Undercover narcs are an odd bunch. Nobody gets ordered to do the kind of work they do. They apply for it, have to be interviewed, have their work backgrounds reviewed, and if they’re lucky get to spend countless hours away from their families, looking like something the cat dragged in, and then watching as the brass announce the great work the “agency” did with quantities upon quantities of drugs, money, and guns displayed on the TV news.
Craig Conroy and Dickie Gleason were two of the lucky ones. They kind of found one another. They were both from different but neighboring agencies. Both were experienced narcs and had just been assigned to a county-wide narcotics task force. They were both known for their solid work ethics, their uncompromising honesty and integrity, their willingness to throw away their wrist watches when following a lead, and their ingenuity.
It was the ingenuity part that came into play one afternoon in a rundown section of this upstate N.Y. city, specifically a housing project known as Franklin Square. Dickie and Craig had managed to penetrate a large scale marijuana operation. Their leads brought them to Franklin Square one afternoon with the promise of some “weight” from a guy they had already purchased several ounces of weed from the week earlier; a guy known only as Rodney “The Dude.”
According to Rodney, he had a connection, an out-of-towner he called “The Jamaican,” who had some red-tip weed he was willing to let go for $800/lb. But this “meet” was only going to be an intro. At the designated time, a long white stretch Cadillac limo pulled up to Rodney’s location driven by a very large male. The limo’s driver, when fully extracted from the front seat, which took about 10 minutes, stood all of 6’7”and had to weigh 365 pounds. Mr. “Mt. Everest” proceeded to open the rear door from which a pint-sized replica of Bob Marley alighted.
Counting Rodney, the odds were quickly mounting in the dopers favor, and Dickie and Craig were getting a little concerned. Negotiations went favorably and the diminutive Jamaican reported that he actually had a “key” in the trunk of the limo that he’d let go now for the discount price of $1,500. While this seemed like a good deal, Dickie and Craig only had about $250 between them. After informing “The Jamaican” that the price might be acceptable, they told him they’d like to see the product first. Reggae Bob then sent Mt. Everest out to the limo and within two minutes, Mr. Everest came back carrying a kilo of weed in his huge hand like a loaf of bread.
“Can I see you for a minute, Dickie?” said Craig. “Look, we‘ve got about $250 on us. I see three options here. Behind Door Number One we have make a run for it. Behind Door Number Two has tin ourselves and lock these dudes up now for possession with Intent to sell since we don’t have $1,500. And behind Door Number Three is rip ‘em off and shoot our way out. Your call, Batman.”
“Okay,” Dickie said. “Give me all your money and just follow my lead. When I give you the go ahead, we’ll lock ‘em up.”
Craig gave up his cash and went out momentarily to check on Rodney and Mt. Everest while Dickie and “The Jamaican” went into the kitchen to conduct business. After checking on Rodney, Craig joined Dickie and Mr. Marley in the kitchen. What follows next will go into the annals of drug arrest history.
Dickie took out his wad of cash, a mixture of $5s, $10s, and $20s, and counted out about $200, putting the stack on the kitchen counter in front of Mr. Jamaican. When he had a nice stack in front of the pint-sized dope dealer, Craig picked up the stack pretending to straighten out the pile of bills nice and neat but secretly passed them behind his back to Dickie. When Dickie’s count reached close to $250, Craig handed him another wad of bills and Dickie resumed his count. This little flim-flam continued until Dickie’s count reached $1,500. But when Mr. Jamaican looked at the pile, it sure didn’t look like $1,500 was on the counter.
“Wait a minute, Mon” said Mr. Jamaican. “Let ME count it dis time.”
“Sure, no problemo,” said Dickie as he reached for the stack. “I’ll help.”
Suddenly, a ham-sized hand slammed down on the counter and both Dickie and Craig realized that Mt. Everest, who was supposed to be out in the other room with Rodney had been watching this little behind-the-back operation. In the blink of an eye, both Craig and Dickie pulled their pocket pieces and announced: “Police. You’re under arrest! Down on the ground, now!”
When Rodney came running in, he was also proned-out. Craig then used the kitchen phone to call in “officers needs help” which prompted a quick response. When it was all said and done, Kevin “The Jamaican” McNeil, one of the biggest pot dealers in western N.Y.; his body guard, Leroy “Mt. Everest” Carswell; and Rodney “The Dude” Lanier were all booked on felony drug sale charges. Another 14 keys of pot were found in the trunk of the stretch limo.
Unfortunately, Craig and Dickie’s $250 was vouchered as evidence. They went back to the Task Force Office with no money in their pockets but with a nice feeling of satisfaction in their heads.
We were up on a wire on one of our local dealers. It was a task force op with DEA in the lead. One of our target’s underlings was handling business in a town about 150 miles away in another state. DEA subpoenaed the underling’s phone records but somehow forgot to include language in the subpoena that prohibited the carrier from notifying the customer about the subpoena. They notified him and he called our target with news of the letter. Our target’s suggestion? “You need to get one of these things I have that tells you if your phone is tapped” Yea, good idea.
The same target was using his GF’s mother to make deliveries. During phone calls they talked in code about weights. You know, in case the phone was tapped. Mom was a little slow one the uptake and asked for clarification during one call. The target explained everything and told her, “In the future use only these codes in case they’re listening” . Thank you, very much.
Reminds me of something that a couple of guys might have done in the 70s. What was that number again? 704? 706? 🙂