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Hot Shots and Heavy Hits

Tales of an Undercover Drug Agent

Paul Doyle

Publication Year: 2010

The mean streets of Boston in the 1970s played host to a nefarious underworld of pimps, pushers, and addicts, and Paul "Sully" Doyle was there. From Kenmore Square hippies to South Boston junkies to Combat Zone prostitutes, this undercover operative with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration met every type of unsavory character in town in his fight to bust violent rings of dope, coke, and smack dealers during a turbulent era in the city's history.

Now Special Agent Doyle bluntly chronicles the riveting, true stories from his years on the inside. Known on the street by his alias, "Paulie Sullivan," he recalls his rookie days, trying to infiltrate the criminal drug world under the tutelage of his veteran partner, through his coming of age as an experienced narc-sharing his keen observations on ruined lives, personal peril, and government red tape along the way. A former prizefighter not at all shy about punching his way out of trouble, the author divulges a candid, worm's-eye-view of the drug war with all its blemishes and glories. With abiding humanity and graphic detail, the memoir richly describes exploits with junkie stool pigeons and hooker informants, college burnouts and Chinatown mobsters, ghetto pimps and violent thugs, bureaucratic obstacles and uncooperative foreign governments, successful busts and brushes with death. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, LSD-no illegal substance failed to tempt those seeking the ultimate high, resulting in the long nights, sudden danger, and uncertain outcomes that faced Sully and his partners.

Combining gripping action with perceptive commentary, this unvarnished snapshot of one agent's experiences undercover adeptly captures the violence, futility, and endless frustration of the war on drugs. As engrossing as a fiction thriller, Hot Shots and Heavy Hits provides a rare glimpse into a harsh world unknown to most of us.

Published by: Northeastern University Press


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Title Page

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p. vii

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pp. ix-xiv

Paul Doyle’s memoir, based on his career in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is a candid and detailed description of a federal drug agent’s work at the street level, primarily in Boston. The writing has a personal edge: Doyle captures better than any writer who has addressed...

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pp. 3-6

This story began in 1971, when I returned stateside after thirteen months on the DMZ (demilitarized zone) in Korea. My wife, Pam, and I were just getting to know one another again, after being separated military style for most of our young marriage. We wanted to have a family, but we each wanted to commit to a cause that would...

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1: Narcotic Agent

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pp. 7-36

The first three days that I spent at the John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building in downtown Boston were three of the longest days in my recent memory. I was fresh out of the agents academy of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. My group supervisor, Todd Downs...

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2: Chinatown

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pp. 37-57

In the early 1970s, some of the purest white heroin in the country was pouring out of Boston’s Chinatown. In an elaborate smuggling operation, Chinese merchant seamen jumped ship in Boston harbor and swam ashore to deliver heroin directly from Hong Kong to local Chinese distributors. As a reward for their crimes, the seamen received...

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3: Informant

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pp. 58-80

Lucifer, a Boston hot spot, stood in the shadow of the famous neon Citgo sign at Kenmore Square. Danny Santarpio, Jason Germano, and I were regular customers there during our undercover investigation of the nightclub scene. Lucifer, appropriately named, attracted a young, upscale crowd. It was a disco....

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4: Expired

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pp. 81-113

‘‘Dan, why don’t we just jump in a shitbox, and drive out to the Washingtonian? One of my old informants called yesterday, and said that they were dealing drugs like fools out there!’’ The Washingtonian was a methadone center, and the junkies were crawling all over the place according...

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5: Bad Acid

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pp. 114-177

Breathing in deeply through my nose, I could feel the cold, salty air burning my lungs while I tried to keep pace with my colleagues Danny Santarpio and Jason Germano. They both ran like deer. The ground was covered with hard, crusty snow, and our feet made crunching...

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6: A Light in the Darkness

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pp. 178-211

I thought about the horrible nightmare, the recurring dream; faceless men coming to kill me. My gun jams, they keep coming, closing in. I run desperately, examining the cylinder of the pistol for bullets, trying to unlock the mechanism so that I can shoot at them and defend myself. It’s no use. I am cornered, with no place to go, so I turn to face my aggressors and fight....

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pp. 213-214

Pam, my three daughters, and I mixed in with the stream of theatergoers emptying out of Boston’s Wang Center, and found ourselves on Tremont Street. The freezing cold air stung our faces. Bundled up in winter clothing, everyone seemed to be smiling cheerfully, spellbound after...

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pp. 215-217

Most would argue that we are losing the war on drugs. They are more plentiful and pure and less expensive than ever before. Yet, I remain cautiously hopeful. We live in a big world, and the United States of America is a superpower with great responsibilities. Even...

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pp. 219-220

I am forever grateful to Paddy and Gertrude Doyle for taking me into their stable when there was no room in the inn. They showed me what sacrifice was all about and taught me what I needed to survive. Paddy taught me to read and Gertrude taught me to dream. Beverly and Henry, I wish we knew what really happened; perhaps it’s...

E-ISBN-13: 9781555537401
E-ISBN-10: 1555537405
Print-ISBN-13: 9781555536039
Print-ISBN-10: 1555536034

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 826516985
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hot Shots and Heavy Hits

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Subject Headings

  • Drug control -- United States -- Case studies.
  • Drug enforcement agents -- United States.
  • Doyle, Paul E., 1946-.
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