The call came in on the night of August 11, 1953 from Vivian Timms. She lived at 3306 Bacchus in Houston, Texas. Her home was about five miles north of the new Houston Police Department building at 61 Riesner Street. Billed as the most modern police facility in the South, it had opened three years earlier.
As they inventoried the dope, Captain Foy ‘Junior’ Melton strolled into the room. As reported in T. Lindsey Baker’s book Gangster Tour of Texas, J.T. Conley later recalled, “Melton came in and asked where we got the stuff.”
The captain left for a few minutes, taking the dope with him, after informing the three officers he would secure the drugs. He emphatically told them that only he and the three of them knew about the haul and said he wanted them to stay quiet about the discovery because otherwise it might blow an important investigation. After thirty minutes, the Captain returned, telling Conley that he had put the stuff in the chief’s safe.
And that’s how the intrigue began! It would last nearly a year, but that night, neither Conley, Bennett, nor Billnitzer could have imagined that in just a few months one of them would be dead, the police chief would resign, others would be accused of corruption and federal agents would be investigating. So began the first narcotics scandal in the Houston police department.
In the next episode of IF THE WALLS COULD TALK – A Houston Police Scandal readers will be introduced to Earl Voice, the drug dealer and pimp who bought his own dope twice — from a cop. You’ll also meet William Pool, a cop who refused to ignore corruption in the H.P.D.