How does a Danish ex-con wind up as a secret agent dealing arms in North Korea? Jim Latrache (aka Mr. James from The Mole) reveals all here!
What We Discuss with Jim Latrache:
- What compels a poor Danish kid like Jim Latrache to join the French Foreign Legion, and was it everything he expected it to be?
- How did Jim get wrapped up in the cocaine trafficking business, what rationalizations allowed him to carry on guilt-free, and what lessons did he learn along the way?
- What put Jim’s drug dealing empire in the crosshairs of the police, and how did he spend his 5.5-year prison sentence once the law caught up with him?
- Why was Jim seen as an ideal candidate for gathering intelligence in North Korea despite being an obvious outsider, what dangers did he face once there, and how did his years of risk pay off?
- As remarkable as Jim’s story is, it shows how even the most unlikely people can make a difference in the world.
- And much more…
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The suspension of disbelief required to buy the story of today’s guest is something no self-respecting novelist would try to sell us. But sometimes, as they say, truth is stranger than fiction.
On this episode, we’re joined by Jim Latrache, referenced as “Mr. James” in former guest Ulrich Larsen’s documentary The Mole: Undercover in North Korea. Jim grew up poor in Denmark, joined the French Foreign Legion in his youth, and made a tidy profit as a cocaine dealer to Copenhagen’s A-list crowd until the long arm of the law caught up and sent him to the big house for a few years to reflect on how he might contribute more positively to polite society. And then things got really weird. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss our two-part conversation with the Danish family man who infiltrated the illicit North Korean arms trade? Catch up beginning with episode 527: Ulrich “The Mole” Larsen | Undercover in North Korea Part One here!
Thanks, Jim Latrache!
If you enjoyed this session with Jim Latrache, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Instagram:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Jim Latrache-Qvortrup | Instagram
- Jim Latrache-Qvortrup | Facebook
- Jim Latrache-Qvortrup | Twitter
- Ulrich “The Mole” Larsen | Undercover in North Korea Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Ulrich “The Mole” Larsen | Undercover in North Korea Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- The Mole: Undercover in North Korea | IMDb
- ‘Every Boy’s Dream Is to Be James Bond’: Inside North Korea with ‘Mr. James’ and ‘The Mole’ | The Guardian
- Poverty in Denmark: Three Facts You Need to Know | The Borgen Project
- What is ADHD? | CDC
- Dyslexia Symptoms and Causes | Mayo Clinic
- Joining | French Foreign Legion
- High Level of Cocaine Found in Copenhagen’s Wastewater – Study | The Copenhagen Post
- The Danish Prison and Probation Service | World Prison Brief
- What I Learned Spending the Day in a Maximum-Security Prison | Jordan Harbinger
916: Jim Latrache | How a Drug Dealer Became an Agent in North Korea
This transcript is yet untouched by human hands. Please proceed with caution as we sort through what the robots have given us. We appreciate your patience!
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Nissan for sponsoring this episode of the Jordan Harbinger Show. Coming up next on the Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:07] Jim Latrache: People don't really understand the grab of it. They say we want justice, but what is justice? I mean, justice for whom? I say it's feeling like pissing your pants. It's warm in the beginning.
[00:00:19] When you have the persons, he's get sent away. Then that's fixed. And when he comes out, yeah, then it starts to be cold. We have to rethink all of the system.
[00:00:32] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On the Jordan Harbinger Show. We decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker, through long form conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, performers, even the occasional arms dealer or former arms dealer, or even a fake arms dealer, national security advisor, astronaut, or journalist turned poker champion.
[00:01:02] And if you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about the show, I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of our favorite episodes on persuasion and negotiation, psychology, geopolitics, disinformation, Cyber warfare, crime and cults and more that'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show.
[00:01:17] Just visit Jordan Harbinger dot com slash starts or search for us in your Spotify app to get started today. How do I introduce my friend Jim here? This dude has had a life. He grew up poor in Denmark, joined the French Foreign Legion, which is essentially a mercenary group that operates mostly in Africa, became a cocaine dealer, went to prison a couple of times as one.
[00:01:37] You know, typically does when they become a drug dealer, started a non profit and then went undercover as an arms dealer in North Korea and Africa, I believe. Oh, and then he became a nanny for little kids, naturally. That is what you do after a couple of prison terms, a career as a coke and arms dealer and a mercenary.
[00:01:55] So I think I got most of it. You might recognize him as Mr. James from the documentary, The Mole. If you've seen it, that's about infiltrating the North Korean arms trade. Our episode with Ulrich, The Mole. is episode 527. Don't worry if you haven't heard that yet, but it is one of my faves, so definitely go back and listen to 527 if you haven't done so already, either before or after this episode.
[00:02:16] Here we go with Jim LaTreche.
[00:02:23] You're a very interesting character. You know, you play this arms dealer guy in the movie The Mole in the Underground Investigation, so for people who don't know, You essentially duped North Korean arms dealers into thinking that you were some oil tycoon who was going to invest in weapons for Syria.
[00:02:38] This is not a fictional plot. This is, you got him caught on camera, caught on mic doing this. And I thought, this is a interesting dude, this actor, but you're not just an actor, far from it, and I, I want to back up, because your childhood and, and upbringing is pretty unique, especially I would imagine for Denmark.
[00:02:57] Yeah. Yeah. So, at first, your book kicks off, you grew up poor in a place they probably call the ghetto now in Denmark, and, and my first reaction was, wow, you have poor people in Denmark too? I wouldn't have believed it. You wouldn't know by the news and the image we have of you here in the United States. I have
[00:03:12] Jim Latrache: to add something to that because our poor is not even close to your poor.
[00:03:18] Got it. What do you mean by that? That means that we have a security net. So if you're poor in Denmark, you're not left to die on the street. The government wouldn't support you. So let's just say we come from a low income family.
[00:03:39] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Okay. That makes sense, right? You're living in government housing as opposed to A tent near a junkyard on the street.
[00:03:47] Jim Latrache: Yeah, I mean, and again, watch with American eyes what I refer to as ghetto. you will refer to as a nice place to live.
[00:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: It's sad. It is funny, but it's also sad, right? It's like the lowest rung in Denmark is a somewhat near the middle rung of the United States in terms of lifestyle.
[00:04:09] Jim Latrache: Yeah. Um, sometime I'm thinking like you're constantly fear for socialism because We are a socialist country, but when you know us, we are not this kind of socialism as you refer to as communism.
[00:04:28] I will say that the country is more what you can refer to social liberalist when we pay high taxes to make sure that health care is taken care of, that poor people would get a place to stay and stuff like that is basically an insurance you pay an insurance so you don't have desperate people if you have desperate people, You don't know what's going to happen.
[00:04:54] And that's what you pay for. It's not something about you should share all your money amongst everybody. It's just that some people don't have the same opportunity as others. And we have to take care of those people.
[00:05:07] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. I mean, we do know what's going to happen if you have desperate people. Drugs, crime, and other antisocial behavior generally is what's going to happen.
[00:05:16] We just need to look outside and see that or drive up to San Francisco and see that. And even in the wealthiest state in our union, we have lots of desperate people, man. Yeah, it's definitely a sad state of affairs and many countries have it much worse than the United States even. And I think a lot of Americans probably don't necessarily realize that either, depending on how well traveled they are.
[00:05:36] Your childhood. You indicate that it was pretty messy and taught you that you couldn't trust anyone besides yourself. Tell me about that. Tell me what led to that mindset. I
[00:05:45] Jim Latrache: mean, the thing is, I'm dyslexic and I have ADHD. And at that point, you didn't use those kind of terms. So it was just like, you were not like everybody else and I was a disturbing kid in school because if you cannot concentrate, if you cannot focus, if you are left back because you don't have the concentration to follow the classroom, then you have to do anything else.
[00:06:14] Then you start to interrupt and stuff like that. It was not because I was a violent child. I think in the age of 12, My ground school teacher convinced my mom it would be in everybody's best interest to send me to a boarding school for troubled kids. And it was at that point, because when I was seven, my mom and dad got divorced, and he kind of started a new family.
[00:06:41] At that time, my granddad, that I had a very close relationship to, died. And, of course, I was really pissed at my mom for sending me away. So at that moment, I kind of felt I was alone against the world.
[00:06:56] Jordan Harbinger: And at a boarding school for troubled kids, Is it kind of like a prison where you just end up worse than you went in because everybody else around you is in that mindset and doing bad things?
[00:07:07] Jim Latrache: I think exactly what you say is a global problem because those places where we send people off to It's basically just so they don't interfere with our existing system. We don't have a red thread of like, okay, how can we give this person the tool that that person needs to come back to society? It's just like, let's just get rid of them.
[00:07:34] And that's the same, like with the prison system where I came later on, and you can see it with the prison system in the States is that if the system should work is that. You have a person who have some problem, we put him on a place, and when he comes out, he have learned his lesson, he have some new tools.
[00:07:52] And he can be a part of society, but that's not the case. And that's the same with the boarding school or foster places and so on and so forth. It's
[00:08:01] Jordan Harbinger: interesting because the opinion or the image that I have of Denmark is from the news. Maybe it's Norway and I'm just getting it confused where like. Prison teaches you how to build skills and rehabilitates you, and the whole goal is to bring them back to society, but it sounds like you just have the same problem that we have here, which is, like you said, remove the problem child or the problem individual from society, and then there's no plan for getting them back.
[00:08:24] If they make it back, great, but chances are they won't. They'd end up back in prison, and they're basically just locked away, not rehabilitated in any way.
[00:08:32] Jim Latrache: Exactly, and it is Norway. Norway have, uh, they have worked on thinking differently because The whole problem, and that's, again, that's the same in the states, is that the politician who take those decisions know, I'm right, you don't get voters on it because people don't really understand the grab of it.
[00:08:50] They say, we want justice, but. It's to explain people what is justice. I mean, justice for whom, because right now I say it's feeling like pissing your pants. It's warm in the beginning when you have the persons he's get sent away, then that's fixed. But then you don't think about the rest. And when he comes out, yeah, then it starts to be cold.
[00:09:12] So the thing I say is that we have to rethink. All of the systems. We have to think about what we put in. We have to clarify that that person, when they come home from that boarding school, or when he comes out from the prison, we found out why that person went to that place. and try to fix it in that situation.
[00:09:34] Jordan Harbinger: sounds like you were lost even getting out of there because you get this idea to join the French foreign legion. And could you tell us what this is? I think even if people have heard of it, which very few people have, a lot of people don't even know what that is at all. It just sounds like the French army and it's not quite the same thing.
[00:09:53] Jim Latrache: this is the thing you get institutionalized. That normally you would say, if you have been in this institution at this time, I was sent away from home when I was 12 and I came back when I was 16 and the most rational thing in your mind was, I will stay as far away from institution as possible, but because it had been, it was such a big part of my childhood.
