This Mick’s Life: Addiction and Underworld from Ireland to Colombia

The story that will unfold in This Mick’s Life: Addiction and Underworld from Ireland to Colombia, just seems all too unbelievable to be true. But in my years as a journalist I have discovered that, the more extreme and bizarre a story, the more likely it is to possess elements of truth. Perhaps I have been mixing with the wrong people! So, over hours of chats, cups of tea and recordings, the brains behind the Expat Chronicles website Colin Post is putting together this book. And Post needs your support.

This Mick's Life

Christopher Kavanagh, otherwise known as “the Mick” in Chapinero.

Who is the Mick?

Christopher Kavanagh is notorious in Bogotá, in particular amongst the expat community, although most of us have never met this infamous abandoned Irishman found more often than not in the environs of Chapinero and in particular Lourdes. Christopher is as much whispered about as a warning tale for those thinking of smuggling drugs out of Colombia as he is bragged about in bar stool bravado when they talk of his almost impossible survival on Bogotá’s social periphery.

La Modelo

La Modelo Prison in Bogotá where Christopher was imprisoned. Courtesy of Semana

A heroin addict in London in the 1980s, Christopher and his then girlfriend decided to come to Bogotá to move 4 kilos of cocaine back to Europe. They failed in this first attempt and after some plea bargaining – details released on the most recent episode of Colombia Calling in an interview with Colin Post – the girlfriend was able to return to Ireland and Christopher was left behind to serve his sentence in the notorious La Modelo prison in Bogotá.

Friendship with John Rowley

It’s a phenomenal story, one that includes drugs smuggling, murder, prison life and the London underworld due to an almost unlikely friendship with John Rowley, one of the crew involved in the Brinks Mat bullion robbery in 1983. In a convoluted tale of escape and evasion, Rowley made his way from London to Spain, San Andres and then finally to Bogotá. His life ended when his past and present converged and he was killed in a stabbing, having fallen from the dizzy heights of being a gangster millionnaire to a down and out in the Colombian capital’s vicious and miserable Ciudad del Cartucho.

Ciudad del Cartucho

The Ciudad del Cartucho, one of Bogotá’s most miserable areas of addiction and unbridled human misery

On a personal note I am not friends with Christopher, but living in the same district I have seen him around Lourdes. This sixty something Irishman cuts a strange figure alongside the blue uniformed students hanging out on their breaks from the SENA classes, the rent boys angling for business in the plaza and the ubiquitous shoe shiners who ply their trade here. Don’t get me wrong, his story fascinates me but is he a character that I need in my life?

Support the Campaign

So, don’t miss the most recent episode of Colombia Calling to listen to Colin Post talking about his friend Christopher Kavanagh and find out how you too can get involved in the Kickstarter campaign and pitch in and make sure that this story gets published and have a copy of This Mick’s Life: Addiction and Underworld from Ireland to Colombia right in your hands in a few months time.

If you enjoyed this and want to similar themed Colombia Calling shows perhaps you should tune in to: Kidnapped in Colombia, an interview with Tom Hart Dyke.




About Richard

Anglo-Canadian resident in Colombia. Journalist, Writer, Hotelier, Expedition Guide
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3 Responses to This Mick’s Life: Addiction and Underworld from Ireland to Colombia

  1. Colin says:

    Great write-up, my friend.

    Where'd you get that picture of Christopher? I see he's got his signature walking sandals. Just missing the joint hanging from his lips.

    I agree John Rowley is among the most interesting stories. Also up there for those who love the Colombianadas, would be Los Hermanos Angelito:

    • Richard says:

      There's just too much in this story for my idle blog post and 50 minutes on a podcast, the book has to get published so we can hear about all the other adventures in "This Mick's Life".

  2. Richard says:

    We'll be broadcasting a show about "the Mick" and my interview with him on Colombia Calling ( on Monday. Be sure to tune in!

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