Woman’s Eavesdropping Leads to Rescue of Drug Agent
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ A woman eavesdropping at a pay telephone may have saved the life of a Texas undercover agent when she tipped authorities that his identity was known and he was in danger, police said.
Police rescued the agent Wednesday from two suspected illegal drug manufacturers near Austin, Texas, authorities said Thursday. The pair was arrested.
The unidentified woman, married to a federal law enforcement officer, was calling her daughter Wednesday when she overheard a man police later identified as David Edward Haley, 31, of High Point, N.C., talking on the next phone.
Haley said a mutual friend was to meet that night with a person whom he had identified as an undercover narcotics agent.
Haley said that if the friend could not cancel the meeting, then the agent would have to be taken ″care of,″ Slidell Detective Eugene J. Howard said.
Haley left and the woman called police and gave them the man’s license plate number.
The license plate was traced to a car owned by a woman in High Point, N.C.
High Point police Sgt. Danny Nunn told Slidell police about Haley, the car owner’s boyfriend.
Police also contacted authorities in Texas, where officers stepped up efforts to find the agent, who had not checked in that afternoon. The 42-year- old agent had been working undercover for more than two months on a suspected drug manufacturing ring based in Austin.
Texas authorities staked out the house and car of two people the agent was to have met Wednesday night.
In the Austin suburb of Lakeway, police saw three people in a car drive up to the house and drive off. The officer followed the car to a nearby store, identified the couple in the car as people they were seeking and arrested them.
The undercover agent, who was the third person in the car, was not harmed.
Texas officers charged Rocky Lynn Harlan, 32, and Kimberly Ann Adams, 25, both of Lakeway, with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and phenylacetone, an ingredient of methamphetamine. They were being held at the Travis County Jail.
Meanwhile in Slidell, investigators obtained a warrant for Haley’s arrest on a charge of principal to attempted second-degree murder.
Haley was arrested Thursday in North Carolina and is being held at the Guilford County Jail.
Department of Public Safety spokesmen would not say Thursday where Harlan and Adams were taking the agent or whether he knew his identity had been revealed.
Mike Cox, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the agent was not kidnapped or held in the car against his will.