[00:10:19] The whole idea of joining the French foreign legion, there's definitely institution in the really hard way kind of applied to me. And it was also because I didn't know, I will get back to what the French foreign legion is, but it was also because I had a mom that was. How can you say, very nervous of anything happened to her boy.
[00:10:41] So I got a lot of anxiety when I was a child. I was afraid of doing a lot of things. So the reason why I joined the French Foreign Legion was to become a man and to explain what the French Foreign Legion is, is The philosophy about it came with Alexander the Great when he wanted to conquer the world because Magadonia is such a small country and you don't have soldiers enough to keep the world.
[00:11:04] So what you do is you conquer one country and then when it's under your command, you will take young people from that country and make them a part of your army. And then, so you take soldiers from other countries. So you have soldiers enough. It was the Romans who actually used the term for the first time called a legion.
[00:11:25] Italy is not such a big country. So to have the world, you have to conquer more people. And in the end of the 18th century, the whole world was basically split by all the European countries. And most French colonies was not just in one area. There was really split around the world. So they definitely need other soldiers.
[00:11:49] So in 1831, the King, he started the French foreign legions. So foreigners from other countries could join the French. And it was also of political reasons because now when people went home in a body bag, people didn't give a shit. You didn't have to explain it to French mothers why their son didn't came home from French Guiana and so forth.
[00:12:14] Got it.
[00:12:14] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. So this is like the disposable... French army where it almost sounds like Wagner, the, the Russian sort of paramilitary group that's full of criminals and things like that. It's like, and I don't mean to disparage the French foreign legion, but in a way where Putin can send them somewhere and nobody goes, what happened to my son?
[00:12:33] Because it's a guy who went to a Gulag or a prison or who's already maybe not even French. Right. At this point, And it's a guy from another country that's already missing. No, but
[00:12:43] Jim Latrache: it's 100 percent the same because until 1967, it was definitely like that. You could basically, at that time, stand in front of a recruiting center, shoot a guy in the head, and go in and join, and they will erase your old identity.
[00:12:57] Wow. That has changed now. The thing is, if you are hunted by Interpol, they will not let you in. But at that time, before 67, they didn't give it.
[00:13:07] Jordan Harbinger: Wait, if you're hunted by Interpol, they won't let you in. Why? Because now not just the French are looking for you, but other police organizations are looking for you.
[00:13:15] And it sounds almost like it's more inconvenient for them to do that as opposed to like a
[00:13:19] Jim Latrache: moral thing. No, the thing is they don't need soldiers as much now as they did back in 67. Right now, I mean, when I was down there, I was down there in 91. And at that time, it was quite popular. So you had 300 people a week who wanted to join and they could only use 30.
[00:13:39] But at that time, and the army right now is much smaller. In 91, when I joined, that was 8, 500 men. And when they were at the strongest, I think they were between 30, 000
[00:13:53] Jordan Harbinger: and 20, 000 men. So about the same size as Wagner in both timeframes. When was that? When were they the strongest, like in the 60s or something like that?
[00:14:01] Yeah, yeah,
[00:14:01] Jim Latrache: because I mean, the French don't have that much colonies anymore. Right. Where it kind of turned was, they were in, um, Algeria. Algeria? Yeah, that was actually when the French kind of understood how dangerous it is to have a foreign army. In your country, because even the officers at that time was not French, they had fight really hard to keep Algeria on the hand and suddenly I thought it was Charles de Gaulle gave the country back to the rightful owners and the legionnaire felt he stabbed them in the back because they had fought so hard to keep that on France hands.
[00:14:47] So they tried to do a military coup against the French. In Algeria? No, no, the Legion wanted to take over power in France.
[00:14:55] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, in France they tried a coup? Yikes, wow. Okay, this really is like Wagner. This is just like, like the same damn movie all
[00:15:03] Jim Latrache: over again. So what they wanted to do was fly over Paris and take the command by power.
[00:15:09] But it didn't have planes, so they had to convince French pilots and something went wrong and officers was executed and at that time, the French say, all right, we need to have more control about it. So after that. all officers had to be French so they knew what was going on. Oh,
[00:15:31] Jordan Harbinger: in the Legion, I see. So before the French Foreign Legion was completely foreigners other than maybe the top brass, right?
[00:15:37] And so things got out of hand. That is very predictable and totally makes sense. Okay. So why did you want to join this kind of organization? Well, actually, let me back up. They seem to take all all comers, right? You said you could shoot someone outside the head and walk into the recruiting office and they would erase your record.
[00:15:54] That was before
[00:15:55] Jim Latrache: what happened in Algiers.
[00:15:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right? Yeah. Okay. And they're taking all kinds of folks into this organization. Why would you then want to join this organization? Because it doesn't sound I won't say unprofessional, but it sounds like a place where if everybody who goes there is really rough, it doesn't sound like the same thing as joining the French army where there's a bunch of other people who grew up similar to you, educated, and things like that.
[00:16:18] This is kind of like, desperate people join this organization, from the sound
[00:16:22] Jim Latrache: of it. Yeah, but it was... First of all, you have to understand I was 19 when you're 19, your choices not necessarily give so much sense, but it was like, I was so controlled by my fear, I was basically afraid of so many things. And I thought if I go to one of the toughest places in the world, I would learn it in a heartbeat.
[00:16:44] That was the kind of my philosophy at that time.
[00:16:46] Jordan Harbinger: And so when you join this, do you get a French passport after a certain number of years? What's the appeal?
[00:16:52] Jim Latrache: You sign a contract for five years, and then afterwards, if you have served, I mean, I'm a little blurry on this, but I'm not sure you get your French citizenship already after five years, or if it's first when you have served 15.
[00:17:10] I'm a little bit blurry on that one. Got it. Okay. When you finish after the five years, you, you can make a new contract for two more years and you can stay on there, yeah.
[00:17:20] Jordan Harbinger: Got it. And how long were you then part of the Foreign Legion? I was there
[00:17:20] Jim Latrache: for one and a half
[00:17:20] Jordan Harbinger: year. Oh, that's it? But you said it's a five year contract.
[00:17:20] Did they kick you out or did you just
[00:17:20] Jim Latrache: leave? No, no, no, you don't get kicked out. If you're fucked up, they will just send you to a very worse place. They will not kick you out. That would be too easy. I mean, you can get kicked out, but that would be, I mean, for other things. But the thing was, as I said, I was not there to become a pro soldier.
[00:17:23] I didn't have. the dream to be a professional soldier. I had some issues I had to fight with. I went through most of the things, and the last thing I actually missed was I thought that the ultimate thing would be to be in a war. Right,
[00:17:40] Jordan Harbinger: okay. So you really wanted to test your manhood, so to speak? Yeah,
[00:17:44] Jim Latrache: and at that time was when the war started in Yugoslavia, and we were told our company wasn't going.
[00:17:52] So in my mind... Everything else, what I did would be kind of repetition of everything else I have been doing. So we had a vacation and I just stayed home.
[00:18:06] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, you had a vacation. Oh, basically they sent you on leave and you're just like, yeah, I'm not getting on the plane that goes back to the
[00:18:11] Jim Latrache: military. I think they look differently because if you desert while you are at service, they will find and hunt you down because Somebody will be responsible for you leaving under their command.
[00:18:27] But I think when you do it on vacation, they're just like, yeah, nobody really have to take the blame from that one. And it's not because they didn't have the address because I didn't change my name. My mom sent it me. All kinds of shit, candies and stuff like that. And my sergeant, because he had a Danish girlfriend, was actually with me home and had dinner at my mom's house.
[00:18:51] So it's not because they didn't know where I was. I never heard back from them. Really? Yeah.
[00:18:57] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Nobody asked your sergeant like, Hey, didn't you go eat dinner with his house? Yeah, he said he's not coming back. Uh, anyway, moving
[00:19:04] Jim Latrache: on. I'm not sure they knew it, but he knew it, so I mean... Huh,
[00:19:08] Jordan Harbinger: interesting. What's the training like?
[00:19:10] Jordan Harbinger: said you wanted to join the hardest thing you could think of. Does Denmark not have a military with elite units that you could join? Or you just thought this is even more rough around the edges. Yeah. But the
[00:19:19] Jim Latrache: thing is to be a part of the elite in Denmark, you have to be a boy scout and I'm not like that.
[00:19:27] I'm not good with authority. So I'm pretty sure I would never get to that. Yeah. Okay.
[00:19:32] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense.
[00:19:34] Jim Latrache: And the other thing is that have you ever been in Denmark? I
[00:19:38] Jordan Harbinger: have, but on vacation. And it's funny cause I went there. And I thought, this is a really nice place. And, we went on a tour. And I said, are there any dangerous parts of Copenhagen?
[00:19:48] And he said, yeah, but there's no reason for you to go there. And I said, he goes, I'll circle it for you on a map. And he circled the exact street and block where I had been staying with one of my friends. And I said, oh yeah, this is exactly where I'm staying. Somebody got shot out here, like, a few days ago.
[00:20:01] And he's like, well congratulations, you're staying in the worst part of the city. I thought to myself, this is like a really nice part of town compared to anything else. I mean, they, they had a kebab shops and they had all these cafes and stuff. And people did say, Oh, you shouldn't wear your hooded sweatshirt.
[00:20:17] You shouldn't wear your baseball hat here because that's what the gangs wear. But otherwise during the day, it was like families with children. And it was just a lot of immigrants, but it was far from dangerous feeling. It didn't feel like Detroit, for example.
[00:20:30] Jim Latrache: No, no, no, no. And that's to say, I mean, People here have never seen what dangerous areas are.
[00:20:37] My wife's family, they come from another island, and sometimes they're like, Oh, we heard there's big trouble, and we're like, No, we're actually sitting there right now having an ice
[00:20:47] Jordan Harbinger: cream. Yeah, it's like Brooklyn. It's like families and kids. It's like, oh, it's in Brooklyn. It's not Brooklyn in 1972, it's Brooklyn in...
[00:20:57] 2022. It's a totally different story. Yeah. And
[00:20:59] Jim Latrache: the thing is, yes, we have gangs. It's more like it's dangerous if you are all the gang member. Yeah. But as I say, we don't have desperate people. So like personal robberies, I mean, it's not because it have never happened, but it's very, very, very rare. You hear about incidents like that.
[00:21:22] Every time you hear about. Those violent incidents, 90 percent is gang related.
[00:21:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, it's cold comfort for the person who gets shot, but it definitely is different than being targeted yourself, for sure.
[00:21:37] Jim Latrache: And we don't have that much weapon because we have some... More sane weapon laws here than you have got in your place.
[00:21:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, uh, yeah, that's a whole different podcast, I suppose. What is the training like then for the French Foreign Legion? You said you wanted to join the hardest thing. I assume this is really, really difficult stuff. To become a paratrooper in any organization would be tough, but Well, let's start with the training, but I'm also curious what the other guys you're training with are doing there and what they're like.
[00:22:07] Jim Latrache: it was a really big challenge because at that time I was 69 kilos and I was not that athletic and I knew nothing about the army. I had no idea of any army training.
