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[00:00:02]

This is Walton Goggins and I want to tell you about a new podcast called Deep Cover. Deep Cover is a true story that begins with a Detroit FBI agent going undercover in an outlaw motorcycle gang and ends with a U.S. invasion of a foreign country. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jake Halpern guides listeners on this wild journey. Perfect fans of Justified Sons of Anarchy or anything by the Coen brothers. You can hear it now. And your favorite podcast app or a deep cover podcast brought to you by Pushkin Industries.

[00:00:40]

Stay tuned to the end of this episode for a special preview of the deep cover trailer.

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This podcast is intended for mature audiences. Listener discretion is advised.

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First thing out of my mouth was I wanted to work for the. Picking things up from where we left off last episode, judges admitted to a Kansas highway patrolman that he was transporting 66 pounds of marijuana, three hundred seventy four grand in cash and a gun in the back of a rented minivan sitting in cuffs on the side of a turnpike. He watched the cop rifle through the contraband. He knew that his days smuggling for the syndicate were over budget. It hatched a plan to save his own hide.

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I told you that I wanted to work for the DEA. They took me back to the state patrol office waiting for somebody to show up to.

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DEA agents showed up and we start talking.

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At first, Joe played coy, not wanting to play his entire hand. He dropped a few hints about the size and scale of the syndicate. This was a sophisticated interstate trafficking operation. He said he'd personally transported thousands of pounds of pot for the group out of Colorado to surrounding states, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. The syndicate had been at it for much longer than Joe had, supplying some of the best weed in the Twin Cities.

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So maybe if they let him off the hook, would the DEA be interested in learning more?

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Like anyone who's seen even one mobster movie, Joe understood that ratting could mean the difference between going home or going to jail. Knowledge is power. When I met Joe in Texas, he admitted to playing people off each other and not just the police.

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Trees organization was always my throw organization, as shitty as that sounds. That was my goal, you know. So when I said, what do you want your throwaway organization?

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Like, if I get it, if things go sideways, I'm never going to talk about these groups. I'm going to talk about these groups, you know, or, you know, mean strike a deal with law enforcement, protect yourself and the people you care about.

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Yeah. Revealing information about treatment. Yeah, remember, Joe already had a career in smuggling before he started working for me in the syndicate. This included business deals with the skydiving friend named Alex, as well as some hustling for associates in California. Rather than have law enforcement dig into all corners of his life and turn up dirt on his skydiving friends, Joe diverted the Fed's attention towards the syndicate. That way, he could protect the people he really cared about.

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The people in my family, the people in my industry, the skydiving industry, you know, I can continue to work in this industry because I protected everybody else in the industry. The DEA took the bait. Federal agents agreed to use Joe as a confidential informant in return for the promise of a lenient plea deal even more than Cowboys' confession to Denver police six months earlier.

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Joe's agreement ushered in the syndicate's demise by turning, quote, Joe transformed a local investigation into an interagency effort and exposed the syndicate to the full resources of the DEA.

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Here's DEA agent Randy Wlad with the Denver Field Office, which was previously unaware of the Denver Police Department's case.

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We got a call.

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An individual got stopped in Kansas, he says, individual because the DEA can't confirm the names of confidential informants like Joe Johnson.

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And we agreed to pool their resources from the DEA. So all of those law enforcement resources came together.

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That also included financial investigators from the State of Colorado's Department of Revenue. So now agencies from three branches of government, local, state and federal, were working together to take down the syndicate. And once they pooled resources, they made a formidable team.

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DEA, we like to use in terms of disrupt and dismantle. There's some organizations that we disrupt. This organization we dismantled. I'm Chris Walker, your host in the series about high flying pot smugglers, the rise and fall of a criminal enterprise in the evolution of marijuana's black market in the era of legal weed from Fox Lip-Sync and Imperative Entertainment. This is the syndicate. The DEA wasted no time in using their new man on the inside and told me to meet up with two agents from Minneapolis, and just like that, Joe found himself back on the highway heading north in the same rental van he'd been pulled over in.

