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Sailing instructor Donald MacNeil was delighted when he was hired to skipper a yacht across the Mediterranean. The pay was good and the work was easy - or so he thought. Then the truth was revealed: he had to sail to South America to collect one of the biggest shipments of cocaine ever bound for the UK. And to the gangsters who hired him, refusal was not an option.
There followed a harrowing journey to Venezuela, where almost £50 million of coke was waiting. But someone had tipped off the authorities. Donald and his fellow crewman were arrested, convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to six years in the notorious island prison of San Antonio.
He soon discovered why Venezuela’s prisons are the most violent in the world, a nightmare gulag where hundreds are killed and thousands maimed every year in riots, vendettas and petty disputes. Thrown into a filthy, over-crowded dormitory known as Pavilion 4, and surrounded by armed gangs, crack addicts, death and disease, he faced a daily fight to survive. Ferocious guards beat prisoners indiscriminately and many cut themselves in “blood strikes” to protest against the scarce food, undrinkable water and lack of medical care. Finally a war broke out between two prison compounds, involving guns, machetes and even grenades.
Through it all, and despite witnessing the brutal killing of his friend and mentor, MacNeil clung to the belief that one-day he would be home. Journey To Hell is a harrowing but compelling account of man’s extraordinary will to survive in a world gone mad.
“Banged up for drug smuggling, Donald MacNeil found himself surrounded by torture, murder and full-scale war, in the scariest prison in the world…” MAXIM
"A truly compelling true life story." KNAVE