Written by Fumo Verde
As an advocate for the legalization of marijuana and having my own run-ins with law enforcement personnel, along with my regards to our justice system in general, I tend to view shows such as this one with very jaded eyes. So to give myself a more balanced perspective. I decided to watch this two-disc set produced by SPIKE TV because right now DEA to me equals “total assholes.”
The show starts of with a caption reading, “The men and women of the DEA have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. For the protection…” and so on. So I hit the Internet and searched for the most dangerous jobs in the world. Ten websites, including Forbes, showed that law enforcement is ranked number ten—meaning patrolmen and women, because those folks are always on the beat, totally out in the open, and deal with the everyday craziness which runs around most modern-day cities. As of the last few years, it switches between logging and fishing. “Federal agents” I couldn’t find in the top twenty.
The narrator tells me again it’s one of the most dangerous jobs. Looks like they have the upper hand when it comes to firepower, at least from the opening scene. In the last year, this group has worked over 100 cases, seized over $9 million in cash and dope, and busted over 200 drug dealers. We meet the team and I’m stoked one of them is a Cowboy fan, or at least he’s wearing the hat. Now true, they chase some pretty murderous bastards at times so every mission is set for the “worst-case scenario” option, meaning set phasers for kill because this is no drill. I would consider this to be one of the most stressful jobs. They don’t know what the suspect they’re going after will try, so I understand the tactics they have to use.
First bust we get is crackheads. Lots of crack but no weapons, and not much cash either. Just a ton of rock. Special Agent Brad Ripken notes that “it’s all about money and everybody is trying to make that buck.” Hmm, what’s the budget for the DEA? Answer: around $2.35 billion. For the dealers it’s all about the money, but for the agents it’s all about the dope, which helps bring in the money, and then somewhere in there, according to Scarface, you get the women.
“Dope.” That word on the street usually refers to marijuana, but the DEA and other law enforcement uses “dope” for all drugs, giving the face of weed the same face as heroin, crystal meth, and the idiots who huff Raid Ant and Roach spray.
Next up is the dangerous heroin dealer who lives in the slums. The narrator informs us that it is nearly impossible to prosecute a drug dealer unless a DEA Agent goes under cover to make a buy. Of course, that overlooks the rat. To be a good criminal informant, the DEA must have you by the balls or at least act like they do. How long does it take for the DEA cases to get warrants issued? This is an answer I can’t seem to find. Why is that?
The next dealer is in his sixties. He’s been dealing for more than thirty years, been to federal prison. He’s an old guy, got nothing to lose. Special agent John Greer also notes that the target is old and sick but he’s selling drugs and when your selling drugs you usually have weapons with you. As usual, the DEA comes at the crack of dawn, so no resistance, but this is an allegedly gun-carrying, sick heroin dealer they are approaching. The bust happens so quick your eyes can’t adjust to the cameras that show one angle, then another, and then two more within a two-second clip. We find the dealer high on his own dope. Of course, he’s on heroin; that’s also why he sells it. Oh, and I love it when law enforcement knows that you are too good of a person to be selling or using dope. Heroin users have needles and lots of them have AIDS because they share needles. Special Agent Hoyt won’t take any of his target’s paraphernalia home; it’s contaminated. Besides he probably has enough keepsakes from his tour with the army.
Two ounces of heroin get you twenty in federal joint unless they flip you. Remember DEA likes to act as if they have the final say on if you will do time and how much; they don’t. You just need to talk to the District Attorney. They are the ones with the power and authority to lessen your sentence or not charge you at all. Most people are stupid. Others aren’t, such as the heroin dealer. He won’t flip, so their case against him ends with him, and he’ll make his deal with a federal prosecutor. The narrator says, “The suspect refuses to cooperate. It’s a decision that could send him to prison for the rest of his life,” which is possible, but at his age and health it’s more likely he’ll die while waiting court appearances, and he doesn’t have the bail money, so yes he’ll probably be in a prison waiting on court appearances when he dies.
Next up is another heroin dealer. Agents say every time an informer goes to see her she always has a weapon on her, so approach with caution. This is where we learn about the DEA Stack. Man #1 has a BlackHawk Hallagan Tool, a fireman’s axe. Man #2 has a Mono Shock Ram #X-TE122 which generates over 19,000lbs of greater kinetic force. Man #3…okay enough. This is where my notes must end and I have to really give you the lowdown on this over-inflated COPS show.
True, these guys risk their lives but we all do when we ride on the freeways in our nation with the exception that we aren’t looking for trouble, they are. Only super-egos can take a job like this, and the DEA has done this surprisingly well. Using fear and the art of bullshit works, and as I sat and watched disc two, nothing changed. Sure they went after different bad guys and kept biting their way up the drug chain. I would laugh if it ended with Merc or Pfizer.
Every episode has that “they could die at any minute” feel to it, but when all is said and done, it never happens. These teams are that good; I’ll give credit there. You won’t know what hit you until your face is planted in the dirt and Agent Woody’s eight-inch shoe is halfway up your two-inch asshole. This is why they don’t come in under the dangerous category because that’s rated by fatalities on the job, and depending on how many people hold that job in relation to the deaths of that particular job. DEA agent is definitely, I would say, one of the most stressful jobs, because they don’t know who’s behind the door and if that person is going to come out shooting.
If you like to watch cops bust people, then this show is for you. If not, then don’t bother, nothing you haven’t seen before is going to come from this. My feelings towards the DEA have changed though, and I respect how they perform their tasks, and I can say the more I watch them, the more I learn, and I thank them for it.