[00:22:22] Jordan Harbinger: 69 kilos. Wait, that's like 152 pounds. How tall are you? Aren't you, like, really tall?
[00:22:26] Jim Latrache: No, no, everybody think that when they have seen the film.
[00:22:29] I'm not. Yeah. I'm six
[00:22:31] Jordan Harbinger: foot. Okay, still, six feet, 150 pounds is really thin, man. Because I'm 165 and I'm quite slender and muscular and I'm 5'10 And I weigh 15, almost 15 pounds more than you did. And you were taller than me. So you were really thin, man. That's a scrawny guy.
[00:22:48] Jim Latrache: And at that time, this was the early nineties, just after the wall came down.
[00:22:54] Right? So Eastern Europe was just starting to be open. So in my regiment, in my company, we were like 50. Soldiers where 13 of them was from Poland, like 75 percent was from Eastern Europe. And all of those guys was ex military. Uh huh. So what actually saved my ass was from the old Czechoslovakia, because you get hooked up by another guy.
[00:23:22] So you work together and he used to be a captain in the Czech army. And I mean, this guy, he definitely saved my life through training because. I mean, he knew how to iron, he knew how you should put your closet. He knew, like, when they gave an order, what that shit meant. And in the beginning, I was like, night blind.
[00:23:47] I mean, when the sun stopped, I couldn't see shit. So, I mean, we took laces, tied them together and he put it in his belt and I just followed him when we walked in the night, I couldn't see shit. It took me a really long time. So this guy, he really saved me in so many ways. How to clean the weapon in an easy way.
[00:24:08] I mean, you know, all those small tricks. I remember I was asking him, I mean, you are a captain. I mean, you're an officer, why the hell would you start all over? And he said, that's easy because as a captain at that time in Slovak, he make a thousand French Franc a month. And there. Just at our recruit stage, they paid 3, 500 French franc a month, and he knew he could do a career quite quick.
[00:24:39] So his salary, when he had been there in 15 years, he didn't have to do anything else for the rest of his life. He could save so much money. And after 15 years, you get your pension. So if you have a very high rank, your pension will of course be better. Because right now, there's not that big difference from Eastern European countries and the rest of Europe.
[00:25:03] But at that time, it was like crazy what the living differences that there was. Yeah,
[00:25:10] Jordan Harbinger: so he was getting paid like a hundred and sixty dollars a month, a thousand French francs back in his regular military. He joins the Foreign Legion and goes on up and he's making like 5, 6, 7, $800 and up plus a pension.
[00:25:24] And I would imagine the pay scale goes way up as you ascend an organization like that as
[00:25:28] Jim Latrache: well. Oh yeah. And the thing is, if you just become a sergeant and with the knowledge he had, he could be that within two, three years, if he takes two years in Africa, in one of the colonies, he could at that time get 25,000 French Frank a month.
[00:25:46] Oh wow. Yeah. And you are down there on a two years contract. You don't spend money on anything down there. So just that would be a huge pension he could bring home at that time.
[00:25:57] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, that's 25, 000 French francs to dollars is like 4, 000. I mean, it depends on the exchange rate, right? Cause it doesn't exist anymore, but you're looking at like 4, 100 a month with no expenses, and then you go back to a place where you can live on 100 a month.
[00:26:13] Jim Latrache: you also have to acquire, that was back in 91. At that time, the prices was so much lower in the country. So, so a lot of them went down there for the money, but I mean, this guy, he definitely saved my ass and also knew like in the evening, what things we should train to keep in shape. And within one and a half years, of course you have to put in mind.
[00:26:38] From when you are 19 until you're 21, as a man, you're still in a growing phase. But for one and a half year, I went from 69 kilos to 89 kilos. Oh, wow. I gained 20 kilos in one and a half
[00:26:54] Jordan Harbinger: year. Yeah. So you're basically at that point, like 200 pounds. And I would imagine you're not just getting fat because you're walking 19 miles a day or whatever it is that you're doing.
[00:27:03] Jim Latrache: not that much. But one thing is that when you have ADHD, you're more too weak. I mean, your movement skills is not 100 percent perfect. And when you're not good with authority, you do a lot of ups and a lot of ups make you do a lot of pull ups and sit ups. And push ups. I mean, all those things together put me in a really good shape.
[00:27:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that makes sense. I'm exaggerating at 19 miles per day, but I would imagine you do quite a bit of, of marching and walking in the French Foreign Legion. But yeah, I guess a lot of sit ups, a lot of pull ups. Did you have to learn French? It's probably a dumb
[00:27:40] Jim Latrache: question. No, no, you, you have to learn and it's kind of surprising how fast you learn.
[00:27:45] I would say within one month. I could understand, like, the basic things, right? And within four months, I could have a conversation.
[00:27:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's, like, when I was an exchange student living in Germany, I was like, I'm never gonna get this. And then, you sit in enough chemistry and math classes, and you're like, oh, I, I understand what they're talking about, even if I can't put it into the same words.
[00:28:07] And then, one day, you're in a taxi, and the cab driver's asking you something, and you just start talking, and you're like, wait a minute. I can speak German,
[00:28:14] Jim Latrache: right? But what also helped you in Germany, as it does in France, because if you look at something that's quite interesting, all countries that used to be an empire, they only speak their own language.
[00:28:25] Yeah. Yeah. It's like. All the film you see is in French. I remember when Terminator 2 came out, I saw it in French. And all the music they hear, they hear a little bit American, but they mostly hear French songs. So wherever you are, you're just surrounded by French. Because if you come to Denmark, you would never learn Danish because everybody under 70 in Denmark speak English.
[00:28:54] That makes sense. And our film is in English. Our music is in English. And if you start to speak English, It's really hard for you to say, speak Danish to me because everybody here is so happy that they can practice their English. So they will speak English to you.
[00:29:09] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense. When I went to Yugoslavia, it was, at Serbia, it was really tough to learn Serbian because most people wanted to speak English and the people that couldn't, you just weren't around them as much working in a professional environment and things like that.
[00:29:23] Like I was, and also being an English teacher didn't help. I heard they made everyone sing though in the French foreign league. Were you singing in French?
[00:29:30] Jim Latrache: When you say, was I, no, I was not, but everybody else was. And a lot of people, do you know this whole board program called X Factor?
[00:29:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like the singing.
[00:29:41] Yeah. Yeah.
[00:29:42] Jim Latrache: Yeah. Yeah. And one of the judges there once said, everybody can learn to sing. Under the right circumstances. And I totally disagree with that because if you're going to imagine a company in French where like 75 percent speak really horrible Eastern European strong accent. If you are in that setting told to shut the up because you're saying horrible, I rest my case.
[00:30:09] So everybody else was singing. I was listening.
[00:30:12] Jordan Harbinger: So you're the one guy who's not allowed to sing. Even though there's a bunch of, I don't know, Czech people singing in French or whatever, and they're like, wow, but this guy, this Danish guy, we're drawing the line at that. Yeah, yeah. Wow. Jeez. That, I don't even want to know how bad that must
[00:30:32] Jim Latrache: have been.
[00:30:32] Oh, no, no, uh, I'm used to not being good at a lot of stuff. I mean, same with a ball. Everything that is round, that either you should throw it, kick it. Whatever. I'm horrible. I'm so horrible that I'm not allowed to throw a hand grenade. They don't get far enough.
[00:30:52] Jordan Harbinger: They banned you from grenades? That's probably a good idea.
[00:30:55] Jim Latrache: Yeah, they 100 percent banned me from grenade. So when we had practice, they just gave me a stone. Ha ha ha ha ha! You can yourself up with that. The other thing is too dangerous for the rest of us. That's funny. The thing is, it's really funny because my oldest son is playing American football on the Danish national team.
[00:31:15] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. So he's athletic. He gets it from his mom
[00:31:18] Jim Latrache: and he can play basically all positions. So he doesn't have my skills in being an idiot with a ball. No.
[00:31:26] Jordan Harbinger: That's so funny. Banned from hand grenades actually sounds like a pretty good policy for a lot of folks. You mentioned that the Legion would never take you if the only, if you were wanted by Interpol, what happens?
[00:31:38] If they find out they are wanted by Interpol, because usually they just check that, or do they just find out after you
[00:31:43] Jim Latrache: check it, they have their own intelligence service. They will check that straight away. So, I mean, first you have to find a recruitment place. I was in Paris, you know, in all city, you have this information house and stuff like that.
[00:31:57] I found one of those and say, where can I join the Legion? They look at you like you're a completed retard and say, yeah, you just go to that place. I went there, and there they just put people together when they had people enough. They sent them to Southern France, outside Marseille. And there you have a recruitment place where you are for two or three weeks, where they check your health, and you do an IQ test, and...
[00:32:22] You do a physical test and stuff like that. And when I was there, there was a German kid where they found out that he was wanted by Interpol. But what they do, they don't turn you over. They say you have 24 hours to leave the premises and good luck.
[00:32:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow. So they just let you escape as opposed to turning you over.
[00:32:42] Yeah. Wow. Wow. Okay. There's a lot we can obviously talk about the French War and Legion. That stuff is super interesting. It makes sense to talk about how you discover the drug business because that turns out to be kind of a big part of your life at
[00:32:56] Jim Latrache: some point. Yeah. So when I came home from the Legion, at that point, the techno era hit Copenhagen.
[00:33:05] And at that time. I mean, it's not because people didn't take drugs in Copenhagen, but it was not like a mainstream kind of things. You have heard about people smoking weed and stuff like that, but like cocaine was basically people up North in the wealthy area, like could travel to expensive places and stuff like that, but it was not like an everyday thing.
[00:33:29] So when the techno music came, it kind of exploded on Copenhagen. And in this techno environment, I was kind of introduced to the underworld, if you can say that. And at that time, it was not because I had a dream about being a criminal, but the first, for the first time in my life, I met this group of people that was basically like myself, because a lot of criminals.
[00:33:56] Also have ADHD and are also different. And this is why like changing the school system had been a big part of the things I'm doing now, because I think if we rethink the way we treat people as a society, a lot of those people, because a lot of those people I've met in that world are really clever, intelligent.
[00:34:17] And if they have had another chance, they could have done something completely different with their lives. But it was in that environment that I was introduced to cocaine.
[00:34:29] Jordan Harbinger: And how do you get started trafficking, right? Putting a little bit up your nose, okay, you're at a party, I guess that's sort of self explanatory, but how are you then like, I need to start buying and selling this and making money with it myself?
[00:34:43] So it
[00:34:43] Jim Latrache: just started with that. I'm quite extrovert and I looked at how the business was going. And I was like, I think I could do this. You have to think about a kid that have never really been good at anything. And suddenly you saw this thing. And I mean, I have ADHD, so cocaine doesn't really work on me. I mean, I've not really been addicted to anything in my life except cigarettes.
