A federal judge has ruled that the DEA owes small Texas trucking company Craig Thomas Expeditors nothing after a botched drug sting that left one of their truck drivers dead and one of their trucks riddled with bullet holes.
2011 Drug Sting Gone Bad, Truck Driver Killed
The 2011 drug sting began when company owner Craig Patty hired Lawrence Chapa as a truck driver, not knowing that Chapa was secretly working as a government informant. Without Patty’s knowledge or permission, Chapa used a company truck to haul marijuana across the border as part of an undercover operation to arrest drug cartel members. While under the watch of officers from the Drug Task Force, Los Zetas cartel soldiers ran Chapa’s truck off the road. In the ensuing fire fight, a Sheriff’s deputy was wounded and Chapa was shot 8 times. Four of the soldiers were arrested and charged with capitol murder. The truck Chapa was driving was severely damaged during the gun fight.
Trucking Company Suffers After DEA Sting
Because the truck and his employee were involved in the sting without his permission or knowledge, Patty sued the DEA for $133,532 for damages to the truck and another $1.3 million in damages to himself and his family, who fear retaliation from Los Zetas. Craig Thomas Expeditors only had two trucks for the over 90 day period that the truck was out of commission, which Patty said was extremely harmful to his business.
DEA To Pay Nothing For Trucking Company Damages
A Houston federal judge said that the DEA owed Craig Thomas Expeditors nothing, not even repair for the bullet holes or clean up for the blood stains in the truck. Patty’s insurance would not pay for repairs because the truck was used as part of a law enforcement operation. Patty was forced to draw funds from his retirement plan to pay for repairs.
Patty’s lawyer says that an appeal is already in the works.