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Except this time he had new instructions in Minneapolis. Joe would meet up with another pair of DEA agents who detach a wire to him. Then the feds wanted Joe to make his scheduled meeting with Tom Disparate and record the interaction. If Joe could catch Tom saying anything incriminating about illegal marijuana and their associates in Colorado, that might be useful evidence in court.

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Joe agreed. But it didn't take a genius to spot a major hole in the plan. The DEA held on to the 66 pounds of marijuana and three hundred seventy four thousand dollars from his car, which meant Joe had to show up empty handed.

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That was the most insane thing I could ever imagine.

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I mean, it did put me in a very, very tight, uncomfortable spot, you know, trying to explain.

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Well, yeah, I got I got stopped on a traffic stop, you know, like, well, why are you fucking driving and why were you scared about telling them just showing up without all that money? I thought I was you know, I'm like, I couldn't believe that they were going, this is how it's going to work, you know? I mean, I would think that they would let it all back out to preserve the case and to preserve one safety.

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You know, I mean, I'm not going to lie. I was afraid for my life for more and more and one time and they kept on reassuring me that, you know, these guys are college friends, whatever, you know. I mean, yeah, some most of them might be college friends, but some of them aren't. And when you get into an organization that big would have been a far stretch to think that, you know, I get ran over crossing the street.

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Somehow, Joe had to make Tom believe that cops pulled him over in Kansas, confiscated all the pot and cash, and then let Joe go on his merry way without any repercussions.

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I couldn't get law enforcement to explain the rationale, but from Joe's vantage point, he didn't see any other choice but to go along with the half baked cover story. When he made it to the Twin Cities, he called Tom on a burner phone and they met at a restaurant on Minneapolis's East Side.

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The two settled into a booth, Joe was only halfway through his story before Tom flipped out and he couldn't even believe I still have my phone so we could track our phones together. They through the devices in a dumpster outside the restaurant. Tom pressed Joe for answers right there in the parking lot.

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Yeah, I don't know what your breaking routine. You're not given the money over to where it's supposed to go. So my mind is already in your hands in the wrong place, not here. What's going on?

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The longer Joe talked, the less sense it made. Tom told Joe to get the hell away from him. He needed to call, try and figure out what to do next. Except by this point, Joe had already accomplished his first mission as a DEA mole record.

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Tom talking about the shipment of marijuana and money and the feds were just getting started. Within days, the DEA assigned two of its undercover agents in Minneapolis to surveil Tom. They'd mark his every movement and tail him in nondescript cars, hiding from behind. Newspapers and sunglasses blend in the way they were trained.

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The agents started to follow Tom's movements, but to their surprise, I'm still doing oil changes on my truck.

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I was putting that on the left.

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Tom noticed a black device stuck underneath the chassis next to the oil pan was like, great, there's the tracker.

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This is wonderful.

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Tom took the truck to a mechanic friend to get a second opinion, just to be sure. The guy looked at it, too. And and I just gave them the shot. This is great. You know, I talk about something. That's when things clicked into place. Staring at the tracker on his car, Tom understood that Joe must have worn a wire. The writing was on the wall.

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And also, as it turned out, on his door.

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I mean, there was a time where I went back to his house by myself. Not not no, not telling the DEA. And I wrote a little message on his door to try to get him to to to talk to me. Like, listen, we need to find Tom.

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You know, Joe was going rogue. The DEA never told him to write on Tom's door. But Joe was an eager informant as he saw it. The more damning recordings of Tom, the less likely Joe was to face jail time.

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Joe came over and scribbled a bunch of shit with the good permanent marker. Great. I decided to read that so I didn't have to stir it. We should talk. That was his good line.

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The line failed to produce its desired effect and I went back and to talk to him in the doors of the house and he's painting it.

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Joe remembers taking a quick look inside the house, failing to find Tom, then leaving. But Tom has a different recollection.

