Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 203–244 | Cite as

Structuring Mr. Nice: Entrepreneurial opportunities and brokerage positioning in the cannabis trade

  • Carlo Morselli


A case study of the career of international cannabistrade smuggler, Howard Marks (a.k.a. DonaldNice), is conducted to investigate the crucial, yetoft-overlooked network mechanisms inherent in drugdistribution chains. Using Marks' recent andsubstantially detailed autobiography of his 20-yearparticipation within and around importation links inthe cannabis trade, a series of analyses are conductedwith specific convergence on the makings of hispersonal working network as well as on how thisrelational structure served in embedding the variousentrepreneurial opportunities that triggered 14importation ventures and 41 consignments therein.Marks' career demonstrates that the capacity to brokerand seize information benefits needed and sought afterby others allows some participants to achieve morecontrol of entrepreneurial opportunities in illegaltrades as well as explaining variations in successfrom one phase of the career to the next. Thisrelational argument offers an alternative to moreconventional instrumental violence explanationsconcerning the attainment of competitive advantage inillegal business settings.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo Morselli
    • 1
  1. 1.École de CriminologieUniversité de MontréalCanada

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