Confidential Source Ninety-Six by Roman Caribe, Rob Cea

Confidential Source Ninety-Six by Roman Caribe, Rob CeaConfidential Source Ninety-Six by C.S. 96, Rob Cea
Published by Hachette Books on August 22nd 2017
Genres: Biography, True Crime
Pages: 304
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

In CONFIDENTIAL SOURCE NINETY-SIX, the man who goes by the pseudonym Roman Caribe recounts the harrowing life he's lead as the most successful confidential informant in the history of U.S. law enforcement. A onetime mastermind narcotics distributor, Caribe first saw the tragedies caused by the drug trade with his own eyes as he got to know the women involved with his business partner and the children that they raised. By the time Caribe was arrested in a drug bust, he had made up his mind to get out of the business for good. Rather than beat the charges as his lawyer advised him to, he would confess, flip sides, and work for the federal government.

Confidential Source Ninety-Six is the tale of Roman Caribe – a former drug dealer who – after being arrested with a truckload of drugs decided to turn into a confidential informant, and would go on to work as an undercover agent taking down other drug operations. It provides an insight into the operations of both the drug lords responsible for so much pain in the United States; and the law enforcement agents who are trying to stop them.

I was actually somewhat surprised that I found Caribe to be quite a likable and charismatic figure, and I really enjoyed his emotional journey. I have read other memoirs by former Mafia bosses, or other criminals who were flipped to the ‘good side’ after being arrested, and there’s just something disingenuous about the whole thing. It is one thing to turn away from one’s criminal past voluntarily, but often it feels like they did it for purely selfish reasons.

The book begins with Caribe’s early life and devotes a reasonable amount of pages to explaining how he went into the ‘life’, and found himself trapped with a series of psychotic drug lords and incompetent henchmen. You really get the sense that these are real people, and they are colourful and very dangerous.

As the book progresses, the author’s life shifts to one of deception, and even greater danger, as he struggles to protect his family from getting dragged into his dangerous work as an undercover operative. I think that is ultimately where the humanity comes from, that he does not shy away from the real danger and emotions that he is going through.

If there is a downside to this book it is that the author is being sold as “the most successful confidential informant in the history of US law enforcement”, and it is difficult to get an overall sense of the accomplishments of the author. He describes a number of operations he participated in, and the financial rewards he received from those, and I have to be honest, they didn’t seem that big or important. I felt that the author could have done a better job of wrapping and capping the story to justify the aforementioned claim.

This is a fascinating look at the war on drugs, from both sides of the line. I found it very readable, and a very human story filled with realistic and fascinating characters.

I received a review copy from the published through NetGalley.

Rating Report
Overall: four-stars

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