Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang!
“Tempe Police Department! We have a warrant!”
As I leap up from my computer table, my insides clench. I rush to the door. The peephole’s blacked out. Feeling the threat from the other side flare up, I jolt back. Through a window, I see police positioned behind cars and marksmen aiming rifles. Afraid of getting shot, I duck. Get the hell out! Blood surges to my head. Hide in the ceiling? Jump off the balcony? Nowhere to go! I’m trapped!
I’m halfway through the living room when – boom! – the door leaps off its hinges. Pointing huge guns, the SWAT team barricades me in with a wall of Plexiglas shields, screaming, “Get on the ground now!” Fear of getting shot paralyses me. My chest seizes up. The price has finally come for committing so many crimes.
It was years before I realised that the SWAT team had saved my life that day. Before my arrest, my drug-crazed behaviour had become so extreme, I once smashed my head through a plasterboard wall, just missing a lengthy nail by a few inches. I woke up caked in vomit with no recollection of what I’d done. The carpet cleaner couldn’t remove the stains because the chemicals in what I’d ingested were so toxic. My biggest competitor in the Ecstasy market, the Mafia mass murderer “Sammy the Bull” Gravano had a hit out on me, and I was under the protection of the New Mexican Mafia, the most dangerous criminal organization in Arizona.
Sobering up in prison, wondering how on earth I was still alive, I went on an amazing journey of self-discovery. Previously, working my way up from a penniless student to a stock-market millionaire and Ecstasy kingpin, I’d rushed through life without any introspection. Prison forced me to grow up. I saw how emotionally immature, selfish and foolish my behaviour had been. The pain I caused my family made me ill, but added extra motivation to my soul-searching. I regretted sending people down the road of drug use, which devastates so many. Shocked, ashamed, I set out to try and make sense of my behaviour in the hope of becoming a better person. I read over 1000 books and submerged myself in psychology and philosophy. I was fortunate enough to have counselling with a brilliant psychotherapist, Dr. Owen, and to befriend Two Tonys, a Mafia mass murder who left the corpses of rival gangsters from Tucson to Alaska. After I started putting his stories on the Internet, Two Tonys, a self-taught philosopher serving 112 years, took me under his wing and schooled me on prison etiquette
To this day, I fall back on what Dr. Owen, Two Tonys and other people taught me. Since my release five years ago, I’ve been blessed to share my experiences as a motivational speaker with tens of thousands of students in the UK, I managed to expose human rights violations in the jail I was at via an episode of Locked-Up Abroad televised worldwide, and my story was published as a trilogy. But just as importantly, I wake up with a smile on my face because I feel at peace with myself and the world. In this book, I’m going to share the lessons I learned that transformed my life.