Former Valley Ecstasy Kingpin Shaun Attwood (a.k.a. "English Shaun") Featured on National Geographic's Locked Up Abroad
In the episode, as in the New Times cover story, both the MDMA and EDM-filled ragers are re-created (and kind of glamorized a bit, owing to the conceit of making interesting television) including wild parties in hotel rooms and warehouses.
It also covers how English Shaun and a dozen different associates were busted in May 2002 by a team of local and federal officials and charged with a total of 155 felony violations. Attwood was eventually sentenced to 9½ years in jail and served around five in both county and state lockups before being deported back to the UK in 2007 via a legal loophole and ultimately barred from ever returning to America.
Unsurprisingly, Attwood provides an unflattering portrayal life behind bars in Sheriff Joe's custody in the episode, as he's previously described for New Times scribe Stephen Lemons in 2010, covering the deplorable conditions and how he witnessed "numerous human rights violations."
"The food we had to eat there was moldy and rotten, so food poisoning was common," he states on the show. "There's hundreds of guys sharing needles and tattoo instruments. It was rife with disease . . . AIDS, TB. We'd get these skin infections and bedsores that itch and bleed. The place was a living hell. How am I gonna survive? I'm not a tough guy."
The episode also mentions how 62 inmates died in the Maricopa County jail system from 2003 to 2007 during the period when Attwood was behind bars.
During his time in the county hoosegow, Attwood kept a diary of the horrors, which were smuggled out via his aunt during jailhouse visits and became posts on his famous blog "Jon's Jail Journal," which he maintains to this day. The writings also became the basis of his 2010 book, Hard Time. A second tome devoted to his time in the local rave scene, Party Time, was released earlier this year.
Since returning to England, Attwood has become a motivational speaker who appears at colleges and high schools around Europe and cautions teens and 20-somethings about the evils of drug addiction.
Attwood's exploits were also recently recounted via an interview on Vice's website entitled "I Used My Stock Market Millions to Throw Raves and Sell Drugs."
He's also become an outspoken activist against Arpaio and has been spreading awareness online and via social media of the sheriff's misdeeds and the horrors of the county's jail system that he endured, as well as helping stump for the recent recall effort aimed at taking down Maricopa County's top cop. The episode of Locked Up Abroad helps do just that and give some extra ammunition for the Shurf's foes.jou
Interestingly enough, however, the episode also provided some humorous material for cable comedienne Chelsea Lately, who featured a clip from "Raving Arizona" the night after the show aired and joshed on how Attwood's story (or how "a bald man ended up in prison after taking ecstasy," as she described it) will encourage her to never take illegal drugs while on vacation.
Despite getting sassed by Lately, Attwood's comments on his Facebook indicated he's happy with the episode and that it could help in his fight against Arpaio.
"Thanks to Nat Geo and Raw TV, I've finally realised the dream I set when I stated blogging 10 years ago of showing what really goes on in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail to the American public," Attwood wrote.