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Paul V. Coates--Confidential File

August 17, 2007 | 10:01 pm
Paul_coates Aug. 17, 1957

In baseball, it's "Take two and hit to the right."

In football, it's "Hit 'em low, hit 'em hard, when they get up, hit 'em again."

But in the narcotics pushing trade, they've got their own credo:

"I see the dough; then you see the stuff."

No matter how individual pushers paraphrase it, the "law" is the same: No buyer gets his hooks on the dope until his account is paid in full.

Because a man supporting a habit isn't a good credit risk.

1957_0817_ads No rule, of course, is complete without an exception.

And today's tale deals with a local undercover narcotics agent who gambled that he could be exactly that.

With $3.65 in his pocket, he walked into a pusher's home to make a $175 purchase.

It started when the agent was formally introduced to the pusher as a prospective buyer. The go-between was one of those modern-day rarities: an ex-user who kicked the habit and decided to throw in with the law.

The pusher was also somewhat of a rarity. He was a young man who came from a good family with a good home in a "good" community where bad things like narcotics just didn't exist.

He'd been peddling, the agent figured, for about a year and a half.

At the first meeting, the subject swung casually to girls.

And the agent observed that the young pusher's interest suddenly perked.

So he threw in the remark that he just happened to have a couple of young ladies "working" for him.

"I'll bring them around sometime," he promised.

"You really will?" asked the pusher.

"Maybe," said the agent, "I can even work you in on the deal."

Then the talk switched back to the purpose of the meeting.

The agent told his needs and the pusher set his price--$175.

The pusher was living with his parents, so a time was set when they wouldn't be home. He gave the agent his address.

"If you'd like," said the agent, "I can bring the girls along."

1957_0817_porscheImmediately, the pusher agreed that it would be a fine idea.

After they parted, the agent concluded that while the young pusher might be long on experience in narcotics, his experience was short with the opposite sex.

So when the agreed hour arrive, the agent went to the peddler's home--alone.

He knocked.

When the peddler answered, there was obvious disappointment in his expression.

"No girls?" he asked.

The agent smiled. "Later."

They walked into a back room where the "buy" was ready in a paper sack.

"The money?" asked the pusher.

"The girls got it. At the drive-in. I thought it would be better if they didn't come here, so I told them we'd meet 'em."

The pusher started to object, but the agent interrupted.

"I got you fixed up, buddy. You DO want to meet them, don't you?"

He did. He handed over the paper bag--"drugstore stuff"--10 or 11 bottles, from morphine to cocaine.

They walked out and the agent locked the bag in the trunk of his car. "Let's go," he said.

They went.

In five minutes they were at the drive-in.

And 30 seconds later, two other agents had moved in for the arrest. The accommodating pusher even carried an additional narcotic supply on his person.

It was that simple.

The agent's lone regret is that they all aren't.