Larry Wansley: FBI Undercover: The True Story of Special Agent “Mandrake.”

HE WAS A FLASHY, HIGH-ROLLING CON MAN…A MILITANT STREET HUSTLER…A FRONT MAN FOR THE MOB…

On TV and in the movies, FBI undercover agents are a dime a dozen. But in reality, only an elite handful have the unique combination of wit, instinct and daring to work these highly dangerous scams. For 10 years, Larry Wansley was one of them.

A former detective bureau commander with the Compton, California, police department, Wansley graduated from the FBI Academy in 1973. After nabbing a Texas bank robber, he went underground in Los Angeles as part of the bureau’s massive search for Patty Hearst. Then came the big sting: Operation Tarpit with another agent to play his high-living partner in crime—and the unwitting help of two talkative hookers—Wansley, called “Mandrake” by his fellow agents, set up a two-year, L.A.-based operation that netted 300 phony stock and bond dealers, truck hijackers, kidnappers, gun-runners, and killers, and recovered $42 million in stolen property. From there, Wansley moved coast-to-coast, working his scams on redneck southern crime bosses, kiddie porn producers, New York Mafia wiseguys, and more—and living each day with the heart-stopping knowledge that one wrong move meant death…

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