[00:35:09] Cigarettes have been really difficult for me to let go of, but anything else. I've never really, because if I take cocaine, I become introvert. So, I mean, it was not because I could see what all the fuss was about. And in my mind actually still is alcohol is way more dangerous. So it's not because I saw what I was doing as like this horrible, horrible thing.
[00:35:33] And at this time, you didn't in Denmark had all the side effects that is to doing a lot of cocaine. So I just saw that I think I could be really good at it. And it also started opening a whole new world for me, because suddenly, I mean, I'm not born in Copenhagen. I'm coming from a small town, 60 kilometers outside, a working class area.
[00:36:00] And suddenly, I mean, when I was a kid, I was told that the people you wanted to look up to was doctor, politicians, lawyers, engineers, shit like that. And suddenly all those people becomes your, your clients. So it's also in that way, a little bit difficult to see what you do is so horrible
[00:36:20] Jordan Harbinger: wrong. Yeah, because you're like, Oh, I'm hanging out with all these people.
[00:36:25] I must be doing something right because these are the people that I was told to emulate when I was younger. Exactly.
[00:36:31] Jim Latrache: And none of my clients, I've never sold cocaine to a lone mom who had to spend all her welfare on that and not be able to give her child food. I mean, this was people who called me because they had made a deal on 200, 000, one million, and celebrate that.
[00:36:51] So it's just, like, really difficult to see it was so bad. I did that for some time, and... Then I start to think about, because at that time I just bought it from another guy in Denmark and perhaps I could tell myself what I was doing is not that bad, but it was still illegal and, uh, punishment for dealing drugs is they don't take lightly on it.
[00:37:18] So at one point I had to think about. my security. And so I was like, kind of thinking, okay, I'm buying from somebody in Denmark. I don't really know who he is buying from, and I don't know who he's selling to besides me. And so you can actually see you're caught in some kind of pyramid because if the police catch one and the police have a lot of time, then they start to look at the rest of the network and you can be caught in that.
[00:37:47] So I was like, okay, what about if I take it home myself? And instead of selling it to other people who can sell it, get into the country and only sell to the end users and make sure that the end users is not the usual suspect the police look at. As the people I told you about before,
[00:38:09] Jordan Harbinger: you are listening to the Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Jim Lares. We'll be right back. This episode is sponsored in part by Nissan. These days, too many people have to settle for the next best thing, especially when it comes to choosing a car. But at Nissan, there's a vehicle type for everyone, for every driver who wants more, whether they want more adventure, more electric, more action, more guts, or more turbocharged excitement.
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[00:38:42] In my life on this show, we're always looking for more ripple effects. I want to dive into each podcast interview. Hoping it's not just a drop in the ocean, but one that creates ripples, just as I seek actions in life that make a lasting impact, I hope for conversations that resonate long after they're over.
[00:38:55] And that's why I love that Nissan wants to help people find their more, more freedom, more adventure, or even just more fun. So thanks again to Nissan for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show, and for the reminder to find your more. Learn more at NissanUSA. com This episode is also sponsored by Zip Recruiter.
[00:39:11] When I hit the mic, it's easy to think I'm flying solo, but in reality, there's an all star team that turns each episode into the magic that you hear. Producer Gabriel Mizrahi helps deliver top notch content every Friday. Audio magician Jason Sanderson makes sure we sound stellar no matter what, even though I'm recording in a closet somewhere in Taiwan right now.
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[00:40:18] If you're wondering how I managed to book all these great authors, thinkers, and creators every single week, it is because of my network, and I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger. com slash course. It'll help you build your cocaine mercenary nanny business. But the course really is all about improving your relationship building skills and inspiring other people to want to develop a relationship with you.
[00:40:38] Obviously, guys like Jim do a lot of this stuff naturally, but these are the systems that'll help you maintain it. And the course does all of this in a super easy, non cringy, down to earth way. It's not going to make you look like a jerk. It's not going to make you feel like a jerk. It's just going to make you a better colleague, a better friend, a better peer, and a better connector.
[00:40:55] In a few minutes a day is all it takes. Many of the guests on the show subscribe and or contribute to this course. So come join us. You'll be in smart company where you belong. You can find the course at jordanharbinger. com slash course. Now back to Jim Latrasche. So you go from being a middleman to smuggling the cocaine into the country yourself, but instead of selling to other dealers, you're like, Hey, if I only sell to doctors, lawyers, and famous people.
[00:41:22] I'm not going to probably get caught doing this. And it does have some logic to it because it, it is more dangerous with drugs, right? To buy small amounts at a time, cause you're at the bottom of the food chain. The quality's low. There's a lot of moving parts up in the supply chain. But if you buy larger amounts, you get better stuff at a better price.
[00:41:39] You get to know your network more because more money is being transacted. So people are vetting you and each other probably a little bit more. It sounds like it goes from a sort of party business or like a lifestyle business to a real business for you.
[00:41:53] Jim Latrache: It did. And also try to keep it on a level, not to be too greedy.
[00:41:58] So I didn't want to escalate it too much. I really wanted to know who my client was and. And since I bought it from the beginning, there was a very, very high profit on it. So I didn't even have to sell that much for having a decent living. You
[00:42:15] Jordan Harbinger: write in the book, never base your standard of living on criminal earnings.
[00:42:20] That's rule number one. Tell me about that rule.
[00:42:22] Jim Latrache: Yeah, because then you are controlled by something you cannot control. You mean like the supply chain? Yeah, I mean, you don't know if at one point shit can happen, your career can be caught. A lot of things can go wrong in a business like this. You don't have insurance and stuff like that.
[00:42:44] And that was actually why I got called because I broke that rule. And I did that. I just spent way more money than I could provide legally because at one point I start washing my money. Uh, how a lot of people, they use like. Pizzeria, sunbed places, candy stores, and stuff like that, but I like suits. I started importing suits from Italy, then I sold them to myself, uh, and then I've sold them back again to people out the back door.
[00:43:24] But in that way, I had a big cashflow because the times where you could say your BMW was owned by your grandmom was kind of over. So I had to have like a way to wash my money. So I used that one, but it didn't generate enough money for the lifestyle I had. So when my connection was put to jail, I should have taken a break.
[00:43:52] Just stop up, go down, and find a new connection. Try it out, give it good time, look how it works. Instead, I had a good friend over here who brought it home himself. And I convinced myself that it would not be a problem because... He was a very close friend of the family, and we saw each other on a lot of other occasion with children's and stuff like that.
[00:44:21] So I say, if I didn't rush it and only put our meeting in like kids birthdays and stuff like that, I could definitely keep it under the radar.
[00:44:32] Jordan Harbinger: So you're like sitting there grilling hot dogs and chatting with parents and there's kids are on a bouncy house outside and you're doing a deal for like six kilos of cocaine from Columbia or whatever.
[00:44:44] Jim Latrache: Let's not go into numbers, but
[00:44:50] Jordan Harbinger: all right,
[00:44:51] Jim Latrache: but let's just say we discussed the terms and condition. In, uh, very calm surroundings.
[00:45:00] Jordan Harbinger: You say let's not go into numbers and I get it, but you did get caught for this. How did you end up getting caught?
[00:45:05] Jim Latrache: Because one of his employees had a piece of paper with my name on and, stupid or not, with my company phone numbers on.
[00:45:17] So when they were caught, I was dragged into that. Got
[00:45:21] Jordan Harbinger: it. So they, they started to look at you and they, did they catch you selling drugs? Because just having a paper is not a crime. Or being on a paper.
[00:45:27] Jim Latrache: Yeah, I know it's not in the States, it is in
[00:45:29] Jordan Harbinger: Denmark. So they can go into a drug dealer's house, find your name and information, and that's a crime in Denmark?
[00:45:36] Yeah. Without catching you selling drugs? Yes.
[00:45:39] Jim Latrache: What? How? Because it's so difficult for them to catch people, so they give the police a lot of slack.
[00:45:45] Jordan Harbinger: Whoa. How could that not get misused all the time? I'm not saying it's not. As an attorney, I'm just like, how on earth is it a crime for my client's information to be in someone's desk when the house is raided by the cops?
[00:46:00] Even if it says, I sold Jordan Harbinger six kilos of cocaine on January 12th, 2023, and here's the money he paid me. That's still not enough. I mean, there's still gotta be. That could be fake. How do they know that it's
[00:46:11] Jim Latrache: legit? Yeah, it's called Indesia, and it works pretty much in Denmark. Wow. In my first case, they didn't find one penny on one gram of cocaine, either in any of my properties or in my store.
[00:46:25] Jordan Harbinger: Well, man, if you'd been selling drugs in the United States, you would have sued the police for even talking to you about this in one money, I think. I mean, at least with any attorney that has two brain cells. Wow. Okay. That's really something. I want to hear from, I know that we have Danish lawyers who listen to this show.
[00:46:41] Somebody email me and explain this to me. Is this really how it works? I can't, I almost can't even believe it. It's crazy how easy that would be to misuse that government power. Wow. What the hell? Okay. So you go to prison, but in Denmark. I got
[00:46:56] Jim Latrache: sentenced five and a half years.
[00:46:59] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, that, for having your name on a piece of paper on somebody else's desk, I can't even believe it.
[00:47:04] Tell me what prison is like in Denmark,
[00:47:05] Jim Latrache: though. You should not be afraid of being raped. Let me put it in that way.
[00:47:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it sounds like there's not a lot to be afraid of. I read Xbox, they got an Xbox, take out food. Yeah. You can work. I mean, that makes sense, I
[00:47:18] Jim Latrache: suppose. All those things is correct. For some people, of course, it's dangerous.
[00:47:24] But I would argue if you don't cheat anybody, if you are having giving anybody up, and if you basically take care of yourself, it's all right. But that's not the thing, because I normally explain prison with a fairy tale I heard when I was a kid. And it's about this doctor. He wants to be the most wealthy and powerful doctor in the world.
[00:47:53] So he wants to make a contract with the devil. So he makes a ritual, and out of hell comes a demon, and they sit down and start negotiate. They meet each other on one thing, that is, he get his wishes, but when he dies he have to play backgammon with the devil for eternity. He goes in on those terms. His wish is granted.
[00:48:17] He becomes the most powerful and rich doctor in the world. And on his time on the planet, he starts studying to be prepared. What does hell look like? What is he going to face? What does the devil look like? Just to be prepared. He dies of natural causes in the age of 100. The demon comes up, pick him up.
[00:48:36] They go down to hell. Yeah, it's bad, but not even as close as he had imagined. And then he meets the devil and yeah, he's bad, but not even close to what he had imagined. Then they start to play backgammon. Then he finds out the devil is stupid. That's how it is to sit in prison.
[00:48:56] Jordan Harbinger: You might have to explain, you might have to explain that one a little bit, because that is a good example of something that's probably in the book that doesn't translate well at all.
[00:49:05] Like it's a funny story, but I have no idea how to relate that to prison.
[00:49:09] Jim Latrache: No, see, the thing is, because I didn't know how Danish prison was. So I had to like watch a lot of films, see what prison is in the States. Oh gosh. Yeah. So I come in and see, holy shit. I have an entire cell for myself. There's a closet.
