Fishing for Drugs

When Sid was a district attorney, he had a police radio in his pickup truck. He would often talk on it with Sheriff Pete Weaver, his friend and crime-fighting companion.

“And of course, that was the occupation for every farmer. You’re out there ridin’ a combine or a tractor, and you had earphones on and you were listening to the scanner, police scanner. You knew when ambulances went out, and you knew what people Sid was talkin’ about.”

One Friday at the office, Pete told Sid he had a tip about a drug delivery. “We knew who was making it and who they were making it to, and it was going to be at the dam. I said, ‘Well, dammit, we don’t know when it’s gonna happen, and it’s gonna destroy our weekends.’”

Pete said, “That’s alright. My weekend is taken up. Whaddo you plan to do?”

“Well, I was gonna take Carol and the kids to the cabin this weekend.”

“Go ahead,” said Pete. “You go on to the cabin, and you can contact me and ask me about what’s goin’ on over at the dam.”

When I was a kid, I loved going to our cabin, which was at a place called Cedar Crest.  We would row our little boat, or walk down to the Swimming Hole, or just hang around the cabin playing board games and stuff. I had no idea what else was going on while we were there.

During this trip, unbeknownst to me, Dad was occasionally going out to his truck to talk to Pete, who had deputies staking out the dam.

“I’d say, ‘D.A. 1 to Mayes County 1.’ And he’d say, ‘Yeah, Sid.’ And I’d say, ‘Any activity down there, fishin’ at the dam?’ He said, ‘Not a sign. We haven’t gotten a bite.’”

It doesn’t seem especially stealthy, but they kept it up all weekend.

“Not bitin’ yet?”

“No.”

“Whaddya think?”

“I think we oughtta leave the bait out there just a little longer and see what happens.”

Naturally, a lot of people overheard this on their scanners. To all appearances, the D.A. and the sheriff were spending a great deal of time fishing and talking about it on the radio.

I asked if they caught the drug runners. He said, “They had excellent communications, too.”

On another occasion, drug dealers made sure to let law enforcement know how good their communications were.

“One time, we had a raid to go on, and we had highway patrol and deputies and all kinds, and we all met a mile or so away… We parked the cars and went on the raid, and there wadn’ a damn thing. Nothing. I mean, it was clean as a whistle.”

When Sid and the cops got back to their cars, the state trooper yelled, “Somebody’s been under my hood!” His hood was open, and his windows were open a little bit. Of course, everyone was worried that there might be a bomb in the car. It turned out there was no bomb — the drug dealers just wanted to let the cops know they had been there.

“Oh, they were ornery,” says Sid.