"Operation Buy and Cry" Resulted in Arrests of Dozens of Wall Street Employees

Wall Street in the 1980s was a different place.1987 was certainly an eventful year on Wall Street.

In October of 1987, "Black Monday" would temporarily wipe out trillions of dollars of value in the stock market.

About six months prior to that date, however, was another "Black" day, at least for a couple of dozens workers on Wall Street.


On April 16th, 1987, federal agents swept in on Wall Street and arrested dozens of people in a sting that was called "Operation Closing Bell".

Cocaine was rampant on Wall Street, as many young Wall Street employees had no idea what to do with the mountains of money that they were earning. In addition, the hours for many were long and gruelling, which resulted in many wanting an extra boost to get through the day.

Cocaine was used as currency on Wall Street.

Want a juicy stock tip? Give me some cocaine.

Want my customer list? Give me some cocaine.

Want an interview at my firm? Give me some cocaine.


The Feds got wind of this and started buiding a case.

In total, 19 people were arrested on April 16th, 1987 - 16 of them were Wall Street employees.

These people, most in their 20s, were marched down the street to the U.S. District Court, where they were arraigned and charged with the possession and distribution of cocaine.

The SEC, amongst other government agencies, also got involved due to the allegations of trading on insider information and money laundering.


New York's police department was also involved in the crackdown, and they reportedly made over 100 arrests as well.

Their operation was called "Operation Buy and Cry", as most of the people who were buying cocaine reportedly started to cry after realizing that they were being arrested.

Filed under: General Knowledge

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