[00:49:27] There's actually a television with a lot of channels. I was like, that's pretty neat. And I just had two months in isolation first, right? But,
[00:49:39] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. That doesn't sound fun, but
[00:49:42] Jim Latrache: okay. No, no, no, they do that to pressure you to talk. Oh, okay. So, when I was out of isolation and met the other prisoners, I was like, okay, most of them are new already, and the other one was like, Okay, this is just like being in a kind of summer camp.
[00:49:59] But then I realized how the whole system works. You're surrounded by stupidity. And it's still your freedom that has been taken. Nothing happens. nothing develops you, and that's the same no matter where. I said the only difference between an American prison and a Danish prison is that, in American prison, you have to be aware of that you can be faced with violence and rape.
[00:50:30] But the main thing, what it does to your head is the same globally. I talked to my friends who have been sitting two years in a Brazilian prison, where you're struggling with the same insanity as you do in the States. And they say, Besides the violence and the mosquitoes and all those horrible other things.
[00:50:48] It's still the same thing it does to your brain, nothing good comes out of it. And the thing is, if you don't have this development as we talked about, then it doesn't matter that there's flowers and there is a television, or you can make your own food or anything. It will set you back in the same way as it will do in the States.
[00:51:10] Of course, in the States. You will, of course, have a way bigger pro traumatic stress than you are in a Danish prison, but basically it's the same thing, if that makes any kind of sense. It
[00:51:21] Jordan Harbinger: does, right? Because you're surrounded by people who have also committed crimes. Maybe they're not the smartest, maybe they're not doing anything, and you're thinking, oh man, at least when I'm out, I can...
[00:51:31] Learn skills or develop a network or further my career. But when you're in prison, you're just stuck and it doesn't matter what the conditions are like because you're still
[00:51:39] Jim Latrache: stuck. Yeah, but it's also the prison guards, the social workers, it's like everybody have given up. I mean, they've given up on you.
[00:51:50] There's nothing in the prison who want you to think I have to change my life. And the thing is, if you have been punished your whole life. Punishment as we know, it doesn't apply to you because. I've been institutionalized my whole life. I've been in prison since I was 12. There's nothing new in it.
[00:52:09] There's nothing that wants me to change myself. So I continued dealing drugs while I was in prison. Most people who say you got five and a half years, that must have been a shock. I was like, Oh, I knew it could happen. It didn't stop me. And the reason why I've changed is because when I met my wife, suddenly A person who saw me as a person and saw that I had the ability to do something else.
[00:52:38] So there has to be a person looking at those individuals say, listen, you have such a creative mind, let's try to get something out of it. So you have to pull people out of the mental context and put it into something else, if that makes any kind of sense.
[00:52:57] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned in the book that kids can visit the kids can even spend the night in the prison, but time actually goes faster in a closed prison than in an open one.
[00:53:07] What do you mean by that?
[00:53:08] Jim Latrache: The thing is, when you are in a closed prison, you can leave out all your thoughts because this is where you are. And this is how it's gonna be time stands still. But when you are in an open prison, you start to come out a little bit. You have a little smell off what the outside looks like, and then you start to trying to live your life outside while you're actually in prison.
[00:53:35] That's the most dangerous part. And that's what actually makes people insane. I normally say it takes me three to six months to adjust into prison because you have to start to live your life in prison. You have to give up everything on the outside. If not, you will go insane. That one is way easier when you have walls all over and you are just there and you're not getting out on any kind of things.
[00:54:02] Jordan Harbinger: actually makes a lot of sense. It's not quite the same thing, but when I was an exchange student, they warned us. They said, don't try to live the life that you had in America while you're also living in Germany. And it was easy enough to do because we didn't have like internet and cell phones and stuff like that, that we could readily, readily use.
[00:54:18] But now a lot of exchange students, they go abroad, but they're still following all their friends on social media, sharing videos, talking in English. They never really adjust because they're living in two places at the same time. They don't have that identity shift. And it sounds like that's the same thing.
[00:54:33] That's happening or not happening in prison. And in the book, you say that there's a lot of danger from having power and money and possessions, because once you take them all away, who are you in when you base your self worth on superficial accomplishments, it leads to a lot of uncertainty. and instability.
[00:54:53] Did that make it harder to get away from crime? Do you think? Were you attached to the identity and the material things that came with crime, of course, but were you also attached to the identity that those things came with having not come from that? I've
[00:55:06] Jim Latrache: never felt so naked in my life when I made that promise.
[00:55:10] And it took time. It took time because Like, one thing is that you agree that you will stop being a criminal, but to understand this concept, you have to understand first, why the heck did you become a criminal? And why did you keep on being a criminal? And in my case was about low self esteem. And I think what start making me believe myself is because my wife is really beautiful.
[00:55:38] And she didn't give a shit about any of the money. She was willing to give up everything. And even that most of my adult life, I've always had like a gym bag with money close to me. So I always had money. And suddenly you go from that to just have enough to stay alive. And she never complained. And having, like, a 10th wife that most people would die for, really intelligent.
[00:56:11] Came out of the university with the highest grade, like this superwoman wants you and believing you, I normally say if I was a racehorse, I wouldn't have bet on myself because when, when I went to jail for the second time, when I was 37, I had a child from an earlier marriage. I was about to serve my second drug convention on eight years this time.
[00:56:37] And I had no education. Why would a 24 year old beauty intelligent woman bet? Her entire life on that person. Did you think
[00:56:48] Jordan Harbinger: there was something wrong with her, maybe? Like, what's wrong with your judgment?
[00:56:52] Jim Latrache: No, she's too clever for that. Uh huh, okay. But, I mean, in the beginning, I just thought that Yeah, yeah, she said that Until she realized how hard it is to have a man in prison.
[00:57:02] But, as she kept on staying It raised my confidence at myself while I starting to like, look at small thing. I mean, when was the most happy for my car I had, I had a huge car. It was like, when was that? That was when I thought about buying it from the day one. I had it. It just went downhill. Like every time you park it and you hear this sound, Oh , that's 3, 000.
[00:57:29] And I mean, all those small thing. And like, why did you have it? Why do you have a SUV in Copenhagen? I mean, that's ridiculous. It's difficult to power. It's because you need a powerful car to people to see how brilliant you are. So it's this whole process just to find out, I mean, if you just are you and not trying to be something you're not, then you will act more on yourself.
[00:57:54] And when you start to have this thing, And this is actually my drive today as well is that I don't need that much today because it's just like, why should I have it? And it makes you really more calm when you actually just meet people as you are instead of something you think they want you to be. That
[00:58:16] Jordan Harbinger: is interesting.
[00:58:16] And I would imagine a tough lesson or a great lesson or both to learn. I know once you got out of prison, your wife essentially made you go back to school, which must have been tough with dyslexia, ADHD, and a prison background. And your wife says, if you want to stay with me, you have to go to school. That is a tall order,
[00:58:34] Jim Latrache: man.
[00:58:35] Yeah, I mean, we worked on that in prison. We had to find a system because I barely got nine grades. So, we started to find out that I was dyslexic. The first year I was in prison, we only saw each other one hour a week in 60 square meters with a cop inside. We could only communicate by letters, and those letters had to go through the cops.
[00:58:58] They have to read them. I read her really horrible. She read me back, but she also returned my letters with corrections of misspellings and grammar errors. And we found out that it was in that way. We found out I was dyslexic, but we found out I have a pretty good memory. So if there was word I didn't understand, if people read them loud to me, I just repeat them many times and look at it.
[00:59:22] And then I start later on with audio books. That was how I learned how to read English. Because now I could see what the word looks like. I did that process, start reading a lot of books and start to understand a lot of things. I was waiting for my sentence for one and a half year. And when I got my sentence, she say, you know, you're ready now to take your high school diploma.
[00:59:46] So with her help, I took my whole high school diploma from prison and got out of one of, with one of the country's highest average grade point average. And I was accepted to study psychology at Copenhagen university.
[00:59:58] Jordan Harbinger: That's fantastic. I mean, that is no small accomplishment, and I know you started an educational corporation, had to raise money for that, learned how wealthy people and investors act, which will come in handy in your North Korea operation later on it.
[01:00:14] I will say one thing people say about you. I've talked to a couple of your friends, and I read your book, obviously, well, the Google Translate version of your book. People say that you have a high mastery of social situations, you can make people feel comfortable, you can make jokes, you can redefine the social space while you're in it.
[01:00:30] And that's not only good for raising money like you did for your education corporation, but also I would imagine in high stakes situations like what you were experiencing later on in North Korea, which I'd love to get into if you're up for that. Yeah, yeah. So tell me about the North Korea operation.
[01:00:49] This is. Such a weird thing to get involved with, as I'm sure you've heard before. Tell me what that's all about.
[01:00:57] Jim Latrache: I mean, the way I got into it was because that my case, my prison case was a high profile case. So when I got out of prison, a lot of reporter wanted to make a story about me, but it was all like, they wanted to know how much money I'd made, who my client was and stuff like that.
[01:01:15] And I was not interested in that because I was like. What would that change? Would that make the world a better place? No, it would hurt a lot of people, but that's it. And then a guy I studied psychology with, he said, my wife is working at Danish radio, that's the biggest broadcast we have in Denmark and she makes this radio program and she would like to make you tell your story as you want it.
[01:01:39] And I say, if I should make a program, first of all, I want all editing rights, because I want to make sure. That you don't put it in another context. It's not because I will change a lot. I just want what I say to be the thing you use and you cannot change it and stuff. And they agreed on that. And then I said, what I want to do is make it as a love story.
[01:02:02] I think it's most important to tell why those people become criminal, but what's more, more interested, what does it take for people to stop being criminals? And that process, and they said, yes. And we did the show the 18th, September, 2015, we were nominated for best feature of the year at our award show. I remember.
[01:02:25] I was really, really looking up for that being an award show I had been at many times, but for the first time I was standing on the stage and selling cocaine in the bathroom to famous people. So, so we won. And at that award show, I met the director of the mall, Mads Bruegger. We met each other in the bar while I was in prison.
[01:02:47] I had seen some of his documentary. So we started to have a conversation and one day he invited me, he had a radio station at that time and he invited me up there for coffee and we became friends. And then like six months later, he rings me up and he said, Jim, have you ever heard about the Danish North Korean friendship association?
[01:03:09] I'm like, are you fucking with me? Because in, in my mind, couldn't imagine that anybody in a country like Denmark, any shape or form could believe that there would be anything good in North Korea. But there was, so he explained quite quick. How Ulrich at that time had been there for seven years, how he had raised in the greats and he had been in North Korea.
[01:03:36] And now the president, Alejandro Caudepena, suddenly three year prior, start asking him if he could find some investors.
