Gringo My Life On The Edge As An International Fugitive

Gringo My Life On The Edge As An International Fugitive


Rated 4.95 out of 5 based on 88 customer ratings
(88 customer reviews)

During his ten year prison sentence, Dan “Tito” Davis penned a 700-page manuscript, which chronicled his thirteen year period on the run from the United States federal government. His writing provided a glimpse into staying alive and out of prison while mixing it up with major drug cartels in Colombia and Mexico; crossing the Darien Gap the worlds most dangerous passageway, sneaking into Germany, getting interrogated in Cuba, and building a resort in Venezuela the same time Hugo Chavez was calling President Bush “the devil” at the United Nations. And while Davis’s exploits were stunning, there was only one problem—he wasn’t a writer.

While living in a halfway house in Wyoming, Davis met with writer Peter Conti and quickly tapped him to “write his story the right way.” For a year the two worked diligently to turn Davis’s raw material into an action-packed memoir, which includes Davis’s life before he went on the lam—how he was making $200,000 a week in college manufacturing White Crosses (speed) and distributing them across the country via the Bandidos motorcycle gang; when he was trafficking thousands of pounds of high grade pot through tunnels and on horse trailers; and how he was set up by his childhood friend.

Published by Full Court Press, under the direction of Barry Sheinkopf, Gringo is a must-read for those looking for what life is really like on the run.

88 reviews for Gringo My Life On The Edge As An International Fugitive

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    USA Today

    This is an adventure, a travel memoir, albeit one viewed from the vantage point of the criminal underworld. Which makes it unique.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5


    Dan “Tito” Davis grew up in a family of seven in South Dakota. After years of dealing drugs; time spent in prison; two marriages and a whole lot of living in between Tito was set up on false drug charges by a long time friend. Faced with 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit Davis went on the run for 13 years avoiding federal law enforcement across multiple countries and continents. Black-bagged in 2007 while living in Venezuela (extradited without an agreement with the country) Tito served 105 months in prison. He was released in 2015 and now lives in Key West, Florida where he is part of the local writer’s guild and enjoys fishing, playing pickleball and bicycling around town. GRINGO is his first book.

  3. Rated 4 out of 5

    Own Hamill

    Born in South Dakota, Dan “Tito” Davis, along with co-writer Peter Conti, initially attempts to portray himself as an average kid. “Looking back at it,” he tells the reader, “I’m not proud of my behavior, but I wasn’t the first, nor will I be the last, twenty-year-old who got some help from his parents to start a business.” The difference, however, is that Tito’s just borrowed ten thousand dollars to expand his drug business so that he can continue supplying large quantities of White Crosses, first to his buyers in South Dakota, then later across much of the Southwest when he goes off to college at UNLV. After moving on from White Crosses, now involved with meth, he’s set up, and, rather than stick around and insist on his innocence, he flees to Mexico, leaving behind a wife and child.

    The story of Tito’s life works best when he’s on the move, both because the peripheral details of his escape enliven the story and because it forces Tito to reflect on what he’s lost. Luckily, he never rests for long. In San Cristobal, Mexico, he meets Carlos, a fellow American on the run whose stories, Tito complains, “made absolutely no sense.” Tito wonders if this was because Carlos “had made up so many lies trying to reinvent himself along his journey that he no longer seemed like a real person.” Tito worries he’ll turn out the same way. There’s an acute sense here that Tito may lose himself long before he ever loses the feds and that losing himself won’t help him escape. This is driven home while on vacation in Cancun with his Venezuelan love, Mary Luz, who knows nothing about his fugitive status: “This begged the question: was I really the man she’d fallen for? How could I possibly be, when that man would never do such a thing to her?”

    And while Tito’s jam-packed life is always fascinating, at times it actually acts as the book’s Achilles heel. Eager as Mr. Conti and Tito are to recount his entire life on the lam, they occasionally get ahead of themselves, teasing future events before promising to revisit them later in more detail. This approach backfires in perhaps the book’s tensest section, when Tito, still evading U.S. authorities, boards a plane to Germany with a layover in Miami in order to win back Mary Luz, abroad at university. His passage through customs is treated as fraught with potential detection and arrest, as it must have been at the time, but if readers aren’t on the edge of their seat, it’s because we were told a few chapters prior that Tito and Mary Luz eventually marry. As they churn through Tito’s life, the co-authors do touch on a wide range of bigger-picture topics, from rates of recidivism to prostitution, although they don’t always fully flesh them out. Oddly, though, this comes as a relief, because they don’t distract too much from Tito himself. Relentless and riveting, neither Tito nor the book ever stop to catch their breath.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Ingrid cisne

    Fantastic Read!!! Breath taking action!!

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Cat Lee

    Probably the most action-packed book I have ever read. Thrilling, well-written. Wow!

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Mary Mack

    I couldn’t put this book down. It will make an incredible movie. This is the true story of Dan Davis who grew up in Pierre, SC doing what kids did back in the 60’s, played sports, hiked, hunted, fished and helped out on the family farm. The internet and video games didn’t exist and neither drugs nor gangs had come to Pierre. The world opened up for Dan when he went to college. He found drugs, became an entrepreneur in that business, making millions of dollars a month, living a lavish lifestyle including owning multiple homes and his own fleet of planes.

    In his 30s Dan’s life takes a twist when the DEA catches up with him for a crime he says he didn’t commit. He crunches the numbers: years in prison (if he survived), fines, leaving his family vs. leaving the country. He makes the decision to take the train to Mexico and his life on the run begins.

    The book follows him through Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Cuba over fifteen years. He meets up with old friends he had meet in while in prison years ago and they help him with connections to legitimacy. As a fugitive he sometimes lives life in the slums and sometimes in grandeur, he encounters gangs in slums, sees friends and children murdered in front of his eyes, navigates being a person without a legal passport and papers in Mexico (The irony which is not lost on him). His travels take him through countries and regions where it’s hard to tell the legal police or Federales from the gangs. In one section of the book he lists some of the dangers he faced “jungles with disagreeable wildlife, impenetrable swamps, crazed drug traffickers, pissed off guerrillas, greedy kidnappers, paranoid government police.”

    The book moves very fast. Dan with Peter Conti is able to provide glimpses into the lives of the people in these countries. Most who lived in abject poverty, in places where if you had running water at home you were considered wealthy, and who would do whatever work they could to provide for their family. Dan who came from a poor farm family in South Dakota but became used to an extravagant lifestyle is amazed that people can live on so little and yet be so happy. He describes a bus trip where the bus stopped to let a woman off so that she could deliver twins by the side of the road. His walking through town one Christmas Eve and comes across a family who living on the street curb and they invite him to share their meager Christmas dinner.

    This is thrilling quick read that proves the adage that “life is stranger than fiction.”

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Sandra Burns

    What an interesting read! This guy went all over the World. Made money, had wives, and found ingenious ways to survive. However, he did get caught in the end.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Linda Vuono

    It’s amazing what one could do in the 80’s and 90’s in terms of entreprenureal opportunities – even in a different country.
    I found this accounting of “Tito’s life on the run to be interesting and also very scary. Most people would have thrown in the towel long before they even made it into Mexico but this guy had a lot of hutzpah!

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