Prison Memoir Details Arizona Sitdown with Gravano's Crew

Shaun soon counted mobsters, Aryan skinheads, bikers, transvestites and assorted other colorful criminals as among his friends.
"English Shaun" awaits trial in Maricopa County jail.

"The first time I discussed business with members of Sammy the Bull’s crew, I brought along one of the notorious Rossetti Brothers, who also worked security for me."
--Shaun Attwood, Hard Time

Shaun Attwood is a Brit who came to America, Arizona specifically, to seek his fortune -- he accomplished that and a whole lot more, but his story didn't end there.

Busted via a predawn SWAT raid as if he were a cartel boss, he spent years in one of America’s toughest jails—the one run by the self-described toughest sheriff in America, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County.

Shaun soon counted mobsters, Aryan skinheads, bikers, transvestites and assorted other colorful criminals as among his friends.

You may know about Shaun via his superb blog, Jon's Jail Journal, where he detailed his experiences while on the inside. He also was the focus of an episode of Locked Up Abroad.

If you've watched Making a Murderer you should know that Shaun Attwood is now an advocate for prison reform. He's been doing groundbreaking work in the Steven Avery case. If you Google his name, you will see the widespread impact of his labors. As noted on Decider, one of the more recent issues is Teresa Halbach's death certificate:

New evidence connected to Netflix’s docu-series, Making a Murderer, has been released to the public, and just like everything else in this case, it’s confusing. As reported byUproxx, Teresa Halbach’s death certificate has been obtained through Freedom of Information requests, and it’s a complete mess of contradictions. You can look at the certificate yourself at .... 

If you want to explore this more, Shaun Attwood, a British prison rights advocate, has broken down all of the inconsistencies in Halbach’s death certificate. The video was originally pointed out by Bustle.....

The American version of his book, "Hard Time: Life with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in America's Toughest Jail," was published in 2011 (I'm acknowledged in it, along with a multitude of others).

"English Shaun" as he was called in the press, was considered a drug lord who was much more intelligent about what he was doing than his key competitor, Jimmy Moran (aka, Sammy the Bull Gravano.)

The excerpt below is entirely true. Anyone who doubts it, I advise they peruse the web, do their own research. If Shaun were Italian and in New York, I believe one of the Five Families would've instantly recruited him. Or killed him.

Visual depiction that's not Shaun Attwood.
From New Times story.

This is from a 2002 report by the Phoenix New Times:

Arizonans are by now familiar with Sammy "the Bull" Gravano's exploits as leader of an ecstasy ring, which he ran with the help of his son Gerard and a group of thugs called the Devil Dogs, until his arrest in 2000. Few, however, are familiar with Gravano's contemporary — and, some would say, competitor — English Shaun, and the organization he reportedly referred to as "the Evil Empire." Investigators from city and federal agencies who have been tracking English Shaun since January 2000 now charge that for years he piloted a syndicate of drug importers and distributors that supplied the bulk of ecstasy in the early days of the Valley's rave scene, and eventually branched out to include meth, pharmaceuticals, designer drugs and marijuana. In the process, it made English Shaun an urban legend in the rave underground. 
In May, "English" Shaun Attwood and 12 of his alleged associates were arrested and indicted for a sum of 155 felony violations, including conspiracy, participating in a criminal syndicate, and illegal enterprise. Attwood denies all the charges against him and has pleaded not guilty. 
Since the arrests, the legend of English Shaun has flourished in clubs and private parties, and the stories told on the streets these days are elaborate rehashings of antics that crescendo with each retelling, tipping the scales of freak. Rumors of guns, strippers, threats, superstar DJs and enough drugs to kill a herd of elephants. They peak with tales of outrageous parties and heavenly bills, and end with the bald-headed Englishman chained at the legs and wrists in court, staring at nothing, as attorneys discuss what remains of his supposed empire.

Sammy the Bull had the name, and his ride on the ecstasy merry-go-round made headlines around the nation when the former hit man was arrested. The drug, and the rave scene that favored it, had sprung up seemingly out of nowhere. The quantities of pills he brought into the Valley at the time were unheard of. But law enforcement sources now agree that while Gravano had muscle and flash, he was no English Shaun. Gravano lacked Shaun's intelligence, organization, and diverse array of products, they say. They also claim that Attwood easily moved millions of dollars' worth of meth, ecstasy, pharmaceuticals and marijuana through parties and raves in the Valley over the past few years, and they are careful to qualify that estimate as conservative. English Shaun was bigger, in other words, than Sammy the Bull. ....

The excerpt below involves how he first met with one of Gravano's key crew members. This was years after Gravano was released from prison for testifying against the New York Mafia:

In the Ecstasy market, I had run-ins with gangsters such as Sammy the Bull, my main competitor.

