Buried Treasure

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Director Frank Grimes’ POV
LA SWAT Command Vehicle

It took less than ten seconds for the raid to go to shit.

The approach of the SWAT vehicles and the announcement didn’t cause the men to throw down their guns and surrender; instead, they took positions of cover and started firing on the men approaching. Shots rang out as the police snipers opened fire on the three guards, and they were dead before the first man had dismounted.

A sniper shot out the meter supplying power to the building, sending it into darkness. The breaching team ran for the front of the Clubhouse while officers with grenade launchers sent 40mm grenades into the windows on the front and back of the building. Instead of filling the Clubhouse with smoke and debilitating gas, the grenades just bounced off the windows. The smoke didn’t affect the infrared camera on the drone, but it did make it tough for the snipers and the men to operate.

The breaching team reached the door, and the battering ram they carried just bounced off the area they hit by the handle. They hit it again, then a third time and still didn’t get it open. The men at the rear door fared no better. To make things worse, small gunports opened along the walls and the men inside opened up on the police with AK-47’s. I watched in horror as assault teams were caught in the open and cut down. Men dove for cover, the wounded being dragged to safety as the tables were turned.

If not for the quick response of the SWAT driver, things would have been much worse. The driver gunned the engine and laid on the horn, accelerating forward as the breaching team dove to the sides. The armored front of the big transport busted through the concrete block and the steel door as rounds from the rifles pinged off it. When his progress was stopped, he reversed and backed up to the gate so men could take cover behind him again.

The highly-trained officers were quick to exploit the breach. The grenade launchers sent more rounds into the opening, quickly filling the room with tear gas. The firing slowed, then stopped as men inside were unable to continue. The breaching team, joined by the others who had made it to the wall, formed up on either side and started their assault. Wearing gas masks and infrared-range vision goggles, the teams moved as one, rifles burping bursts of rounds as they took out threats inside.

More officers moved in, even as SWAT medics started evacuating the wounded. The sound of police sirens filled the night as additional officers and ambulances responded to the ‘Officers Down’ call over the radio. My DEA SWAT team had finally gotten in the back door, using explosives to blow it completely off. “Make sure they know my men are entering through the kitchen,” I said.

He made the call. “They have retreated to interior rooms because of the gas; we’re still getting fire. Going room to room now. They know about your guys.” I listened to the radio chatter, my gut churning to the warnings and calls for help, and watched the feeds from the selected helmet cameras. My SWAT guys had broken out of the kitchen, linking up with the County SWAT as they cleared the dozen or so rooms on the side. It was a long four minutes before the final room was cleared, and I could breathe again. “Teams report,” Rufus said.

My DEA team had been relatively unscathed, mainly because of the delay getting inside. One man got shot in the arm, he’d been bandaged and was walking out. The Sheriff’s SWAT team had been hit hard during the failed initial assault, and Rufus’s face showed the pain as the reports came in. He had the men establish a perimeter, and the responding officers blocked the streets around it as the ambulances arrived. I left the Command Post with Doug, leaving Rufus to coordinate the medical response.

Four men laying by the road, medics working on them as the EMT’s arrived to pick them up. One was screaming, his hip shattered by a bullet. Another had a chest wound, the rifle round punching through his vest just to the right of where his ballistic plate sat. I talked briefly to Jenkins as our medic checked him over, then went inside the fence.

Two Deputies were on the driveway, their faces covered by SWAT jacket.

The Clubhouse was being ventilated, doors open to allow the gases out, and we got there just as the DEA SWAT guys came out with their counterparts. The leader of the breaching team spoke up. “I wish we’d known the fucking windows were bulletproof glass. And those doors? Plate steel on heavy-duty hinges, reinforced with bars on the inside. We could have been out there all night with that fucking ram. If Luke hadn’t driven through the fucking wall, we’d all be fucking dead.”

“You think they knew we were coming?”

He shook his head. “I think they knew we might come, and they were ready for us.”

“They’ve been holed up all day, and after the raid in Oakland last night they had good reasons to bar the doors,” I said. “I thought they might scatter, but they never left.”

Doug looked over at the Sons taken prisoner. “Where did we find them?”

“Main area, overcome by the gas,” the SWAT guy said. “The ones in the back room didn’t give up; we had to kill them all. I’ve never seen anything like this before; they’d rather die than be arrested.”

