90 Church: Inside America's Notorious First Narcotics Squad
Picador, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Bob Walch
ack in the 1960s before there was an official
War on Drugs
, there was a low profile but determined effort to deal with the drugs that were flowing into American cities. Controlled primarily by the Mafia, this was a problem that was rapidly getting out of hand and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was charged with dealing with the situation.
0 Church: Inside America's Notorious First Narcotics Squad
is a memoir that delves into the enforcement activities of the agents who worked out of 90 Church Street in New York City.
ften as ruthless and vicious as their adversaries, the FBN agents did whatever it took to put a crimp in the Mafia drug operations and place as many crime family members as possible behind bars.
hen Dean Unkefer became a FBN agent he naively assumed an overriding thirst for justice and fair play would be the rules of the day in how his colleagues performed their jobs. It didn't take the young agent long to realize that that wasn't the reality.
n the streets of New York his colleagues were as feared for their behavior as their adversaries. With few rules and very limited oversight, the ends justified the means and the goal was to, one way or another, put a stop to the drug business.
reated in 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was set up as an offshore intelligence service that was to track Sicilian Mafia who were converting morphine into heroin and then selling it on the streets of Manhattan.
ith fewer than 300 agents and spread way too thin, the Bureau was up against a well financed and powerful crime syndicate. In the 1960s the fight against narcotics focused on New York City when thirty agents were told to apply their efforts to the city.
his true crime memoir reads like fiction and tells the story of this unit from the inside. This is a period of drug enforcement in the country that is often glossed over. Former FBN agent Dean Unkefer now shares his unbelievable experiences and some of the secrets of 90 Church Street.
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