On surveillance one day we spotted a big guy with very thick glasses. Contact with an OC informant revealed that this is probably “Buzzy”, a strong arm and suspected killer. I made it a point to identify him and it not only was Henry “Buzzy” Carone, but he was an Escaped Federal Prisoner, a 76 fugitive (see Rookies- Part -1, 7/25/15). More research and the OC Squad confirmed he was a hit man, working with the Gotti crew. The 3 or 4 of the younger Agents on the Truck Squad wanted to set up a fixed point surveillance with manpower and fire power and grab him on the fugitive warrant. We felt he was too dangerous to fool with and should be off the street. The Organized Crime squad and some older guys on my squad wanted us to follow him, bad move!
We lost. The next day we set up on him, followed him and lost him right away. He “made us” quick. The same squad informant said that Buzzy made us (like we didn’t know that), is always armed (that we knew, too) and wanted to take us on but the two guys with him who were also armed wanted no part of taking on “cops”( that we didn’t know!). This source also said we were crazy for messing with Buzzy. Boy was he right!
A few days later we set up again, but this time to take him with 3 cars and 6 Agents. It started off good for about 1 block then he punched it and the chase was on! One of our cars crashed early and was out, leaving 2 cars, 4 Agents. Buzzy, with 1 other guy in his car, was doing 70 -80 mph on Brooklyn streets and crashed two times, switching cars, throwing the driver of the crashed cars out both times and continuing with the acquired car! Several shots were exchanged between cars as the chase ran into Queens. In Queens he crashed for a 3rd time but this time, laid down on the front seat of the car he hit. As Pat and Tom, in the lead chase car, pulled up they jumped out, separated looking for Buzzy on the street. We were close behind, within sight. A witness yelled to Pat, “Behind you” and Buzzy sat up in the acquired car and opened fire on Pat and Pat went down and didn’t move! It looked to us like Pat was dead! Buzzy took off as Pat rolled over, uninjured, and returned fire as did Tom hitting the car 10-12 times. Pat was okay, with lightning reflexes, Pat just dropped when he saw Buzzy leveled on him and 2 slugs passed chest high and slammed into a store wall! With my partner driving we continued the chase with more shots fired during this chase. He lead us down a one way street with 1 lane open, intentionally crashed, for the 4th time, jumped into the car in front leaving us trapped by his wrecked car and cars behind us. We exited and put several more 357 magnum rounds into his current car but that didn’t stop him. Rounds fired by us hit and entered his cars!
Now as hard as it may be to believe, the radio communication between FBI cars and the NY FBI dispatch was pure crap! Our radio room could only tell a pursuit was in progress and shots were being fired, nothing else! It relied on “repeaters” and they were terrible, many dead spots; NOTHING like today! Cars that heard the chase responded towards us but couldn’t catch up! Our cars with PD radios, relayed to the NYPD, but…by the time they got the new car over the air, he had changed again! Even communication from FBI car to car was difficult! You can’t imagine the size of New York City; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island and… Brooklyn, is the 3rd largest city in America! In a chase, with sirens blaring, you often couldn’t hear the radio, you take wrong turns and fall behind, then hear your buddies hollering for help and hear gunshots over the radio, all the while trying to read a map to cut back into the chase. It’s nothing like “One Adam 12”, believe me, we were on our own! We came very close, during the chase, to nailing him but the guy was very good, drove with reckless abandon and extremely lucky!! More than once we thought we hit Buzzy.
Over the next 2 days we located and raided Buzzy’s home, girl friend’s house, social clubs and then, 4 of us picked up John Gotti. Understand that Gotti was NOT the “Don,” yet! As far as we were concerned he was a wannabe, and a punk hood who just got made capo, big deal! We wanted Buzzy and planned on making life miserable for all his buddies until we got him. Gotti was a stand up guy and very likeable, but still a punk. He said he saw Buzzy after the shooting, didn’t know where he went, and wouldn’t tell us if he knew. I don’t think water boarding would have worked on him, really! He added that we won’t find him around “here” anymore!
I saw Gotti maybe 1 more time and he remembered my name but I wasn’t so sure, years later when he became the “Don”, that it was a good thing to be remembered by him!
Gotti was right about Buzzy. A few months later we found him in a hospital in Connecticut. Buzzy died of heart problems at the hospital but had few “old” wounds. We didn’t ask how old.
Back to day to day business; we had 2 trailers of top shelf whiskey, scotch and bourbon, hijacked; over $300,000 in booze. The tractors and trailers were not found. I was taking my turn at Midnight to 8am complaint duty when a call came into the complaint desk about the 2 loads of booze. Long story short, this guy wanted $16,000 to turn the loads and said he had a lot more info. I called my Supervisor and he called 2 guys to cover me so I could meet with this “new” source, safely.
This source became the best source I had in my entire career and the best source the entire Criminal/OC Division had for a year! We recovered both loads of booze, both 18 wheelers and two more straight trucks with 2 more loads from previous hijackings, maybe made 10 arrests all in one night, and at the same Gotti drop! I paid my new source the second largest lump sum informant payment in FBI history! Later, my source gave us a huge gambling operation. The info was “filtered” through trusted people and went to a PD, to protect my source. “50” arrests and $250,000 in cash “should” have been recovered however much less went into the evidence room! Two “very stupid cops” were arrested and most of the “missing” money was recovered!
Remember I talked about Tony “Koo Koo”, the guy who pointed a cocked and loaded 45 at me (see Part-3)? Well we were sitting on a drop loaded with several loads of swag. We had a search warrant for a specific load but if we hit the drop, “we” had to load the recovered goods onto our trucks, so… we would wait for “their” trucks to load and leave, follow them away from the area and then take the loaded truck and driver. Nice, neat and MUCH less work! It required more manpower but this was a 40 man squad. Then our street coordinator called out to me and Steve, “This one’s” for you, it’s Tony “Koo Koo”, “He’s all yours”. After a distance, Steve hit the siren and, of course, Tony was going to either run us off the road or outrun us, with a 24 ft truck! 1st time we tried to pull him over, with my gun pointed at him, he rammed us and I almost lost my arm. Steve said he’d pull up again and if he tries that again, shoot him! As we pulled up he turned right and kept going. He then bailed out of the rolling truck and ran in front of the truck! The rolling truck ran him over! There is a God!! He was messed up, had a loaded 45 auto but not seriously hurt. The next morning we brought him before a very liberal Judge White who insists that handcuffs be removed in his court. We warned the Marshall who warned Judge White that Tony is nuts. White said, “Take them off”. So we did and Tony attacked the Judge, by jumping on the table before the bench and choking the Judge. We took our time pulling him off the Judge and the Judge noticed that we were a little slow and we said, “Maybe next time you should heed the warning, your honor!”
I recovered over $1 million in stolen property that last year on the squad and received the Squad Hemmings Truck “tie pin” award for most recoveries in a year. That was special as it was an internal thing started years before by the squad and only one man received each year! That was better than the letters of accommodation we got from the Director!
Another story next week about the Truck Squad, and then it’s on to probably the best, most successful and by far most dangerous work in the entire FBI, the NYO Bank Robbery Squad, early 1970s vintage!