In March 1978, at the culmination of Operation Julie, 15 defendants, including doctors, research chemists, a writer, and "professional" drug dealers were sentenced to a combined total of 124 years' imprisonment. Operation Julie is still today the point of reference for all British undercover operations and training. In 2011, the BBC claimed this massive and unique police operation was the start of the war on drugs. Stephen Bentley, was one of four undercover detectives engaged on Operation Julie, one of the world's largest drug busts.
Together with his undercover partner, Bentley infiltrated the gang producing around 90 percent of the world's LSD and uncovered a plot to import huge quantities of Bolivian cocaine into the UK. The underworld knew the author as Steve Jackson. How did he successfully infiltrate the two gangs? Did he have to take drugs, and how did living a lie affect him? Discover the answers and get inside the mind of Steve Jackson, undercover detective.
This book is told by undercover officer Stephen Bentley. Dive underneath the visible parts of the water and into the murky depths as you are pulled along through not just the operation but the aftermath, both personal and public. A must read for true crime lovers.
3 su 3 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione
I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review and it will be the longest, most heartfelt review that I’ve written for any book.
SO many thoughts and emotions went through my mind with this book. The beginning was a little hard for me to be fully focused, I think mostly due to the fact that I am located in the Western USA and being unfamiliar with how the UK police force works and unfamiliar with any of the locations discussed as the author discusses the beginning of his career, I was purely a listener and not “invested” in the information.
As the book progressed, I was definitely invested and as the book came to the last 25% where the author gave additional info, not listed in the first addition and was more open about his personal opinions on the case involved, all people involved, drug enforcement as a whole and more, my mind began to spin.
A few things about me that will give you an idea as to where I am coming from as my mind went mad, bouncing around like a ping pong ball:
1. I am a non-drug user. I don’t say that to avoid opinionated readers that are pro or con on this issue, but I have a job that is secure and I am fortunate to have. Said job also requires me to submit to random drug and alcohol screening, so even though our state has recently legalized cannibis use, I stay away from all chemicals that may stay in my body for more than 24 hours.
2. I come from a family that are strong backers of all “first responders” fire, police and medical aid. I have immediate family members who are firefighters, EMT’s, nurses, retired police and corrections officer.
3. I also come from a family strong in addiction, with many family members in current recovery or addiction to both drugs and alcohol.
Given those facts, I feel my opinion about the author’s experiences and drug views are completely open minded.
I realize that world wide so many things have progressed in law enforcement and how they are treated, but even given the time frame of Project Julie and still no recognition or recourse for what the author endured during and after the operation, is inexcusable to me. Law officers of most types put their lives on the line EVERY day, but in an operation like this, it is at least 10 times as likely that those officers would not have made it home.
Drug legalization- I don’t know what the answer is to this. As stated by the author, those who think they have a step-by-step plan for this to be “managed” are delusional. That being said, in America the prisons are overcrowded and many life sentences imposed via the 3 strikes rule, putting even minor league dealers in a prison space that should be occupied by a once convicted child rapist who only serves months in prison. And guess what folks... those addicts and dealers and still taking and distributing drugs in our prisons every day!
There has to be some way to balance out the time, effort and money spent fighting this, with tracking down the serial rapists, drive-by shooters and armed robbers in these countries. Several states in the US have legalized cannabis, taking some of the $ back, by heavily taxing/regulating. However, I am not at all certain that tax $ is going into the forces that are doing the regulating and protecting of the now legal sellers and growers. As usual government has their hand in the piggy bank and officers are paying the price.
Some babbling on my side, to say that Stephen Bentley deserves accolades not only for his service, but also for being open about his feelings and SO many things, the system, the drug “war”, the people who were in his life, his fall to alcoholism. You’ve heard the saying, “until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes...”. Living close to so many first responders who I love dearly, us civilians can never even almost imagine what their day to day service is like, so never do we have the right to judge.
Lastly, narration... Half way through the story or even before, I forgot there was a narrator to this book and truly felt as if the author was reading his own story. That takes talent and belief in a story, not just reading from a script, so bravo to both narrator and author. Thanks for the opportunity to hear your work!
2 su 2 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione
this book is very informative and interesting. I never knew all that went along with be involved in the police force in one way or another. I did know that there was some corruption and payoffs but not to the extent of what was described. thanks goes out to the author for his service and for the information he has shared.
