Without a Badge: Undercover in the World's Deadliest Criminal Organization

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Overview

In this mesmerizing true story, career cop Jerry Speziale chronicles his fast-living years as one of the youngest recruits for the DEA's task force on drugs -- an unimaginable odyssey of undercover intrigue, Colombian kingpins, amazing takedowns, and nerve-jangling narrow escapes. From the start, the man former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik admiringly called "a hurricane" was a highly unconventional soldier in the war on drugs. A barber's son with a background as a juvenile delinquent, Jerry was...
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Overview

In this mesmerizing true story, career cop Jerry Speziale chronicles his fast-living years as one of the youngest recruits for the DEA's task force on drugs -- an unimaginable odyssey of undercover intrigue, Colombian kingpins, amazing takedowns, and nerve-jangling narrow escapes. From the start, the man former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik admiringly called "a hurricane" was a highly unconventional soldier in the war on drugs. A barber's son with a background as a juvenile delinquent, Jerry was never cool and calculating, but a tenacious live wire whose remarkable instincts got him into the crack dens and shooting galleries of New York City's meanest streets -- and won him the attention of the top brass, who didn't quite know what to make of their unpredictable rising star. So they tapped him for a DEA narcotics task force, an elite group of renegades ready to take down the powerful Cali drug cartel in South America, and the education of Jerry Speziale, undercover agent, began.

Under the tutelage of Paul Alexander, a sophisticated confidential informant who had once been blacklisted by the DEA, the jeans-and-tee shirt kid from New Jersey was transformed into Armani-clad Geraldo Bartone, the world's top drug trafficker. As Geraldo, Jerry did things he never could have dreamed of -- piloting planes, building landing strips, skippering Cali-owned yachts filled with blinding-white cocaine, meeting the most powerful kingpins in the brutal drug trade, where one false move, one wrong word takes a player out for good. Within a few years, Jerry and the other officers of the task force became the most successful drug unit in U.S. history, arresting dozens of high-level dealers and confiscating twenty-two thousand pounds of cocaine. Riding a wave of glory and success, Jerry had no idea that he would be the one scammed next.

Shockingly betrayed by the mentor he'd come to trust, Jerry saw his life spiral dangerously out of control. The behind-the-scenes brutalities, the time away from his wife and daughter, and the relentless stress of undercover life -- where how convincing you can be is the line between life and death -- all took their toll. Paranoid, sleep deprived, stressed to the breaking point, Speziale nearly lost it all. But aided by the love of his family, he came back from the abyss and was awarded a Medal of Honor. By turns harrowing and heroic, compelling and inspiring, Jerry Speziale's story reads like a Hollywood thriller. It's a white-knuckle ride into a world few people ever see, a descent into the netherworld of Colombia's deadly drug cartels. And it's a rare glimpse into the back rooms of justice where the country's finest put their lives on the line every day, never forgetting their duty...or its consequences.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Like "Donnie Brasco," in which an FBI agent recounted his infiltration of the Mafia, this harrowing autobiography provides a fascinating peek into a subculture few of us have ever seen before. Big-time, world-class drug dealers do a great deal of macho posturing and conspicuous consuming for the sole purpose of impressing one another, and in recreating them Speziale and Seal make the whole industry seem incredibly foolish. — Les Roberts
Publishers Weekly
An original member of the DEA's legendary Group 93, which was founded in 1990 to target the drug cartels based in Cali, Colombia, Speziale has an amazing life story to tell, and in a breathless narrative, he (with freelance writer Seal) nails the high points of his 20-year-long career. From his troubled youth in New Jersey through his incarnation as the suave "Geraldo Bartone" to infiltrate the Cali gangs, to a final bout with career burnout, Speziale provides a detailed insider look at the tough life of undercover cops and the relentless pressure of a job in which the "only way to bust the cartel is to become part of it." As Speziale is schooled in the ways of a drug lord by a confidential informant-who later tries to double-cross him-the authors show just how easy and dangerous it is to go to Guatemala, build an airstrip, set up a business and begin to do large drug deals for the Cali cartel. Unfortunately, the book is written in a faux tough-guy style, reminiscent of old Miami Vice episodes. Speziale has lived an interesting life, but phrases like "I felt that roller-coaster ride ratcheting up another level" don't raise his tale beyond that of a B-movie. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758204097
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Junkie 1
2 Group 93 15
3 Paul 24
4 Coke Dealer Charm School 33
5 The Flash 46
6 Shopping for a Country 60
7 Welcome to the Third World 72
8 The First Deal 83
9 The Trial 97
10 The Costa Rica Con Job 107
11 Blown Away in Bogota 119
12 Brazil, Brazil, Brazil 133
13 Caliche 150
14 The Phoenix 166
15 Wiretaps 178
16 Snowing Coke in Canada 189
17 Becoming Paul 203
18 Big Man in Bogota 217
19 Road Rage 228
20 Knee Deep in Tomatoes 240
21 Sleep Deprivation 255
Epilogue 267
Authors' Note 273
About the Authors 275
Acknowledgments 277
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2007

    Can't put it down!

    If you like to read about cartels, drugs, planes, infomants, DEA, busts, etc. This is a MUST read. I can't put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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