Thai Stick author Peter Maguire traveled to Cambodia in January 2014 during the SE Asian leg of the Thai Stick Book Tour. During his trip, the Phnom Penh Post published a review and discussion of the book by journalist Luke Hunt: How US surfers smuggled pot from SE Asia. Here is an excerpt:
Young surfers from California, Hawaii, Australia and elsewhere toured the beaches and went searching for ways to underwrite their lifestyles. They dabbled in pot and soon discovered a lot of money could be made exporting the product into the United States. It was the 1960s, the Vietnam War was about to enter high gear and Southeast Asia had become a awash with hippies, ex-servicemen, draft dodgers and drifters, surfers and backpackers looking for an adventure and willing to risk what little they had on what was then an inoffensive drug industry.
Surfboards were hollowed out, suitcases with false bottoms were built, yachts were bought and all were initially stuffed with hash. That changed when Thai sticks, which consists of buds from high grade marijuana, rolled and tied into sticks, emerged and put the smugglers on Easy Street.
Shipments of 10 tonnes worth $30 million each were not uncommon as the smugglers’ work stretched from the 1960s through the 70s and 80s when the authorities finally gained the upper hand after the Reagan administration ordered a crackdown. For many, the wild parties and lavish lifestyles ended in lengthy prison terms.
Michael Deeds and Chris Delance were clean living friends from schooldays in Long Beach, California. Allured by promises of adventure in the Far East the pair attempted to smuggle a boat load of weed across the Gulf of Siam and the Pacific Ocean but their plans went wrong and their boat strayed off-course and into Cambodian waters where they were arrested and taken to the dreaded S-21 torture and extermination camp in Phnom Penh. They died just weeks before Pol Pot was ousted by an invading Vietnamese army. But for the most part the DEA, Interpol, Thai customs, local police and immigration were more nuisances to be skillfully avoided.
Read the full article here which also includes an interview with Peter Maguire: How US surfers smuggled pot from SE Asia