Third stop on my hash seeking adventure. Made connections in Beirut and Kabul now Kathmandu. The magic of the Annapurna mountain range encircled this city lost in a past time. The people were a beautiful visual mosaic. I was 19 it was 1969. Back in Boston the college students were protesting the war and buying hash and pot openly. My market. I was creating a route for hash to be smuggled into the US for them.
After trial and error I discovered the safest routes to ship hash from three countries back to Boston. My routes, only I knew the pieces that made up the whole. In Boston, only two people knew me as this person. I was never going to die poor, nor live long. I saw that with my Bubbe , I knew poverty and so did the people I was in business with in these third world countries. The black market my real home. Street urchins my real people.
The monkey temple was an ancient structure old in wisdom and alive with hash, hash oil and opium black marketers. However, there were also hundreds of monkeys running amuck. One stoned out day I was sitting with some of my Gurkha partners and we heard screaming, a monkey had taken a five-gallon container of hash oil and was running around with it. Following him were three of the owners. This could have been a silent movie in black and white. The monkey escaped leaving the men baffled. I never laughed so hard.
I paid off all kinds of people whether in Beirut, Kathmandu, or Kabul. Customs people, police officers and local politicians. When I met people not in the trade I presented as a college student who hoped someday to get in the Peace Corp. Most of the time I stayed in during the day and went out at night. Sounds and smells of funeral processions filled the air at sunset the bodies would be taken to be burned, they called it cremation, I had my doubts.
There was a pie and hash shop where I met Interpol, DEA and state department people all involved in the game. The black-market product line was: semi-precious gems, gold, artifacts, and hash products. Millions of dollars changed hands silently and without trace every day in Kathmandu. I stayed a small player moving about one million dollars of hash products a year for about eight years. My profit from that exceeded fifteen million dollars and I started at age 19.
I never took ownership of that money, I spread it around, knowing it was made illegally and could be a trap that would put me in a cage anytime. I loved the challenge, cover stories, strategies, adapting staying ahead of the trappers. I transitioned my expertise from buying smuggling and selling to being a contractor who just organized routes through the maze of airports, ports, and train stations around the world. Years later I was known, not by my aliases, but as the “Da Vinci of smugglers”.