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He was sneaking around on my property another time, looking in that door that was empty and I'm on the other side of the fence going, and he's like, Whoa, we're cool.

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Things weren't cool. Tom felt sure Joe had a hidden recorder on him. He also knew Joe liked to carry a gun. So instead of a nice amicable conversation, Tom took off running, literally running on streets near hear from him.

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And he's in his jeep trying to throw me a duffle bag off. I don't know what product or whatever, like everything's cool here. It get on board and every attack that they could to set me up further.

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It was surreal. Why was Joe chasing him and what was he trying to do with the duffel bag plant evidence? Tom cut through side yards and alleyways until he lost sight of the jeep. He never saw Joe again. Even so, to use Tom's phrasing, the attacks kept up.

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So I know everybody's movements in the neighborhood. I've been here long enough. It was really easy to see two white guys wearing hoodies that were crawling by my car one day. And I see him after dark and I'm like, Hey, guys. And they had their their van parked right by me. And I was like, Hey, what's going on?

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What are you looking for? The men responded, We see a raccoon. And I'm like, You're crawling under for a critter under my it's like, guys, all right, I get it. We're going to see each other later. But I mean, really crying hurt and inside, ready to say, yeah, the jig is up, bring me in. Let's not drag this out. The psycho drama. I was so ready for it to be done, for them to have to do the extra stuff.

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So it was just a lot of good torture.

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Deep in the conservative south of 1970s Atlanta, Mike Thebus, the son of Greek immigrants, was a man driven by endless ambition. He had everything a wife and five kids, the largest mansion in Atlanta, and a rumored 100 million dollar fortune. But the success came at a price as the community shunned him and he became entangled in a web of murder, mob connections and love affairs.

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It is the money, obviously, that attracts organized crime.

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I don't have any knowledge as to what happened to Mr. Hanna. He was a personal friend of mine, and I just think it's a terrible tragedy.

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There's no doubt in my mind that they are nervous at first about having to do business with Mike Davis society.

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Do not take it seriously when criminals kill each other. So Mike Thebus walked out this door to freedom. Some are speculating he may be in Colombia or Costa Rica, countries which before have harbored United States criminals.

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This is Gangster House, the unbelievable story of Mike Thebus family man and the so-called sultan of smut.

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Listen and subscribe to Gangster House right now on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.

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True features the often weird but always true stories of strange events and unforgettable moments.

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Each episode explores unusual, obscure, sometimes funny, sometimes creepy stories, stories that are so bizarre that you won't believe that they're real, but they are because, yeah, they're true.

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Listen and subscribe to True right now on Apple podcast or wherever you get your favorite shows. Tom may have recognized his days were numbered, but uncovering his distribution network in Minneapolis only made up one part of a now multiagency investigation. The DEA ordered Joe to return to Denver to help gather evidence on the syndicate's activities in Colorado. Joe teamed up with the Denver police to identify the syndicate's operatives and warehouses.

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And they would have you just like right around you. So one of the guys, big black guy, and he paraded me around while they're standing out in front of the fucking thing.

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The officer drove Joe past the warehouses in an unmarked vehicle, telling him, just lay down in the back.

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They won't see it. But Joe is afraid of being seen, especially since his law enforcement handlers still expected him to secretly record meetings with high ranking members of the syndicate. As nervous as he felt, Joe didn't have any other options.

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I met with the big tall guy with the beard, Patrick Pat Kincannon, who told Joe that their business together was suspended until they figured out what to do about the money and weed cops took from him. Then Joe met with Cayler garbage, garbage Prayuth, who surprised Joe by asking him to take off his shirt, cayler search Joe for a wire and came up empty handed. He didn't know that the DEA embedded a microphone into one of Joe's shoes. Remember that?

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Drug smugglers check the shoes. Cayler really wanted to give Joe the benefit of the doubt since he'd brought Joe into the syndicate to begin with. But like everyone else, he thought Joe's cover story just didn't make sense. Shortly after the meeting, Cuyler gave one of his bud tenders, Adam Tilley, a ride in his car.

