Some Notes on the Origins of Network Analysis: Part 3 Julie and the French Connection

By Charlemagne / 2 May 2013 / History

Whilst Anacapa may have brought some formality and structure to the process, crime fighters and soldiers had already been engaged in network analysis.  On 26 March 1977 dawn raids across England, Wales and France resulted in a 120 arrests, the culmination of a 13 month police investigation code named Operation Julie.At the time it was the largest and most complex police investigation ever conducted by British police.  It was focused on the manufacture and distribution of LSD and made more complicated by the original network having evolved into two rival organisations during the course of the investigation. The British drug dealers had international links, including to the American psychedelic drug guru Thomas Leary and his Brotherhood of Enteral Love. The investigation team used network and quite sophisticated commodity flow charts to analyse the activities of the disparate bunch of hippies, chemists and rugby players who made up these drug dealing organisations. And this was six years before Anacapa Sciences held their first training course in the UK.

Below are two very simplified versions of the network and commodity analysis charts used by the Operation Julie investigators taken from Operation Julie: How the Undercover Police Team Smashed the World’s Greatest Drugs Ring by Dick Lee (who led Operation Julie) and Colin Pratt.

Op J1

Op J 2

Just an aside but for those us who work in Shrivenham there is an interesting link to Operation Julie; in 1975 drug squad officers went undercover at a hippy music festival held on the old Watchfield airfield (now the site of the wind farm). The weather during the ten daylong event was so hot that nudity became the norm and in order to maintain their cover the police team had strip off with the rest of hippies.  I believe this was the first time British police officers had stripped off in public in the line of duty. The Watchfield operation did confirm that large quantities of LSD were in circulation and so led to a larger scale surveillance and undercover effort which later became known as Operation Julie.


Watchfield 1975 spot the fuzz

In the 1960s the New York Police Department used link diagrams to analyse the network behind the ‘French Connection’ heroin smuggling ring. Alas I have never seen these charts but they have the potential to be the most fascinating ever produced. The individuals involved in the French Connection and the wider drug trafficking organisations linked to it make even the flamboyant characters targeted by Operation Julie appear dull.

It was a complex web connecting American Mafioso with their Corsican and Sicilian brethren and through to Chinese, Lebanese and Turkish crime syndicates. It included links to the US Mafia’s financial wizard, Meyer Lanksy, whose wider associations would have contained all the old time Mafia godfathers such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano.Former French resistance fighters such as the Marseille Mafia boss Meme Guerini working with ex Nazi collaborators like Auguste Ricord. And Christian David, “Le Beau Serge”, who I think is one of the most interesting characters in 20th Century international crime. A career criminal and judo black belt recruited into the paramilitary Civic Action Service to fight in France’s dirty war in Algeria. Suspected of the murder of Moroccan politician Mehdi ben Barka and even (although greatly disputed) of involvement in the JFK assassination. He ran crime organisations linked to the French Connection in South America and Africa and served long prison sentences in Brazil, the US and France before disappearing from the pages of history.

Charting this multifarious network would have been an analysts’ delight!

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