Contrabando is a confession, but it's also an homage to the Mexican paisanos and, indeed, to those outlaws who became Ford's friends and protectors during his seven years as a smuggler.
For seven years Don Henry Ford, Jr. made his living as an outlaw, smuggling marijuana across the U.S./Mexico border in the Big Bend region of Texas. Millions of dollars passed through his hands. He did business with many of the big-name narcotraficantes of the era like Pablo Acosta and Amado Carrillo Fuentes. After being arrested and sent to prison, he escaped and lived for a year in rural northern Mexico raising a bumper crop of marijuana and hiding out from the federales. Contrabando is a confession, but it's also an homage to the Mexican paisanos and, indeed, to those outlaws who became Ford's friends and protectors during his seven years as a smuggler.
"But this story isn't only about drugs or me, not entirely. It can't be. It's about a world gone mad. It's about fire and smoke and sweat, blood and dirt and blisters, empty stomachs, sick children, the feel of wood, the smell of a horse, barbecue, grains and fruit. And smooth brown skin and glistening black skin and white skin burned red, and sun and freezing cold and water, and spirits and plants and sky, stars in the night. And love. We have forgotten where we came from. I have to remind myself. I can't forget. We must not forget. But we do. And for some reason, we look for the answers in drugs."—from the Introduction
NPR did a three-part special feature on Don Henry Ford Jr. and his experiences as a drug smuggler. Take a listen, you'll enjoy it!