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Tilley recalls the tense trip we were driving away from his original facility at a stoplight.

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Cuyler admitted that something really worried him, and he made me lean over as he whispered it into my ear.

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Joe's a rat.

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And I was like, This is like some real movie shit. Like we're like trying to beat a bug right now.

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Like Joe helped his handlers, ID members of the syndicate and recorded some meetings with its top brass. But he still couldn't get any face time with the man at the very top.

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Three would eat with me. Tree didn't respond to texts or phone calls. Eventually, Joe and his handlers accepted that he'd missed his window of opportunity. Tom warned Tree long before Joe had a chance to get him on tape.

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But in law enforcement's view, that was OK. Every confidential informant has a lifespan, and Joe had been useful before his lifespan ended. Behind the scenes, law enforcement kept busy putting his larger case together. It divided specialty's between agencies, which included tax experts with the state of Colorado. The team looking into the syndicate's finances recruited Special Agent Steve Bratten at Colorado's Department of Revenue, Bratton's specialty tracing drug money and trafficking schemes just like this one. Bratton got to work poring over records showing cash flowing into and out of the organization's coffers.

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It wasn't long before he cracked the syndicates elaborate money laundering tactics.

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He had set this entire organization up and this entire scheme up to sign false leases to give the money to the caregivers who would then take that money and go get the money orders on and then go back to Treacher, then deposit it as basically a rental income where all the money was just coming from Minnesota from the distribution's.

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Bratton was impressed this had gone undetected for years because Tre knew about a loophole in financial reporting.

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The money orders were also under specific amounts so as to not trigger reporting to the IRS.

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Correct Treasury or if there's again, I don't want to give too much away, but we have to be respectful and scored a goal of this. Of what we're willing to impart is not to give the next generation of black marketeers any words of wisdom that he or she could then use as a law enforcement. And prosecutors gave me a great idea as to how to structure and layer funds and what they were going to do.

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That in this interview, that was a prosecutor at the attorney general's office butting in. And in case you're wondering about the specific dollar amount under which money orders are not reported to the Department of Treasury, it's right in the public documents surrounding this investigation. I also hinted at it back in episode three.

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The reason Alicia Ranie told me people constantly put in nine hundred ninety nine dollars is because there are no reporting requirements for money orders at or below one thousand dollars.

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The more you know, anyway, that's how he was doing. And that's how Trees money laundering scheme was set up.

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While the Denver police and the DEA conducted surveillance and gathered Intel, Bratton dug up other financial records. He identified bank accounts with the fake rental income amounts to be paid for utility bills and crop insurance, as well as big ticket purchases like cars, trees, Audy, for example, which Bratton attributed to proceeds from a legal marijuana distribution following the trails, was painstaking work.

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But by October 2014, state prosecutors felt they had enough evidence to dismantle the syndicate by force.

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But what to call this takedown? Last episode, I told you to remember the University of Minnesota's sports mascot when prosecutors in Colorado learned that members of the syndicate like Tom went to and dealt weed there. They took some inspiration from the school sports team. They could name their takedown operation, Golden Gopher. On October 28th, scores of cops and SWAT team members assembled into tactical units at the crack of dawn. Their targets were still asleep.

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It must have been five, six o'clock in the morning. Just hear glass breaking with stun grenades, body armor, assault rifles, battering rams and shotguns. The squads were ready for anything easily.

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We had between one hundred and one hundred and twenty law enforcement personnel to execute this.

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At that point, I'm thinking someone's breaking into the house. So I get up and I start walking down the steps and they come right out, me, throw me down, have me pinned down against the ground and rifle to my head.

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The SWAT teams hit 18 different locations across Denver and Minneapolis over the next thirty six hours. You have your priorities that you lay down. Those priorities began with the syndicate's leadership. The agencies knew better than to give anyone time to hide illegal drugs and money. Their top targets included Pat Kincannon.

