Methl Sulfonyl Methane OR MSM
It was a hot Sunday in August when the business line of my telephone rang. “Hay Tony, what’s up? I want to know if you would open up the store for a very good friend of mine who’s interested in buying a 125 gallon aquarium, and all the filters and stuff that he’ll need?” Joe inquired. “Go ahead and bring him over. I’ll be waiting.” was my reply. Joe was a regular customer with an open credit account. He had bought two aquariums from me in the past and had referred several very good customers to me who had purchased large tanks, with all the fixings, and fish. I was in the house watching television waiting for Joe and his friend to arrive when the dogs began to bark. It was my cue that someone again wanted me to open my combination farm, feed, and pet store. I looked out the window, and sure enough it was Joe and his friend, a prospectively new customer. I walked out from the house, across the asphalt, opened the store, and let them in. Since it was Sunday we were closed but occasionally I would open up for customers who had an emergency or special need. Joe introduced us, “Tony this is Mike, Mike this is Tony.” We both shook hands while Joe continued, “Mike is a very god friend of mine, we went to school together, and we hang out. He wants a tank for salt water fish and you’re the best guy to see.” I went through the total sales pitch, explained his options for filtration and other accessories did a price comparison on the various costs and allowed him to decide what he wanted. Mike decided he wanted a saltwater set up. He purchased a 125 gallon tank, canopy, stand, and all the fixings. His retail purchase totaled approximately two thousand dollars. I had hoped that this sale was all cash but nevertheless, I opened up a credit account for him on Joe’s agreement to be responsible for the debt if Mike failed to pay. Mike placed seven hundred down and the balance was carried on the account. I explained to Mike, “Payment due every month, no later than the 5th of the month, and each payment is two hundred dollars, is that alright?” Mike agreed and signed the invoice. My son and I loaded up the tank onto my pick up truck, delivered it, and set it up in Mike’s home. Mike seemed to be a really nice person. He stood about six feet, dark complexion, scarred from acne, and well groomed short hair. He was self employed and operated a lawn and garden business. He seemed to be a hard working, tax paying asset to society. Little did I know that his lawn business was a front for his drug business and he was really known as Caesar. I found out later that he was big time. It made sense to me because of the company he kept and the suspicious activity going on I noticed while we delivered and set up his tank. People were trafficking in, coming and going. They would whisper to each other and exchange money for something small that was placed into their hands. To talk to him, one would never know that he was in the big league dealing large volumes of Methamphetamine locally, into the Fresno area, and across state lines. His operation consisted of a few mules (mules are those that are at a lower level working for someone else with the control). He liked doing a lot of the wheeling and dealing. He owned a few nice vehicles: a restored 1970 Cadillac, a late model Mercury Cougar, an Infinity Q45, and a nice Chevy pickup truck he used for his lawn service. All but the pickup had expensive tires, wheels, and each with an expensive stereo system in them. I was told that the stereo system in the Cadillac cost him eight thousand dollars. It wasn’t long before my business began to significantly increase. I noticed a significant increase in foot traffic, aquarium supply sales, and especially in the horse supplement product we carried called MSM (Methl SulfonylMethane). We first began carrying this product in one pound plastic jars and found they didn’t stay on the shelf for very long. People were coming in and purchasing several at a time. I decided that we would start stocking the two pound containers and order a few more jars than we normally had. The MSM sales continued to increase at a surprising rate and had difficulty keeping the shelves stocked. It wasn’t long before we had graduated into the four pound size, and we began to receive requests for the ten pound size. We phased out the one pound, and two pound containers completely because they were no longer practical. MSM is the abbreviation for Methl Sulfonyl Methane an ingredient which is found in all foods, but not in high quantities to properly provide for ones daily needs. MSM is used to supplement one’s diet to maintain one’s joints, and alleviate pains throughout parts of the body. The product was first introduced, and marketed for race horses. This product claimed to induce a better and faster recovery, and repair of cells that were damaged, or torn down due to heavy training performance periods. Soon, this product