Samuel Leibowitz comes from a strict, Hasidic orthodox Jewish community in London. Forced into an arranged marriage which quickly fails, Sam decides to start afresh in Antwerp, Belgium, and goes to work in the local Hasidic community as a greengrocer. A new friend offers Sam a free holiday in Brazil and on his return, he is asked to take a package back for his friend. It turns out to be cocaine. Sam has never heard of it, but is intrigued when he learns how much profit there is in drug dealing. He decides to get involved and his traditional clothing and hairstyle make him almost invisible to customs officers who assume he is strictly religious. Soon he emigrates to the heart of the business, Brazil, and finds himself working with another Hasidic Jew-the local kingpin, known only as the Godfather. Exporting hundreds of kilos of cocaine, the pair makes money-a lot of money. But other gangs in Sao Paulo put pressure on the enterprise, and while Sam embraces the high-life, escalating gang violence and an attempt on Sam's life lead to the fracturing of the business. But before he can retire, young Sam is arrested and sent to one of the deadliest prisons in the world, Carandiru. Surrounded by chaos and evil, Sam manages to stay out of trouble until one day he is threatened with a knife.