Howard Marks was released from Terre Haute Penitentiary, Indiana in April 1995 after serving seven years of a twenty-five year sentence for marijuana smuggling. It was time for a career change. So he wrote two best-selling books, became a sports writer and travel writer, stood as a parliamentary candidate in Norwich North, Norwich South, Southampton Test and Neath, applied to become the country s Drug Czar, and embarked on a long-running, sell-out one man show. While performing in his home town of Kenfig Hill, he fell among old friends who made extraordinary claims for Welsh culture (Was Elvis really Welsh? Was there really a tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans?) At the same time his elderly aunt told him of his outlaw ancestry- William Owen, the legendary Welsh smuggler (who had operated for some time in South America) and his great-great-grandfather Patrick McCarty, the half brother of Billy the Kid, who had joined Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Patagonia. Deciding to explore South America, his travels took him to Jamaica and Panama in the footsteps of the Welsh buccaneer Henry Morgan; to Brazil looking for groups of Welsh settlers so obscure he never found them
During the mid-1980s Howard Marks had forty-three aliases, eighty-nine phone lines and owned twenty-five companies trading throughout the world. At the height of his career he was smuggling consignments of up to thirty tons from Pakistan and Thailand to America and Canada and had contact with organisations as diverse as MI6, the CIA, the IRA and the Mafia. Following a worldwide operation by the Drug Enforcement Agency, he was busted and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison at Terre Haute Penitentiary, Indiana. He was released in 1995. Se or Nice tells the story of what happened next.