[01:03:46] Jordan Harbinger: Let me give a little background. So Ulrich, who you just mentioned, that's episode 527. He was the mole, which is that film from the director that you met that you are also in. And Alejandro is this kind of like weird Spanish guy who is an honorary North Korean citizen or whatever, and he's just like a super fanboy of the Kim Jong un regime and of North Korea, and he's just kind of a weird dude, and he wants you to find investments for North Korea, which is super illegal because it's a sanctioned regime.
[01:04:17] And what kind of investments is he having you look for, like anything
[01:04:22] Jim Latrache: or what? No, it was Ulrich. He was asking Ulrich if Ulrich knew anybody who could be interested. I see. Right. Okay. And then Mats, the director, he start first looking at actors. But the North Korean have internet as well. So it would come up bad if they suddenly saw a guy who was an investor one day and play Hamlet the other day.
[01:04:46] And then he looked at businessmen, but no businessmen in the right mind would go into a project like that. Right. And then he thought about me. And in the beginning, I have to say it was not that dangerous because Okay. It have something to do to do with North Korea, but the first scene we did was in Norway.
[01:05:07] Oslo. That's Scandinavia. That's pretty safe. Mm-Hmm. . So is we are still in an area where we can have the situation under control. So I say, give me five minutes. I talk to my wife and explained it to her. She thought it sounded nuts, but she also thought it sounded exciting, so she said, yeah, good. Do it.
[01:05:29] Called Matt's back and two days later, I meet Ulrich in the airport. In the
[01:05:34] Jordan Harbinger: airport. Are you going somewhere at this point?
[01:05:36] Jim Latrache: We went to Oslo. Oh, I see. I was going to meet Alejandro in Oslo. So we fly up there. They have rented a presidential suite up there. Yeah. And putting hidden cameras, hidden microphones all over.
[01:05:51] They have a guy that's an expert on this and for people who doesn't know this, I didn't know that either a hidden camera today is so small that when you see how small they are and how powerful they are, that will make you paranoid for life. Yeah, it
[01:06:09] Jordan Harbinger: blows your mind like this little button and you're like, wait, this is a high res camera.
[01:06:14] Like I'm never going to the bathroom again.
[01:06:16] Jim Latrache: Exactly. I mean, I had a computer back and. In the bottom of the computer bag, there was like four screws and there were star screws and the screws were black. In that hole in one of the screws, there was a camera and I'm talking about you had to pull it up and put lights on to see that was a camera.
[01:06:41] And if you put that back over here, it could film an entire room. 100 percent sharp.
[01:06:47] Jordan Harbinger: Jeez. Crazy. Yeah. And you're what, talking with Alejandro and getting him to sort of, who is again, the liaison with North Korea.
[01:06:55] Jim Latrache: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, at this point. Ulrich hadn't had any pointers of what he was interested in. He just said he looked for investment.
[01:07:03] So, when he start to come out at this meeting, I mean, I talked to Mads, the director, and said, I mean, which direction should I go? And he just, uh, just tried to open it. Like, all right. So in the beginning, I said, I will present this hedge fund, the family hedge fund, and we do different kind of investment. We invest in pharmaceutical, we invest in weapons and so on, just for him to feel relaxed of whatever.
[01:07:32] And then it just start blabbing out that it starts with weapons. And when he start to be hot, he ends up by telling about they had methamphetamine. For some people in Canada. Wow. And I was like, all right. Okay. That sounds interesting. And at this point, when we had been in Oslo, I kind of thought the movie was done because, I mean, you have to think about at this time, Ulrich, he had done that for seven years and Ulrich, he started just to prove that all this friendship association, there was something not right about it.
[01:08:09] After Oslo, we had to prove that, no, there's not, they're using this to get money from people in the West. to send to North Korea. So in my mind, the movie was kind of done. So I didn't give it more thoughts at this point.
[01:08:26] Jordan Harbinger: And Alejandro's pitch is like. What? Let's make methamphetamine or maybe we can sell some tanks.
[01:08:32] I mean, you're showing off as, you're showing up, I should say, as this investor. You're like, yeah, I'm an oil guy. We got to do something that's at least, what was it, like 50 million dollars or it's not interesting to my investors. I mean, you were really like laying your balls on the table, so to speak. And using your skills to make people feel safe, relaxed, really interesting.
[01:08:51] Jim Latrache: It's quite funny about this is 50 million you and it's really funny because this exact line, as you said before, that when I came out of prison, I was trying to raise money to do, uh, online coaching for kids in Africa. So. No matter where you were in Africa, you had access to the best teachers around the world in a digital platform.
[01:09:15] So while I was working on that. I was in at a Vesta meeting in London. I'm sitting in this Michelin restaurant. A front of me sits a kid, 25 years old, running this hedge fund, uh, in a 10, 000 pound suit, and I'm doing my whole thing on dance show, explaining my ideas and stuff like that, and he's just nodding.
[01:09:38] And then he said, Jim, I really love what you're doing. I must say, but I have to be honest with you. My minimum investment is 50 million euro. And I'm like, you mean your maximum? He said, no, my minimum. And at that point I thought that was the fucking most coolest shit I've ever heard in my life. How can you as 25 years sit down and throw that number?
[01:09:59] If it was like, Oh, you have to know it's 500 bucks. So I had to say to him, you have to explain this to an idiot like me. I mean, I don't understand those numbers. How are they so big? How can you say it like that? So no, it's easy. We invest two billions. a year. We just five people at the office. It's too many contracts.
[01:10:21] I remember at that point, I was like one day in my life, I would love to just sit back and throw out a number like that. Like it was that. And then, and then we come to this situation. It was like, okay, I just use it up there.
[01:10:39] Jordan Harbinger: This is the Jordan Harbinger show with our guest Jim LaTreche. We'll be right back. This episode is sponsored in part by BetterHelp. The holidays, while festive, can either bring out your inner Santa or the Grinch. What if amidst all the tinsel tangles you had a secret tool up your sleeve? BetterHelp can be that sprinkle of sanity in your eggnog, a dash of peace in your holiday pie.
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[01:12:50] So you're just taking this line that blew you away five years ago and throwing it out to this North Korean agent, and you know when you say it, this guy is going to have a reaction like, what? He's going to have the same reaction that you had those years ago, except he's going to go back and tell whatever, some arms dealer in North Korea un's people.
[01:13:12] And he's going to have the same reaction. That's so funny. You kept that in your pocket for, for years for this exact occasion. This
[01:13:19] Jim Latrache: is one of those gold card you just have for the right situation.
[01:13:24] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Wow. Okay. And then his eyes lit up, I would imagine at that point. Cause he just saw dollar signs. Oh yeah.
[01:13:29] Jim Latrache: Yeah. You, you, you can see he say, uh, five zero and then drink his water.
[01:13:39] Jordan Harbinger: What happens after that? Right? Cause it, it seems like You end up at some point going to North Korea because he brings that back up and drops that number probably to them, too. And they're like, wait a minute. We got to meet with this
[01:13:51] Jim Latrache: guy. As I said, in my mind, I thought this was it. The film was done. We have proven that.
[01:13:57] Then there's kind of radio silence from maths and stuff. And in my mind, I just thought, okay, we did that. At one point, they will come and say, oh, we have the film. It will come out. And so this was in May. 2016 and I think in August, coincidentally, I meet Matt in this town. So it's funny. I just talked here to the producer and we talked about, couldn't it be funny for you to meet him again and just see what's happening.
[01:14:25] If you say, yeah, yeah, I want to invest in this. Are you up for that? I'll say sure. So I'm going to Madrid with Ulrich and meet him again. And at this time, I'm saying I know some people in Yemen that's quite interested in this.
[01:14:44] Jordan Harbinger: In what, weapons and stuff from North Korea?
[01:14:46] Jim Latrache: Yeah. Wow. And as I said, I watched a lot of documentaries while I was in prison.
[01:14:52] A second time, because now... My brain become a sponge to learn shit. I remember I saw this documentary about Adolf Hitler. He had an ideas during second world war that he wanted to produce fake pounds. And fly them over London and drop them down to break down the British economy. And I thought that was a really great story.
[01:15:17] Really interested. It never happened, but he was really close to accomplish that. And I said, , I can use that story as well. So I'm, I'm, I'm,
[01:15:28] so I'm talking and say, okay, we have some people in Yemen. They're quite interested in the weapons. So. We can definitely find out of some business in that account. And the methamphetamine, they're quite interested in that as well. They have an idea to put it inside some plane, fly it over Tel Aviv and drop it down to up the youth.
[01:15:49] And he just loved that idea. And he said, Okay, the next time you have to go to North Korea and meet with the right people down there. Wow,
[01:15:58] Jordan Harbinger: that's fascinating. So you play the angle of let's make some money, but also let's screw up the West by doing this sort of cultural attack that maybe is deniable by them that they don't have to take responsibility for doing.
[01:16:12] And, your trip in North Korea, man, in the mall, the movie, it's so bizarre, right? You go to this disability center, you're going to this water park, and it's like, the stuff in North Korea, I've been there a few times, there's no white people, so when you're around normal folks, they either ignore you, like, they don't even see you, like you're a ghost, or they can't stop staring at you, and it creates a crowd.
[01:16:33] And it's got to be very odd, you walking around, even with your minders at a water park, because there's not a lot of tourists that go to these things, as you might imagine. No, no, I
[01:16:42] Jim Latrache: mean, I had real fun in that water park. So the thing is, one day we sit and drink. There's a lot of drinking out there. And the reason why there's that, in all business wise, because what does people do when they drink, they talk too much.
[01:16:58] But since I've been in the criminal syndicate for so many years, it's a dead thing to talk. The second thing is like, I'm 90 kilos now. Yeah,
[01:17:07] Jordan Harbinger: 200 pounds
[01:17:08] Jim Latrache: or something. They're like 50, 60 kilos. And you know, a lot of Asians... It's hard for them to break down alcohol,
[01:17:16] Jordan Harbinger: right? That's why they turn red
[01:17:17] Jim Latrache: sometimes.
[01:17:18] Exactly. So that in mind. So when we drank in the evening, I was good. And so one night we sit and have a lot of drink, a lot of sake. We have two agents that follows around all the places we go. And at this time is nothing that bothers me because it's minus 20 degrees Celsius outside. So you don't really want to go outside.
[01:17:38] So. It's not like, oh , they have to follow me. Why would we sit and drink in this Kyogi bar? And it's so bizarre because it's just me and the two agents alone in this Kyogi bar. Except two waitress in the bar. There's no guest. We're just sitting there alone and we sat there basically every night alone.
[01:17:58] So he picks up his phone and said, Oh, I have to show you the great leader. He had made this water park for a hundred million dollars. I will take you tomorrow and show it to you. What he doesn't know is that I love water parks. I just love it. I actually went to Dubai just because they have a water park, because I mean, The downside of a water park is like, you have to walk so many stairs to go up to the big slate.
[01:18:24] And I guess there must have been some sheiks down there who say, I'm not walking. So in Dubai, they have a water park where they shoot you up. And so I went down there, but this is just to explain how, how much I love water parks. So when he say, I want to show you, I'm saying, what are you talking about?