1 su 1 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione
Undercover: Operation Julie - The Inside Story is a gritty, first-hand and factual account of how dangerous and stressful deep undercover work can be. (FWIW, the reality is nothing nearly as sensational or glamorous as Hollywood would have you think.) We follow Stephen Bentley and Eric Wright as they immerse themselves into vital roles in the largest LSD investigation and bust in the UK. We hear the police officer's side of it, for sure, but we also get the unflinching personal side. We see, up close and personally, into the consequences of deep undercover work, how the man behind the shield can be affected, both emotionally and physically, for up to decades after such an operation.
The raw feel of the entire book was absorbing, from the overarching story all the way down to the authenticity in the use of colloquialisms and slang for the area and the timeframe. If you like true crime or police-themed stories, you'll love this book.
Warning: If you are not from the UK, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the contrasting tales around Operation Julie, it's best to start the book at Chapter 3 (That's Chapter 5 for the Audible version). This is where the true tale actually begins, chronologically, and you can settle into the story as related by the author, Stephen Bentley. The chapters before this will at best confuse you, and perhaps frustrate you, as the refutations of other accounts of this operation would not be applicable.
1 su 1 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione
I received the audiobook free for an honest review.
I'm not sure what I expected from this memoir. The beginning started out dry, setting the stage for the bulk of the book, a true story about an undercover detective in Britain, helping take down the drug lords.
It starts out with him setting the stage of how he becomes a police officer, a bit of the atmosphere in Britain in the 1970s and how he got into the drug squad and from there to be an undercover officer; it also touches on the mental stress such a job puts on individuals.
This memoir shows in-depth, what goes on during a long term undercover operation and what the individuals put themselves and their families through during and after the undercover operation is finished. What interested me with this memoir was learning what the officers do and go through. I would have thought they would try and avoid actual drug use, for example. How would their fellow officers view them afterwards when they are fighting drug addiction? What about the women in today's forces who go undercover for their job; usually something to do with the sex trade industry. Do they have to completely immerse themselves in the role, like Steve and Erik did with the drugs? And what about the perception of the women afterwards? (especially in this day and age?). (These are my own questions, not ones raised or covered in the book).
Steve also talks about how there was no support system in the police force for the undercover officers afterwards. That would have definitely been useful, considering the fact that they were drinking a lot and taking drugs. Therapy, and rehabilitation should have been offered.
One thing that actually ended up interesting me, is his ideas about regulating drugs. A lot of what he suggests is quite logical. Considering the fact that Canada is legalizing marijuana he should send that regulation list to the Canadian government as they try to figure out how to deal with this legalization.
Overall, although filled in part with dry facts, I found this to be quite interesting and enjoyable.
1 su 1 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione
I found this a hard title to review as it’s almost 2 books in one; there’s the retelling of Stephen’s time as an undercover operative, the ‘story’, which I found very interesting (and is the reason I listened to the book in the first place!) and then there’s Stephen’s assessment of how the whole background of the operation was handled and his almost political opinion on the should’s and could’s of undercover work, policing and drugs in general and making himself heard, and I found this part hard going (especially where it interrupted the flow of the ‘story’). I must stress that this isn’t a criticism of what he says or how he did it, it’s just not what I was expecting or thought I was getting-I think that could be made clearer on the back cover maybe, as I think there’s a good solid 2-2.5 hours at the end of the story for this second part and sadly I didn’t get through the last 1.5hrs. (Although I will probably come back to wrap it up after a brief change of scenery!)
I had no background knowledge of this event (as it happened before my time!) and is a genre I’ve not explored and I still enjoyed it, so don’t be put off if you’re in the same boat!
The narrator also does a good job telling the story, if a little stilted at times.
This is my freely given, honest and unbiased opinion of a free review copy.
The author tells a fascinating story and gives great insight to what it was like for a policeman to drop his whole life to undertake a whole new persona as an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer. If you have read or listened to tales from the criminals involved in 'Operation Julie' this will really appeal to you.
Inside the head of an undercover cop is a scary place to be which adds a fascinating dimension to this account of Operation Julie. For me the latter half of the book confirms my own view on the failed 'War on Drugs' in favour of the Portuguese approach of decriminalisation and treatment. It is told with a no holds barred, sometimes brutal, honesty and is greatly enhanced by this. A great listen.