Jul 08

Special Agent Takes The Stand

Oath

Oath

Special Agent Takes The Stand

Because I decided to cooperate with the Criminal Investigation Division Drug Suppression Team, Special Agent Thundercloud said he would help me out.

I wasn’t sure to what degree he meant, but he showed up and was called as a defense witness.

He was on my side.

His testimony would be very valuable to my defense. He could convince the court that I was ready for rehabilitation because of my participation with his team.

I had trusted him and he was holding up his end of the bargain.

I realize that this relationship was transactional. He essentially was using me to take down other dealers, but there was something in him that I trusted.

I believe he liked me as a person and wanted to see me do well for myself. I was definitely glad to see him on the stand in my defense instead of working with the prosecution.

Special Agent Thundercloud was sworn in and took the stand.

My lawyer began by asking him about how he first met me.

He talked about the first time I was arrested for possession of MDMA.

He had presented me with the possibility of helping with my situation if I cooperated with his team. At that time I was not interested.

Shortly after that I absented myself. It wasn’t until my arrest at club Late Nite, that we had contact again.

That evening I told him I did not want to assist him but wanted to talk to a lawyer. The next day, I changed my mind and told him that I would work with him, even before I talked with a lawyer.

Thundercloud was asked to tell the judge about the results of my cooperating with CID and the government.

Thundercloud said, “As a result of Private Mike cooperating with the CID office and the government, he physically assisted us by taking undercover agents to know civilian drug traffickers — major drug trafficker — for the purpose of the drug traffickers selling drugs to undercover agents. We did that with two individuals. They were arrested by the local authorities that had jurisdiction and we seized approximately nine thousand dollars worth of drugs. He was then instrumental in providing information that led to the initiation of another case in which three soldiers have been titled, to include one of those soldiers being a Captain involved in drug use and distribution.”

He said that I was the driving force in giving him the information to start the investigation. Also, based on my friendship, I was able to get two witnesses to come forward who had witnessed Captain Tessler using and distributing drugs.

He did not mention that the two witnesses were the other two soldiers that were titled in the case.

He didn’t mention that I was the dealer that the three soldiers were getting the drugs from.

He did not mention that Jane was the second civilian dealer and that I had nothing to do with that arrest other than it was our drugs she was caught with.

I noticed that he crafted this statement in a way as to make me look better than I was. He actually was trying to help me.

Captain Jokinen asked Thundercloud, “In the course of your running the DST here on Fort Polk, how would you compare the efforts of Private Mike to the other informants that have worked for you? On a scale and in comparison with the others, where would he rank?”

He answered, “On a scale of one to ten, if you combine his cooperativeness, it was the best. He cooperated to the fullest that I would have any informant cooperate. And his productivity, as a result of his cooperation — when you combine those two together, I would give him an eight to and eight and a half out of the ten. As far as the informants here at Fort Polk, he would be the second best. There’s been only one better.”

Thundercloud mentioned that I provided the DST a lot of raw information that they stored in their criminal drug base.

Some names of people that they knew and some they weren’t aware of.

He also told them that I stopped a false claim against the government for some lost personal property by one of the drug trafficking soldiers.

Jokinen: “Now in all honesty, the evidence portrays that for a period of time Private Mike was a major thorn in your side with all the dope.”

Thundercloud: “Yes, sir, he was a major problem.”

Jokinen: “Would that lead to the conclusion then that the civilians he provided up, were even more major sores for you?”

Thundercloud: “He was a major problem and the two civilians that he took us to were his sources. So you would have to say that they were a bigger problem than him because they were his suppliers. And he had given us information that they were supplying other people as well. So they were major.”

Cross Examination.

The Prosecuting Attorney asked about Thundercloud’s involvement in law enforcement.

He said that in the eleven years of law enforcement, eight of them were in drug investigations and that he was the DST chief at Fort Polk.

The lawyer asked Thundercloud to explain what major dealer meant. “How would you characterize the accused’s dealings; what was the magnitude?”

Thundercloud: “On a given weekend, Private Mike would probably go through approximately a hundred to a hundred and fifty tablets.”

The prosecution asked what I was being arrested for on October 28th.

He told them that I was AWOL on deserter status. An informant relayed that on that date, I would be there for sure. So they came up there to get me.

Prosecution: “Did his apprehension have anything to do with drug dealings?”

Thundercloud: “We didn’t have anything to apprehend him for specifically dealing with drugs at that time. We heard of his drug dealings and the fact that he was selling drugs to soldiers and civilians in various clubs. So, to say we went up there for the sole purpose of being a deserter, no. I went up there to pick him up for being a deserter and, hopefully, to stop him from distributing any more drugs.”

The prosecution started to ask about the nature of drug dealers. Were they the type of people you would want to meet on the street?

He responded saying, “It is a pretty tough business. However, the people in the lower echelon tend to be nice people to be around with the exception that they sell drugs. It’s a big market and so there is a lot of jockeying for positions. The higher you get, it can get mean, as far as who has what and whose doing what.”

Prosecution: “What about the individuals that the accused was dealing with?”

Thundercloud: “Most of the individuals that Private Mike was dealing with were not mean. They were passive and not very aggressive.”

Prosecution: “What about the nature of the business itself, is it pleasant and fun? Are there risks that you’re taking, dealing in illicit drugs, is it scary?

Thundercloud: “The risks you’re taking are scary, yes, sir, I would say so.”

