UPDATE: The Mick’s memoir is published. See madouttamehead.expat-chronicles.com.
The Mick came to Colombia with his Irish girlfriend Mary Anne in 1986. They’d been living in the Amsterdam drug scene. An Uruguayan crackhead recommended they bring cocaine from Colombia. He put them in touch with an acquaintance in Bogota. They organized investors, then flew to meet the crackhead’s acquaintance. He introduced them to Los Angelitos.
Los Angelitos were brothers, Alberto and Eduardo, mid-level gangsters. Not “made” guys, but career criminals semi-affilitated with the Cali Cartel. Aside from the occasional contract killing and kidnapping, Los Angelitos specialized in clearing drug mules through El Dorado airport security and onto international departures. They dressed as pilots.
Los Angelitos put The Mick in touch with with a Cali Cartel connection to buy three kilos of cocaine. Then The Mick, Mary Anne, and Alberto entered El Dorado airport for a flight to London. The Mick and Alberto each carried suitcases loaded with cocaine. The trio was detained and searched as soon as they entered the airport. The authorities had recently caught on to Los Angelitos.
All three were jailed. Mary Anne went to Buen Pastor, the women’s prison in Bogota; The Mick and Alberto went to La Modelo. Aside from a Colombian prison murder, The Mick had no problems despite being a gringo with no Spanish. He credits Alberto for not abandoning him. Alberto got a cell for them to share. Alberto also gave The Mick money, of utmost importance in Latin American prisons. Eduardo sent Alberto money; Alberto shared with The Mick.
As soon as she arrived in prison Mary Anne learned she was pregnant. The Catholic church negotiated her return to Ireland. After getting established in La Modelo, The Mick arranged with Alberto to take all the legal blame for the cocaine. Alberto was released after five months, and in return sent The Mick money for all four years of his sentence.
When The Mick was released in 1989, Alberto and Eduardo picked him up. They went drinking at a tienda near the prison. With four years in Colombia at this point, The Mick noticed Los Angelitos’ particular Colombian style. They were embambados – blinged out in gold necklaces, rings. Gucci shoes. Fancy clothes. They picked him up in a BMW. While drinking in the tienda another car rear ended the BMW while parking. Before the drunk driver got out, Eduardo approached his car and shot him in the head. This was The Mick’s first night out of prison.
The Mick moved into Los Angelitos’ family home in Barrio Estrada (near Simon Bolivar Park) with their mother Señora Angelito and Alberto. Eduardo lived nearby with his girlfriend and her niece.
Los Angelitos already had work for The Mick. They had just kidnapped a doctor from Barranquilla. The doctor’s brother had a debt with the cartel, and they were contracted to collect it. Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden tells how kidnapping became a common way to collect debts in Colombia.
Los Angelitos set The Mick and the Doctor up in a plush finca with a pool. They gave him a pound of marijuana. Doctor was obese and the finca lie in the bottom of a valley. The Mick says Doctor couldn’t have escaped if he wanted to, given his physical condition and how quickly The Mick could catch him. So he didn’t keep Doctor tied up or anything. He went jogging every morning and enjoyed leisurely swims while smoking away on the pound. After four years in Colombian prison, The Mick was in heaven. He and Doctor became friends. The Mick taught him how to play backgammon. They spent a month together by the time Doctor’s brother paid up, and The Mick returned to Casa Angelito. He says he was never paid a penny, but he doesn’t complain because he enjoyed his time at the finca.
Back in the city, The Mick found work teaching English and brought money into the household. One day he invited Eduardo’s girlfriend and her niece for a drink in Zona Rosa. After only a couple drinks the girls were too nervous to stay. They said Eduardo would beat them if he found out. He was fucking both of them. So their night out was cut short.
A few months into his stay, Señora Angelito insisted The Mick move out to make room for Sicariazo, a “friend of the family” from Cali. The Mick got an apartment in Chicó. He settled into a comfortable life with plenty of money, women, and rumba.
One night The Mick came home to find a letter from his empleada (cleaning lady / domestic servant):
Alberto llamo su hermano murio
In Spanish, addressing someone in the third person as ‘usted’ is a sign of respect, so the empleada’s note could have two meanings. The Mick took it to mean his own brother in Dublin died. He started drinking. It was raining, and back then Colombian phones didn’t work in the rain. He couldn’t call home.
The Mick was good and drunk by the time he learned that Alberto’s brother Eduardo had been killed. Eduardo was alone with his mistress when he was shot six times in the head. The mistress took three bullets in her left leg.
A month later Alberto was found shot to death at Eduardo’s grave. The Mick says this is very Colombian – sending a message and spreading terror by executing Alberto while he was mourning his brother’s death.
After four years in La Modelo, The Mick was plugged into the criminal scene in Bogota. He learned Sicariazo was sent from Cali to kill Los Angelitos. They borrowed cocaine on loan and didn’t paid on time. Their mother had kicked The Mick out to make room for her sons’ killer. He ate and slept in the family home while planning the murders.
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