1995, Hope Street, Philadelphia: My partners and I are out hunting
heroin dealers – hopefully a nice pinch. The tip comes in from an
informant with a long tail, the length extending with each corroborated
whisper that led to an arrest. He is more right than wrong lately.
Drug pinches are routine for me; I cannot remember a day without an
arrest. Even the odd off-duty robbery arrests infiltrate my life to a
point where it all blurs together.
Things always look the same; abandoned houses, cockroach covered walls
moving in the dark , rats, no doors, no windows and the walking dead, as
we come to call the zombies that roam East division. Today feels
different. We enter an abandoned house, some Agents are hands free, and
some are carrying automatic MP5s. We make our way in through a dark
empty hall to one huge room. The interior walls and ceilings are gone.
Sunlight floods the place. I squint against the glare and the dust we
kick up. There is a rainbow hanging high above the smell of death. No
pot of gold here. The only sound comes from rats scratching on some
aluminum sheets that board up the house.
The place is empty. Just one body lay dead in a maze of trash and
rubble. The set of works from the community free give-away program
stood shiny, new, and still stuck in his carotid artery. Same scene,
same smells, but today is different for me. Everything is too bright
and sharp-edged. I start softly singing “He’s off to see the
Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in a monotone, my partners stare.
The irony gets to me. Here we are in what some call East, others the
Land of Oz, the press terms it The Badlands, and I find myself once
again singing, just above a whisper Somewhere over the Rainbow when all
I ever see is Death and Destruction. The Great and Powerful OZ, which I
recently equated with Al Gore and the Clinton Administration, once again
fails to answer the Drug War. They are somewhere in the bright sun,
campaigning, shaking hands, probably enjoying a Mama Juana, a Dominican
cocktail, with their supporters – all courtesy of the ten spot this
junkie and others like him, spent to off himself.
All the connections are getting to me, running backward through my head.
This guy, laying in his own vomit, probably stole from his own mother to
buy the glassine packet of heroin supplied by the Dominican Traffickers
who wrote a fat check to Clinton and Gore who preach a War on Drugs.
The drugs dealt on Hope Street in Philadelphia are supplied by
traffickers in the Dominican Republic who are buying votes in the US and
lining Bill, Hillary Clinton and Vice President Al Gore’s pockets.
Gore accepted a check from them just the night before at Coogan’s Bar
in Washington Heights in the heart of the most notorious part of the
Dominican Drug Trafficking area of New York City. The spoils of the War
on Drugs were lining the pockets of the Clinton Administration.
I make the call to Homicide and they will call the meat wagon. I will
do my paperwork. And like always, I will end my day asking myself, is
this shit for real? Hope Street, of all places, in a house that looks
like a twister hit it. No hope, here.
For 19 years until I was sidelined by forced withdrawal, I fought the
Drug War on the streets of Philadelphia. I never had a problem fighting
the dealers and the addicts – that was the job I lived for. What I
have a problem with and what I was forced to withdraw from was fighting
all the good guys including my commanding officers, State officials, and
Federal agents. I challenged men and women in power who were supposed
to be on the forefront of the War on Drugs.
As I found out the hard way, there are a whole lot of people in Federal,
State, and Local Agencies who have agendas that fly in the face of law
enforcement. My superiors gave me and my partners the moniker Bastard
Squad because we won’t back off of what we know was a major Drug
Trafficking Organization (DTO) that needs to be taken down and so they
isolated us from everyone else, no one was allowed to work with us; we
are the bastard step children. Word came down that the CIA and The
State Department are behind the orders; but I will tell you who the real
bastards are. The way it plays out in the press was much different from
the truth, but it’s always that way isn’t it; well here’s how it
In the fall of 1995, my partner, Charlie Micewski aka the Flash, and I
discover that a Dominican Republic political party was raising campaign
funds for Dominican Presidential candidate Pena Gomez, by selling heroin
and cocaine in Philadelphia and up and down the East coast. We work
with DEA agents in New York and attempt to seize half a million in
campaign funds that we know came from drug deals. This campaign money
was to be given to the visiting Pena Gomez and his PRD delegation and we
know when and where. We were to stop the entourage and confiscate the
ill-gotten funds but the State Department called it off. The U.S. State
Department was backing the guy. I didn’t give a shit.
Two weeks later US Attorneys and the local DA tell the OAG they will no
longer prosecute our cases. Over 80 accused drug dealers that we take
off the street, skated, because of this decision.
My book takes the reader from my youth in Philadelphia through 34 years
in Law Enforcement. I have no agenda. I tell the whole truth.
One of the agencies that most effectively blocked our efforts was the
CIA. It’s documented. There’s no conjecture here. I write the
facts as they have been reported in every area of the media including my
firsthand knowledge. The CIA turns a blind eye to certain activities
because it serves their purposes. In the 80’s and early 90’s the
CIA helped to keep the Haitian military and political leadership in
power and in the process turned a blind eye to drug trafficking. They
added positions to the CIA payroll for National Intelligence Service
(SIN), which ironically, is created to fight the cocaine trade. SIN
officers however, traffic drugs and aid some of the Haitian military and
“We had problems in Haiti, where friends of ours -- that is,
intelligence sources in the Haitian military -- had turned their
facilities, their ranches and their farms over to drug traffickers.
Instead of putting pressure on that rotten leadership of the Haitian
military, we defended them. We held our noses, we looked the other way,
and they and their criminal friends distributed, through a variety of
networks, cocaine in the United States -- in Miami, in Philadelphia, New
York and parts of Pennsylvania." - (Jack Blum in testimony before
My story follows Dominican traffickers, backed by Dominican politicians
who are backed by the US State Department. It’s a clear trail of
drugs, money and political deals.
Every agency has a mission and an agenda, and how they fulfill their
mission often conflicts with other agency missions. My book explores
these facts from a unique angle. I am one of the narcotic agents on the
street who suffer the consequences. In trying to do the right thing
every day I am challenging people in high places who swore to uphold the
It just so happens that the losers in this game are citizens on the
street, the kids who end up dying from crack and heroin and the Narcs
like me who risk their lives every day trying to make it all right.
Excerpted from "Damned from Memory" by Sparky McLaughlin. Copyright © 2012 by Sparky McLaughlin. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.