My father used to work as a Special Agent for the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) in the 1960’s and 1970’s, back when the Bureau evolved from chasing toothless moonshiners though the Alabama woods with axe handles, and into the baddest-assed of the federal bureaus in the entire world. The ATF is bigger and badder than even the FBI, with unlimited powers to enforce any federal statute. A few years ago, after he’d retired, my dad told me about a case that he’d investigated in the mid-1970’s concerning an ATF agent out of Detroit. The agent in question appeared to be hanging around a lot of disreputable characters, more so than he should have been, and his car kept turning up at various nefarious locations any time of the day or night. At first it was a simple investigation on ATF’s part, determining if the agent was merely doing his duty – or whether he’d “broke bad.”
What was finally revealed was a federal ATF agent who ordered killings, who committed armed robbery, ran Detroit’s heroin trade, who was involved in fraud, extortion, sold stolen guns and explosives to crooks, who plotted to rob a Brinks truck, and even threatened to blow up Detroit Airport unless he was paid $1,000,000–not only under ATF’s nose, he was made Agent of the Month! Bad? Hell, he was not just bad – he was bad like Jesse James.
The result: BAD, LIKE JESSE JAMES. It tells the amazingly true story of a massively corrupt federal agent who hid behind his badge. BAD, LIKE JESSE JAMES tells the true story of a very, very bad man, and how the dogged determination of two ATF agents eventually brought him down.
To read excerpts, please visit the blog