I worked dope for fifteen years. I think the largest single seizure of marijuana the task force ever made was 1800 pounds. We assisted DEA in a 50 kilo cocaine seizure. I think we seized in excess of 5000 marijuana plants. Speed labs, I can’t count the number. Want to see the trophy pictures? Sorry, there aren’t any.
There is something inherently dishonest in press conferences where the seizures are laid out for all to see. Chances are none of the luminaries grinning for the cameras had anything to do with the investigation. They crawl out of the woodwork after the surveillance, undercover, buy bust or search warrant is over. You won’t see them with a gun in hand. Theirs is in the bottom drawer of their desk. Yet, there they are looking suitably heroic and brave.
I was charged with drafting the monthly report. The report detailed the amount of drugs seized. The report broke the seizures down to grams, ounces, pounds and kilos. It also established a price per unit. That ought to establish a norm and keep everybody honest.
Figures lie and liars figure. If we purchased a kilo of cocaine it was reported as a kilo seizure with a value of $15,000. The same kilo purchased by a neighboring task force would be reported as a 1000 gram seizure valued at $100 a gram or $100,000.
The closest we ever came to trophy hunting and posing for pictures was for the awarding of the bear. The bear came about because some kindhearted soul delivered about fifty stuffed animals to the task force. The theory being that we would give kids caught up in our enforcement activity a stuffed animal. Call me jaded, but I wasn’t sure that it was an equitable trade. “Hey kid we’re putting your parents in jail… have a stuffed animal.”
The bear got diverted from his peers and named the “dumb fuck bear.” The lucky Narc was awarded the bear after doing something particularly stupid. There it sat on the miscreant’s desk, until the next guy screwed up. Typically a token commemorating the screw up was attached to the bear. It wasn’t long before the dumb fuck bear was festooned with car keys and other tokens. Some of the more notable:
- A McDonald’s bag. Earned after the recipient took a raid team and two patrol cars through the drive thru to satisfy a “Big Mac” attack on the way to a search warrant.
- A pizza box, same recipient. He got hungry and ordered a Domino’s pizza to the curb where he was parked on surveillance. Domino’s filled the order because he was such a good customer.
- A toy gun, because the proud winner couldn’t find his real gun while suiting up for a raid.
- A Gator Aid bottle. (If invited to ride with a narc, NEVER drink yellow Gator Aid) or eat yellow snow. The winner ignored this rule. He claims he didn’t drink, witnesses claim he did. Still don’t get it?
- A paper bag. Our intrepid undercover took delivery of some marijuana packaged in a paper bag. Deal done, he drove off to meet his cover officer. While waiting at the meeting spot, the undercover got industrious and decided to clean out his car. He did such a good job he threw away the dope. His cover officer found him dumpster diving.
Like we say in Texas. “First liar hasn’t got a chance!”