Buried Treasure

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Water Torture

Chase’s POV
Spider Monkey’s Silicon Valley Townhouse

I woke up a few hours later; it was time to go. I used the bathroom, finding some travel-sized deodorant and a toothbrush and toothpaste in a drawer. “Vic, wake up, we need to get going to LA,” I sent to him.

Already moving,” he replied. “We’ll be out of the shower in a few.” That was good; the last thing I needed was to be stuck in a car for eight hours with a guy who smelled like sex.

I checked my pockets, making sure I still had the flash drives she’d given me and the burner phone I’d brought along. The packet of financial records was still by the door. I was looking through the fridge for some juice when they came out of their room. “Morning,” I said. “We have to get going soon if we’re going to be in LA by the end of the day.”

“You could fly down,” she said.

“I don’t want to leave travel records. Plus, I have a lot of stuff to go through before I meet with the DEA.”

She came over and stood before me, walking like she was still sore from a good night of hot sex. “I want to go with you.”

I looked up at Vic, hoping this wasn’t just because he was a great lover or something. “Why?”

“I can help you. First off, I can guide you through the material on those flash drives on the way down so you can make plans. Second, I know you’re going to do some dangerous shit, and you’ll need backup. I can run surveillance, help with planning, anything you need.”

I looked over at Vic; he nodded his head. “I’ll keep her safe, and her talents do come in handy,” he said.

It would mean no wolfing out, but in Los Angeles, I doubted that would happen anyway. “Fine. We all go in our rental and rotate drivers. We’ll get breakfast on the way out of town. Spider, pack for a few days, we leave in fifteen minutes.” She got a big smile on her face, hugged Vic, then ran back to her bedroom. “I hope this works out, I don’t want her getting in trouble,” I told him. “Go get our rental and back it up in front of her garage.”

He left to go fetch it from the guest space it was in down the block. Spider Monkey came out a few minutes later with her bag and a laptop bag; it took her another ten minutes to load up her electronics, cables, and phones. She made one last call before we left. “Morning, Tat,” she said. “Sorry to call so early, but I need to resign from the Steel Ladies.”

“WHAT? You can’t leave us!” I could hear the other side clearly with my wolf hearing. Tat was the Steel Ladies President, and owned the best tattoo parlor in the South Bay.

“I have to. I’m sorry. Take me off the roster; I’ll turn in my cut when I get back in town.”

“You’ve been a member for twenty years, girl! Why are you quitting?”

“I can’t tell you now, just know that I need to and I love you guys, all right? I have to go.” She hung up before Tat could answer, then powered down her phone. “Come on, grab that,” she told me. “Nothing can blowback on the Club, that’s why you’re doing this alone, right?”

“Yeah. I’m sorry.” I grabbed her computer gear and put the strap over my shoulder while she grabbed her overnight bag. On the way out, I grabbed the printout bag and walked out while she locked up. Vic was waiting in the driveway, and we loaded the bags in the trunk of the Infiniti Q50.

“You better sit in back with me,” Spider said as I went to ride shotgun. I moved the passenger seat all the way forward to give me more legroom; something Spider never had to struggle with. Vic had already set the navigation system for the Los Angeles DEA headquarters; it was a little more than a five-hour drive. As soon as we were off, she opened up her laptop and started pulling up files. “Everything I gave you is on this computer,” she said. “What have you looked at already?”

“I read all the information the Task Force has. They have lots of information, but I can see why they haven’t started arresting people yet. They have suspicions, not proof. What I’m looking for is some information I can get to Director Grimes now, so they get an early win.”

She thought about it for a moment. “It doesn’t matter which Chapter it is, right?”

“No, in fact, I’d rather not get the Los Angeles chapter all riled up yet.”

“Okay, I think I know what you need.” She pulled up the information on the Bay Area chapter. “They were close, so I spent a lot of time on them. Their Clubhouse is in a warehouse district near the Oakland docks. Over the last week, we’ve identified every cellphone used in the Clubhouse. Cellphones are not secure, and simple equipment can be used to listen in on the conversations and record them.”

“Equipment you have?”

“Of course. I’ve got hours worth of Club conversations in audio files, that’s a lot of what I was going through before you two arrived. What I learned is that the Sons are using the docks to bring drugs in via container ships. They bribe the dock supervisor and Customs agents to skip the drug dog and x-ray checks on the container. The container then it gets loaded on a truck and taken to a warehouse the Sons own. The drugs are removed, repackaged for the other Chapters, and those guys leave in their cars to return to their Chapters for further distribution.”

I looked at her; my jaw dropped. “You found all this out by listening to their phone calls?”

“Most of it. I pieced the rest together using financial records, shipping manifests, and property records. It helped that the Customs Supervisor asked for more money over the phone.” She pulled up the current ships at the Oakland terminal. “This month’s shipment arrived at the Oakland terminal last night. It will offload today; the Club drivers are at the Clubhouse now. The container will be transported this afternoon to the warehouse, and they will drive out with the product tonight.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yep. The meet times were confirmed with the chapters in Denver, Las Vegas, Reno, Sacramento and Portland yesterday.” She showed me the information, and I wrote down the pertinent information; the vessel name, dock number, container number, the address of the warehouse, the dirty Customs agents, and the chapters involved. “I was debating calling it in myself, but it’s better if you do it.”

She was right; I’d essentially volunteered to be an informant for the DEA, and I needed to build that trust. I pulled out my burner phone and turned it on; there were no messages. Only Rori had the number, and she knew not to call unless it was an emergency. I called Frank Grimes on his cellphone. “This is Director Grimes,” he said.