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Throw my wife down. At that point I'm screaming on top of my lungs. She's pregnant. She's got nothing to do with this. I'm the one you want. Just leave her alone and I keep going over and over again. She's pregnant. You got to be careful with her. They're throwing her down on the ground. And I'm saying, what are you guys doing? It's just we're not fighting back, you know, just let her go. She's pregnant.

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She's pregnant. And one of the I remember this distinctly, one of the SWAT team says these guys are probably cartel, they're probably cartel. And I'm saying I'm not cartel. Look at me. I'm not cartel. I'm going to work with you guys.

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Just please calm down.

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But from his position on the floor, watching officers turn drawers upside down, pull apart mattresses, toss his belongings around the house, Pat couldn't follow his own advice. He couldn't calm down. Nor did he know that at that moment, many of his friends and associates were in the same predicament. Friends like Tom in Minneapolis called naked, kicked on the ground and usual all the name calling.

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As well as the syndicate's kingpin, Tre Special Agent Steve Bratten recalls the raid. OK, this is this is done in Cherry Creek. Great. It's a nice apartment. I think he was paying thirty five hundred dollars a month or four thousand dollars a month for it's a nice place and he can obviously afford it. And so we go and we did warrants at his house and that's the house that I was that cops and SWAT officers busted through the front door of Teresa apartment at dawn and found him home alone.

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The officers yanked him out of his room and told him to sit on a couch while they searched his house. And so in this house, there's literally money everywhere. There was. Yeah. So his wife at one point in time, Minnesota had a massage business or something. And yeah, there was twenty seven thousand dollars found in like the head like a total of like a massage or a massage to you blow your face into or whatever. Right.

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The one with the hole cut out of the middle. Yeah. So there's like twenty six thousand dollars. I found the head thing and then there was another bag of money that was at the bottom of is underneath all of his dirty laundry. And then there was a shoebox full of money. And then the one that I remember is we looked over the mattress and he had like like a memory foam mattress. And so he had like a king sized sheet, like a like one of those shoes that would cover the entire bed.

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So we flip this thing up. And I was like, what are those rectangles? What is that? And so we cut the sheet off and it had one hundred ninety six thousand dollars that was literally stuck to the bottom of the bed. The entire bottom of the mattress was rectangles. Meanwhile, in the other room, despite all of his hiding places, folding one by one tree didn't react like sitting kind of on my left.

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That's interesting that he was there. Was he surprised, Theresa? He's a very reserved individual, you know, very confident, very reserved. So I think he was surprised. But he he didn't show it. We didn't find any 700000 dollars in a two bedroom apartment stuffed everywhere. I mean, every drawer, every I mean, there is money everywhere. There's unbelievable.

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SWAT teams didn't find nearly as much money anywhere else, including at Pat's house.

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It's it's actually, what, three or four days before Halloween. So it's cold and the doors are wide open. There's glass everywhere.

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There's there's just no freezing. As he sat shivering in his underwear, officers kept pressing him, where's the money, where's the money? Unsatisfied with Pat's answers, they turned to his pregnant girlfriend. They separated us immediately. Talk to us for a little bit and then let us put our clothes back on because we're both in our pajamas or underwear.

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Pat fumed at what he felt was a completely over-the-top police raid. In the chaos, his dog bolted out of the house when they threw the bombs and she took off and we never saw her ever again. And when I brought that up, they just laughed in my face and said, We don't care about that. I said, Well, can you send someone to go look for the dog? Or You guys are arresting me. Can I go find the dog now when I can't leave here?

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Obviously, Pat couldn't leave.

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The officers pressed him with questions that question us separately and they're showing us pictures of of everyone.

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And of course, I at that point, I'm not saying anything because I know my rights and I know that I'm not going to say anything and I know my girlfriend's not going to say anything. And they're showing us pictures as they're showing us pictures. I realize they're showing me pictures of every single person that's involved in it.

