I wasn’t always the upstanding citizen I try to be these days.

In fact, the photo of the prison above is where I used to live! Here’s the whole story….

Back in 2008, I found myself caught up in the drug world. After a narrow escape from DEA and Korean authorities, the Thailand police arrested and eventually convicted me of manufacturing and distribution of MDMA (ecstasy) a club drug.

As a result, homes for me had ominous-sounding titles, like the one above, lovingly called the Bangkok Hilton, in central Thailand.


Thanks to a generous Thai prison authority, they made it possible for me to travel all over the country, something like a grand tour of prison facilities. After just five years, I am “proud” to say I’d enjoyed extended stays in the following prisons:

  • Bombat Prison
  • Song Kla Prison
  • Bangkok Remand Prison
  • Klong Prem Prison

The Hilton was the best. In practical terms, this means it was the most corrupt.

To give you an illustration, here’s a video which I shot rather nervously back in 2010 or 2011 of the “home” outside my cell, where my “family” and I grew vegetables, enjoyed prison brew and had fish fry Sundays and bar-b-que pork and chicken dinners.

I was lucky. My original charges would have sunk me for 104 years…

Actually I was beyond lucky.

I got out in less than six. What’s beyond comprehension, even for me, the man who did it, is how I got out of prison — how I “escaped,” 22 years early. That’s the story I tell, as often as I can. That said, prison was a great opportunity for me. I used my time there wisely.

I didn’t serve time–I made the time serve me.

These days, as a free man: able to build companies, buy real estate, get married and live a life, “reborn” here in America, my story is truly, one in a billion.

Occasionally I can be persuaded to speak about the escape I conjured with copywriting, some 22 years before my Life Sentence was up. Inquire about Speaking here.

13 thoughts on “Story

  1. Hi Jesse,
    I just watched your story on NGC and I was inspired. People like you make the world a better place! All the best to you and your family!



    • Dave, TRULY, it’s an honor. I was just out walking this morning with my little brother trying (IDK how effectively) to express how lucky I am to be able to get outta bed, open my door on my own power and walk around this beautiful planet. Thanks for your kind words, and by all means, if there’s any way I can serve you, just ask. -Jesse


  2. Hey Jesse, interesting story and happy to hear you are a free man. But I was wondering what happened to your friend, is he still there? Did he get out?


    • DeAnte! Thanks for your kind words. My case partner actually made it back to my prison, for some time. So that’s part of the Locked Up Abroad story that didn’t quite match reality. Also, he is out, alive and doing really well. I recently saw a photo of him somewhere outside the US, donating his time and money to feed the homeless. He’s a great guy and I feel like the struggle was worthwhile, since he and I are both able to now spend our time (hopefully) making the world a (slightly) better place. MUCH LOVE!


  3. Thanks for sharing your story on National Geographic. It does leave the viewer curious. What ever happened to the life you left so abruptly in Seoul? What happened to your Korean girlfriend? And do you worry that you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest in South Korea?

    This is just the curiosities and mysteries sparked by your story.


  4. Jesse, my bff and I just watched your eposide of “Locked Up Abroad.”It was badass. I am also in recovery and my sobriety date is 9/1/2019. I feel free from drugs and alcohol today. I live in Austin, TX and love Austin. Do you ever do speaker meetings? I’d love to hear back.
    Best regards,


  5. I was flabbergasted how yet again, a criminal who looks like you was able to skip out on so many charges and return to his country unscathed, even boasting of all the opportunities he has had and how cushy his life has been.

    What happened to your partner in crime of which you never heard from again? Probably still rotting in jail, if not dead. Ever think about all the lives you negatively affected abroad? Introducing drugs to communities that were not your own while masquerading behind your undeserved privilege?

    How many women and men who don’t happen to have your false facade to hide behind will in fact spend their lives behind bars or have been killed for far less than you? With all your good fortune what have you done to help those people out?

    Or do you just relish in the thrill of getting away with all your illegal activities and brag about cheating many systems?


  6. Hello. Jesse. I watched you on NGC. And I got curious that did you got your guilty from the minister of justice in Republic of Korea for selling MDMA? As I am a citizen of South Korea, I got curious that did you paid your guilty in korea.


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