The "White Wolf" was the name of a notorious pirate and smuggler who was at large in and around Federation space in the early 2330s, and was reputedly known for the color of his hair as well as his resourcefulness.
He first came to Starfleet's attention in 2331 when he and his crew raided a Federation cargo ship, and continued to raid several more over the next two years. When Starfleet dispatched starships to apprehend the "White Wolf", he managed to allude them by hiding in the Beta Barritus star system. Despite his daring raids, he was considered a low-priority by Starfleet Command.
This changed in 2333 when the "White Wolf" and his crew attacked a defenseless transport and stole its cargo of exotic flora from Elekiwi Prime, which was of immense importance to Starfleet Medical. As the "White Wolf" was known to be at large in his sector, Admiral Arlen McAteer was determined that he would be apprehended, and if possible, the cargo be retaken. At a briefing of sector starship command officers at Starbase 32, McAteer assigned newly-promoted Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Stargazer to travel to Beta Barritus and apprehend the "White Wolf". (STA novel: Gauntlet)