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Clearly have got this figured out. You know, Tom, Joe Johnson tee'd of every one of the everyone at the warehouse, people that used to work in our back in Minnesota are back somewhere else. And I'm thinking to myself, wow, this is this is this is this this is a big deal. As an organization, the syndicate was done. Since 1993, thousands of women have been murdered or disappeared along the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. My name is Lydia Cacho and I am here to tell you the true story of the femicide.

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Sing Juarez, listen and subscribe to the red note right now on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, you can also listen in Spanish. Just search for LANATA rocka in the same podcast app you are listening in now. In March of twenty nineteen, I stepped foot for the first time into a little farm town called Winder, a town full of stories, legends and secrets, and it would change my life. What I unearthed was a story shrouded in scandal and mystery, 50 years in the making, a story with secrets never before revealed.

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But as I would learn, the deeper you dig, the more secrets you're likely to find buried. Listen and subscribe to in the red clay right now on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:27:54]

After completing 18 search warrants on homes and the syndicate's warehouses, law enforcement seized one point four million dollars, 900 marijuana plants, 4600 pounds of marijuana trim, 160 pounds of flour, 600 grams of marijuana concentrate and over one pound of hash oil.

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Lower level employees who tended to the grow houses showed up to work the next day to find police tape strung across the front doors. They tried reaching managers like Tree Pat and Cuyler, but couldn't get a response. The raids, followed by sudden silence, bred an atmosphere of fear. Everyone wanted information about who'd been arrested and who might be next. So some of the employees decided to meet at a bar to try to figure out what had happened.

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So there's like five of us or something like that that met at The Thin Man. But then after 10 minutes or so of being there, there was a helicopter basically circling directly over the thin man. And I think all of us, just in the situation we were in, were very wary and paranoid. Paranoid is the word I'm looking for.

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So we all just split and went our separate directions. And I don't think anybody really talked to anybody for a long period after that.

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Unbeknownst to Tilly and others in the syndicate, this was the investigators plan to begin with.

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Law enforcement needed time to sift through all the computers, phones and records they'd obtain to find incriminating evidence. The cops also knew that by laying low while keeping tabs on the syndicates members, they could so uncertainty and hopefully cause people to rat on each other to avoid criminal charges. For all his business savvy, Treen never prepared for this contingency. While he had taught his warehouse managers to repeat the caregiver yarn, he had no real strategy in place to coordinate everyone's unwieldy cover stories.

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It basically came down to hoping longtime friends and family members wouldn't throw each other under the bus. It was everyone for themselves deny, isolate and pray for the best. But Tre wasn't going to sit around and wait. He didn't know why cops hadn't arrested him, but he knew he had to move fast. First, he needed money as much as he could pull together. When Christine returned from Minnesota with the kids finding her apartment in ruins from the SWAT raid, Trai asked her to recover whatever cash was left in their bank accounts.

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Before the cops got to that, too, Christine went to a branch of U.S. bank where she had a safe deposit box in her name. Except something was odd. She fumbled and fumbled with the security code and couldn't get the box open when she finally went to the front desk to ask the branch manager about it. He handed her a business card on. It was the name and number of DEA agent Randy Ladd. It was a message. The cops were closing in and they wanted to know it.

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Tree's still managed to find plenty of money somewhere. Maybe there was a bag of cash hidden in the Rockies because he and Christine retained one of Colorado's most expensive lawyers from a firm known for representing NFL sports stars embroiled in scandals. Once Tree had legal representation, he learned why law enforcement didn't arrest any of the syndicate's members. During its raids, the state was going the grand jury route. A very quick explainer on grand juries. The panels are made up of randomly selected citizens, and as jurors, they meet in secret to go over evidence here, prosecutors arguments and decide what charges to level against individuals and big felony cases.

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The federal government and states often use grand juries for complex drug trafficking cases that involve dozens of criminal charges and multiple suspects that prosecutors can charge all at once rather than bring them to court with separate cases. So long as the suspects aren't violent or a flight risk, they can remain free until the grand jury issues its indictment.

