A year-and-a-half ago, several Monroe County, Tenn., police departments set up an elaborate drug sting to take down what the police perceived to be known drug dealers in the area. The message they wanted to send, according to Sherriff Tommy Jones II was, “If you are involved in any type of drug activity … you will find yourself in prison. This will not be tolerated.”
According to the Advocate and Democrat News’ official story of the sting operation, “the streets of Monroe County and its municipalities saw a lot of drugs removed last week as an operation that began in February culminated with 72 indictments being handed down and arrests made from one end of the county to another.”
By Jack Burns
One of those indicted was Cameron McKenzie Rake of Maryville, Tenn. Rake says he was blindsided by the arrest, and he is telling quite a different story than the one the police are sharing with the media. Rake says he was no drug dealer at all, just a guy looking to hook up with a pretty woman he met online. “I was on a dating website called MeetMe,” an app on his smartphone he explains he used to meet new friends.
There was a girl on there, “that talked to me first,” he said intimating she had an interest in him. The conversation on Meet Me quickly turned to drugs. Rake said she “asked me to come sell her pills” something he found strange because he said she didn’t even know him. Rake said her profile picture suggested she was into drugs. He described her profile to the Free Thought Project as having “posted wanting and asking for pills” and said she “made assumptions to me that we would be able to hook up”.
“I asked her multiple times if she was a cop or associated with any law enforcement agency and she kept saying ‘no,’” he said, regretting the day he ever connected with her online. “My dumb ass believed her,” Rake said, lamenting the whole ordeal which eventually led to his arrest.
“She even said she’d pay me for whatever I found and I kept telling her I didn’t know where anything was but that I would look around,” he said indicating he wasn’t a drug dealer at all, just a guy looking to hook up with a girl he met online.
Rake then described what happened next. “I found some morphine pills and took them to her and she met up with me and came up to my car window and asked for the pills I showed her then she tossed the money in my lap and started to walk off,” he said, not knowing the woman was an undercover police officer.
“I asked, ‘I thought we were going to hang out?’. And she said, ‘Oh, I’m busy. I gotta go!’” Rake then said she got into her truck and drove off. He stated he only brought her three pills. He described what happened next. “About a mile-and-a-half later, I got pulled over,” he said adding the cops, “got me out of my car put me in handcuffs.”
Rake explained that he asked for a lawyer before and after being read his Miranda rights. “I asked multiple times for my lawyer and wasn’t given one.” He also said the cops were selectively recording his statements with their body cameras. “They had a body cam and turned it on and off at crucial moments when I said important things and made it look like they had done nothing wrong!”
Rake feels entrapped by the police actions of that fateful night. He said he was only looking for a date. He doesn’t think it is right for the police to pretend to be a pretty girl in order to tempt teenagers into committing illegal activities. Making matters worse for Rake, he had a long gun in his trunk.
“They searched my car and found my shotgun in the trunk under about 10 pounds of dirty laundry,” he said, admitting he did have a concealed firearm in his possession. He admits his current lawyer isn’t much help. “My lawyer is really shitty and doesn’t know what the hell he is doing,” admitting that the best his lawyer has been able to do for him is arrange a plea deal for 10 years in prison for “possession, sale and delivery of a schedule 2 narcotic” and “possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony”.