Saturday, July 05, 2008

Secret Agent Man

This is truly a sad story.

Via From Pine View Farm, comes the story about the federal drug enforcement agent, known as "Sergeant Bill," who arrived in the rural town of Gerald, Missouri, to help the town's methamphetamine problem. After 5 months on the job, during which time agent Bill Jakob participated in a number of drug arrests, it was discovered that the man was a fake. As the NYTimes reports, Town Finds Drug Agent Is Really an Impostor:

Busts began. Houses were ransacked. People, in handcuffs on their front lawns, named names. To some, like Mayor Otis Schulte, who considers the county around Gerald, population 1,171, “a meth capital of the United States,” the drug scourge seemed to be fading at last.

Those whose homes were searched, though, grumbled about a peculiar change in what they understood, from television mainly, to be the law.

They said the agent, a man some had come to know as “Sergeant Bill,” boasted that he did not need search warrants to enter their homes because he worked for the federal government.

But after a reporter for the local weekly newspaper made a few calls about that claim, Gerald’s anti-drug campaign abruptly unraveled after less than five months. Sergeant Bill, it turned out, was no federal agent, but Bill A. Jakob, an unemployed former trucking company owner, a former security guard, a former wedding-performing minister, a former small-town cop from 23 miles down the road.

The story was also carried on NPR's Talk of the Nation, with an in depth interview of Linda Trest, the local reporter who uncovered the scam. She said that one of the problems was that many townspeople believed Jakob's claim that a federal agent didn't need to get a warrant, because warrants were no longer needed for wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping.

As Frank at Pine View Farm says, that's why it's important to honor the rule of law.

And that's why it is so sad that we've come to this. Happy 4th of July holidays, although I'm not sure what' s left to celebrate -- other than fireworks.

11 comments:

Susan said...

Not to be a Pollyanna, but you are writing this and I am reading it from the comfort of our homes. I feel comfortable that neither you nor my hubby will suffer economically, nor will I lose my gov't benefit, because I am now writing that 43 is likely to be the worst president in American history.
So (belated) Happy Fourth, good friend!

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