Drug dealers watch out. Undercover officers are working around the clock to take you down. Undercover work takes a lot of time, patience and skills but it is one of the most efficient tactics used to crack down on drug traffickers.
News Five's Anthony Pura shows us how undercover officers are taking the drugs off the streets. It is part of News 5's week long in–depth report '5 nights in the fight against drugs.'
When a major drug bust happens it happens quickly - several people arrested and a large amount of drugs confiscated.
But the work leading to it usually takes days, weeks, months, sometimes even years. Many times involving an undercover officer.
"I remember one specific mass arrest that I worked on. I think we did 25 arrests in one day," said Officer Adam Story.
That memory was more than a decade ago. Now Adam Story is the police captain at Hastings PD. But for nearly two years he worked undercover for the Tri–City Federal Drug Task Force.
"Let the hair grow out long and do not shave and dress dirty. I did that for a while. Towards the end I did more college kind of clothes and obviously younger at the so I kind of fit that crowd," said Story.
His mission: convince area drug dealers he was not a cop, make a purchase, then take them down.
"It was across the board from just user to street level to high end," said Story.
Those who know Adam Story said he had a knack for undercover work for the talk and lingo.
"You have to be able to communicate because the first thing that is going to happen is they are going to test you. They are going to see if you are law enforcement so you have to be able to sit there and talk your way out of any situation," said former Drug Task Force Officer Jeff Pelowski.
Jeff Pelowski works for the Nebraska State Patrol, but until this month, he was an operations coordinator for the Drug Task Force.
And though he never worked with Story he knows of the work he has done - work that other undercover officers continue today.
"I would say now our efforts are combined and more concerted. We are not just after strictly numbers so to speak. I mean, if we make a controlled it is not just about making an arrest of one user. Our effort is really to wrap in a multitude of people inside a drug trafficking organization," said Pelowski.
He said drugs like meth are pouring into central Nebraska. The street value is high. It is available and in demand. And the best way to stop it is not dealer by dealer but by suppliers.
"It is no different than any other business. It is a business. Within every group you are going to have someone in charge of that and you are going to have someone under them," Pelowski said.
That means whether central Nebraska is the destination of the drugs – or whether it is just a drop point.
Someone in the area is in charge of overseeing it before it hits the streets.
"We are looking at the dealers and users in the Tri–City area and then we start looking nationally. If the drugs are coming out of Phoenix, Arizona who the dealers are there and internationally as well into Mexico," Pelowski said.
And operations like that depend on undercover officers - officers like Adam Story.
"There were times of excitement - a lot of gratification also when you were doing cases to be able to go out and you know and put together a mass arrest," said Story.
Arrests that deliver major blows to drug activity in Central Nebraska.
Undercover officers also helps build a stronger case in court and while the number of undercover officers is classified every officer in the task force could potentially be asked to do undercover work.