab driver had a crazy name for coke. I couldn't remember it and never tried the stuff.. It was like "white____". Two words. Any ideas? Like "white Shepard" or "white blanket". It was a term I've never heard of here and live in a coke filled town.

ExpatChronicles9 karma

doña blanca, which means lady white. The most common term is perico, and with the real crooks and underworld it's fua.

perdidogringo6 karma

Have you always lived in Bogota? Any other Colombian cities?

ExpatChronicles9 karma

Always in Bogota .. since 1986

Quireno8 karma

Have you ever been robbed or mugged in Bogotá? I suppose an afirmative answer, so: how many times?

ExpatChronicles15 karma

I've been mugged at least twice.

I don't know how many times I've taken the burundanga, or escopolamina. Maybe 20. See this article for more about that:

raul75 karma

My Family is all from Bogota and I've lived in Manizales for about a year. I truly believe that the effects and usage of burundanga are throughly overstated. What I've come to understand is that, more than anything, the substance is used as a threat or even a sort of suggestion that allows drunk people to feel more helpless than they really are. That being said I've never been burundangeado (I think) and I'm more working off the realization that Colombians are very alarmist and superstitious. Do you agree or do you actually thing devil's breath is so powerful?

ExpatChronicles7 karma

The effects are not overstated. My apartment was completely cleared out, they took away everything. I was left naked in a blanket. I learned the next day they rented a van.

Bioleague5 karma

Do you have any tips? If life has taught you anything about the Game what would it be?

ExpatChronicles13 karma

Get out of bed early every morning and do some exercises. Keep your best foot forward.

street_philatelist5 karma

Everyone seems interested in the gory stories but I'm wondering if there were any moments when the vibe in prison hell was normal, peaceful, joyous, wholesome? Like during WW2 when the nazis and the allies mingled on Christmas and sang Christmas carols and gave each other presents and then had to go back to fighting the next day.

Was there ever a break from the brutalness and ruthlessness of prison?

Edit: I done goofed, it wasn't WWII it was WWI. Thanks /u/balogny

ExpatChronicles4 karma

Most of the time it was like that, everybody smoking grass all day long. I spent most of my time playing football, running around and being fit.

There were murders and scandals but I was above all that. I kept my distance.

fodtp4 karma

Do you have children?

ExpatChronicles9 karma

Yes. My sister was at my granddaughter's baptism a few weeks ago with the mother in Dublin.

SiilentPartner4 karma

How much did it cost to buy your cell in prison?

ExpatChronicles6 karma

I have no idea. Everything was negotiated beforehand by the Angelitos. I couldn't even speak Spanish, I didn't even know you had to buy a cell until I'd been there a while. Everything was taken care of by Los Angelitos.

Slackroyd3 karma

Do you ever want to leave Colombia?

ExpatChronicles2 karma

Colombia's a great place.

Startled_Goldfish3 karma

Who's your super smash brothers main? I'm thinking jigglypuff

ExpatChronicles132 karma

Is this English? It sure isn't Spanish.

somerandomer0 karma

You say that you killed a inmate, what did you feel after you killed the inmate, and what was the situations that lead you to killing him?

ExpatChronicles1 karma

This has been gone over a few times. See the first question by Tsing_Tao.

frapawhack0 karma

why did you kill the guy?

ExpatChronicles1 karma

This has been gone over a few times. See the first question by Tsing_Tao.

YassineDieBelg-1 karma

You ever had any problems with islamic extremists on street or jail? I'm just curious because i live in society like that.

ExpatChronicles2 karma

Never heard of that in Colombia.

perdidogringo-1 karma

How many Colombian girlfriends do you cycle at a time?

ExpatChronicles7 karma

Only have one girlfriend, been together 5 years.