How Memphis Undercover Cops Fight The Narcotics Trade


The Memphis Commercial Appeal explores undercover enforcement of drug laws in some of the city’s worst neighborhoods “Crack cocaine fuels, I would say, 80 to 90 percent of the home burglaries and car break-ins,” said Det. Paul Sherman, police undercover unit coordinator. “But it also fuels the violent crime.” On some street corners, dealers — “dope boys” they call them — jump into buyers’ cars.

In one home, $10 worth of crack was weighed on a scale placed on the stove near a batch of candied apples. On another visit, the dealer retrieved drugs from the underside of a baby swing. The kids played video games on a big-screen TV in the next room. Undercover officers buy numerous times from the same dealer to provide sufficient evidence and to give a team of officers and prosecutors time to identify sellers known only by their street names and win indictments from a grand jury.

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