“This reminds me of Miami Vice”
Little did he know.
Robert Mazur didn’t want to become a CPA so after college he got an internship with the Intelligent Divison of the IRS. After the IRS he became a US Customs agent and developed the deepest, most verifiable cover the agency had ever seen. His task was to infiltrate the Cartels posing as a mob man who could launder their coke money. That man was Robert Musella.
He used a lot of ex-criminals (some he sent to jail in previous busts) to build his cover; a lot of these men lent him homes, covered Vegas vacations and ultimately explained a lot of the underworld to the federal agent. Mazur, along with another agent going by the name Emilio, got in good with Gonzolo Mora, a money broker for the Medellin cartel. As the Musella persona grew it led to access to the BCCI, one of the largest banks in the world. Mazur discovered that there were as dirty as the cartel dealers.
“That bastard was more worried about pouring a cement patio than keeping us alive! He could have gotten us all killed the next time we went to pick up money. I’m pretty sure we got fried when those red lights came out.” Once again, the enemy within was proving more dangerous than the enemy we were attacking.
Mazur’s biggest challenge wasn’t getting the drug dealers or bankers to trust him- it was to get his own people to let him do what he needed to do without interfering. There was a lot of red tape surrounding financing the undercover operation (Mazur paid most of his wardrobeing) and arranging certain travel arrangements. Local city agencies would also ignore the big picture and put Mazur’s life in danger in order to get a smaller bust on their own turf. Mazur put his life, and his relationship with his wife, on the line for a little over two years in order to help fight the War on Drugs.
The memoir is meticulously researched because not only did Mazur live the story he made recordings of nearly every interaction he had in those years. It’s fast paced, about 350 pages focusing on a five year period, and there are quite a few nail biting moments. The memoir has been turned into a movie starin Bryan Cranston which I’m sure will be impeccable.