TRACKS Magazine features Snowing in Bali


SNOWING IN BALI by Kathryn Bonella is a graphic insight into the hidden world of Bali’s top western cocaine bosses many who first went to Bali to surf.

With unprecedented access into their lives author Kathryn Bonella charts their rise to incredible wealth and power, their drug-fueled lifestyles filled with orgies, outrageous extravagance, multi-million drug deals and surfing. It also follows many to the depths of hell when they are busted.

Tracks will be featuring extracts from Snowing in Bali over the next four weeks.

As hard as the drug dealers play, they also work at business, always trying to ensure they stay a step ahead of authorities – creating new methods of trafficking the cocaine. When surfboard bags and backpacks became overused and too hot, Rafael pioneered a new method – using windsurfer booms.

Rafael had spent weeks studying sports equipment, pondering what to try next. The first boom he packed was the trickiest. He bought the equipment, then set to work in a beach bungalow with Poca.

It took them two full days of figuring it out to ensure it would be X-ray-proof.

It was a complex job to make the coke invisible. First they put it in a blender to make it baby-powder fine, obliterating any rocks, then they used a funnel to fill the boom. Finally, they used a tailor-made metal rod, with a coin welded to its end, to pound the coke down hard into the aluminum tube to compact and cement it, and eliminate any air bubbles. This first time, their technique was imperfect – they lost 2 per cent of thecoke, as the fine dust blew all over the room, covering them.

Spanish police discover a windsurfer pole packed with Cocaine. Photo by Spanish Federal Police/Snowing in Bali
Spanish police discover a windsurfer pole packed with Cocaine. Photo by Spanish Federal Police/Snowing in Bali

I start punching the coke . . . suddenly, poof, the coke shoots out from the tube like a bullet from compression of air; we get coke in the eyes, in the face, and that s— comes in my mouth, on my skin, I start to feel itchy. It mixes with your circulation when you sweat and goes in your pores, makes you high; I was like, ‘Man, I don’t feel good,’ – breathing in all the powder, feeling dizzy, hallucinating from the dust, I start to see two people when I look at Poca . . . I say, ‘Let’s stop this s—, let’s go to the beach, close up and come back here tomorrow.’

F—, it was a big job. That night my body was so tired, pain in my muscles, my hands full of bubbles, I can’t sleep; I was totally f—ed.

– Rafael

The next morning, a fine mist of snow had settled on the room, covering everything, and they quickly got high again. But they finished the job, sent the boom with its invisible kilo to Malaysia, made $65,000 and, most importantly, had a new winning method. The pair flew to Peru to teach their packers there how to do it, under strict orders to keep it secret.

Obviously, there were no patents in the drug business, and before long horses (drug couriers) would talk, booms would get busted, and other traffickers would become aware of the method, but for the time being it belonged exclusively to Rafael and Poca…