I was incarcerated for several years in San Pedro Prison

by Juan

I was incarcerated for several years in San Pedro Prison in the 1970s. "Tours" were happening since then. It was actually a relief to enter the prison after spending several horrid months in the dark cells of the narco-police prison.

Visitors would enter San Pedro and wander around the prison freely and unescorted. It was a dirty facility back then and very dangerous. We would lock ourselves in our cells at night for our own protection.

Back then there were many notorious prisoners jailed there including paramilitary killers, various murderers, and much more. The infamous Nazi Klaus Barbie was also jailed briefly at San Pedro.

Drugs, alcohol and women were frequently available to the prisoner if you had the money. Most foreign prisoners made their money by begging from the visitors. Just about every foreign prisoner I knew was a hard core junkie.

If you escaped and were captured, you would be tortured and then returned to the prison and placed in solitary confinement for months.

While there I learned that the biggest smugglers were in the Bolivian government. Military and commercial aircraft pilots, embassy personnel and personnel with diplomatic immunity were some examples of the rampant cocaine trade. This was long before the cartels took the cocaine trade to new extremes in the 1980s, 1990s up to today.

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