Long journey turns ex-KGB officer into U.S. jailer
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ As the head of a KGB organized crime unit, Emin Gadzhiyev chased bribe-taking factory chiefs, would-be spies and the disappearance of precious metals from state-owned factories.
Now, more than a decade after defecting to the United States, the 46-year-old balding, gray-haired Cold War veteran is back in law enforcement. He is the first known former KGB secret policeman to become a U.S. law officer.
The former lieutenant colonel guards inmates as a $26,076-a-year jailer with the Broward County sheriff’s office. His new job at the main jail in downtown Fort Lauderdale may be as dangerous as hunting down criminals and spies, but it isn’t quite as glamorous.
First in Azerbaijan and later in Moscow, Gadzhiyev probed some bribe-taking factory directors appointed by the party’s Central Committee.
With the KGB, he often didn’t know the results of his investigations. Double-dealing factory chiefs lost their jobs. But as a secret policeman in a closed society, Gadzhiyev often didn’t know whether they were prosecuted and, if they were, what punishment they received.
``Every time they had one of them, they would use me because I was used to having trouble,″ he said. ``There were threats on my life and threats to my kid.″
Gadzhiyev also caught a would-be British spy, a Latvian national who collected plans and microchips for submarine navigation but was caught before he could defect.
A constant hunt was on for gold and platinum that disappeared from state-owned microchip plants, including one case in which a German informant found a Soviet factory label on smuggled platinum.
He said he busted his share of common criminals, but ``after six or seven years, all I understand is I’m working for a corrupt leadership.″
After leaving the KGB, he said he lived under a cloud of official disapproval for four years.
He defected in 1987, leaving behind his wife, daughter and parents, and went to Yugoslavia before the fall of the Soviet Union. He gave his KGB photo identification to U.S. authorities and was jailed for months when he lost touch with a U.S. Embassy worker.
He reached the United States in 1988 and was debriefed by the CIA. After stints as a private investigator and pilot Gadzhiyev felt compelled to return to law enforcement.
``All my life I was involved in law enforcement,″ he said recently while training as a corrections officer. ``My concept is that crime doesn’t have a nationality or citizenship.″
He works in the main jail in downtown Fort Lauderdale and is mastering the inmate control room in a facility that surprised him.
``The conditions that the inmates have, it looks like a state hospital in Moscow,″ he said. ``It’s very clean, very well-organized. You cannot even compare the institutions.″