[01:18:40] You're going to show me. I want to try it. So what I want to try that one. Otherwise I don't want to go. So can he goes out, make some phone calls. I think perhaps Ulrich, he might think it's a little bit embarrassing because he didn't want to go. It was just me and one of the agents. And at this time, as you said, I hadn't been alone with any local people.
[01:19:01] And I thought to myself, I mean, how can I accomplish that without causing any kind of problems? So when we go to the water park, Ulrich and Kang, they go upstairs. Kang's English is actually quite good. But Mr. Lee, who went with me really poor. So when we go down to the changing room and I have to say, even after our standard, this water park was really nice.
[01:19:23] When we come down and we start to get undressed, I start to ask Mr. Lee some random question, like Mr. Lee, between you and me, where does the great leader lives? And he go, Oh, I cannot tell you. And I just come up with all kinds of stupid questions. So I just take a quick shower and then I jump into the water park.
[01:19:43] This is Sunday in the prime time and it's packed. And when I come in, I mean, my beer this time is even larger than now. I have tattoo on most of my upper body and it's just like silence. Like the whole water park. Everybody's just looking at like, what the heck is this Arab guy doing here? I mean, people are just losing their mind and I'm coming out and there's this like 25 meters pool and next to it there's sunbeds where people are just laying and I'm like, howdy man, and just go down, take a swim and when I come up, one of the agent is there, there's no panic or anything because they trust me at this point and then I see above his shoulder, there is this amazing water slide.
[01:20:31] And I have to say, I don't think he, this guy had been in a water park before there is like, you know, this rubber ring you can sit in, but there's one, so you can be two persons. So I just drag him under my arm. I mean, I think this guy's nearly 60, right? So I pull him and we go all the way up. I had, I sit down, put my legs good up, lean back, hold his legs.
[01:20:53] And in my mind, I thought, okay, everybody has tried a water park, so I didn't want to tell him any security things or anything. So we just said he forgot to hold on to the handles. Oh, no. So at one point we take a hop and this old North Korean guy just fly over my head. It was hilarious. So I had the time of my life and.
[01:21:18] I really wanted to go there because I would love to come home and say, I mean, okay, I did a lot of shit in North Korea, but I did something nobody can say they did. I did a water park. Yeah.
[01:21:29] Jordan Harbinger: It's such a ridiculous visual of this tattooed dude with a giant beard in North Korea with all these folks who've never seen a foreigner, many of them in their entire life in the flesh, like only just people in movies and not even foreign movies, domestic propaganda consumption only.
[01:21:45] And even then, it's rare. And there you are, just hanging out, tubing, at the water park. It's such a funny juxtaposition. How do you then continue making deals, right? You're drinking and they're, what, trying to get you to buy arms, weapons,
[01:21:59] Jim Latrache: meth? In the beginning, they're taking us on all kinds of tours, but we're not really getting the thing we were promised.
[01:22:09] So when there's like two days left, I think, okay, of security reason, I don't think they will let us back into North Korea. And I know like a lot of Asian, the first one to learn to know you and stuff like that. And I knew we didn't have that time. So I had to come up with something. So I talked to Kang one of the days, I say, listen, first of all, I want to thank you.
[01:22:32] I had a great time out here, but to be out here have cost me 200, 000 euro. For people to grasp that number I came up with, of course it's bullshit. But what people have to understand is that when you fly into North Korea, you fly into a black hole. Your phone stopped working. There's no internet. You cannot communicate with anybody outside.
[01:22:54] So if I had been the real Mr. James for one week, I wouldn't be able to do any kind of business. So that number is not totally insane. So I said to him, if we don't come up with something close to a deal at this point, I have to tell you, I'm not coming back. I literally cannot do that. And that's when things changed.
[01:23:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, so they start what, talking business, talking guns, missiles, and methamphetamine? I mean,
[01:23:26] Jim Latrache: they kind of shocked us because The next morning while we were eating breakfast, they say, okay, let's go. And at this point we've just been downtown. Like they wanted to show me because people are like, tell me about North Korea.
[01:23:39] That must have been horrible. This must have been this. And I'm like, no, that was exciting. Good food, beautiful places, because they wanted to show me a country in progress because they wanted me to invest in it. Right. They don't want to show me working camps and shit like that. They just wanted to me to show you me the absolute best.
[01:24:00] Took me to the best restaurant, the best shows. I went to see the opera like and the water park and stuff like that. So, I hadn't seen anything, and then suddenly we start to drive outside town, and suddenly the car turns into a ghetto area, and I'm like, hmm, could I have said something that had led them to think anything else?
[01:24:23] And the car suddenly stopped in front of a building that looked like something that should have been torn down ten years ago. Mm hmm. Uh oh. There's just dirt, and there's chicken, and you're like, This is so fucking bad.
[01:24:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you're thinking like, this is, we're gonna get killed here. Yeah. I must have slipped up on my cover or something somewhere.
[01:24:42] Jim Latrache: What keeps me a little hope is that I knew if they thought I was a spy, they would not kill me straight away. They would be the living crap out of me. To know what I knew so that gave me a little window on you. It's not like you're going down that stairs and then you get shot in the neck, you get down that stairs and then you go in and you will go into a room that looks something like the hostel where a guy with a leather sleeve and two knives will be waiting for you and with handcuffs and shit.
[01:25:12] And I took comfort in that because then I said, okay, if this is happening, what would be if I was Mr. James and if I had nothing to hide, how would I react in a situation like that? So I started to think about all the time that my wife had tried to piss me off. And find that anger. And I was like, okay, when you open that door, you will be angry and insulted.
[01:25:38] That's the slightest thing that can save you. And then we go down the stairs and I'd like, remember angry, not afraid, angry. And then we open the door and suddenly we are in a very beautiful restaurant. And I'm like, what the ? What is going on? What it turns out to be is that as paranoid as they are from people outside, they are as paranoid from the people inside as well.
[01:26:05] Because What people also have to know in North Korea, you don't decide where to live, it's decided from you. So, I mean, all the people who lives in Pyongyang is people that's very close to the system. And for the people who brings in a deal as big as the one that they thought I was coming with. that will change their life.
[01:26:29] So where they brought us had nothing to do with them not trusting us. They brought us to a place that were controlled by them, the people we were out with. So nobody else would steal me from them. I mean, not steal me like that, but like, People higher rank than them come in and take the deal off the hands because this could be a game changer in the lifestyle as the new it
[01:26:58] Jordan Harbinger: right.
[01:26:58] So they think, okay, this guy's going to bring a lot of money. If somebody gets wind of this, they're going to steal the deal. And I'm going to get cut out of this because I don't have enough power. So they want to lock it in while nobody else in another camp, another power broker. Another arms dealer, whatever it is, can do anything about it.
[01:27:18] And that's very classic with authoritarian regimes, right? There's a lot of cronies and there's this sort of top down management. And the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing by design, because you don't want to share anything, because if somebody else gets more, it means you get less, right?
[01:27:32] It's like a zero sum game.
[01:27:34] Jim Latrache: Yeah, and it also adds up, because when you see later on, I'm going to Beijing, the people out there, I think I'm in Beijing to talk about how to transfer weapons to Syria. And there, I basically have to start all over again because nobody have handed them over the whole situation and they're totally freaks out because I started talking about Syria.
[01:27:56] So the first day is like you have this whole class thing. Can we trust this guy? What's going on and stuff? And then they fly one of the other guys who was down in the basement with me. To Beijing the day after to verify, Oh, this is what we are about. And it happens quite frequently when we meet these people.
[01:28:16] They really, really keep information when they cannot meet me in person. If they send other people, they basically have no information.
[01:28:26] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. It's all compartmentalized. And you're meeting with these folks, either in North Korea or Beijing, and you're talking about, it's a little bit fuzzy, but was it setting up a fake aid organization to smuggle North Korean weapons into Syria?
[01:28:40] Was that kind of the premise of
[01:28:41] Jim Latrache: this? I mean, so, in the basement, if we rewind a little bit, in the basement in North Korea, The thing is to get weapons out of North Korea is way more dangerous than get cocaine out of Columbia. You have so many satellites and intelligence service watching that country.
[01:28:59] What North Korea do is they send a lot of North Korean outside the country for cheap labor. So doing that, it turned out it would be way easier to make a weapon factory in another place. And so the idea was they should come up with a place. And first it came out with Namibia. But due to the sanction, Namibia pulled in the plug.
[01:29:24] So they didn't want to touch North Korea at that time. And then they came with Uganda. So when they said Uganda, I starting to look at lands I could buy down there. I found a broker who dealt islands. And I remember I found an island in the Victoria lake. And I remember calling the producer and the director and said, I found a secret island in the Victoria Lake.
[01:29:51] I mean, nothing is more Dr. Evil from James Bond than that.
[01:29:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, man. And a secret island factory that makes weapons and methamphetamine is pretty much straight out of a spy novel. Yep.
[01:30:04] Jim Latrache: So I thought we'd go with that. So I started to negotiate and in the Legion, I was As you know it, four months in Djibouti in Africa stationed out there.
[01:30:14] And I know on that continent, if you want to do any kind of business and keep it, you have to have a silent partner from the government. So I already said that when I talked to the broker, that if this should fly, we needed to have a partner from the government in, and they said, no problem. So we had a sit down was quite interested about this is like, this is one of the part in the movie that's not even filmed with hidden cameras, because when we have this meeting, I'm saying to them, listen, I think all you say is incredible good, but I have to present it for my board and I have a camera man with me all ready to film the island.
[01:30:57] Let's film the meeting because then there's nothing of what you said I'm leaving out. And I just said, all right. And at this meeting, I'm saying, okay, I cannot tell you what are you using the island for, but I want a hundred percent privacy. And I want a permission that I can land Boeing 747 on the island and take off without customers look what's inside the plane.
[01:31:22] Oh my God. And they agreed to that. They could even provide customs. To sail around the island and make sure nobody interfered at what was going on.
[01:31:32] Jordan Harbinger: This is in Uganda? Yep. Wow. So they basically just agreed to be a completely illegal meth and weapons factory for the North Koreans for just purely for profit.
[01:31:43] Jim Latrache: Wow. And not only that, because it turned out that lived people on the island. Nobody had told me
[01:31:49] Jordan Harbinger: that. People lived on the island? Oh, so what were they going to do, just get rid of them?
[01:31:53] Jim Latrache: Yup. It was so bizarre. So, as I said, we didn't know there were people on the island. It didn't say that anywhere. So before the North Korean arrived, we had rented a boat with, uh, captains and stuff like that.
[01:32:08] And we were going out there with the real estate agent and the representative of the landowner. And we're standing near the lake and I'm talking to the captain. And I brought the producer, the producer of the movie, he's a reporter, and at this time, because I know nothing about journalism, and like, you know, ethics and stuff like that, and I knew in Uganda it would be kind of complicated, so I needed somebody I could answer, so he came with me.
