Tales from a Former Undercover NARC
Sometimes he was Steven Francis Neill, and sometimes he was Neill Franklin. One was an unemployed junky looking to score on the streets of Baltimore. The other was an undercover narcotics agent.
“Eventually, it became somewhat problematic,” the now retired Neill Franklin (which is his real name) explained. “I felt myself getting lost at times between the two worlds. This is one of the reasons for establishing rigid limitations on how long someone remains undercover. We’ve left some investigators ‘under’ way too long.”
I met Neill for a tour of his Baltimore, the city he grew up in, policed for 34 years, and left upon retirement. As we cruised through a wasteland of abandoned and burned-out houses, it was easy to see why the 55-year-old had moved to the suburbs. Corner boys glared out from under street signs with names suggesting far more idyllic surroundings—Eden, Crystal, and Spring.
We meandered for the next several hours as I interviewed him about the drug war that he helped to wage and now blames for the ruination of the city he once called home. As the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Franklin—along with 3,500 other former cops, judges, and district attorneys—is on a crusade to make all drugs legal. Read more