DEA Uses Truck Under False Pretenses; Refuses to Pay Truck Owner $133,532 in Repairs Resulting from Botched Sting Operationby Stephen Littau
In the era of Fast and Furious, nothing should come as much of a surprise with how incompetent and reckless federal agencies can be but here, the DEA reaches a new low.
The Houston Chronicle reports:
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?”
“What did you say?” Patty recalled asking. “Could you please repeat that?”
The truck, it turned out, had been everywhere but in the repair shop.
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.
Chapa, who was working on behalf of the DEA paid with his life. It’s bad enough that someone was killed in one of Patty’s trucks but the story doesn’t end there.
The article continues:
But eight months later, Patty still can’t get recompense from the U.S. government’s decision to use his truck and employee without his permission. His company, which hauls sand as part of hydraulic fracturing operations for oil and gas companies, was pushed to the brink of failure after the attack because the truck was knocked out of commission, he said.
Patty had only one other truck in operation.
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.
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. Patty drew from his 401K retirement fund to repair the truck, which was out of operation for 100 days.
“I was not part of this,” he said. “I had absolutely no knowledge of any of it until after it happened.”
Houston lawyer Mark Bennett, who is advising Patty, said if Patty’s initial claim is not resolved, the next step would be to sue.
I sincerely hope the DEA is taken to the cleaners on this one. Beyond the financial hardship the DEA has caused to Patty, he now fears for his family’s safety.
Perhaps most unnerving, Patty says, is that drug mobsters now likely know his name, and certainly know his truck.
Panic at the Patty home these days can be triggered by something as simple as a deer scampering through the wooded yard or a car pulling into the driveway. One morning as his wife made breakfast, one of his young sons suddenly bolted across the house yelling, “Get the guns!”
This is no way to live. And for what? To keep a little marijuana from reaching people who will just as easily find another supplier?
The war on (some) drugs is no joke. There are real casualties in this idiotic and unrealistic goal of a “drug-free America.” Chapa and Patty are only among the war on (some) drugs latest victims.
Hat Tip: The Agitator