Funny, Funny Stories From my days at Eden, P.D.

By Michael D. Martin, E.C.P.D. Retired

About the author...Michael Martin (pictured front row, far right in the 1981 photo) is a retired veteran of 25 years on the Eden City Police Department, and has penned a number of anecdotal writings recalling his experiences.

XXXII. Eden's First Undercover Drug Sting

     This was 1973. Fat Vestal and I met a fine young man from the Ridgeway, Virginia area who wanted to be an Eden City Police Officer. His name was Joe David Gilley. Joe was a body builder and the strongest man I ever met to be a little fella. Joe was about five foot eight and had a shock of red hair and he looked ten years younger than twenty-five. Fat and I talked to Joe several times and we were convinced of his sincerity. I had been promoted to detective Sergeant under Lieutenant Garnet Smart. Garnet, Fat Vestal and I convinced Chief Marshall Clark to hire Joe.....unseen. Chief Clark trusted us, back then, we were Mo Clark's boys, and Marshall Clark was the "daddy rabbit" to us all.

     We hired Joe David and he was put on the street under my directions. We had a problem right off....transportation......We begged an old Buick automobile from a Junior Biggs, a local car dealer and we may or may not have stolen a set of dealer plates from Junior Lemmons, As I look back now, I think Junior loaned us the plates....We put the old Buick on the streets of Eden with the cover story that Joe was coming to Eden to buy good dope to sell in the Ridgeway and Martinsville area. Joe was a natural actor, he even surprised me. We would meet at four AM at Starlings crossroads and do the paperwork. My wife at that time was not too awful sure who I was meeting.....she got real touchy. Phone calls at two or three or four in the morning did not add to her confidence in me......but hey!!! we were kicking butt!!


     About the same time, my buddy Richard K. Barbour sent me one of his headaches, this guy was a doofus....he had the IQ of an opossum and wanted to be an undercover policeman, he had worried Dick to death when Dick got the grande idea of foisting him off on worked out perfect......I met with this fella and directed him to numerous places where he might buy dope....all the Eden dopers thought this was my undercover man...they rode around with Joe David in the car and pointed him out and told Joe David not to sell to him, he was Eden P.D.'s undercover man.....


     I recall that my first draw was three hundred dollars, I think, after that, we drew three hundred more and Joe David bought a few hits of LSD from an Eden City Councilman's grandson......for some reason or another...the money dried was like when the parrot swallowed the watch.......polly ticks.


     Joe David and i were scheduled to go to an advanced enforcement narcotics school at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina the next Monday so we took the old Buick and rode around all of Eden that Sunday...we waved at all the and Joe David Gilley in the same old car caused some frantic reactions as we waved to the boys...Joe and I went off to a two week school, the best I ever attended...when we got back, a lot of fellas were just gone. We drew warrants on seven or eight fellas and arrested them. one boy...we left alone. he joined the Marines and had a distinguished career, We didn't want to mess with that.

Michael D. Martin

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