Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • We've all seenThe DepartedandDonnie Brasco”; we know cops can sometimes lose

  • their identity and sanity while undercover.

  • But some officers take it to a whole other level.

  • Getting a little too deep into drugs, making up fake illegal operations that dozens of

  • people then get arrested for, even forgetting about policing altogether and becoming drug

  • kingpins instead.

  • Some undercover cops go a little crazy; others go completely rogue.

  • Here are their stories….[something likeLaw & Orderintro dun-dun sound]

  • [ROBERT CARROLL]

  • Let's start with Robert Carroll.

  • By all accounts, Carroll was a good man and a good cop with the Manchester police force.

  • In 2008, he donned a new identity - now going by the name of Lee Taylor - in order to go

  • undercover and catch drug dealers.

  • Heroin trafficking and addiction is a huge problem in Manchester.

  • While the temptation to be mostly unconscious may be understandable to anyone who has spent

  • a winter in Manchester, it was becoming an enormous and dangerous public health crisis.

  • The Sigma unit that Carroll belonged to was trying to break up the gangs controlling the

  • market.

  • All seemed to be going well until police raided the home of a local drug dealer in 2012.

  • Among various drugs and illegal paraphernalia, police found a gas canister and baton issued

  • to Carroll.

  • Upon further investigation, they also found a lot of calls between Carroll and this same

  • drug dealer - 2,200 calls in four months, to be exact.

  • Not even the biggest Stage 5 clinger in the world could match that.

  • This led police to rightfully suspect that Carroll may have become too personally involved

  • with the heroin market.

  • Sadly, Carroll was fully aware he had a problem only a year after he started, in 2009.

  • He was using heroin every day.

  • He tried medication, therapy, and other methods to drop the habit…[pause]...but just couldn't.

  • For his actions while undercover, the courts eventually sentenced Carroll to 14 months

  • in prison for theft and misconduct.

  • Carroll can at least be seen as a little sympathetic, as most of his actions were the result of

  • his addiction.

  • Not so for the next men on our list, who got lured into a life of crime via the Silk Road.

  • [SEAN BRIDGES AND CARL FORCE]

  • In the early 2010s, Special Agent Carl Force of the DEA and Secret Service Agent Sean Bridges

  • had been assigned a very special task, relating to a very high-profile target.

  • They were asked to set up communications with Dread Pirate Roberts via the online black

  • market known as Silk Road.

  • Roberts was an infamous drug kingpin who operated his criminal ring mostly via the online network.

  • But instead of trying to get evidence on this mysterious criminal and arrest him, Force

  • and Bridges instead used their time to obtain knowledge about drug trafficking and become

  • kingpins themselves.

  • Apparently, the lure of a paycheck much bigger than a government agent's salary was too

  • strong for them to resist.

  • Force set up a number of false identities to build up his own personal criminal network.

  • He used complex Bitcoin transactions to steal from both targets of the investigation and

  • the government itself.

  • Bridges seized $800,000 he then diverted to himself via the Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.

  • These agents-turned-criminals probably assumed that since 99% of people don't actually

  • understand anything about Bitcoin, their chances of getting caught were low.

  • However, apparently someone from the 1% flagged something suspicious in their transactions.

  • Bridges and Force - the strangest named duo of all time - were not content with just setting

  • up these scams for financial gain.

  • They decided to actively sell out their own department and investigation as well.

  • That's right, according to a release by the Department of Justice, Force sold information

  • about the investigation [emphasis] to his criminal contacts.

  • In exchange for Bitcoin, we presume.

  • Eventually, Dread Pirate Roberts - real name Ross Ulbricht - was identified and captured;

  • not at all [emphasis] thanks to Bridges' and Force's work.

  • After the government brought Ulbricht down, Force was arrested on counts of wire fraud,

  • theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest, while Bridges surrendered

  • and plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

  • [MARK KENNEDY]

  • Of course, infiltrating drug cartels is bound to lead to some shady activity.

  • When undercover cops put themselves around such dangerous substances and hardened criminals,

  • some of them will inevitably get sucked into the underworld.

  • But what about seemingly tamer assignments, like infiltrating environmental groups?

