In the early hours of 10th April 2016, Howard Marks died peacefully in his sleep at his family home in Wales.

An Oxford University graduate who earned a degree in nuclear physics and post-graduate qualifications in philosophy, Howard Marks went on build a drug smuggling empire. In the mid-80s he was supposedly smuggling consignments of the drug as large as 30  tons and was connected with groups as diverse as the CIA, the IRA MI6, and the New York Mafia.

After years living under as many as 43 aliases, he was eventually caught by the American Drug Enforcement Agency in 1988. At the same time arrests of those involved in Marks’ criminal activities were made in England, Spain, the Philippines, Thailand, Holland , Pakistan, U.S.A and Canada.

Marks was sentenced to 25 years at one of America’s toughest prisons – Terre Haute, Indiana – and was released on parole in 1995 after serving seven years.

On release from prison he published his drug smuggling exploits in an autobiography, ‘Mr Nice’, which became an international best seller and, in 2010, was made into a movie.

In his later years he was an active drug-reform campaigner. Marks is survived by four children.


Daniel is an English Literature graduate from the University of London who has spent the past 20 years living and working in Southeast Asia. Passionate about education, health care, sustainable development, equality and human rights, Daniel is a regular contributor to Asian Correspondent, Ajarn, The Educator and Bangkok Post.

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