THERE aren’t many drug barons who could earn the nickname “Mr Nice.”
But that’s one way which controversial figure Howard Marks is known.
His life has been one which has drawn in much attention ... and he is coming to Wigan to talk about it.
Throughout the ’70s and much of the ’80s he was a major figure in dealing drugs such as cannabis right around the world.
He settled down in Majorca in 1986 still raking in cash by smuggling hashish into the USA. And despite being under surveillance, he continued to make millions.
However, in 1988, he was arrested with his wife and extradited to the USA. He was handed a 40-page document which detailed the allegations of his drug smuggling activities between 1970 and 1987.
Marks was imprisoned for seven years in the rough Federal Correctional Complex in Indiana.
In 1996 he released his autobiography, Mr Nice, which remains an international best seller in several languages and was the best-selling non-fiction book of 1997.
Since his release from prison, Marks has been politically active, standing for parliament in four separate constituencies in the 1997 general election on the single issue of the legalisation of cannabis, catalysing the formation of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance.
He has worked with the British Secret Service and has been connected with the Mafia, the IRA, MI6 and the CIA.
He continues to campaign vigorously for the legalisation of recreational drugs.
Throughout the past 15 years, he has spent time travelling the country talking about his experiences and that is exactly what he is doing when he visits the Bellingham Hotel at 8.30pm on January 25.
Event organiser Jimmy O’Neill said: “Tickets are already selling fast for it, it’s going to be a great night.
“He’s a very popular figure so to get him to Wigan is such a big thing. We’re always trying to get a number of acts down and we’re hoping he’ll go down well with everyone.”