  • How much trouble could undercover cops get into surrounded by tree-hugging animal lovers?

  • Well, as Mark Kennedy showed us…[pause]...quite a lot.

  • Mark Kennedy went undercover as an environmental activist, at first infiltrating a Nottingham

  • environmental group.

  • His total time undercover spanned seven years, something that must have been incredibly hard

  • on Kennedy's wife and child.

  • Kennedy, however, appeared to be handling the separation better, as he enjoyed several

  • relationships with female activists during his undercover stint.

  • He became very serious with two of them, Kate Wilson and a woman known only asLisa”,

  • with whom he went on holidays and according to some accounts, promised to marry them.

  • Sexual relations, and especially serious relationships between undercover cops and targets, are not

  • sanctioned by UK police, for whom Kennedy was working.

  • Though it clearly wasn't the first time, as a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police

  • acknowledged that, “long-term, sexual relationships known to have been entered into by some undercover

  • officers….were wrong and should not have happened”.

  • If that weren't enough, some accounts allege that during the seven years he was undercover,

  • Kennedy started to have moral dilemmas about his work.

  • He expressed to some close friends that his operations werewrong”...not clarifying

  • if he meant his plans with the environmental group or his undercover work.

  • Since it seems Kennedy was increasingly taking a proactive role in the environmental group's

  • operations - everyone loves a self-starter - we will assume his problem was with this

  • undercover work.

  • Kennedy also caused a massive headache for police.

  • Not only did he take his work on the road, organizing and supporting protests in Germany,

  • Ireland, and Italy to name a few - creating all sorts of problems with other European

  • governments - but he also eventually outed fellow undercover officers to other members

  • of the environmental group.

  • These officers had to be quickly and quietly removed.

  • They and their families may be at risk thanks to Kennedy's actions.

  • Finally, Kennedy's undercover work actually ended up helping the environmental groups'

  • members walk free.

  • When six activists were put on trial for planning to illegally take over a power station, charges

  • had to be dropped when the courts discovered that Kennedy [emphasis] was the one primarily

  • responsible for planning, organizing, and funding the operation.

  • Unsanctioned sexual affairs, organizing and funding illegal activity, outing undercover

  • cops; just a great policing job all around.

  • [TOM COLEMAN]

  • So far we've looked at undercover cops who mostly got caught up in the lifestyles of

  • those they were investigating.

  • Or actively sought to emulate them.

  • Tom Coleman, on the other hand, decided to go undercover in order to bust a drug ring

  • that only existed in his mind.

  • In the late 1990s in the small town of Tulia, Texas, Coleman helped organize an 18-month

  • undercover sting operation to gather evidence against and arrest drug dealers in town that

  • were operating a bustling narcotics enterprise.

  • Now, the population of Tulia is 4,690 people, which might lead a logical observer to ask

  • a) is there really a significant drug cartel operating there and b) is this really the

  • best use of 18 months of undercover work?

  • The answer to both of these questions turned out to be an emphatic, “no” [emphasis].

  • You see, to no thinking person's surprise, there was absolutely no big drug operation

  • being run out of the half-horse town of Tulia.

  • But that didn't stop Coleman from arresting 46 people during his sting operation, with

  • most of the citizens arrested receiving sentences of up to 90 years in prison.

  • The courts convicted people with no audio or video evidence, relying mostly just on

  • Coleman's own testimony.

  • Problematically, most of Coleman's testimony turned out to be another figment of his imagination,

  • just like the mythical Tulia drug cartel.

  • So why did Coleman go to all this trouble to falsely accuse, arrest, and testify against

  • people who seemed, by all accounts, innocent?

  • Well, in the mainly white farming town of Tulia, the majority of those Coleman arrested

  • were...Black.

  • That's right, it turns out Coleman's “undercover operationwas really just an excuse to

  • run around town arresting Black people for being Black.

  • Even for a shitty racist human being, Coleman really was doing the most [emphasis] to be

  • extra racist.

  • What's worse is that by the time Coleman's deception had been uncovered, those arrested

  • had already served several years in jail.

  • Frustratingly, the statute of limitations on perjury for Coleman's testimony in their

  • trials had also expired.

  • In 2003, Texas governor Rick Perry pardoned 35 of those arrested who truly had no evidence

  • against them besides the dirty cop's testimony.

  • When Rick Perry is stepping in to correct your racism, you should really stop and reconsider

  • your entire life.

  • As for Coleman, though the statute of limitations had expired on his false drug ring testimony,

  • he was caught perjuring himself on the details of another investigation and sentenced to

  • seven years' probation.

  • Prosecutor Rod Hobson was outraged at the light sentence, stating that, “people went

  • to prison….because of his worthless words.

  • He should be held accountable for that.”

  • Thankfully, it's not like white police officers being let off with a slap on the wrist after

  • they weaponize the justice system against Black people is part of a systemic problem

  • or anything like that.

  • Besides finally being released from prison for crimes they never committed, Coleman's

  • victims got a little relief in the form of a $6 million settlement from Coleman, as well

  • as the 26 counties and three cities charged with overseeing the drug task force he worked

  • for.

  • However, they still saw very little justice for the years they wasted in prison after

  • being unfairly convicted.

  • [VANCITO GUMBS]

  • This brings us to our last, and perhaps one of the most egregious cases, of undercover

  • police officers gone rogue.

  • However, this time theundercoverrole looked a little different.

  • This is the story of Georgia police officer Vancito Gumbs.

  • Gumbs, a US Army vet, became a DeKalb County police officer upon returning to the United

  • States from the Middle East.

  • However, as time went on, his fellow officers started to be a little suspicious of his off-duty

  • activities.

  • In 2016, when police officers saw Gumbs doing a line of cocaine with a drug lord in the

  • middle of a sports bar, their suspicions…[pause]...let's say intensified.

  • So what was going on?

  • Was Gumbs just playing the part of a gangster while working undercover?

  • Well, it turns out by this point Gumbs was more of a gangster working undercover as a

  • police officer than the other way around.

  • You see, Gumbs had joined the Gangster Disciples, a rough, violent street and prison gang.

  • He became a member after meeting a Gangster Disciplesenforcernamed Kevin Clayton

  • while on patrol as a cop.

  • Not only did the officer help out fellow mobsters by running errands such as acquiring weapons

  • for them; Gumbs would actually call the Chief Enforcer of the gang in order to relay information

  • on police raids and activity.

  • While Gumbs was with them, evidence emerged that the Gangster Disciples had shot 24 people,

  • 12 of whom died.

  • Though no evidence directly connected Gumbs to these crimes, his membership in, and assistance

  • to, the gang still made him guilty by association.

  • The FBI actually caught Gumbs red-handed on a wiretap relaying information to the Gangster

  • Disciples about an ongoing police investigation.

  • Another time, Gumbs gave Clayton, the gang member that had introduced him into the organization,

  • a heads up to avoid a certain bar that was about to be raided by police.

  • When Gumbs' case went to trial, the evidence against him was overwhelming.

  • His lawyer didn't even attempt to argue his innocence; instead, he argued that Gumbs

  • was more of a “wannabegangster than a true member of the Disciples.

  • The prosecution countered with evidence like texts Gumbs had sent to his baby's mother

  • saying, “I'm a gd hitman.”

  • In case you didn't know boys and girls, your digital and phone communications are

  • not secret from the government.

  • Gumbs, being a police officer, should have been well aware of this, but still somehow

  • decided to send texts calling himself a hitman to friends and relatives.

  • Eventually, Gumbs was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for his role in the gang.

  • As U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak stated, “Vancito Gumbs moonlighted as a member of the Gangster

  • Disciples while serving as a DeKalb County Police Officer.

  • His brazen disregard for his sworn duty as a police officer, betrayal of the public's

  • trust, and disregard for human life warrants the significant sentence he received in this

  • case.”

  • Now that you know the stories of the undercover cops who became radical activists, drug kingpins,

  • or straight-up hitmen, go look up more crazy stories in this video!

  • Or perhaps this one!

We've all seenThe DepartedandDonnie Brasco”; we know cops can sometimes lose

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 undercover coleman drug carroll kennedy police

Insane Things Undercover Cops Do When They Go Rogue

  • 23 1
    Summer posted on 2021/05/29
Video vocabulary