They were sitting off to the side. I knew there was no need to try the conversation in English; even if they understood, they would play ignorant – so Spanish it was.
”Where are you delivering the petrol to?” I asked.
Quiet, nothing. I kicked him in the groin as hard as I could. He screamed and doubled over in agony. He would be that way for a while. I hated to do that – I would have preferred that he talked – but I needed to set the stage that I wasn’t putting up with bullshit and that I meant business. Above all, that they meant nothing to me – expendable.
I moved over to the next one, before I could ask, ”Las Norias, I make the trip twice a day when gas is running. Some days it’s diesel,” he said.
”Who gets the money you collect?” I asked.
He started to hesitate until I stepped in front of him.
”Bruno Hernandez ends up with the money. He likes to be called ‘The Bull’. A runner meets us in Las Norias each night to collect the money and deliver the next day’s drugs for this area to the drug runners for Bull’s enterprises,” he said.
“What time and where does that happen?” I asked.
“Six at the cantina on the north side of town,” he replied.
”Where do they come from to get to Las Norias?” I asked.
”From the south – Los Tres Palos,” he said.
”How many vehicles do they come in?” I asked.
”Four most of the time. He likes red,” he said.
”Which truck is yours?” I asked.
He pointed to the tanker.
”Where can the Bull be found?” I asked.
”We have been told he has a villa outside Ciudad Mante.”
Larry Thor had been standing by me while I was questioning the four men. He had walked away while I was questioning the last one. Satisfied, I went to find Larry before we went back to Apple 1.
I found him with the 802 pilots and several of his captains pouring over a map.
”We are twenty miles from Las Norias, by tomorrow evening the pipeline inspection crews will have passed there. I know you are out to take everything you can for the drug lords. The 802s can fly high patrolling the road from Las Norias to Los Tres Palos.”
”When they spot the group of red vehicles leaving Las Norias they can call for us to send the Blackhawks. When the Blackhawks are close the 802s can drop down and disable them. The Hawk men can finish them off and pick them clean.”
”Should be quite a haul of money and drugs; sounds like a resupply and pickup the days proceeds. That should put the icing on the cake after all the proceeds we collected in the last couple days,” Larry said.
”Show me on the maps; if you think it’s doable and successfully, let’s go for it. I want to cut them off at the knees every chance we get,” I said.
After the group finished with all the plans, I gave approval. Backup Blackhawks from Apple 1 were on the way with men to take control of the road.
”I’ll go with the Blackhawk group,” I said.
”No! Not only no but NO from the commander in the field. You pay us to do these things. The Hawks will meet you at Baker 2 on their way back for you to sort out the mission and whatever else and handle the political fallout. You should be there in the MRAP about the time the Hawks get there. It’s ten minutes on the ground, no more,” Larry said.
He was right – I didn’t need to be there – so I let it drop.
The two 802s from Apple 1 were moved to Baker2 just in case any problems arose.
The day was all but gone by the time the MRAP carried us back to Baker 2. The girls and I listened to the action on the aviation radio.
It was thirty minutes later when the Blackhawks landed at Baker 2. There had been six vehicles, not the expected four. It made no matter; one strafing run by the 802 put an end to the vehicles and everyone that was in them.
The haul was another thousand kilos of cocaine, heroin and pills and bags of cash. From the dying statements this run was to be the last in the area until new routes and new methods could be developed.
That was why this run was so large with the drug flights over in the area and the fuel revenue diminishing daily, Bull was pushing the limits to deliver to customers and also satisfy his boss and the supplier.
Eric and Frank had already left by the time we had returned Baker 2. I called Eric again and we discussed the issue of the new drugs haul. We decided that we would hold a news conference at the Washington DEA offices displaying all the drugs and money collected so far in the operation on Thursday morning before I testified.
All the girls were going. I had reserved seats on my side of the table for them to sit behind Curtis Warren and me.
We were heading back to Washington tomorrow afternoon. In the morning I had a meeting with the leaders of Matamoros. I had decided to build the first prison 5 miles west-north-west from Matamoros.
Lorrie was working on the purchase – in between following me around all day – with a Realtor from Matamoros. The deal was nearly complete, providing all the pieces came together. Those pieces came down to water, sewer, electric and permits. Permitting was a minor issue; the site was outside the city limits by three miles. Outside of established city limits in the Mexican state of Tamualipas, building was a free rein with little or no regulation.
Tomorrow morning’s meeting was to negotiate for the utilities. Sewer and electric were the important things. We could sink a well if it became necessary.
I told Melinda we were leaving at noon so she could finish up any station business. I would see Hanna at Apple 1 in an hour to tell her the same.
Three Blackhawks carried us back to Apple 1. We arrived in time for a late supper and to join Andy in a command review meeting over today’s developments.
10 Mexpo repair crews had made thirty miles of progress in sealing and then welding all the taps we had found in that section.
The pipeline inspection on the first contract would be finished in a week, ten days at the most; much faster than the four to six weeks we initially thought. Andy was splitting up Apple 1 and Baker 2 and forming a third group ‘Cannon 3’ to move the process further down the pipeline.
Andy was also calling the reserves that were at Fort Dean to fill voids as the moves took place. He suggested we work on more buses.
Andy and I both thought there would be some kind of retaliatory attacks as soon as the cartel power structure could get together and plan.
We had taken over four tons of drugs and who knows how much money from them in just two days, mostly by their own stupidity or bad communications. Anyone would have thought that after the first plane loss things would have been brought to a halt.
We had done enough that they were shutting down operations – at least temporarily – in the area.
There were no attempted flights into either of the captured runways Tuesday night. Overall it was a quiet night.
We were just about ready to leave Apple 1 when the police showed up. I had expected them long before now.
Police Chief Hector Ramos appeared with a couple of uniformed officers.
”I have been getting complaints that you are harassing the hard working citizens and detaining some. You have been given no authority to detain anyone. Are those the citizens you are detaining?” Hector asked.
”They are the individuals we have arrested with substantial amounts of drugs in their possession. They are being held until they can be sent to a maximum security prison. A tribunal will try them after which the penalty will be applied,” I said.
”No! That is not what is happening. I am taking custody of the prisoners and taking them to my jail,” Hector said.
Jenny handed me the report from Prosecutor Inez pointing to Hector’s name in the list with a flag. Hector and his whole department was listed as on the take.
In Russian I alerted my men to surround the three and to arrest them.
”Hector, we have a problem. I have a list from Federal Prosecutor Inez of corrupt local law enforcement that are reported to be taking bribes or working for the cartel. Your name and officers are on this list. I have instructions to arrest you and seize all assets of your office in the name of the Republic of Mexico,” I said.
After a brief struggle, Hector and his three men were in a separate fence. A call to Inez and the Federal police were on the way from Mexico City to pick the three up. Larry Thor and Andy were going to handle the issue.
The six of us and our security left for Apple 1 for supper and to spend the night. We had a 0800 meeting with the officials of Matamoras.
We were on time for the meeting; the officials were an hour late.
It was noon when the wheels left the runway for Morton. I got to watch Jenny, Lorrie and Marcy work their negotiating skills. It was a tough sell but we had a contract and the permits necessary from the city of Matamoras.
The only hitch was we had to use local contractors to run the pipes and electric to the site. That was not a problem because the cost was going to be a lot less than using Bobs Construction.
One last piece of business was conducted in a meeting room in the general aviation terminal. We settled on the land for the prison; the pieces for that part of the project were complete. The rest was up to Bobs Construction, a call I made as soon as we were airborne.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.