was then introduced as a supplement for humans. What I didn’t know at the time was that drug dealers were using MSM to cut or dilute the potency of pure Methamphetamine down to street marketable potencies. Little did it I know that most of the MSM I sold was being sold for “Meth”. When I did find out I became angry that I was being used by profiteering “Ballers” (drug dealers). I thought back about my cousin and the adverse effects that dangerous drugs had on her, and her destruction. I thought about my comrades-in-arms I had served with in the Army the drugs had destroyed. I began to give the situation a lot of thought and felt that I had to do something. First, we raised the price of the MSM to make it unattractive for them to purchase, and that didn’t work. It came to the point where the price of the MSM was outrageous and it continued to sell regardless of the price. I felt I wasn’t doing enough and I had to do more. I decided to penetrate Jose’s organization, and gather as much information as I could about them. The second step would be to contact the Drug Enforcement Administration and notify them of what I was about to learn. I felt I had to gather enough convincing information in order to get them to act appropriately and not ignore this serious problem. It was on a Sunday morning at about seven A.M. the dogs began to bark and the door bell rang. I looked out the window and it was Rudy. Rudy was a regular customer that came into the store almost weekly to buy MSM. I went to the door, opened it and there was Rudy and standing with him was another young man who he introduced as Jose. Rudy purchased about six pounds, paid me cash, and off he went. I began to closely monitor the MSM sales. Jose began to come over on Sunday morning like clock work. He purchased anywhere from four to six pounds at a time. There were times where he would come over twice on a Sunday. The MSM business obviously became very lucrative for us. It wasn’t my intention to benefit greatly from the sales of MSM to drug dealers, it happen by chance. The ten pound buckets finally became the most popular of all the sizes. Our cost on a ten pounder was $67.50 and we were charging $450.00 each. To our legitimate customers that would purchase it for their horse we would charge them $100.00 which was a fair mark up. Jose continued to come over on Sunday mornings, and I assumed it was because he thought that it was safer to operate on Sundays, and free from the watchful eye of law enforcement. He was probably right, for the most part. He spent increasingly more time in my office with me talking about his personal life and things that interested him. I began to like him as a person and at times could easily see what I had to do was going to be hard. I couldn’t allow my emotions to interfere with what had to be done. After all I had to think of the innocent children that were adversely affected by what he was doing. What about the families that were being deprived, and neglected because one or both parents had a drug dependency from the drugs Jose was placing onto the streets? What about the unborn, who awaited birth but were already addicted because their mothers were dependant and using during the pregnancy? How much would those innocent unborn suffer in agony with dependencies of their own, and disabilities? In the least the burden society would carry to try, and correct this behemoth indignity, and all the ramifications that would follow. Those thoughts converted from like to dislike for Jose and drove me forward to accomplish what I had set out to do. On one occasion on a Sunday morning in my office Jose asked, “You know a lot of people don’t you?” I replied, “Yes I do, and why is that?” Jose replied, “Well if you ever want to get into the business of selling Meth, Cocaine, Marijuana, or Ecstasy let me know. I’ll teach you all you need to know about the business, and I’ll set you up.” My next question was, “How much for Meth by the pound?” Jose, “A pound of Meth cut is
$3,000.00 and purity is $7,000.00 a pound. I concluded the conversation with I’ll think about it and let you know should I decide. Jose began to entrust me more and he began to call on short notice to have me deliver MSM to different locations. Therefore, I began to carry two ten pound MSM in the back of my pickup truck just in case he called. I felt I had enough to move on Jose and notify the DEA or some other agency. I had to give it some thought on how I wanted to do it. It turned out I never had to make the decision; they came to me. It was mid August 2000 and three FBI Agents arrived at my store. They had located two receipts at Cesear’s house during a search and traced them back to me. They questioned my wife and, I extensively about Cesear’s purchases and Joe’s receipt. Unaware that the FBI was investigating drug related offenses surprised me. After a couple of hours of answering their questions they each left me their cards and left.
