“The DEA is running neck-and-neck with the ATF for the title of most dangerous federal law-enforcement agency; in my view, both should be dissolved and their responsibilities handed over to some more responsible party, such as a group of drunken rodeo clowns or ADD-addled teen-agers.” That’s National Review blogger Kevin D. Williamson’s reaction to one of the DEA’s latest War on Drugs capers that, oh-by-the-way got a cooperating truck driver killed while they used a trucking company’s equipment without its permission…resulting in six figures in damages. The media’s calling it a botched sting (gosh, where have we heard that before?). The DEA calls it just another Monday . . .

According to chron.com, Craig Patty’s small trucking firm hauls sand for companies engaged in hydraulic fracking operations for oil and gas exploration. He thought his driver, Lawrence Chapa, and his truck were were in Houston for repairs. Turns out the driver had been a long-time DEA informant and was hauling a few hundred pounds of weed from the border.

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.

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.

Sounds like the DEA’s running a real perfessional operation there, no? That cluster went down about eight months ago. Patty’s now seeking compensation from the feds for his losses (his truck was turned into Swiss cheese by all the gunfire). And trying to get the government to respond is going just about as well as you’d expect.

In documents shared with the Houston Chronicle, he is demanding that the DEA pay $133,532 in repairs and lost wages over the bullet-sprayed truck, and $1.3 million more for the damage to himself and his family, who fear retaliation by a drug cartel over the bungled narcotics sting.

“When you start a new business, there are obvious pitfalls you go through, a learning curve,” said Patty, who before buying his two trucks worked in the pharmaceutical industry. “But who would ever be ready to deal with this?

“How am I — a small businessman, father of three, American Joe from Texas — supposed to make a claim against a federal agency that has conveniently shrouded itself behind a red, white and blue cloak of confidentiality and secrecy?”

Maybe Mr. Patty and his attorney should contact Brian Terry’s family for a little advice on how to cut through the .gov red tape. While Patty hasn’t lost a loved one like the Terrys did, he’s lost a large amount of money and could lose his business as a result. And he’s living in fear that Los Zetas – the drug cartel that killed his driver – now know who he is and where to find him. He may want to invest in some good home defense hardware if he hasn’t already done so. Just sayin’.   [h/t Tyler Kee]

 

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37 Responses to Texas Trucking Company Wants Compensation for DEA “Botched Sting”

  1. He got what he deserved, thats what happens when you become a snitch.

    And how did the trucking company not know he was hauling pot from the border. Arent GPS trackers pretty standard in fleet vehicles nowadays?

    • His truck’s GPS did get flagged for a 1000 mile detour. Why that wasn’t acted on is beyond me.

      • I read just fine

        “…the Drug Enforcement Administration was paying his driver, Lawrence Chapa, to use the truck to bust traffickers… Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers ”

        The driver was a snitch, and was killed. The cartels did us all a favor.

        In regards to psychopathy, I could say the same about you, in regards to your support of snitches and thus the prison-industrial complex.

        • You seem to have a serious lack of understanding when it comes to this article. He was helping bust the cartels. I see no problem with that. Do you? Are you a fan of them?

          FLAME DELETED

        • How did I know matt would take the opposite opinion on this piece? Because I’ve been here longer than a week, and that’s just what he does.

        • It’s good to know you support the illegal drug trade & the cartels.

          Do you condemn the “snitches” who daily risk their lives to ensure Al Qaeda doesn’t succeed in another 9/11?

          Fool.

  2. That’s waaay messed up. Operating with impunity and without fore-though or consequences. That’s the American way, pretty much on all governmental (and many other) levels.

    • You gota love qualified immunity for law enforcement, and sovereign immunity for the federal government. The only ones the law is really applicable to is us slaves… err, citizens.

  3. This is the part that REALLY pisses me off:

    “Copies of letters and emails from Patty’s insurance company state that it won’t pay for repairs because the truck was part of a law-enforcement operation.”

  4. I hate to play Judge Dredd on this,but the informant brought his tragic fate upon himself.Most DEA informants are crooks working off a conviction in exchange for helping the DEA nail their suppliers up the chain.Bottom line,the guy knew what he was getting into transporting that kind of drugs around for the cops.I’ll bet it wasn’t the first time our dear informant used his hapless boss’ truck as a drug transport,either.A tractor trailer full of weed is like driving around with a suitcase loaded with $1 million in currency:you’re a target for any broke,desparate lowlife with a gun and access to a getaway car.The DEA and the flipped drug trafficker knew the risks,but the boss had no idea.As for him,he should be contemplating a new life in Witness Protection,since whoever ordered 70 tons of weed won’t be happy the load got hijacked and seized by every LE agency west of the Mississippi.

    • Probably all true, or at least close enough, but not sure it warranted the death penalty.

