Inside DEA: Operation Snowcap
by Bob Hartman
Trafford Publishing

"We had no plan. Our invasion force consisted of only the two of us, and as we nervously walked ashore under the dense canopy, we could see four canoes pulled up on the sand and several huts nearby."

The illegal drug trade generates billions of dollars for criminal organizations each year. Law enforcement agencies in the United States also spend a tremendous number of taxpayer dollars battling drug trafficking inside the nation's borders. But to effectively fight a war one has to attack as well as defend, and often the best way to do that is to engage the enemy on his home turf rather than yours. One of the campaigns the U.S. staged in its war on drugs, Operation Snowcap, lasted from 1987–1994 and took place in nine Latin American countries. The author was one of around 140 field agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who teamed up with local military and police forces in the counter-narcotics operation. In his memoir, he gives his readers an insider's view of what the battle was really like during the course of his ten deployments.

Hartman begins his book by chronicling some of his background as a soldier in the Vietnam War and then his subsequent work as a police officer. Soon he launches into his involvement in Operation Snowcap, regaling the reader with story after story of undercover operations, daring raids, and the seizure of vast amounts of cocaine, marijuana, etc. One of the first things that stands out in these tales, though, is the lack of Hollywood sensibilities where everything is wrapped up in a nice, neat package. Hartman's story has all of the excitement, danger, and intrigue of a blockbuster movie, but it is told with refreshing realism. The author successfully blends his well-written and engaging personal narrative with the facts behind the operation. The result is a fast-paced and fascinating look at a relatively unknown campaign in contemporary U.S. history.

Return to USR Home