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That often takes months.

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And so, as 2014 rolled into 2015 in more than four months went by since the police conducted their raids, a few members of the syndicate decided to leave Colorado. Unlike Tre, they didn't realize they were still in hot water.

[00:32:16]

One even left the mainland, ended up leaving, packing my shit up here and I was in Puerto Rico. Until March. Yeah, I mean, this is a really interesting period because it's quite a long time. And so, I mean, as the months roll by, it's kind of like maybe they're not going to charge me. I was thinking that I was thinking, well, maybe they got, you know, what they wanted or they don't have enough and.

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Was a weird, weird sensation. I actually got a call from my son. Well, don't worry. Did you hear the news, Michael? Perfect. Perfect.

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That's because on March 25th, the attorney general's office in Colorado released the grand jury's 52 count indictment against members of the syndicate.

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State grand jury indicted 32 people connected to the ring, including growers, drug mules, cash producers and even pilots.

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Today, law enforcement in Colorado is serving notice that we will not tolerate criminal behavior. Colorado voters legalized medical and recreational marijuana use, but their decision does not give a free pass to those who ignore government regulations and criminalize activity like we are highlighting today undermines the white market's credibility and profit margins and evades the payment of taxes.

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That last voice was then Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman throughout the state and especially in Denver. The news landed with a bang.

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Every outlet covered the syndicate's bust, including the newsroom I was working in at the time.

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Journalists and readers alike couldn't believe the fact that he and his organization had operated for years under the guise of being a legitimate marijuana business right underneath regulators noses.

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But the news came as a real shock to members of the syndicate who thought they'd already been through the worst of it.

[00:34:24]

It's not like they received a courtesy phone call from the prosecutor's office informing them that an indictment had come out. Many found out, like Tom, who remembers getting a call from a friend. You're telling me that tonight I'm the lead story.

[00:34:37]

Marijuana smuggling ring based in Colorado is now out of business. And just look at all the faces here. Thirty two people behind bars accused of playing some part in that massive illegal pot operation. And we're watching it.

[00:34:49]

And it's like, oh, it's tough, you know, to see your face real on the screen at all. So guilty, dammit. You know what? If you're wrong for selling all that pot now and then, I'm thinking, oh, it is this man is a wanted or a term. I thought, you know, what do you do? And of course, it's the dude I run. Think what all of it. They're motion. A lot of crying calls.

[00:35:14]

What was your first call? I mean, like, did you call your parents first?

[00:35:17]

Mm hmm. Yeah, and yeah, I just was all broke up and then she could tell something was wrong, they were real surprised and I was like, Yeah, I guess I made the news. After the indictment came out, all 32 people charged by the grand jury had to turn themselves in if they didn't. Law enforcement agencies would issue warrants for their arrests.

[00:35:41]

The syndicate's members scrambled for lawyers and those who had good ones or had prepared ahead of time, negotiated their surrenders, including how much jail time he or she might face before standing trial.

[00:35:53]

But everyone's lives in relationships with each other were about to change. Pat remembers the day he went to turn himself in at a police station.

[00:36:03]

So we had to turn ourselves in at one time. And I went to instead of going to the downtown Denver one, I decided to go to the one in Cherry Creek.

[00:36:13]

And I walked in and as I walked in, T was sitting there with his lawyer and he got up and I looked at him and I could tell he was sad and I could tell he probably wanted to give me a hug. And I was like, I can't do this, you know, and I couldn't do it because, a, I was afraid I was going to cry and he was going to cry and we were going to get real emotional and then be.

[00:36:38]

I was also afraid that maybe I was going to get angry. Maybe after a minute there, I was going to say, what were you thinking or what were we thinking or why did you. You know, I just didn't you don't know where your mind is that because your emotions are controlling everything. So instead, I walked right by him and I just made up some questions, asked the clerk, and she said, yeah, you need to go over there or something.

