Former ecstasy king-pin explains how the war on drugs, and the American Justice System is failing.

Shaun Attwood is a charming, eloquent and mild mannered man from rural England; not necessarily what you’d expect from someone who was once atop of a drug empire in Arizona. He has been referred to as the ‘Scarface’ of ecstasy but this title was obviously handed down by someone who hadn’t met him. Shaun assured us that ecstasy distribution was more ‘shoulder rubs, cuddle puddles and Vicks inhalers’ than the ‘chainsaws and violence’ associated with his cocaine counterpart.


His business put him in the cross-hairs of his competitor “Sammy the Bull” Gravano , an underboss of the Gambino crime family.


Despite the seemingly innocent nature of Shaun’s dealings, taking shipments of 50,000 pills at a time will inevitably attract unwanted attention. His business put him in the cross-hairs of his competitor “Sammy the Bull” Gravano , an underboss of the Gambino crime family. Eventually, he was handed a maximum 200 year sentence for his actions, and after a plea deal, he served 6 years in America’s ‘Deadliest Prison’ under Maricopa County’s notorious Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

On his visit to the Version 3.0 studio, Shaun uses his first hand experience to explain how the War on Drugs is failing miserably, with children having easier access to heroine in school than alcohol. How due to a lack of support for drug users within the prison system, and a void of after-care, most users end up straight back inside…But with each prisoner bringing the system $50,000 dollars a year of tax payers money, there seems to be a clear reason for this.

The financial gains of lengthy and repeat sentences aren’t the only flaws of the justice system, as Shaun explains the ‘main players’ are out to enhance their own careers.  With prosecutors wanting to hand down a 200 year sentence to gain press and attention in order to further their goals of running for office; Most recently seen in Shaun’s current area of interest – Steven Avery’s case.

Shaun’s life really is a trilogy, with the final part being his admirable campaigning for sensible drug policies, documenting the appalling state of America’s prisons, and giving a voice to prisoners on the outside through his books.

Listen to the full conversation below/