Tyler Drug Scandal


Between 1978 and 1979, the Tyler Police Department conducted what was then the largest drug bust ever attempted in East Texas. Officers Creig Matthews and Kim Ramsey (later Wozencraft) went undercover to investigate the city’s growing crime and narcotics scene, with local bar owner Ken Bora as the primary target. The duo assembled over 200 cases—resulting in over 100 arrests—but Bora remained uncharged. Shortly after the investigation ended, a shotgun-wielding assailant fired on Matthews and Wozencraft outside her mobile home, severely wounding Matthews. Billionaire H. Ross Perot, then serving as chairman of a special crime commission, subsequently put the couple up in a Dallas safe house so that they might begin their trial testimony. Both claimed that they had purchased drugs from Bora, with Wozencraft testifying that he arranged the shooting. Bora was convicted of attempted murder.

In 1982, evidence surfaced that Matthews and Wozencraft had falsified evidence and lied under oath. According to Wozencraft, the agents became addicted to drugs during the investigation, and falsely testified against Bora to satisfy Police Chief Willie Hardy’s demand for an arrest. Both pleaded guilty to civil rights violations. The convictions against Bora and all other drug defendants were thrown out as a result. Matthews and Wozencraft were sentenced to 3 years and 18 months in prison, respectively. As the operation’s supervisor, Chief Hardy was also arrested. While found not guilty, the scandal destroyed his law enforcement career. Wozencraft published Rush, a fictionalized account of the operation, in 1990. Director Lili Fini Zanuck adapted the novel into a feature-length film starring Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh the following year.

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