[00:37:01]

And I just turned around and I walked out and I called my lawyer and I said, I'm not turning myself into that. I can do this. You've got to call a prosecutor, the D.A., and let them know it'll be there later today or tomorrow. But it can't happen.

[00:37:14]

I'm a wreck. The next time Pat went to the police station, tree wasn't there. And because of what happened next, Pat doesn't know if he will ever see him again or if he even wants to.

[00:37:31]

Coming up, they let me know the magic number 46 every time I saw them, that I was facing 46 years in prison if I didn't cooperate. Jail cells fill up in the syndicates.

[00:37:44]

Members feel the squeeze.

[00:37:46]

You just need to stop because you know you're lying, right? You know, you're not being forthright.

[00:37:53]

Some close ranks, they don't talk bad about him.

[00:37:56]

The whole family took care of him.

[00:37:59]

Others sing like canaries. People can say they hate me for talking to the police. But what did it mean for those decades long friendships? And what about justice? Did the crime fit the punishment? We'll wrap all that up, along with a few surprise revelations in the final episode of The Syndicate. The syndicate is a co-production of Imp. Entertainment and Fox opposing executive producer is Jason Hoak, produced and edited by Laura Krantz and Scott Carney. The syndicate is scored and mixed by Louis Weekes.

[00:38:36]

I'm your host and creator, Chris Walker. This podcast was made possible in part by the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Visit the Syndicate podcast Dotcom for more about this story. And don't forget to tell your friends about the syndicate. If you're enjoying it, please leave us a review wherever you get your podcasts. It really helps more people find out about our show. Hey there, syndicate listeners, as promised, here's a special preview of the podcast, Deep Cover.

[00:39:18]

Don't forget, you can listen to episodes right now wherever you listen to podcasts. Here's the trailer.

[00:39:26]

About a year ago, I heard about this guy, a former FBI agent named Ned Timmons, and he had this crazy story.

[00:39:35]

I almost couldn't believe it went something like this back in the 80s. And it was a rookie at the FBI. And one night he arrests a fugitive at this biker bar. And I just lean up to his ears and told the FBI and he goes, fuck you.

[00:39:53]

Turns out this guy, Toby, has some connections in the criminal underworld and that's Neds in. He goes undercover with a biker gang, learns how to ride a Harley Groza Fu Manchu mustache and well, start spending a lot of time with his new buddies.

[00:40:09]

You don't make progress unless you're dealing with sociopathic, homicidal, crazy people. Ned's wife at the time was also an FBI agent and she started to worry.

[00:40:22]

Were you hang around that long with a bunch of bad guys fitting in with them? Your behavior is going to change and where you draw the line changes. But this was just the beginning. That tells me he would go on to live his double life for years and eventually uncover a vast criminal conspiracy. It involved celebrities, the CIA, a dictator down in Central America. Not just that, ultimately, it leads to a war, I mean a full scale US invasion.

[00:40:52]

We're going to work this up to the top. Our objective is to work up and kill the head of the snake.

[00:40:58]

Skeptical here. So is I. And then I started doing a little detective work of my own.

[00:41:06]

I'm Jake Halpern and this is Deep Cover, a show about drugs, motorcycles, an FBI agent and a dictator with a machete.

[00:41:17]

Well, you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to realize that we've stumbled upon something that was scale and that it was international.

[00:41:26]

The story was way too big for the feds.

[00:41:29]

I would have considered them very polished executives. They just happened to ultimately be involved in smuggling.

[00:41:36]

You could smell the money ever so much of it. Money has a very distinct honor and there was just so much of it. You could smell terrible characters or our stock in trade. It's the criminals who know how to get around the law and get around all of the systems who can help us do our job.

[00:41:55]

You know, you don't have to choose that path. You don't have to choose to work a case in that way. You don't have to choose to go deep cover. You are who you are. You're just an FBI agent. You're not God. At any time, I could have gone to my bosses and said I'm done. And they would have respected that. Why didn't you? Because I want to make the case. Deep cover brought to you by Pushkin Industries.