A reminiscence by hippie/surfer drug dealers about getting alternately high then busted in the Seventies unearths the plight of a pair of American drug runners, captured by Khmer Rouge troops and tortured in the notorious Tuol Sleng (Hill of the Poison Trees) Prison.
Newsweek published an excerpt from Thai Stick detailing the story of two American pot smugglers, Mike Deeds and Chris Delance, in their sailboat off the coast of Thailand and Cambodia who were captured by a Khmer Rouge patrol boat, taken prisoner, tortured, and ultimately killed just 2 days before the Vietnamese army discovered S-21 Prison, also known as Tuol Sleng Prison.
Author Peter Maguire discovered photographs of these two American citizens from the S-21 Prison during research for his book, Facing Death in Cambodia, published in 2005. Their stories connected directly with the surfer smuggler history unearthed in this current book, Thai Stick. The Khmer Rouge was among the greatest of dangers the smugglers risked in transporting marijuana from Thailand, as the story of these two Americans can attest.
Thai Stick Authors Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter provide the tumultuous historical background that sealed the fate of Mike Deeds and Chris Delance, suspected by the Khmer Rouge of being American spies.
After the Khmer Rouge captured the American merchant ship U.S.S. Mayaguez in 1975, U.S. Marines landed on the remote Cambodian island of Koh Tang and were met by heavy resistance from the battle-hardened Khmer Rouge 3rd Division.
The Cambodian soldiers defending the island shot down three U.S. helicopters, and the fighting raged for three days. In the end, 15 Americans and 13 Khmer Rouge soldiers died.
After the Mayaguez incident, the Cambodians were on the lookout for American intelligence agents and thought Deeds and Delance “might be spies who were ordered to take photographs for military actions because Americans were preparing for another navy fight. We understood that they were supported by other ships or something else, that the boat could travel on its own.”