Yes, this Sammy the Bull.....

The first time I discussed business with members of Sammy the Bull’s crew, I brought along one of the notorious Rossetti Brothers, who also worked security for me. Outside of the meeting place, Heart 5 in Tucson, I drank some GHB, which had the effect of making me fearless. I said to Rossetti, “While I talk to Spaniard, make sure you’re always somewhere you can pull your gun in case they try to kidnap me. I’m not going to start any shit, but who knows how big a crew he’s with or what might happen.”

“No problem. If they try anything, I’ll open up on the motherfuckers.”

I was at the bar when a six-and-a-half-foot man with blond spiky hair and biceps as broad as my neck tapped me on the shoulder. “I’m Mark, Spaniard’s partner. He wants to see you in the VIP area.” 
“OK, Mark.” I shook his hand and followed him.

“Glad you came, English Shaun,” said Spaniard, a well-groomed Hispanic. “Mark, clear that sofa so we can all sit down.”

Mark yelled, “You need to move, so we can sit down!” The people on the sofa jumped up.

To the side of us, Rossetti slipped into the VIP area.

As I sat down between the two of them, the GHB jolted my brain. It made me playful and crazy. Like my grandfather used to do to me, I squeezed their legs just above the knee, and said, “So what’s this all about?”

They were taken aback for a few seconds, then Spaniard laughed, and said in a friendly voice, “Look, we know you’re doing your own thing. You’ve got a lotta people working for you. As do we. It would be best if we worked together rather than be enemies.”

“What’re you proposing?” There are not many things in the world more reckless than an Englishman on GHB, yet I could always negotiate business shrewdly no matter how high I was.

“We’re getting a lotta pills, and we figure we can give you a better price than what you’re paying.”

“You don’t know what I’m paying. I’m familiar with your pills, and I don’t think the quality is there. I’m getting European pills. None of the coloured pills you guys are getting.”

“Who the fuck do you think you are talking shit about our pills?” Mark yelled.

Because of the GHB, Mark didn’t scare me. I viewed him as a monster, but a funny one with a little brain.

“Hey, Mark, calm down,” Spaniard said.

“Do you have any idea who Jimmy Moran is?” Mark said, fuming.

“No,” I said.

“Sammy the Bull,” Mark said. “That’s who we work for. One call to him and we can have you taken out to the desert.”

I was aware of Sammy the Bull from the news. He’d been a hit man for the Gambino Crime Family run by John Gotti a.k.a. “The Teflon Don.” Later on, he became an FBI informant, confessed to killing nineteen people, and helped the Feds put The Teflon Don away for life. Still, looking at those two in their leopard-print polyester shirts, I assumed they didn’t have as much power in Arizona as my associates in the New Mexican Mafia. I glanced at Rossetti. The look on his face said, Should I shoot that lunkhead or what?

Almost imperceptibly, I shook my head at Rossetti.

“There’s no need to say all that,” Spaniard said. “Forgive Mark, Shaun. He gets upset real easy. He’s a bit of a hothead.”

“I have no problems with you guys, but I really don’t care who you work for. You just moved in. Over the years, I’ve made friends with a lot of locals,” I said, playing it like a gangster.

“I hear you,” Spaniard said, implying he knew of my connections. “But what if we can get you a better price on pills, would you be interested?”

“I appreciate the offer, guys, but no thanks. And here’s why: before you guys moved into Ecstasy, the police pretty much ignored us. Now your runners are going around bragging they’re the biggest Ecstasy barons in the world. That’s brought considerable heat to the scene. And I’m not saying this to put you guys down, but to give you a heads-up on what’s happening. Every weekend at the raves, we’ve got undercover cops and vehicles hanging around. We’ve got undercover vehicles taping who’s going in and out of the raves, and driving through the parking lots taping licence plates. It’s no coincidence that the police moved in shortly after you guys. It’s not each others crews we need to beware of, it’s the cops.”

“What about your security team?” Spaniard asked.

“What about it?” I asked.

“Will our runners have problems with your security guys jacking their pills?”

“I don’t want to start a war with you guys. If my security grab someone, and we find out they’re part of your crew, we’ll let them go. Ecstasy’s so hard to get and the demand so high, there’s enough of a market for us to coexist. But if I tell my security not to jack your runners, I don’t expect any problems from you guys for my runners in the Scottsdale scene.”

“Sounds like a good agreement,” Spaniard said, and shook my hand.

Years later, when I became friends with Sammy the Bull’s son, Gerard Gravano, he said he’d headed a crew dispatched to kidnap me from The Crowbar in Phoenix. Wild Man and his girlfriend had fought that night, so we had to leave the club in a hurry. That’s why the Bull’s crew just missed us.