Dope-y move: Examining cocaine kilo not so smart
By 01/17/2001 00:00:00
Special to the Ellis County Press
One in a series
When I arrived at Constable Bubba Curry's office, there was a whole herd of cops - Ellis County deputies, deputy constables, Midlothian officers, highway patrolmen and some other people I didn't know.
Twelve to 14 cops must have been in this little building. The bad guys were in the courtroom out front, handcuffed and awaiting their fate.
You would have thought someone out of all these people would have taken charge, wouldn't you?
Well, there was a lot of talking and movement going on, but very little being done. Of course, Steve Raney never had to do any of the actual work off a drug arrest before.
I asked where the dope was, and they presented a couple of kilo-size bricks. I asked what they contained, and one of the highway patrolmen stated cocaine.
I asked him if anyone had tested the dope, and he replied it wasn't necessary, you could tell by looking it was cocaine.
You know, God bless ‘em, you just have to love it when someone, who has probably never even seen a kilo of cocaine, can tell you what controlled substance just looking at it. Heck, I don't know why we even have a lab in Garland to test the drugs taken off the street. We could just let the
troopers look at and tell us what it is.
Needless to say, I thought we should at least look at it. I had taken the job at Constable Curry's office with the understanding I would help teach his deputies about drug interdiction.
This was the perfect time for class. I thought they might benefit from learning how the drug is smuggled into the country, starting with the packaging.
Remember: we are in a room about 12 by 20 feet, and there are at least 10 cops hovering around the table where I have placed the kilos. I told them I going to open one of the kilos to show them how it was wrapped.
I cut it open in an X fashion from corner to corner so I could show the different layers of packaging. I took the time to show them the duct tape, dryer sheets, plastic wrapping and so on.
I told them to take note and look for marking on the outside of the kilo, because drug dealers often have their own markings and ones for their customers.
I knew most of these people had never seen two kilos before, and probably would not again. I thought it would be a good learning experience for them. Instead, Curry and the Ellis County District Attorney later would use this little episode to try to drag me into a crime.
I told the onlookers a little street secret about how you could tell about the purity of the cocaine by seeing how hard it was. It's just a little something I learned working undercover for a few years - something no one else in the room knew about, even with all their vast experience.
I took Raney's knife and twisted it into the kilo to see if it would stay in rock form or have a powder consistency. It rocked up beautifully and I told him he had found some good cocaine.
I told him it was pretty pure and had not been stepped on, or cut yet. I could tell this because, unlike everyone else in the room, I knew something about dope. I finished with some intelligence information and so on, then asked Constable Curry if he had any duct tape. We had to ask Judge Perry if he had any tape before we found some.
I was trying to leave at this point. I was late for class, and the newspaper people had shown up to take pictures. It wasn't my bust, and I am not real big on having my picture in the paper, so I was out of there.
I stopped out front and told Raney he needed to reseal that one kilogram, and then bag and tag them both for evidence. He told me he didn't know how to do that and asked me to help him.
We took the duct tape and resealed the one kilogram with Bubba assisting. I told Raney to mark the date, time, defendant's name and his initials on the kilograms, which he did.
Of course, later at Raney's trial, Bubba would claim he sealed up the kilo and put his initials on it, but we all know how Bubba is, don't we?
We repeated the same on the other kilo and they were then placed in a plastic bag, which was taped again.
That was it for me. I left the property and prisoners in the hands of all these capable officers. I mean, after all, the work part was over now. All they had to do was finish the paperwork and secure the evidence.
Well, they finished the paperwork up okay. The evidence was another matter. It seemed Bubba didn't have a secure location for the dope. Officer Boyden of Waxahachie PD advised Raney he could use their storage lockers to secure the evidence until it could be sent to the lab the next day. They transported the drugs to Waxahachie PD and placed them in a locker, and gave Raney the key.
Pay close attention to the last part: GAVE RANEY THE KEY.
I had hoped to hear from Raney the next day when they were to transport the dope to the lab. I had assumed he would call me and tell me about the bust, and how he had found the dope in the car.
I didn't receive any calls that day until around 9 p.m. Raney called me on his car phone and sounded drunk. He said he had left the house earlier that evening to get a hamburger, and someone was following him everywhere he went.
When I tried to ask him who, the phone went dead. I tried to call him back but the line was busy.
I had to go to bed. I had been up the entire night before in the hospital with my daughter and had worked all day. I had not slept for two days and was really tired. I fell asleep about 10 thinking Raney would call back any time.
Instead, about 2 a.m. I received a call from Tommy Hale. The police in Waxahachie had found Raney's truck nose down in a ditch across from Owens Corning. His ID was in the truck, but they couldn't find Raney. They were searching for him and had even called a helicopter from Dallas. Tommy said he was on a deal and would start that way when he could.
I left the house wondering if someone had really been following him earlier. I was worried something bad had happened. I was right.
Something bad had happened, but not because of any bad guys. Rather, it was because of Raney.
Next week: The true story about the theft of cocaine. Where it happened, how it happened, and how the cops and the district attorney tried to hide the truth.