Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

FBI agent Cyrus Falls tracked organized crime in New Jersey and Tampa

TAMPA — As an FBI agent who specialized in surveillance, Cyrus Falls worked in a lot of different places.

He dressed up to eavesdrop on bid rigging activity in a tony Washington, D.C., restaurant.

His 16 years in the FBI's Newark, N.J., office monitoring organized crime once took him into abandoned buildings, one wrong move away from a possible gunfight; and to other states as he tailed bad guys on the highway.

In Tampa, where he finished a 36-year career, he dressed like a tourist to watch communist bloc spies exchanging information at SeaWorld, witnessed drug transactions and shadowed remnants of the Trafficante crime family.

For long stretches of time in between, he drank coffee — and waited. In 21 years as an agent, he drew his weapon just once.

Mr. Falls, whose church activity and kindly demeanor earned him the nickname "Reverend" by his fellow FBI agents, died Nov. 20, of congestive heart failure. He was 79.

Mr. Falls was born in 1933 in Dunedin, the product of a farming family. As a student at Clearwater High, he heard an FBI agent speak and decided he wanted to join the bureau. He got his chance after high school, doing clerical work in the Washington, D.C., office. After two years in the Army, he reapplied and was later transferred to the Miami office.

In 1968, he took the first phone call notifying the FBI that Barbara Mackle, the daughter of a prominent south Florida developer, had been kidnapped. (Mackle, who was buried alive in a fiberglass box for three days, later wrote a book about her ordeal.)

Mr. Falls graduated from Florida Atlantic University, then underwent agent's training in 1969. He moved his family to New Jersey, where he followed organized crime.

"Being a redhead, he kind of stood out in an Italian neighborhood," his wife said. "Several times he was spotted. Some of the older crime family members, they would just smile and wave."

He moved to the Tampa office in the late 1980s, where fellow agents fondly called him "Reverend" and reminded him to stay beneath the bureau's weight limit. "He did not look like a typical FBI agent," said retired agent Robert Conrad, who worked with Mr. Falls in Tampa.

Their duties included a trip to Washington, D.C., over funny business with Navy contracts and surveilling the covert meetings between Eastern bloc agents in Florida theme parks.

"This was the old spy-versus-spy stuff," said Conrad, 74.

He retired in 1990 at the FBI's mandatory retirement age of 57.

Mr. Falls was active in his Methodist church, the Boy Scouts and the Suncoast chapter of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

Comments
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic star was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of making the NBA.Knox wa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Trade him. Waive him. Cut him.Whatever.Just get rid of him.Jameis Winston should never play another game for the Tampa Bay Bucs.Plain and simple, he's a bad guy and the Bucs should have nothing more to do with him.He already will miss the first three...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 4 hours ago