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Recollections of a Racketeer: Smuggling Hash and Cash Around the World

Patrick Lane's obsession with drugs began in his early teens. Nineteenth-century French literature introduced him to a world of hashish, opium and absinthe, which he saw as a way of escaping his boring suburban English existence. Unable to find any hashish as a schoolboy in north London, he went to Morocco for supplies. Between school and university, he hitched around America in the mid-1960s, taking LSD with Timothy Leary. After teaming up with Howard Marks, they smuggled suitcases of hashish out of Afghanistan and Pakistan into Europe and VW campers filled with hashish from Lebanon into California.

During the course of his extraordinary career, he witnessed revolution in Afghanistan, an unsuccessful coup in Greece, the preservation of the monarchy in Nepal and illicit arms deals with Saddam Hussein. Along the way, he befriended Wall Street bankers, Mafia dons (and Oxford dons), hashish-eating goats, dissolute English lords and French peasants.

Recollections of a Racketeer is a rollicking and at times hilarious tale of a life lived on the wrong side of the law.


“Brilliant! Outrageously entertaining and absurdly funny.”

Howard Marks

“Dull? Never. Illegal? Of course. Gripping? Always.”


“Lane delivers an informative, interesting and surprising insight into his life as a smuggler… A knockout read.”

Inside Time

Patrick Lane Buy