“Its Frame,” I told him. “I have a tip for you, grab a pen.” When he was ready, I gave him the information Spider Monkey had collected on the drug shipment.

“You’re sure about this,” he asked.

“Positive. I have more information, but it’s not stuff I can share.”

“It doesn’t matter. Your information is specific enough to get warrants, and if it pans out, we won’t need anything else. Thank you. If we can prove multiple chapters are involved in drug distribution with this bust, it makes the RICO case of a criminal conspiracy easy.”

“I’ll have more for you later, Frank. Good luck.” I hung up and turned the phone back off before removing the battery. It felt good. “You’ve earned yourself far more than a new motorcycle this time,” I told her.

“I don’t do this for money; if I hacked for cash, I’d be just another criminal. I did this for the Club, and now I’m doing it for you and Vic.” I’m not sure the authorities would agree with her justifications, but it made sense to me. She could have emptied the accounts and kept all the money herself, but she didn’t.

“You’re not a common thief, you’re Robin Hood,” I said. “Imagine all the people who will get help because of what we did with their money last night. And the information you got on this drug deal is going to hurt them bad. We didn’t buy you that motorcycle because we wanted to bribe you, we bought it because you earned it.”

“Every time I fire it up, I remember how excited I was when I found out about Possum’s rescue,” she said. “I don’t want money out of this, but I do want something.”

“Just ask, and it is yours,” I told her.

“Oh, I will,” she teased. “Now, let’s go through some of the other stuff. Are you thinking ‘shock and awe’ or ‘Chinese water torture’ when it comes to the Sons?”

“I want them to suffer. I want them to think the Club is falling apart, people turning on each other and making deals.” That gave me an idea. I went to the Sons of Tezcatlipoca roster for the Bay Area chapter and picked a guy at random.

I turned on my phone and called Frank Grimes back. “It’s me again, I forgot something. When you apply for the search warrant, include in the affidavit that your informant got the information from the Vice President of the chapter, Carlos Pachino.”

“Did you?”

“Does it matter? All you put in writing is what your informant just told you. When you arrest these guys, segregate Carlos early and then release him.”

He didn’t say anything. “They’re going to think he’s a snitch and kill him, Frame.”

“Why, that would be illegal, Frank. Just do it.” I hung up the phone as we were pulling into the drive-through. Once we were on the highway, we started to hit the data hard.

I used a notebook, using a page for each Chapter, and one for the overall club. On each page, I jotted down information that could be used to arrest, harass or damage the members. By the time we hit the outskirts of Los Angeles, I had two weeks worth of material to feed to the Feds. “Where should the financials fit into this?”

“Give those to him first. There’s nothing they can do about the money that’s gone, but they can work backward. Those IRS people and the FBI’s forensic accountants are bulldogs,” Spider said. “They won’t let go until they’ve traced it all back.”

“There’s one thing I haven’t heard in all this talk,” Vic said from the front. “You talked about how much cash these guys generate, and how difficult it must be to collect and launder it. I’ve seen Breaking Bad… do they have pallets of cash sitting somewhere, waiting to get rolled into the system?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” she said. I raised my eyebrow. “Look, bank accounts can be traced, but cash can’t be. They collect it at a secure facility in Los Angeles, then ship it across the border to Mexico where the money laundering starts. The Sons have to pay for their drugs, so their Chapters bring the money back to the central location, then they send it across to pay for the next load.”

“Sounds straightforward enough.”

“It is, especially when they are using their cellphones. We tracked the couriers to this location, two buildings north of the Sons clubhouse in Los Angeles. This building and the one in between trace back to a shell corporation out of the Cayman Islands. Nothing connects it to the Sons of Tezcatlipoca, and the places appear empty. My contact in Los Angeles set up surveillance on the building two days ago. Check this out.” She played a video file; over a day, we saw six different cars come to the building, open the garage, and pull in. One driver, one passenger. A few minutes later they pulled back out with only the driver. “See the shocks? I measured the difference in the height of the cars as they entered and exited the garage. They are unloading between one and three hundred pounds per car plus the passenger. Tracing the car registrations, they are coming from the same chapters that are picking up the drugs.”

That’s a lot of cash. “How much money is a hundred pounds of cash?”

“Almost five million dollars if we are talking bundles of hundreds. In twenties, about a million. I estimate we have somewhere between ten and fifty million dollars in cash sitting in that warehouse right now, and nobody but us and the Sons knows about it.”

Damn. “There are at least a half-dozen men guarding the money. They’ve got to have security, alarms, maybe even a tunnel from the Clubhouse. We’d never be able to hold them off if we try to steal it.” I want to steal this stuff, not have it seized; the Clubs and the Packs could both benefit from a cash infusion. The Feds couldn’t have all the fun.

“We don’t have enough people to knock off a hard target like this, boss,” Vic said. “We’d need a truck, drivers, lookouts, and people to bust in and take out the guards. A dozen more good people would do it.”

“It would be easier if we had a diversion,” I said.

“Work with the DEA to raid the Los Angeles clubhouse,” Spider Monkey said. “You can have your people in place, and everyone will be so busy watching the bust go down they won’t pay any attention to you.”

Vic was smiling. “You’re a genius, baby.”

“I’m not just a great fuck, you know,” she said as she leaned over the seat and kissed his cheek. She sat back down and looked at me. “Intelligence is my game; the shooting and muscle stuff is yours. Can you handle this?”

“Not alone, but I have a lot of friends,” I said. I pulled out a new burner phone and turned it on.

Dialing a number I knew by heart, I smiled as he answered. “Sawyer Nygaard,” the deep voice said.

“It’s your baby bro, Sawyer. I need help.”

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