OMAHA, NE Inspiration comes from unlikely places. A few years, an Omaha detective shared one his favorite cases with a high school class. One of the students told him he should turn it into a book. So he did.
“This gentleman is quite the man. He really is,” said Jeff Salberg as he introduced the guest speaker to his Law Studies class. After teaching at Millard North High School for 38-years, he’s days away from retirement.
“The guy we’re going to introduce today,” said Salberg, “is retired Officer Brian Bogdanoff. He’s been coming out longer than any speaker we’ve had -- since 1988 or 1989.”
“Good morning,” said Bogdanoff.
He got right into the background of the triple homicide picked up by the national news. He was the lead detective.
“Three guys from Juarez cartel are in Omaha, Nebraska – and they’ve had a $3-million load of dope delivered, and they’re here to collect money.”
He passed around search warrants and photos from the case.
“By the time it’s all over, we have $1.2-million dollars. We have 19 luxury cars – 1,000 lbs of weed.”
May 2005. Three men shot to death, dragged to a wooded area near 60th and State and set on fire.
“They had the money,” explained the retired detective. “But they decided to make their profit margin – 100% profit. So they decide to whack the suppliers.”
It took investigators months to figure out who did it.
Omaha Police caught a break when a mechanic decided to cooperate.
“Basically he said he was the load driver for these guys,” said Brian Bogdanoff. “’Before the load came from the cartel, I would go to Phoenix, Arizona, and pick up 500 lbs of weed for these guys – twice a month.’”
The criminal informant was going to help detectives build a case.
Moments after discussing the link to the high school students, the retired detective’s phone buzzed.
“That’s the guy,” said an incredulous Bogdanoff as he looked at the caller ID.
It was the criminal informant.
The guy had planned to be part of the class presentation today.
Brian Bogdanoff stopped the discussion to call back the criminal informant.
“You forgot today was Friday? I’ve got a classroom of kids here who wanted to see you so bad,” said the retired officer on the phone.
The informant apologized to the class on speakerphone, and promised he would come by another time.
“That guy we just talked on the phone, he’s the load driver,” said Bogdanoff. “That’s the guy.”
The former officer went on to tell the class that it was someone sitting behind their desks during of his class talks a few years ago when one of the juniors or seniors told him he needed to put the story of ‘murder, money and Mexican marijuana’ on paper and share it with the world.
The teacher then grabbed a worn copy of soft cover book on his desk.
“He wrote this book, “Three Bodies Burning” and he donated 10 of these to the class.”
The book has won awards and even credibility among criminals.
6 News has learned “Three Bodies Burning” is considered contraband at the Douglas County Jail.