Tijdens het samenstellen van de Law and Order issue kregen we een groot aantal goede verhalen, veel meer dan we ooit in het nummer kwijt zouden kunnen. Dit verhaal vanuit New York kwam behoorlijk dichtbij een plaatsing in de gedrukte versie van dat nummer...
MY BIG BUST
Undercover with UPS
UPS gave us a call when I was working at the NYPD’s HIDTA Department. (That stands for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.) They said that their dogs had found a package with cocaine in it. They asked me if I wanted to do what’s called a controlled delivery. I would be bringing the drugs to the location. Once the drugs are in the location, the field team moves in and executes the search warrant that we’ve prepared. We went to meet with UPS’s security people and they gave me a uniform. I was to deliver the package to a place in Harlem, then I would give the signal and the field team would come on in and pound the door. Pretty simple.
So I went to make the delivery, knocked on the door, and got the kid’s mother. She said, “Oh, I’ll sign for it.” I told her she couldn’t. I made up some story about how it was insured and I needed three forms of I.D.—bullshit like that. I wrote down a name and a number and gave it to her and said, “Have your son give us a call here and we’ll set up a time to bring the package back to him.”
Back at the DEA headquarters, we set up an answering machine that said: “Hi! You have reached Customer Service blah blah blah at UPS.” Sure enough, this guy came home, called us, and left his number. I called him back and we set up an appointment.
I got there and something was wrong right off the bat. We didn’t figure on the kid meeting us on the street. Inside my van, which was an actual UPS truck, I had another undercover who was monitoring the conversation. So I was standing there in the midst of about six of these big black guys—they looked like refrigerators with heads on top. I needed to get this guy to take delivery of the package inside the house so we could use our search warrant. I told them, “Look, who’s the regular UPS guy around here? He’s a black guy, right? You think I wanna be here? Come on!” All these guys started laughing. I was like, “Listen, I got a Jewish boss and he hates me. He stuck me up here for the summer and he’s looking to get me fired. Work with me here, guys. I got kids, I’m going through a divorce…” I just gave them a whole long rigmarole—a story they could put their teeth into. So it went back and forth—I got control of the situation, I lost control. The undercover in the UPS van was monitoring my conversation and radioing back to the field team: “He’s in trouble out there!”
Eventually, I regained control and these guys were taking me inside. My backup was about six blocks away. The undercover in the van thought I was in trouble, so he called the troops in.
We got inside, and they wanted to take me up in an elevator. I went, “I’m a little claustrophobic. You guys go. I’ll meet you.” So I was heading up the steps and trying to radio back: “Come in nice and slow. It’s positive. I’m heading to the apartment.” I got up to their floor and I was dragging my feet a little bit. Then I heard the door downstairs getting kicked in. Here come the troops! I was at the apartment door and these guys still didn’t really know what was going on. I saw the troops coming around the corner, so I hit the floor and jam my UPS clipboard in the door so they can’t get it shut. One of my guys grabs me by the ankles and pulls me back, gets me out of there, and I ran down the stairs.
The perps didn’t even make me as a cop. Later on, I walked by them at the precinct house and they saw me walking by. They weren’t too happy about it. They all started yelling out, “Oooooh shit!”
DET. LOUIE A. BALESTRIERI