[01:32:38] And as cover as my accountant, he was standing and talking to the representative of the landowner while I was talking to the captain. And at one point he comes over to me and he say, just for the record, the lifts people on the island. I said, okay, the representative of the landowner have told them that you are there to build a hospital.
[01:32:56] So what I said, that's pretty fucked up. Do you have a mic on? And he said, no, we need to have that on film. We need to have a recording of that. Otherwise, everybody else who will watch the film think we have put it up to get a nice setup. And suddenly, I mean, the fate of those poor people, it seemed like we just misused them to get a good story.
[01:33:20] Yeah. Oh, man. So we sail out there and the way we are welcomed is so crazy. And while I'm out there, I know in America, they don't know Tintin
[01:33:33] Jordan Harbinger: probably. Yeah, I've heard of it. I just, is it like a dog? No,
[01:33:36] Jim Latrache: no, Tintin. Cartoon? Tintin, because in Belgium, there's a famous cartoonist, like Asterix and Obelix. Yeah.
[01:33:43] And Tintin, he's an agent, a detective. Who solved some kind of crimes and stuff like that. There is a very discussed cartoon called Tintin in Congo. But I just looked down at myself or what kind of clothes I had on like, holy shit. I look like Tintin in Congo. And that was like what I thought when I was going into that island.
[01:34:07] And when we come towards the island, you have like hundreds of people. With music, welcoming the white messiahs who's going to build a hospital. It was so bad because like, one thing is that you fucking arm stealer, but here it's like, innocent people at some point is caught up in this lie. And I said to the producer, I would not confirm over these people.
[01:34:30] I'm there to build a hospital. And he said, just avoid that one. Just avoid it. Go around, see the island. Let's get the out of here. Let's get something on camera. And we go onto the island and then we got pulled off. I meet the mayor. I meet kids. And then we go into a church. And it becomes more and more bizarre, the representative of the landowner goes up and have the mess where he asked everybody to pray for me because I'm there to build a hospital.
[01:34:59] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God. And meanwhile, you're really, in theory, what's really going to happen is you're going to build an arms factory and a meth lab and kick everyone off their
[01:35:07] Jim Latrache: home. Yeah, we come to that because I'm sitting there and say, I need on fucking camera that this guy said that was his idea. So. When I'm out of that church, I'm just going to the captain and say, do you know any kind of five star resort on the coastline when we get back?
[01:35:25] I said, yeah, let's go there. And on the way I'm calling them and I reserve a meeting room where we can have a meeting, a book, a table in the restaurant. And I say to the guy, I really love the island. It seems really good. Let's have a follow up meeting. And then we go on dinner on my account. And when we are at that boardroom, I'm just saying, you told the people on the island, I'm there to build a hospital.
[01:35:52] Why? Just so we, it was really clear that this crazy idea didn't come from us. And he said that it's because it won't cause any friction. So they could start working on the island while getting people off. I see. Because as I understood it, I mean, They live there illegally because they're so poor, they just need some place to stay.
[01:36:16] But if they start to build houses in another way, you cannot just kick them off. So if they had any idea what was going on, then they will start to build in that way, and they couldn't get rid of
[01:36:27] Jordan Harbinger: them. Oh, I see. Since they were in more or less temporary circumstances, they figure, okay, we can tell them we're building a hospital, they won't know.
[01:36:35] We could even ask them to leave and say, oh, you know, we need you to leave temporarily while we build this hospital and then you can go back. And then they just won't ever let these people come back to the island. Jeez. And they're celebrating this. It must have felt so gross to have them celebrating this.
[01:36:48] Jim Latrache: But it's also proving to me, and I, I, and this is what I hope people understand when they see it, is that they're so open about this, that this is not a one time thing, this is just what's happening down there. The corruption, you mean? Yeah, yeah, because If we had an idea of by doing that, we would never let anybody have that on camera.
[01:37:09] We would have been like, okay, all phones out, all phones out. Okay, by the way, we are going to tell them this and this, this is going to happen. Right. To be so casual about it. I can imagine that the guy is a Christian man. And if you, as a Christian man, actually can stand in a church. And use your God's word while doing this, then in your mind, you're not doing anything wrong, not even close.
[01:37:37] Jordan Harbinger: is it just a complete sociopath and doesn't care? That's also possible. Yeah, take a pick. Yeah, man. So look, I know we're sort of running up on time here and the story has been amazing. People can find the rest of the story in our episode with Ulrich, The Mole, episode 527. I'll link that in the show notes as well.
[01:37:55] We'll put a trailer here in this one. But what was the final outcome of this, right? Obviously, there was no arms factory, there's no meth factory. But are you worried about the North Koreans coming after you? I know Alejandro is currently missing, the Spanish guy. He's basically on the run, his passport's been revoked by Spanish authorities, but he's in the Schengen EU area, right, so he could get out by train.
[01:38:16] Nobody seems to know where this guy is. Are you worried about people being upset with you? I mean, you're in a movie that clearly you raked North Korean intelligence and arms dealers over the coals in a public way. Does that bother you at all? Or keep you up at
[01:38:29] Jim Latrache: night? No, no, it doesn't. And I think the reason why it doesn't is because the North Korean have done what I kind of expected that would do is that they say this is propaganda.
[01:38:44] It never happened. I couldn't understand that because react on it would be way more embarrassing that a former chef and a former cocaine dealer have fucked over the whole regime. So just saying it, propaganda is what keeps us safe.
[01:39:02] Jordan Harbinger: That's true, right? If you end up dead as a result of North Koreans, then it gives credibility to the idea that a former chef and a former cocaine dealer ran their arms dealers around for months and months and months or years even and embarrassed the whole regime and got it all on camera.
[01:39:18] For mass consumption and I love them all I thought it was an amazing movie I hope it gets released in the United States soon because people keep asking me where they can watch it But it's just so ridiculous how these guys plan on telling you missiles and then they're gonna get to Syria and they're gonna drop methamphetamine in the cities in the West and ruin the civilization and it's like two dudes who are Essentially not even employed right like two unemployed dudes running through your water park and drinking at a restaurant and filming the whole thing for a documentary.
[01:39:52] It's just absolutely bananas. I think the MI6, former MI6 agent says at the end of the mole is one of the greatest civilian led intelligence operations that she's ever seen. Yeah,
[01:40:03] Jim Latrache: it was such a psychedelic rush.
[01:40:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I guess I can see what you mean. Like, were we ever in North Korea with arms dealers?
[01:40:11] Because that's weird. And I can't imagine that that really. was a real thing, but here's the photo.
[01:40:17] Jim Latrache: My wife knew everything I was doing. It was every time I'd been on a mission, I told her and explained her in details, but when the movie was in the editing room, I brought her to see it. It took us five hours because it was just, Can you pause it for a second?
[01:40:36] Mm hmm. What is that? And, uh, Can you pause that for a second? What is that? And she, in the end, said, You are insane. And it is mind blowing, it's just, it's really crazy, yeah.
[01:40:47] Jordan Harbinger: I know Ulrich's wife was not super thrilled when she found out that he was undercover as a North Korean Friendship Association dude, potential arms dealer, or hooking you up with an arms dealer.
[01:40:58] She was not thrilled about that whole adventure, either. Look, man, you've exposed a lot about North Korea and you've led a really interesting life from the French Foreign Legion to pretending to sell methamphetamine and missiles to the Syrian regime. But I also heard that someone hired you to take care of their kids out here as an au pair in Redwood City.
[01:41:19] Is that before or after your Coke dealer stint? That's before. Okay, that makes more sense. Yeah. Yeah. Thank God. I was like, how do they vet these people?
[01:41:27] Jim Latrache: That was before I came home from the Legion. And then I was just six months in Spain where I was a manager for a nightclub. And. And I thought that sounded exciting.
[01:41:37] Jordan Harbinger: To be a babysitter, basically. Yeah. A male nanny in a suburb of San Francisco. Well, man, you're full of surprises, Jim. I hope I get to meet you in person one day. And I really appreciate you coming on the show, dude. This is a hell of a lot of fun and a long time
[01:41:51] Jim Latrache: coming. Thank you so much.
[01:41:55] Jordan Harbinger: You're about to hear a preview of the Jordan Harbinger show with a retired chef that somehow infiltrated the illicit North Korean arms trade.
[01:42:02] Jim Latrache: There was a meeting where people can come and see how North Korea is the propaganda way. It was like three hours praising Kim Il sung by what he did for the country. When people ask me, how is it to go to North Korea? Well, it's quite difficult to describe because it's like your whole body is on overtime.
[01:42:22] You know you are being followed and what do I say and what do I do? How do I react to things? I'm going to the U. S. to meet up with a CIA agent. I was like, wow. And I find out how that agent thinks. One of the most important thing he taught me was to be a perfect mole or undercover agent is that you have to be 95 percent yourself and then 5 percent mole.
[01:42:47] The last 5 percent is the one who observe and I was really good to networking with people without people actually know I was networking with them. Everything was recorded. So I just literally took the pants down on the whole regime exposing their weapons program. It's a never ending story.
[01:43:06] Jordan Harbinger: For more on how Ulrich the Mole, a Danish chef and family man wound up working undercover in North Korea to expose its illicit arms trade.
[01:43:13] Check out episode 5 2 7 of the Jordan Harbinger show. Like I said, Jim has had a life, one of the most interesting guys I know, and I'm glad that I could introduce him to y'all. We didn't even get to him getting into it with a big time Jordanian smuggler, or meeting Mark Zuckerberg, or hanging out with Puff Daddy's crew and some bikers and some other businessmen.
[01:43:35] You know, part of this is just Coke dealer stuff. You just run into a lot of people not saying that Zuckerberg does Coke. Uh, he might be more interesting if he did, but that's a complete coincidence that I happen to mention these things together. I'm just gonna stop talking now. Jim was very clear that Instagram and he will answer questions if you want.
[01:43:54] I thought that was pretty cool. Guests have never really done that in my memory here. We'll link to that in the show notes, of course, along with all things Jim LaTrash, which will be over at jordanharbinger. com or just ask the AI chatbot on the website. Transcripts in the show notes, advertisers, deals, discounts, ways to support the show, all at jordanharbinger.
[01:44:12] com slash deals. Please consider supporting those who support the show. And yes, our newsletter, Wee Bit Wiser. Every week, the team and I dig into an older episode of the show. We take lessons and takeaways from it. If you are a fan of the show, and I assume you are, and you want a recap of important highlights and takeaways, something from the back catalog, maybe you want to know what to listen to next, the newsletter's a great place to do that.
[01:44:31] We're going to be doing giveaways on there as well. jordanharbinger. com slash news. is where you can find it. Don't forget six minute networking over at jordanharbinger. com slash course i'm at jordan harbinger on twitter and instagram you can connect with me on linkedin as well leave a note if you do this show is created in association with podcast one my team is jen harbinger jace sanderson robert fogarty millie ocampo ian baird and gabriel mizrahi remember We rise by lifting others.
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