from One Small Victory by Maryann Miller
Never in her wildest dreams did Jenny ever think she would join a drug task force and help bring down the main distributor in her small Texas town. After all, she's just a mom and a small store owner. But don't discount what a mother can do when the safety of her children is at stake.
Jenny, you are not with the police department. How and why did you get involved in this case?
After my son was killed in a car accident and drugs were found at the scene, I became aware of the enormity of the drug problem in our small town. I was so angry. Maybe angry at Michael for dying, I know that is a normal part of grief, but I was also incensed at the injustice of it all. If his friend hadn't been taking drugs that night, maybe the accident wouldn't have happened. And to think some smug drug dealer was raking in the money… it was just too much for me to wrap my mind around. So when I heard about this drug task force forming, I marched into the police department and told them I wanted to be part of it. I thought they would laugh and toss me out, but Lieutenant Steve helped me get accepted. I had to pass a physical fitness test and there were some other restrictions, but I was finally taken on as a Confidential Informant.
Tell us a little bit about this case.
In my first orientation with the task force, which consisted of the Little Oak Police Chief, Steve and his partner, Linda, the local sheriff, one of his deputies, an agent from the FBI and one from the DEA, and me, I found out that a major distributor had been operating out of a nearby ranch. The Feds had him under surveillance for over a year, but had not gotten hard evidence to take to court. What the task force planned was a sting to catch him selling drugs. I would become the bee to deliver that sting. The case was special to me because I wanted to get those drug dealers and distributors out of my town, and I guess in some way I thought it would bring me some peace about Michael. Maybe he would not have died in vain if something good came out of it.
Why was this case hard to solve?
It was really hard for me to establish myself in the undercover role of "Connie" who liked to party and needed drugs. That was my first job. Gain access to the dealers and build a rapport. The dealers were naturally suspicious, so I ate their dust several times before I was able to make my first score. The other complication was the fact that I could not tell anyone, not my kids, my friends, my mother--not even my dog -- what I was doing. The last part wasn't so hard. We don't have a dog, but my kids and my mother had lots of questions I couldn't answer. Then Scott, my other teenage son, heard rumors at school about his mother hanging out with druggies -- nothing is secret in a really small town -- so he called my ex-husband to complain. Ralph threatened to take the kids away from me if I didn't stop whatever nonsense had Scott all riled up.
Was there any real danger involved?
At one point one of the dealers put a gun in my face and walked off with my money. Then at another "meet" some guy showed up that I'd never seen and told me to get in the car with him. I figured I was going to be driven off, shot and dumped in some field. One of the dealers had just been found dead, and we were afraid that something had sent the distributor on a killing spree. Luckily, that wasn't his plan for me that night.
Did anyone help you with your investigation?
I worked with everyone on the task force, but most closely with Steve. He was my champion throughout and we grew quite fond of each other. I think it could have gone beyond fondness, but professional boundaries had to be respected.
How has this case affected your personal life?
It threw my life in turmoil for almost a year, and I certainly learned some things about myself that I never would have. I am a stronger person now than I was before, and I know what lengths I will go to in order to protect my children. And it brought Steve into my life. It's nice to have someone care about me, and we may see where this relationship will go.
Thank you for being with us today, Jenny. I am sorry for the loss of your son. I wish you well in your role with the drug task force in trying to keep our streets free from drug dealers and distributors.
Maryann Miller has written nine non-fiction books and four novels. including the award-winning, Coping With Weapons and Violence in School and On Your Streets. One Small Victory is based on a true story and is on the Kindle best-seller list for mystery and thriller. She has also written several screenplays and stage plays and lives on some acreage in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her husband, one horse, two goats, two dogs, four cats and whatever wild creature wanders through the property. Information on these books can be found at her website at http://www.maryannwrites.com.