Did The DEA Think Patty Would Go Away?

In one of the most outrageous and bizarre stories to come out of the dark and ugly annals of the Drug Enforcement Administration protecting us from the plague, Craig Patty was left hanging high and dry after the DEA decided that his life, his family’s life and his business were their toys.

Patty, the owner of a small trucking company in Houston, was never asked if he wanted to become a cog in the DEA’s sting of the Zetas Cartel.  He was never asked if it was cool with him to have his truck, his driver, become part of their covert operation. The DEA didn’t care what Patty thought. They had a job to do and it was the duty of every good American to give up his life to help the DEA.

Except the DEA plan didn’t work out nearly as well as the brilliant government tacticians thought it would:

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.

At least 17 hours before that early morning phone call, Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers – all of them taken by surprise by hijackers trying to steal the red Kenworth T600 truck and its load of pot.

When Patty was finally told that his truck and driver wouldn’t be coming home again, it apparently didn’t occur to anyone at the DEA that this might be a problem. Nor did they consider that Patty, who had nothing to do with any of this, might not want to be in the crosshairs of the Cartel for being part of this government sting. “Suck it up, pal,” was the government’s attitude.

When this story first broke, one might have suspected that the DEA, in one of its occasional bursts of actual thoughtfulness, would have apologized deeply to Patty, handed him a generous check to cover the loss of his truck and begged his forgiveness.  After all, there is utterly no explanation for taking a truck from an American businessman, converting it for use in the War on Drugs,  and telling the guy tough luck.  Yet, that’s what the DEA apparently did (which is something to remember when the DEA promises that it would never do harm and we should trust it).

From the Houston Chron:

The U.S. government and a ranking Drug Enforcement Administration official here are being sued for up to $6.4 million over a wild shootout in which a commercial truck driver moonlighting as a secret informant was slain by gangsters in the proximity of as many as two dozen officers on a counter-narcotics task force .

The dead man’s former boss contends the DEA used his 18-wheeler in the 2011 government sting _ that played out in Harris County _ without permission; refused to repair the bullet-riddled truck after the shooting; and subjected him and his family to unwarranted retaliation by the Zetas cartel, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Houston.

Patty, represented by Andy Vickery, Fred Shepherd and Mark Bennett, was forced to to recover his damages. It may well end up exposing just how little the government cares or thinks about the damage it does to innocent, unrelated individuals while pursuing its own agenda.  And what does it have to say about the damage done Patty?

The DEA had no immediate comment on the suit, which posted at the bottom of this story.

“In the interest of justice we will not discuss pending litigation,” said the sheriff’s office in an email.

The irony of beginning its quote with “in the interest of justice,” shouldn’t be ignored. If there was any concern with the interest of justice, none of this would have happened, and it certainly wouldn’t end in litigation. If someone tried to sell this story for a Hollywood movie of the DEA’s incompetence, arrogance and callousness, it would be rejected as too fantastic to be credible. So it will just have to play out in court.

The only question now is how the DEA will seek to hide behind national security to conceal its shocking conduct.  Hopefully, this suit will end up providing some insight into how abusive the DEA is.  If it was merely bizarre before, it’s going to get really interesting going forward.

15 thoughts on “Did The DEA Think Patty Would Go Away?

  1. Dan

    I watch enough tv to know that this ends with someone’s hands and or head cut off for their family to find in spectacularly gruesome fashion.

    1. SHG Post author

      Hope you get everything out of this you deserve, and so sorry that you were put through this nightmare. Best to you.

  2. Maryland_Shooter

    Hey, as long as DEA people aren’t dying or losing property, they are not gonna care. Your entire life is just collateral damage to them. The War on Drugs (WOD) is nothing more but a assault on civil liberties. It’s not a war on drugs, it’s a war on personal freedom. Wars have ends, victory or defeat, so this is not a war. Changes are needed, but if you follow the money, you’ll relize that prospect has little chance.

    Thanks to the WOD, your home is not your castle. Violent raids ending in deaths are often the result and it’s simply obscene.

  3. Anonymous

    SHG said:

    ” If it was merely bizarre before, it’s going to get really interesting going forward.”

    What makes you think that?

    1. SHG Post author

      There are some smart and tenacious lawyers who will be conducting discovery of the DEA’s operations. I expect it to be quite revealing, and not in a good way for the DEA.

      1. Marc R

        I wish. Civil discovery compliance against the gov’t (sovereign immunity) is about as effective as setting depos in fed criminal court.

        Sample responses to RFPs
        -overly burdensome on gov’t
        -document cannot be disclosed as part of different ongoing criminal case
        -document protected by state secret

        Or the redactions will make it akin to trying to watch squiggly line porn when your parents don’t get cinemax and only have a U-13 dial tv.

        But I wish the Plaintiff could get paid (caps on damages would negate anything approaching $6M right?) or, more hopefully, an injunction to change future feds policy that they need your permission to use your company. And by permission, you have to come to them none of that “your son brought advil to school and we’ll arrest and expel him unless you let us use your business and employees as a front for trafficking.” The Mossad treats Israelis more respectfully and they really are in a life or death struggle. Nobody should be targeting by gangs because of their own government’s actions to involve them. This story sucks. More making fun of law profs!

        1. SHG Post author

          Aren’t you the negative Nellie today. I’m hopeful. It’s a very ugly case and these are tough lawyers. The DEA won’t get a lot of sympathy out of the judge here, so let’s see what Patty’s team can do.

  4. Maryland_Shooter

    Big awards may be justified and welcome, but the true path to change is forcing LE to change their approach and mentality as well as stripping QI (Qualified Immunity) from the bad actors.

    …I know SHG, unrelated, but grant some latitude… [Ed. Note: No. And even what I’ve allowed in this comment has nothing to do with this post. I’ve put you on moderation and suggest that you might anticipate that your comments are unlikely to be published going forward.]

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