From a former HM Customs investigator comes an eye-opening, compelling and amusing account of the ultra-secret units who targeted drug smugglers, money launderers and crooked firms.
Back in 1987 Operation C-Chase was a joint US/UK Customs undercover investigation that penetrated Pablo Escobar’s mighty Medellin cartel, brought down the corrupt BCCI bank and exposed how the City of London helps criminal gangs move their ill-gotten gains under the nose of the Bank of England.
For 18 months HM Customs’ new, secret anti-money-laundering squad, Drugs Team U (the Uniforms) conducted an undercover operation against BCCI London and its staff, bugging and burgling their way across the capital, conducting high speed car chases and spying on the homes and offices of targets.
But its main, secret purpose—revealed for the first time—was to help elect George Bush as United States president. By seizing the records of one time Bush ally Manuel Noriega, the Uniforms paved the way for the US invasion of Panama and the ruler’s prosecution for money-laundering—fulfilling a promise from Margaret Thatcher to her American friend.
Mark Perlstrom played a key role in that much celebrated investigation—but he reveals how the operation was nearly scuppered by US Customs bungles.
And Mark’s book will also reveal how the intense rivalry between crime fighting organisations led to corruption, chaos and some scarcely believable antics in the covert world.
India UNiform 9 charts Mark’s journey from a wide-eyed Yorkshire idealist into a weary cynic after witnessing the bent bureaucracy that eventually closed down one of the UK’s most sophisticated and successful crime fighting agencies.
Douglas Wight is the author or ghostwriter of fifteen non-fiction books, most recently Son of Escobar (Ad Lib, 2020) an Amazon number 1 bestseller, The Bad Room (Harper Element, 2020), Into the Bear Pit (Arena Sport, 2020) and Against My Will (Harper Element, 2020).
His previous books include The Laundry Man (Penguin, 2012), the memoir of Ken Rijock, a Miami-based money launderer for Colombian drug smugglers; the autobiography of Olympic gold medal winning hockey player Sam Quek (White Owl, 2018), which was long-listed for the Telegraph Sports Autobiography of the Year 2019; Unforgivable (...
More about Douglas Wight,
Mark Perlstrom joined the civil service in 1983, starting in the Ministry of Defence in London. In 1985 he transferred to HM Customs at Salford Docks and in 1987 was promoted into the elite Customs Investigation Division (ID), moving back to London from his native Sheffield.
Here he worked on C-Chase, a joint US/UK Customs operation into money laundering which led to the collapse of BCCI bank. He also worked on an operational, covert drugs unit targeting major boat smugglers and on the ID’s anti-money laundering branch where he was case officer for several major financial investigati...
More about Mark Perlstrom