I had long decided that I wasn’t about to work with local law enforcement because I didn’t trust them. Seven years prior, on July 14, 1993 at one A.M., three seventeen year old male gang members invited themselves over to my place with criminal intentions with more detail on their minds. My fifteen year old son and I held them down at gun point until the Sheriff’s Deputies arrived after my wife called 911. These three were responsible for barraging my home with hundreds of threatening, and harassing phone calls. The Sheriff’s Office had been called out numerous times and nothing was ever done to stop it. The actions of these three delinquents stemmed from a law suit I had entered against a business competitor of mine. This competitor had hired these three to make my life miserable through fear, and intimidation. On approximately July 28 my home was raided by the Sheriff’s Deputies in search of weapons. Two weeks later arrest warrants were issued for my son, wife, and I. Charges were dropped against my wife at the preliminary stage. I was bound over for trial and was acquitted of all the charges. My son’s charges were dismissed in the interest of just the following week after my acquittal. We later sued Kings County in Superior Court under Federal Civil Rights Statutes and won a judgment against the Deputy responsible for $50,000.00. The other half of the law suit was to be tried at a later date against the former District Attorney for his part in the malicious prosecution. The county offered us an additional $75,000.00 to settle that portion of the case. This judgment was barely enough to cover the costs of the criminal trial and the civil suit. As a result of both trials the Sheriff’s Office had immense animosity for me instead of the Deputy who was responsible for bringing this all about. I had plenty of reason not to place my life in their hands. Elections had come around and Kings County had a new Sheriff and new District Attorney. For the next four years the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office would battle it out over numerous issues. Apparently the Sheriff had a great desire to control the DA’s Office and the struggle continued. The new DA was a good and moral man, and his desire to do the right, and ethical thing drove him. His term as DA lasted only one term (four years) and he was replaced by another who was endorsed by the Sheriff. The Sheriff a master in the political arena flexed his political and influential power within the community, and had the former DA defeated in the elections. The news that the FBI was in town and nosing around in my business had spread like the plague. In a matter of hours members of the local drug culture were asking me about their inquiries. It was obvious that it was more than just curiosity they were nervous. Of course I couldn’t deny that I had contact with them in my store so I played it off and told everyone who asked that I had told them nothing. I waited approximately two weeks for things to cool down and decided it was now time to make my move. I contacted a Special Agent from the FBI who I’ll call “Big Bird”. He was at the shooting range and told me he would call me back as soon as he was finished there. An hour passed and my cell phone rang it was him. We agreed to meet at the Kings County Law Library. He showed up with another Agent named Julio. We left almost immediately and drove to Lyon’s Restaurant where I had a glass of ice tea and they had their late lunch. We discussed a few things and were careful that no one overheard the conversation. When they finished their lunch and my ice tea we all left the parking lot in my Expedition. I took them to the different locations that I had delivered
MSM to and had seen large quantities of drugs. Our tour concluded and we went our
A week had passed and I received a telephone call from “Big Bird” asking me to come up to the Fresno Office and the conversation went as follows: “Tony this is “Big Bird” I was wondering if you could come up to the Fresno Office and meet with myself and another agent?” In response, “Sure I’ll come up is tomorrow alright, about one o’clock?” We agreed and he proceeded to give me directions. I had asked if it was secluded and not an obvious, and known location. He assured me it was secluded, and not an obvious location. I didn’t want my truck seen in an FBI parking lot or seen coming or going from an FBI building. Obviously if discovered in the process it could have been deadly. It was Tuesday and I was on my way to Fresno to meet with “Big Bird” and another Agent I will call “Kellogg”. I arrived in the parking lot and was pleased to see that it was huge, and filled with several hundred vehicles, my pickup would blend in perfectly and go unnoticed. The building was large with several stories and with no identifying marks or signs indicating that the FBI occupied office space there. I felt more at ease that the possibility of some bad guys being out in the parking lot and watching to see who came and went was nil. I made my way into the elevator and went up to the prospective floor, walked down the hallway, and entered the door. I announced myself to the receptionist and moments later “Big Bird” opened a door which was protected by a metal detector. I walked through and took a seat at the table. “Big Bird” offered me something to drink and I accepted a cold coke. The room was small with one small