Four hours later, at precisely 1:17 a.m., the raid at the Blanco compound commenced. Duffy had assigned his best captain, Jeffrey “Bo” Garza, who led twenty state police troopers in snipping off the padlock, pushing open the gate, swooping over the property, and easily overpowering the Blanco’s’ sleepy bodyguards who were completely confused by a surprise invasion of law enforcement, something that had never happened before at the compound.
Since he was a licensed private investigator and a former state trooper himself, John Moody was allowed to accompany the raid, but Captain Garza strictly prohibited Albert Bennett Sr. from coming along.
Hearing the commotion in the front yard, Juan immediately ran to his study and grabbed an automatic pistol from the drawer, intending to make a stand of it.
“Don’t be an idiot,” Carmella sneered. “They’ll tear you to shreds like a piñata if you fight. Put that gun down and shut up. Don’t say anything. I’ll do the talking.”
Garza, Moody, and seven troopers found the Blanco’s sitting quietly in their study. Carmella was calmly smoking a cigarette; Juan was staring straight ahead with red-rimmed eyes like a cornered possum.
“Where’s the girl?” said Garza, lowering his weapon when he saw they were unarmed.
“Girl?” said Carmella, exhaling a long stream of smoke. “There’s no girl in here.” She looked around the room as if to confirm that. “Why are you breaking into our house? The governor himself will hear about this barbarity, you know.”
Garza ordered the Blanco’s handcuffed to each other and to the chairs on which they sat. Juan spit at the young trooper cuffing his hands, and Garza walked over to Juan and punched him hard in the face. “Where’s the girl?” he repeated, staring menacingly into Juan’s red eyes. Juan glared at him, licked at the blood in the corner of his mouth, and said nothing.
Garza organized the search of the house. Moody went outside, collected four troopers, and went to the barn to search the tunnel Eva had told him about.
As soon as they dropped into the tunnel they immediately caught sight of a young girl and a man with a rifle strapped to his back running away from them. He held the girl tight by the forearm, forcing her forward.
“Shoot your revolver in the air,” Moody said to one of the troopers.
The earsplitting gunshot reverberated in the tunnel like a roaring cannon ball exploding in the caverns of hell.
Both figures immediately stopped running and turned around. Instantaneously, the man raised both hands in the air and dropped to his knees. “Por favor no me mates! No me mates!” Glancing at the man kneeling next to her pleading for his life, Denny sprinted toward Moody at top speed.
The Blanco’s were driven in separate patrol cars to the jail under the circuit court building in Corpus Christi. Neither of them said a word except for Carmella’s demand to phone her lawyer. They spent the next three hours in jail cells until their attorney, Russell Rexler, arranged an emergency bail hearing with a sympathetic judge, Judge Lindsay Davis. At around 7 a.m. Davis ordered both Blanco’s released pending the findings of a pretrial hearing at the end of the month to determine whether or not sufficient evidence existed from them to be bound over for trial. Their bail was set at one million dollars each.
Riding home in the back of the limousine with their attorney, Juan complained about being punched by the police captain, assuring the lawyer that he would have torn the man’s throat out if he hadn’t been handcuffed. Carmella rolled her eyes. Attorney Russell Rexler advised Juan to forget about the cop’s assault, explaining that filing a complaint would come to nothing, and it would just serve to alienate people who might otherwise be persuaded to be helpful at some point in the future.
“Fuck you,” said Juan, “you sonofabitch blood sucker! You have to do what I tell you!”
Rexler glanced at Carmella who signaled him with a single, tiny shake of her head that Juan was a stupid ass whom he could ignore and, furthermore, he needn’t bother wasting his breath arguing with him further.