Who Pays When The DEA Destroys Your Vehicle And Kills Your Employee During A Botched Sting? Hint: Not The DEA

 

Craig Patty is seeking damages after his truck was used without his permission as part of a botched law-enforcement operation that left the driver dead. Photo: James Nielsen / © 2011 Houston Chronicle

Photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle

 

 

 

” The DEA likes to borrow stuff. It’s just not very good about returning borrowed items in the same shape it got them.

  Like a woman’s Facebook account. Or a businessman’s semi truck. And his employee’s life.

  Craig Patty runs a tiny trucking company in Texas. He has only two trucks in his “fleet.” One of them was being taken to Houston for repairs by his employee, Lawrence Chapa. Or so he thought.

  In reality, Chapa was working with the DEA, which had paid him to load up Patty’s truck with marijuana and haul it back to Houston so the DEA could bust the prospective buyers. That’s when everything went completely, horribly wrong.

  [A]s the truck entered northwest Houston under the watch of approximately two dozen law enforcement officers, several heavily armed Los Zetas cartel-connected soldiers in sport utility vehicles converged on Patty’s truck.

In the ensuing firefight, Patty’s truck was wrecked and riddled with bullet holes, and a plainclothes Houston police officer shot and wounded a plainclothes Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was mistaken for a gangster.

The truck’s driver was killed and four attackers were arrested and charged with capital murder.

  Until Patty received a call notifying him that his employee had been killed, he was completely unaware of the DEA’s operations involving both his truck and his driver. Unbelievably, things got even worse for Patty after this discovery.

  Patty’s truck was impounded by the DEA. After it was released to him, it was out of service for several months as it underwent more than $100,000-worth of repairs. The DEA offered him no financial assistance for the truck it helped fill with bullet holes nor did it offer to make up for the revenue Patty lost while his truck was out of commission. His insurance company likewise turned down his claim, citing his truck’s use in a law enforcement operation.

 Nor did the DEA offer to do something to repair his newly-acquired reputation as a drug runner and/or DEA informant — something that makes Patty’s life a little bit more dangerous.

  Nor will it have to. A federal judge has dismissed Patty’s lawsuit against the DEA seeking up to $6.4 million in damages. (h/t to attorney Mark Bennett, who previously advised Patty but did not represent him in this lawsuit.)”

 

TechDirt has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements