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Border Security, Drug Wars & Life Lessons from Author & DEA Officer Larry Hardin



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On this episode of Heroic Investing Gary Pinkerton hosts DEA Agent Larry Hardin, author of Path of the Devil and Fighting My Greatest Enemy: Myself. They discuss his latest book. He goes over events that occurred in the early 1990s that helped bring down the Meraz organization along the southwestern US/Mexican border. He goes into the efforts of two private investigators that helped the takedown.

Announcer 0:04
Welcome to the heroic investing show. As first responders we risk our lives every day our financial security is under attack. Our pensions are in a state of emergency. A single on duty incident can alter or erase our earning potential instantly and forever. We are the heroes of society. We are self reliant and we need to take care of our own financial future. The heroic investing show is our toolkit of business and investing tactics on our mission to financial freedom.

Gary Pinkerton 0:39
Welcome to the heroic investing show podcast for first responders, members, the military, veterans and anyone looking to improve their financial future and gain some freedom with their time. We teach America’s heroes how to build passive income, build their startup business and safely grow wealth through real estate and other alternative investments. We have current and Pryor first responders put protections systems and a team in place to help them build a life where they can focus on their passion, that service or product that they’re uniquely gifted to share with others, making the world a better place for all of us. My name is Gary Pinkerton and I co host this show with Jason Hartman. Well, the rock investors Welcome back. This is heroic investing two to four, Episode 224. And today, well, sometimes I kind of focus heavily on the military and I try to make sure that I’m given equal weighting equal play time to first responders, police officers, firefighters and EMTs. Well today, we’d get both because we have with this, Larry harden and Larry has a majority of his time over 30 years of law enforcement experience, retired from government service after 24 years with the Department of Justice as a senior Special Agent with the EAA and he served Immigration and Naturalization services or the ins as you know, it as a Add as you do Decatur officer, it’s hard for me to say with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and correct as a correctional officer, and he’s got over six years in the military as a marine. So he’s still a marine because they’re always a marine. And so he’s author of two amazing books. His first one is path of the devil, which will probably spend quite a bit of time on. And then he’s got a brand new one out called fighting my greatest enemy myself. Larry, welcome to our show.

Larry Hardin 2:27
Hey, Gary, thank you very much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Gary Pinkerton 2:30
Absolutely. The one thing I didn’t mention is that he’s currently teaching criminal justice for the US in Spain. So he’s got a contract where he’s working over in the country of Spain and he’s coming to us from Spain. Where’d you say exactly you were there.

Larry Hardin 2:45
It’s a military base is called Rhoda our otaa Royal Naval Station. And it’s so the South are right next to the major city called caddys, ca DZ and Southsea

Gary Pinkerton 2:58
absolutely my variable First sport visit in the United States Navy was on my submarine. The Archer fish in rota Spain and I remember it vividly because there’s a Navy exchange there like every base has but they have I want to call them yacht dro I think it’s the name of it they have this famous statue a statue Yeah. Or not statue but little I guess they’re statues but they’re they’re little trinkets that you would put in your on your ship robe or something. And my mom wanted this special one. So I still remember having to go and find that thing. So long time old memory. That’s a 30 year old memory almost.

Larry Hardin 3:38
Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s they still still no bigger frame. I just bought one. Yeah. flamenco dancer. Yeah,

Gary Pinkerton 3:46
very cool. They’re beautiful. I have the one my mother had and it’s it’s gorgeous. Anyway, so if you’re ever over there, pick one up I guess. So Larry. Tell us tell us you know if you would kind of start out your Career how you ended up in in your 30 year career of law enforcement. And and then let’s dive into your first book.

Larry Hardin 4:08
Yeah, you know, quickly, just my background. It’s amazing how time will go by so fast. When you mentioned the Marines. I was in the Navy and but I had a chance to go over to the Marine Corps went to camp Geiger. And several of the Marines are been hanging hanging out with the Marines for for a long time, I realized that I just loved the way of life, how they take care of each other, support each other in a specialized weapons, defending our country to find each other and work as a team very closely. And so but I had to prove myself I had fit in. And I went to a fourth phase is that boot camp, but it’s worse than Navy boot camp. But it’s Marine Corps, fourth phase, which is a it’s advanced school. And after I made that, I said look into law enforcement and I just got lucky after I got out I applied for several jobs and and the one I really really got blessed with was with DEA, drug enforcement toward narcotics strictly narc. Of course other cases if they develop but it was strictly DEA narcotics and I spent almost 24 years with them and from their own oneself spent a lot of time down in Mexico across the border over six and a half years and three years, almost three years not quite three years in Colombia Bogota. And of course Russia that was backhoe a backhoe and I’m talking about you know stage

Gary Pinkerton 5:39
yeah and and a lot of your first book

Larry Hardin 5:44
paths of the devil is our path of the devil right is is about your time in Mexico and some of the cases you worked on there and down in South America, right?

Gary Pinkerton 5:53
You know, when you know the path of the devil just gets given a history of that really quick It was my job. That’s what taxpayers. That’s what people pay me to do to chase down bad guys are trying to find the bad guys that push narcotics into the United States and worked with a lot of agencies and different agencies. And it was, gosh, it was several years ago to private investigators. Great people that I got to know throughout the years, but they were assigned to work with me or not signed to me, but work with me providing information about certain groups of individuals diametrical that we use in the medical field or a furniture company. And it’s just one of many cases, but I got involved with a develop some great conformance. It took me a few years to get into that organization across the border in Mexico. And in one day when I was coming back from the border of San Luis, Arizona, I was heading back towards Yuma to our office and there’s a jacket mountain when Jackie was just a rough of ages to the top of the mountain it was coming out of Mexico into Arizona. And I asked a virtual agent was witness that would stay with that mountain there. And he said the Spanish priests, many years ago when they were going to California, they call that path the Camino Diablo and that is the name of camino Diablo, which means in English path of the devil. And that was the Spanish priest that gave and soza my operation, we call it the path of the devil operation. And, and, and that’s what I focus my attention on these these brothers primarily what they they’re trying to do tu tu tu tu fridge wine to DEA agents. Yeah.

Larry Hardin 7:46
And, and there was a bit of it took some turns there at the end right and essentially you weren’t able to, I guess I would say achieve justice in the end with a little bit of influence or involvement that steered you away.

Gary Pinkerton 7:59
Oh, Live slowly from the beginning, I knew how to work these kind of cases. And you always have to be careful of corruption. That’s just the way it is. It’s to me it’s, it’s when you go down south cross the border, that’s just a way of life. When you hear corruption, we always focus on outside the country. But my primary problem was not there. It was in the United States. I work with some great people, but there was always that corruption there. We had two friends, Lieutenant Danielle, and I have to mention his name. He was killed and micro. Both were on the task force stuff was terrorist test where they were killed by another cop, deputy sheriff, and he was signed, Richie FOSS, another great DEA agent was killed working undercover of Phoenix. This organization was kind of tidy with a key camera in a case. And so I had a good case, Mike, other good cases but this case here with these two PI’s Jeff Harrison and Randy Turpin. You know, they also have some good performance we went after these guys. And but now the problem once again, I was dealing with corruption. And I try to stay away from that because you do not want to get as a police officer or an agent. You do not want to get involved with any kind of corruption. When I say any kind of corruption, in other words, target corrupt law enforcement, cops, but I just haven’t started doing it especially at the port of entry, which is a gateway that comes into our United States from the port of entries. It was so it was so much corruption and identified the corruption I tried to push through assisting US Attorney’s Office. The book lays it out. That’s why the DA DC Beckett did not approve the book or disapprove, but it’s a true story. And of all the reviews right? I mean, carry on, Gary, of all the reviews I got. And I don’t look at reviews but I was looking at they’re all been five stars. That’s that’s great. But there was one came down and gave me a three. And I’m thinking, why is everybody giving me great stars? But yeah, this guy would turn out to be he’s out of Yuma, Arizona, Barnes and Noble in Yuma, Arizona. They were happy that we we didn’t come out or do books. Because people know that mountain very well. It’s extremely, very interesting. Oh,

Larry Hardin 10:18
wow. Wow.

Gary Pinkerton 10:21
Gosh, so

Larry Hardin 10:24
really, I mean, it just came to a stop, right? It just it people not been held accountable. The ring kind of continues, right. That is

Gary Pinkerton 10:34
that when you read, you know, I hope you get a chance to read a book. Yeah. That way you’ll have more insight. exactly what I was dealing with. It wasn’t the bad guys. The bad guys. I don’t people say Are you afraid to close the names from the book? No, I’m not. They’re old guys. Now they’re probably of their ages. Their families are without doubt they’re lawyers in our country. They’re, you know, they’re entrenched in our way of life here. As a culture and I’m not worried about that. I’m not worried about the crooked cops anymore. You know, and because it just, I just don’t worry about it. The thing I do fear more than anything else is, is to to pih. You know, MTA, even though might be right tired returned to you, but I’m still part of the family. And I still have my retire credentials. I asked I’m allowed to carry, of course, not in Spain or outside country more, but to carry in the United States. And so I don’t worry about that. I just glad that. You know, I’m just glad people are reading the book, because they’re seeing exactly what we deal with. Day in and day out on the border. The President, the commander in chief, I sent him a book several months ago and he gave me a reply. You know, you could take either way, but I will tell you the truth here he has done I’ve never seen so much happen at the border since he became the commander in chief became their prison. not pulling your leg plenty by slack. He is really trying so hard. And in, you know, California just getting carried away here, but I’ve seen a lot of it the port of entries I’ve been down there I spent six and a half years at that port of entry. And, and I seen exactly, you know, you know that they talked about the children coming across the border as we speak today. I tell a lot of people, those are no longer children. Those they, they lost her childhood many years ago, down in Mexico are done in other countries of South America. We look up here we regard life. And when I say they, I’m talking about outside the United States. But the girls, especially young girls, once they reach that cycle, you know, once they reach that motherhood, to become a woman, you know, that’s open season there. It’s like sharks. It’s like, it’s incredible, how vicious it is. And so in us in young and young people, young boys and girls can Cross. Like I said, they, they’re not children anymore. They’re tough kids. And, and so I explained that in the book explain. A lot of people don’t want to hear the truth. But a book is the truth. And and I just what I’m hoping now that some producer or somebody could hold that book and just make make a story Allah know a true story and let the other half the country or let the whole country know that you’re hearing this from a guy that worked. I mean, worked hard to try to put these up this family in jail, but it wasn’t a family. I mean families that want to say family aniconic family. They were just doing a job given what the Americans want. Even today, the fitness we’re talking 60,000 people you know, we focus our attention on on the wars outside this country. We have a war and we have lost at work. I’m telling you, when you take 60,000 people died of fentanyl overdoses and so on our politicians notice and we do have a serious problem here. I have sit down with McConnell, I sit looking right across the table. And I like this guy. But when it comes to politics, I don’t understand how you can play politics with human lives, especially American luxury, and people come across.

Larry Hardin 14:13
Yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s frustrating. But you’re right. It’s it’s certainly worth reading that book to get a much, much better perspective. And I invite everyone to go go and do that. Tell us, let’s make a quick pivot here. Not necessarily smooth pivot. But let’s talk about finding my greatest enemy myself, your second book, or your next book.

Gary Pinkerton 14:34
The second book, when I see the results of the first book, and it’s written by myself and two key eyes, we add our stories together. And Diane Demille. Diana Demille, she’s really helped us put this thing together. Also, a second book, people say you need to write your own book. You know, let it be your book. And when you see the book cover, it’s during Amazon. Lighten house. See what See on one angle angle grounds. When you see the book, it’s, you can see an individual stanner with the black outfit, you see the DA and the mask. And next day that person you can see across, okay? And above that cross, you’re going to see a dove. I explained, you know what happened to me. You know why I experience? You know, have we talked about how evil The world is? It is truly evil. And I have seen it. I see. I’ve seen, you know, you’re talking to a guy about a kid around and I seen it, and I experienced it. And then I experienced what is good. And I put that in the book. And, and I just want to dedicate that story or those stories. In that book of my family or background of growing up with an outhouse. Most people don’t know what to outhouses but I grew up with that we killed our own animals. For story about my dog, pepper, my dad killed my dog. He had to because pepper was a beautiful German Shepherd into the Blood. And once you taste blood as an animal once you tell the farm once you taste blood you’re no good anymore. In and I asked my grandpa that at one time, and throughout the years and DEA worked in law enforcement. Now, I realized Wait a minute, some of the people I meet with it’s done in many other parts of the world. They’re no different from my German Shepherd tempered my dog. Once they taste blood, they have no conscious of killing a person again. Or taking the body apart and hanging off a tree or skin them live like they did Kiki. Kay Marina. If you have any kind of passion or a heart, how can you do that to another human band or small girl? So pepper was so much smarter than than the people I dealt with, even though dead took my shotgun and blew his brains out. Because he had to because he already tasted blood. So I mean, I go into stories, try to make it real as possible. You know, people find out Bury your soul

Larry Hardin 17:03
in heart. Yeah and and so but but on the title of the book fighting my greatest enemy so what were you you know what were you fighting back about yourself during during your career there

Gary Pinkerton 17:15
that printer myself corruption not falling into temptation sex May when I whistle I can whistle Dixie all day long, beautiful women throughout the world sexuality was, you know when I was growing up you just didn’t have that I mean you just you didn’t see that going you got to have a relationship with someone before you even develop that kind of relationship today. It’s such casual and but I’ve been married 37 years and people ask me, you say well what is the most dangerous thing that you ever encounter being shot at or shoot somebody or, or whatever I said look, the thing that I had to deal with, it’s been safe to my wife. A lot of people go to get shocked with it. And and I said it is the truth. remained faithful in your marriage. Because, you know, you can cheat on your spouse or your other or part I call a wife or your husband, you can cheat them all day long. Okay, and you can get by with, there’s one person if you have any decency, or anything, that is the person she got to see, someday when you close your eyes, I do believe in it. That’s just the way it is. Right? It treat people, even bad guys.

Larry Hardin 18:25
And plus, even if you don’t, even if you’re not someone of faith, believing in a higher power, then you at least have to admit that it’s going to destroy your soul to do that to be the one knowing that even if no one else knows it yet.

Gary Pinkerton 18:39
Right. Good point. Good point.

Larry Hardin 18:42
Yeah, so anything more we can we can, you know, kind of step back and look at both books. How about, you know, you’ve had a long career in, in DEA and in law enforcement, for the young individuals that are out there starting out in their careers, or perhaps even just those that are kind of transit Now, any advice you have for the audience?

Gary Pinkerton 19:04
Yes, I do. I that’s what I want to teach. You know, I get from for the first year right up to the senior, California get a lot of Camp Ellington’s guys that are already higher up in rank. And it’s never too late. But there is extremely, very competitive for law enforcement DEA, whether it’s EA or FBI or CIA, any agency right now is so difficult, but there is a way in, and I teach that in the classroom, teach after break or before break, that, you know, you got to have that education, you’ve got to have that paper, you know, that people college, but then you’ve got to focus on something that you can benefit that agency. And I tell him I said I’m laying which is so important, such as in Chinese, or Japanese, especially Russian, or Farsi, which Iran and the reason why stresses languages are Saudi Arabia, their language, because that’s gonna that’s gonna be conflict. If it’s not now it’s going to be in, in agencies are always looking for someone that can people speak to that language, but that particular environment, and it does work. But at the same time, you have to have a good background, your integrity, how you treat people how you deal with people. And I tell people just email me, and I will try to get them along to the right. You know how to go about to get a job or try to be competitive.

Larry Hardin 20:29
That’s awesome. I’m glad that you’re you’re offering to be able to, you know, for individuals to reach out and be mentored a little bit or at least provide some advice. Can you um, so we already talked about where your books are available. And again, I reinforced that individuals should should reach out if they they felt at all inspired by the conversation that we had about, you know, the background of the books and the content, I think they would really, really enjoy it. Can you please pass out just your contact information since you’re offering Have an email feedback.

Gary Pinkerton 21:02
But yeah, it’s in the book. In other words, I have to be careful. There’s only one person that they let me talk to. And I had to talk to him. He was a Vietnam veteran. He read the book, he was trying to get in touch with me, but he’d go through certain issues here cuz you got to be careful. But I did talk to him. And it was a truly an honor to talk to Vietnam veteran. He told me that when he read the book, it’s to him it was like Vietnam. You know, he said, you know, we lost that war in Vietnam. I said, Yeah, he said, you guys talking to me now actually read the book. He said, You lost the drug war, in the war on drugs, and I said we last a long time ago, you know, and in people say, Well, what is the solution to this? How can you stop the drug trafficker? You know, the only thing I learned that only way you can stop the drug trafficker of hurting children or, or or way of society is that you got it. You’ve got to take them and you’ve got to watch the candidate preset to me One time old mission church, we were we went to visit him he did, you know, ancient heart and he said, what you should do when you can line him up against a church wall. Now this is a Catholic priests in San Diego. He said line them up against against the wall these evil people and shoot every one of them. Okay. And you know what? There’s a lot of truth behind that. Because if there’s no quick justice and in our judicial system, it’s not the law enforcement. Can you tell your community now, the law enforcement has done their job and their hands are tied? They truly are by the judicial system. And by the politics now they got involved. Most US politics involved, you take them out in the streets with the cops will go or the agent that will work. They won’t do it. They won’t last very long. Okay, yeah. So we can stop. You really got it. You got to do it.

Larry Hardin 22:54
Alright, so more inspiration to read the book. We can get your information, your contact information in there, we can get a better feeling better For what you just gave us there at the end, Larry, thank you so much for joining our audience that was action packed and I think they’ll find great value in it.

Gary Pinkerton 23:09
Oh, please get it anybody that you want to talk to me how to read a book or whatever, please give me a call. Okay. And if you if you like it help me promote the book, you guys because I really want the public ministry to see this not for me. Okay, but just to see what what we were dealing with. Okay.

Larry Hardin 23:28
Outstanding, but

Gary Pinkerton 23:30
again, like,

Larry Hardin 23:32
it was an honor. Thank you very much.

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