War on Drugs

Criminals Disguised as Cops Raid Illegal Gaming Establishment


Prohibition — it's endlessly useful for criminals.

According to a Houston CBS affiliate, five men pretending to be cops raided an illegal gaming parlor and got away with thousands of dollars. Now actual Houston police are searching for the thieves, who have stolen $20,000 from illegal gambling houses in the last week.

Some police are theorizing that they might have been members of the notorious Zetas, the Mexican drug cartels.

Look closely and you can see 5-men wearing badges and raid jackets and they're all carrying weapons; one is even carrying an assault rifle.

But there's a problem, these men are not officers, they're suspects. And now real investigators are going undercover trying to find them.

One undercover officer says, "These guys are organized. It looks like they're trained. Each of them have a role to play. One of them takes the security guard; one of them takes the door. The other two escort the customers out of the business. You know it's something similar to a raid HPD would do."

Check out the security video. It's so eerily low-key, especially if they're actually Zetas.

This not uncommon tactic of criminals impersonating police, as well as as undercover police who don't seem to comprehend that to bystanders and suspects they often just resemble criminals, is making the dangers of the drug war and police militarization much worse. There are injuries and body counts to prove it.

It happened in the 2010 beating of Pittsburgh teen Jordan Miles, it happened in the 2010 killing of Georgia pastor Jonathan Ayers, and most recently, it seems to have happened with the shooting of John Collado in Brooklyn this summer. By all accounts, none of those men had reason to know or trust the men screaming orders at them — or in Collado's case, struggling with Collado's weed dealing neighbor — and yet they were expected to risk their lives by assuming that armed, shouting men are telling the truth about their identities. Making citizens obligated to do that is quite simply a violation of their right to self defense. Cops should be the ones endangering their lives to make sure people can trust that they really are members of law enforcement.

Reason on the militarization of police.