The city’s police director Jerry Speziale signed a deal to turn his memoir which chronicles his role as an undercover drug smuggler working in South America to dismantle the notorious Colombian Cali drug cartel into an hour-long drama.
Speziale infiltrated the gang, which controlled 90-percent of the cocaine market at the height of its power, under an alias Geraldo Bartone. His experience working within the gang is chronicled in the 2003 book “Without A Badge: Undercover in the World’s Deadliest Criminal Organization.”
Speziale co-wrote the book with Mark Seal (author of “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter”). He said Sentinel Pictures is producing the one-hour drama with Permut Presentations and Ryan Reynolds’s production company, Dark Trick Films.
The film is being produced by Emmy nominated producer David Permut and Matthew Ian Cirulnick.
Bartone, the suave, Armani-wearing drug smuggler, piloted planes, captained yachts that were filled with cocaine, and met with the most powerful players in the international drug trade. The film takes place in the 1990s when Speziale moved from the New York City Police Department, where he busted criminals in crack dens and shooting galleries, to the DEA’s legendary Group 93, which was founded to target Colombian drug cartels.
Speziale later left the New York police to become a popular Passaic County sheriff. He then served as the superintendent of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey after which he worked a short-time as the police chief of Prichard, Alabama. In 2014, he returned to Passaic County to serve as Paterson’s police director.
Speziale has received a great amount of praise at his various jobs. Many local leaders have lauded him for his responsiveness in tackling crime in the city.