Regional task forces can be a way to solve jurisdictional problems and deal with criminal networks that are no respecter of police boundaries. But they can also put a bunch of guys who have not trained together into Bulletsville, which is an outcome not to be wished. Take a look at this and see if you can count the errors:
The phone rang before sunrise. It woke Craig Patty, owner of a tiny North Texas trucking company, to vexing news about Truck 793 – a big red semi supposedly getting repairs in Houston.
“Your driver was shot in your truck,” said the caller, a business colleague. “Your truck was loaded with marijuana. He was shot eight times while sitting in the cab. Do you know anything about your driver hauling marijuana?”
Commandeered by one of his drivers, who was secretly working with federal agents, the truck had been hauling marijuana from the border as part of an undercover operation. And without Patty’s knowledge, the Drug Enforcement Administration was paying his driver, Lawrence Chapa, to use the truck to bust traffickers.
At least 17 hours before that early morning phone call, Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers – all of them taken by surprise by hijackers trying to steal the red Kenworth T600 truck and its load of pot.
This is great. The DEA recruits (i.e., busts and offers a plea to, probably) some low-level driver, and encourages him to steal his employer’s truck and use it to smuggle drugs, in one of those Underwear Gnome law enforcement master sting plans we keep hearing about.
When this lamebrained plan rather predictably came a cropper, with truck and snitch alike shot full of holes, it never occurred to the DEA to call the guy whose truck they had stolen.
But wait — let us put on the Ron Popeil persona — there’s more.
In the confusion of the attack in northwest Harris County, compounded by officers in the operation not all knowing each other, a Houston policeman shot and wounded a Harris County sheriff’s deputy.
The DEA’s untrained, half-baked task force not only missed the arrival of a rip crew, in the ensuing melee they not only missed the rip crew, they also failed to miss each other.
One hopes somebody holds those guys down and gives them a field vasectomy. Some people should not reproduce.
But wait — there’s even more.
After having stolen the guy’s truck, smuggling dope in it, and ticking off the whole shadow world of Mexican cartels, the DEA, the instigators of the whole mess, blew him off when he wanted the truck back, and repaired, and some protection. He managed to get the truck back but was on his own for plugging the bullet holes and restoring the shot-off bits. Read the whole thing.
Putting the perfect Keystone Cop capstone on this whole disaster is the rumor, circulating in Texas, that the guns used to ventilate the snitch and fire at the cops (who had their hands full shooting at each other) were supplied to the cartel by the ATF as part of its “gunwalking” program.
Even if you’re a Fed, stupid plans cannot produce brilliant results. And the sort of dishonesty in play here is what gets agencies and projects defunded.