Marching Powder

A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail

Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden

St. Martin's Griffin

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Rusty Young was backpacking in South America when he heard about Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia's notorious San Pedro prison. Intrigued, the young Australian journalisted went to La Paz and joined one of Thomas's illegal tours. They formed an instant friendship and then became partners in an attempt to record Thomas's experiences in the jail. Rusty bribed the guards to allow him to stay and for the next three months he lived inside the prison, sharing a cell with Thomas and recording one of the strangest and most compelling prison stories of all time. The result is Marching Powder.

This book establishes that San Pedro is not your average prison. Inmates are expected to buy their cells from real estate agents. Others run shops and restaurants. Women and children live with imprisoned family members. It is a place where corrupt politicians and drug lords live in luxury apartments, while the poorest prisoners are subjected to squalor and deprivation. Violence is a constant threat, and sections of San Pedro that echo with the sound of children by day house some of Bolivia's busiest cocaine laboratories by night. In San Pedro, cocaine--"Bolivian marching powder"--makes life bearable. Even the prison cat is addicted.

Yet Marching Powder is also the tale of friendship, a place where horror is countered by humor and cruelty and compassion can inhabit the same cell. This is cutting-edge travel-writing and a fascinating account of infiltration into the South American drug culture.

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MARCHING POWDER
PART ONERUSTYThree days before I was arrested and ordered to leave the Republic of Bolivia, guards at San Pedro prison in La Paz caught me with several micro-cassettes hidden down my pants. I was on my way out of the main gates when they conducted the search. They were looking for cocaine, which is what most visitors smuggled out of San Pedro, and were slightly confused by what they found in its stead.At the time, I believed I had got away with it by convincing the guards that the cassettes were the latest in Western music technology.

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About the Author

Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden

Rusty Young currently lives in Colombia, where he teaches English.

Thomas McFadden was released from San Pedro and now lives in England.

Thomas McFadden
Rusty Young

Rusty Young

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Available Formats and Book Details

Marching Powder
A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail
Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
May 2004
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312330347
ISBN10: 0312330340
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 400 pages, Includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs
$17.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
May 2004
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466817326
ISBN10: 1466817321
400 pages, Includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs
$9.99
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St. Martin's Griffin

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