Prosecution: “That is all I have”

It seemed as if the Prosecuting Attorney was trying to make Thundercloud say something that would make the Judge see me as a lost cause and a dangerous individual.

Most of what he was saying was correct, but Thundercloud really stuck up for me as much as he could without discrediting himself.

Captain Jokinen had a few more questions.

He asked if I was high the night I was arrested.

Thundercloud said that, “Yes, sir, he appeared to be on some type of drugs.”

Jokinen asked about my second AWOL in which I missed my court-martial.

Thundercloud said that he knew someone that could get a hold of me and I called him within thirty-five minutes. He told me to come back and get it over with so I could get back on with my life. I told him I would and showed up the next day in uniform.

Jokinen: “Why would he call you?”

Thundercloud: “I believe he trusted me. I told him I would talk in his behalf and do everything I could to help him, if he cooperated with the government. He believed that I would do that.”

Jokinen: “Was he scared when he called.”

Thundercloud: “He was scared. He’s just a young kid that was afraid everybody was abandoning him and no one would help him. The pretrial agreement he originally had was for a considerable amount of time. It all piled up on him and he was scared. Unfortunately, at that time I was on temporary assignment and he couldn’t talk to me. I feel he just — like any young kid would do — he just ran.

Jokinen: “Thank you Mr. Thundercloud. Nothing further.”

I knew what I did was wrong and that I was deserving of whatever punishment was headed my way.

Special Agent Thundercloud took an interest in me and I am not sure why. Even though he was telling the truth in his testimony, there was some embellishment and I knew it.

Being an informant was a benefit to him and the Army, but he was sincerely trying to keep me from going away for a very long time.

I am glad that he was kind to me because a maximum of 36 years was on the plate.

I would still be there today if I was sentenced to the full extent of the charges.

Next post, I take the stand.

  • When I look back on my life, I can always see places where God sent people to help, guide, or protect me. Even here, in the middle of the troubles you’d brought on yourself, God was looking out for you. So cool!

    • David Mike

      As I look back, I can see where God made himself evident in my life. Especially during this situation and even now because of it. Very cool!

  • Sherry Fletcher Aus

    Thank God for Thundercloud!

    • David Mike

      Even though I did time for my crimes, I definitely was sentenced less because of his testimony. More to come.

  • Alan Baierl

    Wow! I was thinking about this post all day. I kept coming back to the scripture, ” while we where yet sinners Christ died for us”. I don’t know where your heart was during all of this but I know God was looking out for you. Everything has a purpose and maybe yours is to share this story to prevent someone else from going down the same road. The testimony that Thundercloud and your dad gave was incredible and God definitely had a hand in it.
    Continue the good work and I look forward to reading the rest of the story.

    • David Mike

      It wasn’t until later that I realized what was really going on here. At this point in the story, I was in self preservation mode. Still very self centered. It took me this long to be mature enough to write about it. I really hope it’s used in the way you describe it here. Thank you for your perspective!

  • Steven Tessler

    I like the fact that someone saw the good in you even when you were at your lowest. I too could tell when someone had made mistakes in their life and I would defend them even when others would question my motives.
    I believe that this happens for a reason.

    Can’t wait for next week!!

    • David Mike

      I wish you had been my platoon sergeant!

  • So much information in this one. I absolutely love that we get to see another aspect of who you are in the story through somebody else’s eyes. And the last few statements pack a powerful punch, especially that you’d still be behind bars if not for Thundercloud’s testimony and willingness to speak on your behalf.

    When you go back through during the revision process, you’ll want to mine it for all it’s worth. I love Thundercloud {and, as an aside, has his name been changed or is this his actual name; actual name, you have to go with it. name you changed, I find it distracting from who he is and what he’s doing. does that make sense?}

    Some things to consider for revision: how hold is Thundercloud? I’d love a physical description and any personal perspective you might have held at the time {was he intimidating, what made you trust him, etc.}? Also, was there any risk to him based on how he constructed his statement and the information he withheld?

    One of the things that strikes me in this post is the almost father-like concern Thundercloud had for you {which is why I asked his age}, especially during the cross-examination by the Prosecution.

    It also seems to echo the previous post and the way that God sees our best even through our flaws and that he can take our least and make it better and use it for His Kingdom.

    Did you ever get a chance to follow up with Thundercloud then or since? To ask him what motivated him to help you?

    I cannot wait to read next week’s post and see you on the stand – oh my!

    • David Mike

      All names have been changed to protect all parties involved, with the exception of my family and CPT Jokinen. For some reason, I did not change his. Thundercloud was almost as ridiculous as his cop name. I am positive that the name he used was not real. To my understanding, the undercover guys used fake names to protect their real identity, He may have had some Native American background but I doubt it. He looked like the actor Zach Galifianakis dark wavy hair and full beard, and he may have been in his mid to late 30’s. I was never intimidated by him, I was not intimidated by anyone at that time in my life and I had a very false sense of reality, invincible. I think he was a man of his word and so he said he would help me and that is why. Duty, honor. Never saw him again after the court-martial.

  • Really good one Mike. I’ve enjoyed these immensely.

    • David Mike

      Thank you. I appreciate you keeping up with me.

  • So, Thundercloud turned out to be a pretty good guy. It’s solid of him to keep his end of the bargain. He must have really seen the real you.

    • David Mike

      I feel that God used him to show me that although there would be consequences for my actions, there was someone who would still stick up for me. He was very helpful.

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