Cast & Crew
When Los Angeles narcotics agent John Palmer is gunned down on his way to a meeting with informer Tony Solano, the Narcotics Bureau in Washington, D.C. sends special agent Phil Sherrin to work with Charles Stuart, head of the West Coast office. Solano is found stabbed to death in an elevator in the Frazee office building, with a picture of Mexican cantina dancer Lolita Martinez in his pocket, and Charles sends Phil to Tijuana to investigate. Working with Rodriguez, a Mexican police officer, Phil questions Lolita, who tells them that Solano used to hold meetings with two men in the parking lot. Lolita joins Phil and Rodriguez on a stakeout in a parking lot and points out the two men, Frankie Lanessi and Jack "Sneeze" Norton, who are bolting a package to the underside of a rental car with a Beverly Hills license plate. Phil trails Sneeze and Frankie, who are following the rental car back to Los Angeles, and he and Charles watch as the two men sneak into the rental customer's garage and steal the box. After Sneeze and Frankie manage to slip away from the agents in traffic, they take the box to a car rental agency, where they report to Brandon, owner of the agency and head of the smuggling operation. When Brandon hears that two men were following Sneeze's car, he suspends all further shipments from Tijuana, and then gives his henchmen, Rocky and Mack, the signal to kill Frankie. Meanwhile, the federal agents decide to do some undercover work at the Frazee building, and, posing as Mr. Frazee's personal representative, Phil rents an office opposite Brandon's. When Brandon overhears the elevator operator, Betty Herbert, telling Phil and Charles that two suspicious-looking men got off the elevator just before Solano collapsed, he orders Rocky and Mack to silence her, and they run her over with a car. Charles and Phil arrange for Judith Palmer, who used to work for the Bureau, to become the new elevator operator, after first installing a surveillance system in the elevator. When the agents learn that a Los Angeles businessman named James Snow has driven to Tijuana in a rented car, Phil flies down at once, and Rodriguez arranges a meeting at the cantina, where Phil convinces Snow to let him drive the car back. With Brandon's henchmen in pursuit, Phil drives back to Snow's house and examines the wooden box attached to the car, which turns out to be empty. As Phil watches from inside the house, Sneeze steals the box. After Sneeze delivers it to Brandon at the car rental office, Brandon explains that he used an empty box just in case they were being followed. Phil and Charles, meanwhile, lift Sneeze's fingerprints from Snow's garage and later bring him in for questioning. When Sneeze says that he works at a car rental agency, Phil makes the connection to Brandon, and he and Charles install a camera aimed at Brandon's office and put a wiretap on his phone. While eavesdropping, Phil and Charles overhear Brandon tell his associate, George, to go ahead with the next shipment, and the agents decide to use radar equipment to track the car from Tijuana. Meanwhile, at the Frazee building, Brandon discovers that the Venetian blinds in his office have been tampered with to prevent them from being lowered, and becomes suspicious of Phil. When Phil arrives at his office, he is ambushed by Brandon, Rocky and Mack, who confront him with the recording equipment they have found. They then find Phil's identification papers and knock him out. Sneeze enters with the box, and Brandon orders him to get rid of Phil, but Charles and the police arrive in time to rescue Phil. Rocky and Mack are killed during the ensuing shootout, and their car smashes into Brandon, who dies with the box of dope near his hand. With the drug ring finally dissolved, Phil and Charles grimly survey the bloody scene.
The working titles of this film were Narcotic Agent and Narcotic Squad. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, producer Jack Schwarz asked the Treasury Department for approval of the script and permission to display the Federal Narcotics Bureau's seal in the film's title. The Department did not give its approval, however, and rejected the title Narcotic Agent.