Marty Scott, 75, has lived a life that most would fear: he spent his days working as an undercover narcotics officer. But Scott had a different perspective: “I never feared death, I never feared anybody.” On Jan. 30, he spoke with students in Caldwell Hall at Muskingum University about his prestigious career, some of his personal struggles and even some of his undercover secrets.
Scott started as a police officer in Cambridge, Ohio and then worked for Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigations (BCII), where he became an undercover officer. He was not just an ordinary officer but a highly accomplished one: he had around 4,000 drug busts in his tenure with the BCII. When asked if he is still called upon by agents for help or advice, he stated “Not anymore but for 5-10 years every day the phone would ring or somebody would pull in the driveway.”
He never saw himself going into this career field. In fact, when he was young he grew up on the mean streets of Cleveland and literally had to fight to survive. He recounted a time where he was hanging around with the wrong group of people and they were stealing tires from a scrap yard and was caught by the police.
Lucky for him, the officer decided to give him a break, which allowed him to eventually get into the law enforcement field. He was asked if he ever became close with anyone that he met undercover, and if so did he ever give them a break like the officer gave him. “There were some people that I loved so much that I didn’t bust them, it could’ve come back on me later but I never did” said Scott.
The life as an undercover agent is an unforgiving one. He told us that he had to take on different identities for every job: he was given fake names like Tony Diamond, fake I.D’s and cars to fit his persona. His career mimicked that of an 80s action movie, he risked his life each and every day.
To gain the trust of drug users he had to look like a drug user, so he grew lots of facial hair and even pierced his ear. He was a family man with five kids and when on the job couldn’t talk to them for weeks at a time. To keep his family safe and hidden he moved them to a small town south of Zanesville called Duncan Falls.
The biggest danger of his job was running into someone he had already busted while on another job and because of this fear being an undercover officer is a short lived career. Scott said only one person tried to hunt him down after he busted them, who actually called him on the phone and threatened to kill him and said he knew where he lived. Scott’s response was “I know you know where I live and I know you just got out of prison because the sheriff has already called and told me you’re out of prison, I’ll tell you what I’ll meet you out on my front porch, come armed.
To no surprise the man never showed up. Scott is truly like a better version of Chuck Norris, yet he is so humble. He’s been in Newsweek Magazine and offered to be the subject of books, yet he prefers to keep his one of kind lifestyle more on the quit side.
After his time with the BCII, he led the Criminal Division of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles for 18 years. In 1998 Scott finally retired and was able to take some personal time that was much deserved. He dedicated his life to others and sacrificed so much while asking for nothing in return.
We often think of heroes as caped crusaders or people who have supernatural abilities, but in reality real heroes are people like Marty Scott: people who put their own lives on the line and even their families, all to protect our society and make the world