Damian Marrett was just 19 years of age when he joined the Victoria Police in 1986 as a somewhat reluctant recruit. Four years down the track, he was handpicked to work in a covert capacity for the Drug Squad. A further six years working undercover, and Marrett had played a major role in up to 50 operations.
The young detective was responsible for some of the biggest drug busts in Australian law enforcement history. His infiltration of the previously impenetrable Griffith Mafia, codenamed Operation Afghan, is still regarded as Australia's most complex covert sting operation. Operation Afghan endured for an exhausting nine months. Throughout that time, Marrett was compelled to stay in character as knockabout drug dealer Ben Gleeson for long periods of time.
Not only did Marrett and his colleagues have the bad guys under surveillance, the bad guys were returning the favour in kind - amongst other things, listening devices planted by the Mafia were detected in Marrett's Griffith motel room.
After months of subterfuge, Afghan concluded in a tense stand-off in country NSW. Ten Mafia gangsters were arrested on 36 separate drugs and firearms charges. The trial followed, and eight were sentenced to 41 years of combined jail time.
Damian Marrett's penetrating yet darkly comic insights into undercover work reveal a style of policing that is often shrouded in secrecy. Told with grim humour and astonishing candour, Undercover is Marrett's own remarkable story.