PHOTOS True Detective: The Rust Cohle police files from his shooting in Texas

True Detective The Rust Cohle files redacted

With HBO’s True Detective set to wrap up later tonight with its eighth and final episode, I really wanted to try to share my obsession in some form one last time. The online True Detective detective phenomenon is so rampant (and so damned thorough!) that tossing out additional Yellow King theories and potential clue-ridden screen caps at this point seems a bit silly — and unjustifiably pretentious given my limited abilities.

But, I did run across something that not many other sites seemed to have picked up on, probably because there don’t appear to be any references to the Yellow King, groups of five men, or names that are anagrams for something seemingly significant. On HBO’s website for the show,, they have a brief slideshow that contains the official files surrounding Rust Cohle’s undercover case against the Iron Crusaders which resulted in him being shot, as well as a letter from the Texas Attorney General after Rust shot a junkie injecting meth into his infant daughter in an attempt to “purify” her.

As I mentioned above, there doesn’t appear to be too much revelatory information in the reports, but I think it does fill in some gaps as far as Rust’s background goes. (And it does so with wonderful faux microfiche images! Kudos to the True Detective production team for giving a sh!t and making every aspect of this show, including extracurricular investigative work, sooooo much fun!)

I was hoping there might be a suggestion that Rust’s daughter didn’t die after being hit by a car while riding her tricycle to perhaps save my now seemingly far-fetched theory that Rust has been looking into his daughter’s disappearance/murder from the get go. The only reference to Cohle’s personal life was made by Texas Attorney General David Smith, who said in his letter to Cohle, “I am aware of your tragic loss and subsequent divorce.”

It was interesting to me to find out that the shoot out at the Port of Houston in which Rust “Car Crash” Cohle got shot three times, went bad because an undercover DEA agent on the scene was spotted by a member of the Columbian Cartel, who then opened fire. In other words, it wasn’t Rust’s fault that the deal went bad.

Anyways, here is the police report on the drug deal gone bad between the Iron Crusaders and the Columbian Cartel that resulted in Rust Cohle being shot three times and left for dead by the Iron Crusaders who got away, followed by the letter from the Attorney General of Texas:

(Click to enlarge)
Redacted Rust Cohle police report about the Iron Crusaders drug deal shootout

Phoenix Black


On February 20, 1993, UC Asset Designation ‘Car Crash’ – RC 99372, from here on referred to as ‘Crash’, notified DEA Officer Brooks that the Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang, Iron Crusaders, was to take possession, for distribution, of a large cocaine shipment coming into the Port of Houston. This shipment was from the Columbian Cartel, and he had been picked as part of a crew to meet this shipment.

Crash had been infiltrated with the Iron Crusaders for six months as part of the Phoenix Black operation. As a non-vested member of the Iron Crusaders, Crash was tasked to be involved in any activity that would expedite his membership as a Prospect. The members of the inner circle of the Iron Crusaders had chosen Crash to be part of the crew who would meet the Cartel boat at the POH container site, and transport the cocaine to its distribution site.

The location of the Iron Crusader’s primary distribution centre was information that this investigation had been seeking for many months. With the ability to arrive at the same time as a large shipment of cocaine arrived would enable us to prosecute with no chance of failure. Crash had managed to get the date, and the location of the dock to Agt. Brooks, but not the exact time of docking, or when the transfer of the cocaine would occur.

On 02/20/93 at approximately 5.30pm Agt. Brooks staged undercover officers at the dock, and in the POH offices. Twenty-five Officers were tasked to the operation, which was run with cooperation from the POHPD and the HPD. The plan was that the members of the Iron Crusaders, including Crash, would take possession of the cocaine, and exit the Port. An additional unit would follow them. This unit would make the arrests upon arrival at their distribution centre. The units at POH would record the entire transaction, audio on Crash and hidden video.

At 8.45pm we were able to ascertain the arrival of the MS-AmberTide, and subsequentlyat 9.02pm staged our officers around the dock assigned to her arrival. At 10.00pm The Amertide [sic] docked, and the transfer of cocaine was taking place when one member of the cartel, Miguel Sanchez, recognized a DEA officer on the dock. At 10.17pm Sanchez opened fire on the DEA office [sic], John Smith, and in the ensuing gunfight three of the cartel members were fatally shot. Miguel Sanchez, Rico Rodriguez, and Roberto Cortez. The DEA officers sustained gun shot wounds. UC asset Crash sustained three gunshot wounds to the upper torso, and was left for dead by the remaining members of the Iron Crusaders who evaded capture by escaping on their bikes through the docks.

Rust Cohle redacted investigation file

The shipment of cocaine, 15 kilos, was captured jointly, by the officers of the DEA task force, and the HPD.

As CO of the task force, I felt the usefulness of UC asset Car Crash was no longer justified on this operation. Had he ‘survived’ he would have been arrested and incarcerated. It was decided that he would be listed as one of the fatal casualties, and should that this information could be leaked at any point to either the Cartels or the Iron Crusaders O??, if it was necessary to secure this asset’s safety.

Letter from the Texas Attorney General David Smith to Rust Cohle:

True Detective Letter from the Texas Attorney General David Smith to Rust Cohle



Dear Officer Cohle,

I have been tasked to come to a decisions in regards to your use of excessive and unnecessary force and the subsequent fatal shooting of the suspect Tom White. As an Officer of the Law you must be able to carry out your duties with out any personal influence affecting the outcome. We must look to the Law first, and know that with strong Police Investigation, and a sound Legal foundation, justice will be ???.

I have met with your superiors, your fellow officers have read your personnel file. It would appear that you have been an outstanding officer, despite your recent history. I am aware of your tragic loss and subsequent divorce. I am also aware that your last undercover assignment has led to your current substance abuse issues. It would be remiss of me to strike you down for sentencing due to what could be seen as extenuating circumstances. Consequently as Attorney General of Texas I am willing [sic] offer you a chance to redeem your self and stay out of the state’s correctional facilities. You will present your self to Federal Agent Brooks of the DEA, who will assign you as an undercover asset to any Task Force or Law Enforcement Agency that he feels would be aided by your undercover work.

True Detective Rust Cohle redacted files letter from Texas Attorney General

You will report directly to Agent Brooks, and it will be his decision as to when you would be classified as ready to return to normal duty. This is a one time offer, Mr. Cohle and I suggest you think long and hard about the consequences should you chose [sic] to turn it down.

very truly yours,
David Smith
Attorney General of Texas



* Obviously this post took an embarrassingly huge amount of work to put together, so if you use the images or the transcribed text at least be kind enough to link back. “You have a debt.”

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