      And the poor truck didn’t do anything to deserve getting all shot up.

  5. this was a truck load of weed. i don’t use it but that crap should have been legal years ago. in this day and age to still be gunfighting over what we could be taxing the crap out of is silly.

      • Legalizing it doesn’t matter much. Legal MJ dispensaries get robbed, often in a violent manner, on a regular basis in CA. Weed is basically legal here, yet there is still plenty of crime around it which is down- played by the media.

        I was at an armed robbery scene of a dispensary that was robbed two weeks ago where the guard got shot. It averages about 2 robberies a month. Not good.

        • what?

          sounds like if it was legal that wouldn’t have happened. They probably weren’t card holders who held them up. It’s basically legal here in OR too, but it should be BASICALLY legal nation wide not just here in the liberal west coast (even though I want to move to AZ). The fact that people get arrested for possessing any amount of marijuana in some states is ridiculous. As a gun owner and a true American should be, I support more freedom rather than less. Legalize it. FYI, i don’t touch the gonja.

  6. Now that there is plenty good reason to do a thorough background check on any potential new employee. Ex-con? No thanks! And apparently the trucking owner trusted his guys to not keep up to date on his trucks GPS systems.

  7. I’m a great fan of police tactics. I would like to know 1) What all those cops were doing in such proximity to the presumed U/C truck. 2) HTH does someone shoot an informant, not once, but eight times while under the protection of considerable LE members. (I wonder if they were all the same caliber?) 3) Why could the cops NOT be able to identify each other, even if U/C?

    I think the amount of drug money involved in global trafficking has corrupted the departments of many governments while some of the most trusted banks have been charged with laundering drug money. This would explain a lot. Like the constant gun grabbing attempts, our idiotic drug policies, the failed “war on drugs”, the theft of the public treasury, the debasement of our currency, the militarization of LLE . The US controlled the poppy fields in Afghanistan and didn’t destroy them. Maybe the open southern boarder policy isn’t just about new Democratic voters.

    Where’s my Alcoa hat??

    • Perhaps one or more of the fellas carrying a badge have, shall we say, mixed loyalties and there was concern that the driver might be able to speak of things some felt best left unsaid.

  8. I have no particular feelings either way for the informant. I feel for the business owner in this. I would be really surprised if he’s ever made whole out of this deal.

  9. a little off topic here. but i keep hearing about paid informants in events like these involving drug shipments. how much do they pay these guys? is it commission,hourly or a salary. if they have this guy by the nuts for some charges he’s trying to beat why do they pay him at all?

    • their mentality is its tax payer money, so who gives a shit. if you dont spend it this year, your budget will be reduced the next year, because you obviously didnt need it.

    • At least in Virginia, state/local law enforcement pays them per event in my experience. For instance, the informant will go buy an ounce of coke while wired up and get paid $40-$70 for doing it. It is an astonishing small amount of money to take that risk but most of them are addicts trying to get cash for their next score.

  10. I feel for the business owner. The government can be one of the biggest destroyers of a small business. With the information at hand, it seems that Patty is justified in the lawsuit.

    • I see you post a lot of anti-government comments here Accur81, which makes me wonder why you decided to go down the LEO career path.

  11. I like how everyone jumps to conclusions.
    The man owned two trucks. Who said he installed GPSs in them?
    And who said the informant was an ex con and not someone who wanted to do the right thing or had a personal agenda. Not all informants are such. Many feel it’s their duty to help.

  12. ACCUR81 is nearly right about the legalization. The part about the holdups would change drastically if ALL MJ was legalized EVERYWHERE. As was pointed out, why are we still gunfighting and killing over a natural weed when this just might be changed. Refer to Prohibition and the repeal of Prohibition. Things didn’t change much immediately but they did gradually eliminate the alcohol problems we suffered all throughout the 1920’s. A PBS feature a while back provided the history of the buildup to Prohibition and the things that happened DURING and AFTER. I don’t see why Weed was EVER made so totally illegal anyway. Was this supposed to be “for our own good”? That’s part of Prohibition, the other part was supposed to be the “moral” effects on society and on our individual health, which is not the feds responsibility (they think it is).

  13. I buy/sell used trucks and almost none of them are ever equipped with GPS tracking by fleet operators. Certainly not the small fleets, and very few of the large ones. It is a tremendously expensive feature in a business that tracks costs like hundredths of MPG. Still, he ran a pretty loose ship if he didn’t notice his guy was doing all that “side work.”

    Also, since it was mentioned in a comment above, normally truck drivers are subjected to very thorough background checks because it is extremely expensive (and often impossible) to insure a CDL driver with even the smallest blemish on his record. It’s unlikely this guy didn’t have a clean record when he was hired, at least.

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