Property Rights

Scenes from the Drug War: DEA Secretly Commandeers Truck, Gets Driver Killed

Company owner did not authorize use, is trying to get reimbursed and fears for his family.


The phone rang before sunrise. It woke Craig Patty, owner of a tiny North Texas trucking company, to vexing news about Truck 793—a big red semi supposedly getting repairs in Houston.

"Your driver was shot in your truck," said the caller, a business colleague. "Your truck was loaded with marijuana. He was shot eight times while sitting in the cab. Do you know anything about your driver hauling marijuana?"

"What did you say?" Patty recalled asking. "Could you please repeat that?"

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  1. At least 17 hours before that early morning phone call, Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers – all of them taken by surprise by hijackers trying to steal the red Kenworth T600 truck and its load of pot.

    In the confusion of the attack in northwest Harris County, compounded by officers in the operation not all knowing each other, a Houston policeman shot and wounded a Harris County sheriff’s deputy.

    Huh, I guess the gun control guys were right. About gun owning LEOs, at least.

  2. There’s so much missing from this story, I’m mystified.

    1. On top of that, it’s written like shit.

      What’s missing is why Chapa cooperated-I’m guessing he was up to something and agreed to act as a mule and essentially drive a big red bullseye. That or they pay pretty well. Otherwise, there’s no real reason to risk getting caught by the boss and subsequently fired.

      A Houston cop wounded a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy, so it’s not all bad news.

      1. That’s part of what’s missing, yes, but there’s so much more. How did he manage to keep his operation so well hidden from his employer as to include a 1,000 mi. excursion? Or is the boss hiding something too, or were there yet others in on it? How/why did the hijacking take place? Did someone leak the itinerary and contents of the truck?

  3. Someone in the comments nailed it:
    “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

    I think this is the inverse, right? “If you’ve got a business that’s failing, you didn’t destroy it. Somebody else made that happen.”

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