Working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) is not always an easy job—just ask Jay Dobyns.
He spent two years working undercover in Mesa.
Arizona from 2001-2003 as a pledging member of the infamous Hell’s Angels motorcycle club. Despite his heavy tattoos and leather “cuts,” Dobyns was really a federal agent looking to infiltrate the dangerous group and bring down some of its top criminal members.
But to score such a major bust, he would have to put his own life on the line in unimaginable ways. Hailed as one of the top cops in his profession, Dobyns was very successful; however, he never expected to be betrayed by the very agency he proudly served.
WHO IS HE?
Known to his buddies as “Jaybird,” Dobyns was born in 1961 and grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where he played high school football and dreamed of someday becoming a cop. After college and a stint in the pros, his dream came true when he joined the ATF in 1987.
BANG UP JOB
Dobyns started his career off with a bang—literally—when he found himself in a sticky situation just one week into the job. While serving an arrest warrant for a convicted felon in the Tucson desert, he was held at gunpoint behind the driver’s seat of a car by a perpetrator who continually screamed at Dobyns to drive him out of the area and away from the scores of ATF agents ready to take him in. Rather than follow the advice that might save his life, Dobyns intentionally removed the keys from the ignition and dropped them on the floor of the car, an act of defiance that earned him a .38 caliber bullet in his lung.
BRUSH WITH DEATH
The felon was quickly killed by surrounding ATF agents while Dobyns, who was critically injured, was rushed to the closest hospital for surgery. Given the amount of blood loss, the doctor on duty was doubtful he would make it; however, Dobyns managed to pull through and make a full recovery.
Despite his serious injuries, Dobyns refused disability retirement and returned to active duty with the ATF just months of the shooting. He became something of a sensation in the workplace, always assigned to the most high-profile cases including the Rodney King riots, the Waco standoff, Columbine, and plenty more. He was a risk-taker and a badass who conducted over 500 undercover operations in his time, becoming an expert on narcotics trafficking, group activity, murder-for-hire, and the general underbelly of society.