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SELLING DOPE TO THE BAD GUYS
Uvalde area law enforcement were on the cutting edge of selling seized dope to the bad guys and then seizing their money and re-seizing the dope to be sold again...
I was assigned to the Uvalde Station of the United States Border Patrol for 13 years. We worked closely with the local law enforcement officers especially the Uvalde Police Department. I have very fond memories of working with such officers as Don Brown(RIP), Gary Greenhaw(who I very much enjoyed riding with!) Russell Hancock(To CBP), Barbara Lowe, Gilbert Castro, Johnny Longoria(to Border Patrol), Tommy Gill(To DEA), Mike Anderson(To Border Patrol) and a host of other officers!
Back in the late ‘80s and ‘90s the Uvalde PD was at the forefront of a very different way of combatting the flow of narcotics through the South Texas area. It was also very, very, very financially lucrative for the conducting department!
Their investigators would sell dope, seized previously by their department, to the bad guys and then seize the money. And when I say money I don’t mean like a thousand dollars…NOPE, they would sell their seized narcotics back to the bad guys for tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars and MORE! Then they would seize the money, arrest the bad guys and eventually sell those same drugs over and over again.
When I worked with DPS LE Trooper Otto Arnim on a operation alliance detail, I had the pleasure to meet one of these informants. He was a big, boisterous man who went by a name equivalent to Harry Joe(Changed). Harry Joe looked like a hick but OMG he was good. He was from deep south and had moved to Texas and his ONLY job was selling dope to the bad guys for law enforcement for which he received a 10 percent cut right off the top! Doesn't sound too lucrative until you realize that he was making several $100,000 deals a year!!!
The Uvalde PD for some reason liked to use an area just outside of Sabinal for their final meetings. Their inside man would go through all the preliminary steps and set up for a trade of usually a hundred pounds of marijuana or more to an “investor.” They would meet at a designated spot, such as the cemetery and would exchange the dope for the money. Then, once the bad guys would drive off, a huge contingent of law enforcement would swoop in, arrest the bad guys and re-seize the dope! They could sell the same packages of dope several times!
It wasn’t just them though. While I was working with DPS Trooper Otto Arnim on an Operation Alliance Detail, we were involved in the seizure of $100,000. Their investigators had sold dope to the bad guys, allowed them to drive off with the dope and then Otto and I and several other LE Officers had stopped the suspect’s vehicle and arrested them. It was just a little exciting to be the lead on such a traffic stop. That was a lot of money to see and I remember perfectly Otto and I standing in awe as we watched it being counted.
But when you deal with such big amounts of money there are risks…ONE huge risk was that of violence. The brother of a Border Patrol Agent assigned with me at the Uvalde Station, a detective with a neighboring law enforcement agency, was murdered in one of these sell-bust operations when the bad guys ambushed them.
Another risk was that of corruption and sadly we saw that in Uvalde too as they had a detective that eventually was arrested by the Feds….There were several articles in the Uvalde Leader News over a couple year period on missing dope. I remember one of their explanations was that the weight differences was due to shrinkage…Hmmmmmm.
When an agency seizes money like that, they are restricted in how they could use it but generally it was allowed to be used for anti-narcotic activities such as new guns, radios, vehicles, etc….
All of such monies and the accounting of such is public record. While attending Sul Ross for an MBA, we had been working on public records and how to audit them. I happened to be called to jury duty at the Uvalde County Court House and during an extended intermission I went down to the county clerk and asked to see their records. I started to search for monies seized by Uvalde County but couldn’t find them. So, I asked a clerk about them. She was stunned by my question. I said that they were public record and she finally acquiesced and showed me where they were.
Well, I’m perusing numbers well over a hundred thousand, trying to figure out what they had been used for when, all of a sudden the Chief Deputy for Uvalde County, Arnulfo Alonzo, came into the room I was in. The CLERK HAD CALLED THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE BECAUSE I WAS LOOKING AT PUBLIC RECORDS!!!!! I still remember his surprise and immediate strange look he had when he saw it was me, one of the Border Patrol Agents that worked the area. He asked me WHY I was looking at the records. I told him I was attending Sul Ross for a MBA and was curious. He said that it was very strange for someone to ask about those records. I countered with, “Aren’t they public record?” He said yes but said he’d rather I didn’t do any more research on those records!!!! I was like, ‘But they’re public record…”
I went back to the Border Patrol Station and told some of my peers about my run in…they joked in a serious manner that I’d better be careful or I’d be put on a hit list for looking into those records…