table, but large enough to accommodate four people comfortably with four chairs. The room was noticeably divided by an adjustable wall. “Big Bird” took a seat opposite me and to my left, and Kellogg came into the room and took a seat directly opposite where I was sitting. I felt the purpose for the meeting was to feel me out. Of course they had already checked me out locally. I assumed that they would have conducted an extensive back ground investigation on me. If I had been in their shoes I would have gathered as much information as possible on someone I was interviewing. They knew about the law suits and the event which occurred in 1993 with those three “gang bangers”. Kellogg” opened up the conversation with questions, “Why do you want to help us, are you looking to go into the witness protection program, and how do we know that you’re not Mr. Hanford Drug Dealer looking to use us to eliminate your competition?” I responded as nicely as I could feeling insulted, “First, I want to help you because I don’t like what is going on. It’s in your face drug dealing all over Hanford and the cops aren’t doing enough to eradicate the problem. They’re taking the street corner dealers off the street but they’re not going after the “king pins”, Hanford has become a drug haven for the drug dealer and it’s got to change.” I continued, “Furthermore, I’m not looking to go into the “Witness Protection Program”, but I would like to keep the option open if it is really necessary.” Feeling frustrated I went on. “Look, you guys already know that I’m not a drug dealer, you should have already checked me out, and you know that I’ve done this type of work before while in the military. I probably want to help you guys more than you want me, but that’s alright as long as we can get the job done.” Kellogg snapped back at me. “How much ephedrine were you supplying Jose with?” I suppose that question was thrown at me to get a rise out of me. I was extremely insulted with the question and responded, “I don’t know where you’re getting your information from but you better check out your source. Jose was getting his ephedrine from some middle easterners is what he told me.” “Big Bird” kept silent for the most part, but I felt he was more anxious to work with me than “Kellogg”. Kellogg finally brought up the issue of selling the MSM, “Didn’t you know that these guys were utilizing the MSM for illegal purposes?” I felt as though he was trying to make me feel like I had done something wrong, “First, I must say that it is none of my business what people do with the products they buy from me once they pay for them and go out the door. I’m not obligated to inquire, interrogate, or discriminate. I didn’t know what they were doing until just recently, and kept them on the wire for the purpose of notifying federal law enforcement. My intention was to contact the DEA and work with them, but you guys were already involved. If you guys don’t want to work with me that is alright I’ll just go see them with what I have.” “Big Bird” responded with, “We’re not saying we’re not interested.” I continued on, “MSM is an over the counter product which is widely sold to the open public, easily accessible so if there is a problem with it then the government needs to take measures to curtail its sales.” I knew the interview was just a formality, and a normal process. I concluded the meeting with, “I want to make it perfectly clear that if we do decided to work with each other than I don’t want the locals to know what I’m doing. I don’t trust them. If and when the time comes where they have to be told then you let me know.” We shook hands, bid our good byes, and I was on my way. On the way home I didn’t give the meeting much more thought. I really didn’t care what they were thinking after all I knew I was the “golden goose” I could get the desperately needed results. A week went by and I received a telephone call from “Big Bird”, “We would like you to come back up to Fresno and meet with the assistant U.S. Attorney tomorrow at ten A.M. Is that good for you?” I responded, “Yes, that will work just fine. I’ll be there. Is it the same building where you’re at?” “Big Bird”, “No the meeting will be down at the Federal Building in downtown Fresno.” I acknowledged I knew where it was and we hung up. The following day I met with the FBI and the Assistant U.S. Attorney I’ll call “Julian“. The meeting went really well and it was brief. After our brief discussion “Big Bird” and “Kellogg” shook hands and welcomed me to the team. In leaving I felt the need to share what had transpired with someone because I couldn’t go home and talk about it with my family. I called a good friend of mine in law enforcement and we met over coffee later that evening. He praised me for my courage and said I was doing a great community service. The next day I called my son who’s an Army Officer and told him he needed to keep quiet. I didn’t totally trust the FBI. Things could go bad during this operation and they may not accept responsibility for any possible mistakes, and then try to make me look like I was dirty. I just wasn’t sure and I needed a safety net in place just in case. I began to have second thoughts and wondered if these guys were going to look out for me. Only time would tell, and I was anxious to get the ball rolling.
CODE NAME COLUMBUS FBI OPERATIVE
CODE Name Columbus FBI Operative
Code Name Columbus FBI Operative