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Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story

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Editions:Hardcover - First Edition
ISBN: 978-6219619028
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 294
Paperback - Fourth Edition
ISBN: 978-6219619035
Size: 5.50 x 8.00 in
Pages: 298
Large Print - First Edition
ISBN: 978-6219619042
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 383
AudiobookPaperback (Spanish)
ISBN: 978-1071530283
Pages: 386
Paperback (Italian)
ISBN: 978-1547583225
Pages: 324
Paperback (Portuguese)
ISBN: 978-1547553143
Pages: 324

In a Liverpool night club, the Canadian mobster said, "Are you guys cops?"


Steve Jackson heard him. His blood ran cold.

Jackson wasn't his real name. He was an undercover cop.

Ever wondered about the life of an undercover cop?

What it takes to infiltrate a worldwide drugs gang?

What it feels like to live a double life? – to ‘live a lie.’

Read this gripping true story of Britain's biggest drug bust.

In March 1978, at the culmination of Operation Julie, fifteen defendants, including doctors, research chemists, a writer, and "professional" drug dealers were sentenced to a combined total of one hundred and twenty-four years imprisonment.

Operation Julie is still today the point of reference for all British undercover operations and training. In 2011, the BBC claimed this massive and unique police operation was the start of the war on drugs.

The author, Stephen Bentley, was one of four undercover detectives engaged on Operation Julie. Together with his undercover partner, he infiltrated the gang producing around 90 percent of the world's LSD and uncovered a plot to import huge quantities of Bolivian cocaine into the UK.

Bentley operated in the era of no undercover training. He improvised as he went along. He was a pioneer infiltrator left to his own devices.

The underworld knew the author as Steve Jackson. How did he successfully infiltrate the two gangs? Did he have to take drugs, and how did 'living a lie' affect him?

Bentley and his book have featured on BBC Newsnight, BBC Wales News, BBC Radio 4 World at One and BBC Five Live; and also in London's Guardian and Sunday Express newspapers.

The book is also now adapted for a feature film. Readers will find a signup link inside the Kindle to download an exclusive and fascinating insight into the ‘book to film’ process, as well as access to never previously published Operation Julie images and material.

Get it now.

Reviews:Kay Castaneda on Amazon wrote:

5.0 out of 5 stars From clean-cut policeman to long-haired hippie
Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Undercover: Operation Julie-The Inside Story is Stephen memoir about his life as a detective in the U. K. Bentley was part of a sting to infiltrate an organization making LSD in rural Wales in the 1970s. He writes about undergoing a transformation from clean-cut policeman to the long-haired hippie Steve Jackson. He lived out of a beat- up old van with his partner Eric as they observed the activities of a house believed to be the location of a secret drug lab. Bentley is honest about using drugs so he could blend in with the drug crowd. As the story goes on, Bentley becomes more addicted to cocaine, telling himself that it was justified as part of the job. He and Eric were sent to get information from the manufacturers and suppliers so they really had to be genuine users. Trying to abstain from drugs would have made the pair suspicious to others. The time spent in bars and pubs added to Bentley's already confused mind and caused increased drinking binges. The more that he played the role of Steve Jackson, the friendly newcomer who supported himself by tree cutting and car dealing, the temptation to toss away his old self became stronger. Bentley admits that he enjoyed his new carefree life where his only task was to get up and go meet the suspected dealers at the bar. He became friends with some of the people. One man was thought to be high up in the gang and threatened to kill Steve if he found out he and Eric were cops. Operation Julie was the biggest undercover drug infiltration in the history of th U. K. One of the sad parts of the book is when Steve had to turn in his friend Smiles, the main suspect of the drug operation. I really felt the emotions of this section when Steve had to betray his friend. The writing is very strong and made me see an image of the meeting between Smiles and Steve at the jail after the arrests. The conflicting emotions of duty to the law against betrayal of a friend is so detailed that I felt like I was there. The book is being made into a movie currently. It will be interesting to see how the film writers deal with the emotions while also telling the facts of Steve's story. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about other people's life stories. Not just a cop memoir, Undercover is a memoir of one man's struggle with himself and society.

Nicholas Rippington on Amazon wrote:

4.0 out of 5 stars The UK's Donnie Brasco; A must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Author Stephen Bentley taught me something new from the beginning:
I thought Llandewi Breffi was a fictitious Welsh village made famous by the comedy series Little Britain as the home of the The Only Gay in the Village.
Imagine my surprise when I discover it was at the centre of the biggest police drugs sting of the 70s – named Operation Julie after one of the police officers on the squad.
It’s a fast-paced true story of a young officer (Bentley) just cutting his teeth as a detective when he is asked to sacrifice everything to assume a new name, personality and friends in order to infiltrate a drug network which had spread its tentacles worldwide.
He and a fellow officer assume hippy appearances, living and sleeping out of a shabby van with a cover story that they are searching for a lost relative.
Pretty soon they are popular members of the community, with Stephen getting particularly close to a colourful character called Smiles, one of the leading dealers and distributors of LSD in the UK. And though there is humour in places, the underlying current of fear and danger is never far away
The final impression is of a man who thrived on the adrenaline of the occasion, but found it difficult to adjust once it was over and has carried the scars of those early days for the rest of his life. In the army they call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but only in the present day is it recognised as an illness.
Now living happily in the Philippines, Bentley’s chief regret is the fact the brilliant work done by the original investigation was wasted as the Julie force was quickly disbanded and the leading lights allowed to drift away, taking their insider knowledge and valuable experiences with them.
The author feels a national drug squad should have resulted and might have solved many of the social problems we see around us today. It is hard to disagree.
Overall, it is a story of humanity. Stephen doesn’t judge but tells it like it is, and still has a deep affection for Smiles, one of those jailed as the result of his actions. I highly recommend this book to those who wish to read about the UK’s equivalent to Donny Brasco.

This book has attracted much media attention in the UK, in addition to featuring in national news bulletins and documentaries. You can read about the media attached to Undercover: Operation Julie - The Inside Story here on my website.