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.”
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.