Four men were seated in front of the line of motorcycles, one being treated by a paramedic for a leg wound, all in handcuffs. “Even after Oakland, I can’t believe that’s all we arrested.”

“Yes, sir,” one of the Deputies said. “Still counting dead bad guys, last I heard was nine.”

Thirteen guys sounded way low for the number of motorcycles parked out front. “I thought we’d find more,” I said. “There should be a couple of dozen men inside,” I said. “Check for a safe room or tunnel; we’re missing something.”

He yelled for his men and briefed them before they pulled their gas masks back on. They were going to enter in teams of two, in case they found anyone hiding. One would be looking with a flashlight, the other with their infrared camera. If there was a tunnel or hiding place, the thermal images might find it faster than the visual checks.

We had photos of almost all the known members, so we started looking at the dead and injured Sons and checking them off the list. “There’s nobody in leadership on this list,” I said as the names came in.

A few minutes later, I had the answer I feared. “We’ve got a trapdoor in the President’s office, leading to a tunnel,” the radio call said.

Fuck. The leaders had sacrificed their men while they made their escape. They had a good twenty minutes on us.

They were long gone.

Vic Knightley’s POV
Building Near Sons of Tezcatlipoca Warehouse

Chase, the SWAT vehicles are moving into staging positions now,” I sent to him. The building we’d chosen was kitty-corner to the warehouse, across the street and slightly farther away from the clubhouse. It was slightly higher and had plenty of air conditioning equipment to hide behind. Joe had his sniper hide constructed while I was watching his back at the other end. “There’s a drone in the air too, it’s high up but I can hear it.”

“Stay hidden. Everyone move to final positions; we go when they do. The sounds of their attack will cover our own, and the drone won’t be looking our way.”

It was a few minutes later when the SWAT vehicles moved out. “Their raid is beginning, estimate sixty seconds.”

Stand by, go on the first explosion or announcement,” I told them. I ran over to the other side of the building, taking a position next to Joe and his rifle. Looking out, I could see our teams cutting through the fence and racing to take position next to the doors. Matt was in the lead out front, and he removed a long roll of a V-shaped plastic explosive. He removed the plastic film covering the adhesive as he placed it along the hinge side, then continued around to the handle side. He inserted an electronic device into the other end and turned it on. A green light started blinking on the device, and as Matt pulled back, he took a transmitter out of his pocket. In back, one of Carson’s men was doing the same to another door.

“Charges are ready,” Joe said. “Waiting for the boom.”

We didn’t wait long. The cops broadcast the arrest announcement, and the gunshots started. The three explosions that Matt set off with his detonator blended into the sounds of the gun battle two blocks away.

Nobody noticed.

The doors blew off and into the room and our men were inside before they knew what had happened. The machine pistols they carried were muffled by the building, and the battle was over in less than ten seconds.

Joe heard the mental communications and smiled at me. “Six men down, no casualties. Tell Chase to bring the U-haul, he’s not going to believe this shit.” Joe was smiling as he stood up and started to jog for the fire escape we’d used to reach the roof. I passed along the message and ran after him.

We got to the warehouse just as the guys were raising the door at the loading dock. “Holy shit,” I said as I got my first glance inside the space. Dead men surrounded a pallet, and on the pallet sat at least a dozen large duffle bags. Matt had one unzipped, and it was full of wrapped bundles of cash.

“Can you believe this shit?”

“Grab a fucking bag and get ready to load, our ride is coming,” Carson said as he came in from a back room.

Sawyer was right behind him, a big smile on his face. “I gotta say, Chase is never boring.” The guys started grabbing the heavy bags as Chase backed the truck into the loading dock. The back was already open, so they jumped in and stacked the bags in the back. Less than two minutes after the ‘go’ order, the sliding door on the back of the U-haul was down, and the men were driving away.

“Come on, let’s get to our ride,” Joe said as he slapped me on the shoulder. I was pulling down the door on the loading dock, then I followed him towards the door that had been blown open.

It felt like someone punched me in the chest, then I heard the shot from behind me. I started to turn towards the sound, raising my gun, only to feel my right thigh explode in pain. I saw a man coming towards me and drew my pistol as I fell. I put two rounds on him center-mass and one in the head, dropping him just before he reached me. I slid down the wall, my pistol looking for another target.

“Fuck, Vic,” