I lived a double life for a decade. I have now been away from that life for more than a decade and feel (a little) more comfortable talking about it.
Not long after I left military service, I went to work as a patrol officer in a suburb of Seattle. When I thought the best years of my life were the years in the Marines with the best group of people that I ever met doing amazing things, I entered a different sort of life with more great people doing amazing things in police work.
Side note: I worked with idiots too, both in the military and police world, and in both cases, they were the ones who put my life in danger more than any criminal or enemy ever could.
Here’s my police career in a nutshell. I was in patrol for a few short years, which included riding a bicycle. Don’t laugh. Bike Patrol was AWESOME! Not being responsive to a radio allowed me to run amuk around town and find some dangerous criminals, some of the worst sort. I did other things too on a part time basis, like SWAT, use-of-force instructor, and things like that.
Then I applied to be a narcotics detective!
I didn’t get selected. Someone else got it.
So, I waited until for the next opening and applied again. This time, I got it.
That is when shit started going south, as they say. In less than 2 years, my partner and I seized more dope than the entirety of my drug unit seized in the past 20 years. We seized that much more cash too. And that many more cars too. Later seizures included a semi. And a plane. And boats. All with the arrests and cases to back it up. I was doing undercover buy busts, buy walks, meet and greets, surveillance, and everything else you can imagine with “crack heads”, “cranksters”, and all sorts of dealers. I was buying kilos of cocaine, working the DEA, FBI, USSS, ATF, and other alphabet soup agencies, all while being a little city PD detective…
In two years, I was in a state task force and working bigger cases. For those who understand how teams work, this task force was in a perpetual state of “storming”, so that sucked in more ways than you can imagine. Incompetence was the norm and on no less than a dozen occasions I was in more fear of being killed by incompetence of police than the criminal organizations that I infiltrated.
Two years later, I was drafted to a federal task force that virtually took the types of cases that I had started in my state task force and turned it into a laser-focused-federal objective. I’ll get into that with more detail sooner or later. During the next years, which turned out to be my final years in law enforcement, I traveled nationally and internationally doing undercover work with outlaw motorcycle gangs, Asian organized crime, and Mexican cartels. I was running informants across the country, initiated a dozen OCDETF cases on my own that were eventually managed by DHS, ICE, FBI, DEA, and the IRS.
I worked undercover for foreign agencies, one of which, again, had not only incompetence, but corruption with the very international criminal organization that I was undercover in….
Dozens of stories of having a gun stuck in my gut, followed home, investigating high level organizations where the children of my targets were in the same classroom as my kids, nearly being shot mistakenly by police, and getting the “once you are in, you are never getting out” talk by those that I was investigating while undercover all led me to getting into digital forensics. I figured a computer would never kill me...
My double life involved my wife and kids. Now, my wife is amazing. She was a Marine wife. An army wife. And a cop’s wife. Growing up, my kids were amazing (they are even more amazing now!). My double life had me a husband and father at home, while at “work”, a drug dealer, and an arms dealer, and a human trafficker, and a hitman, and a money launderer, and a trafficker in stolen cars, and a smuggler, and eventually, involvement in “national security-type” investigations, that involved other types of assoCIAtions. I trained my wife and kids in reacting to danger, reacting to me being confronted in public by criminals, and other reactions that families shouldn't have to be exposed to learning.
The point of this story
After being asked more times than I remember to write these stories down, I finally decided to podcast them. I am starting with some cases a little distant to me, and only the ones where someone was convicted. There are plenty of non-convicted criminals that I investigated but never filed the cases for one reason or ten others. For them, I hope they all turned a corner and are living an honest life. Some however, I know never will.
My podcast is behind a paywall because I’m a bit of a paranoid person, and if someone wants to hear these stories…well…I’d rather keep the audience a little smaller than the entire planet.. If you are interested, I'll be on Patreon. I'm even going to do some live video chatting to talk about things that I don't want to put down on paper or in a podcast...the cool thing about these stories is that only one is under an NDA :) The really funny thing is that you won't be the only ones hearing these stories for the first time, because my wife and kids will be hearing them for the first time too. Little did they know that not only could daddy help mommy with housework, but he was flying armed and partying with people who killed people for a living.
Update: Some former and current narc buddies want to write a book with me about undercover work. With that, no time for a podcast as I'll trade podcast prep time with writing time!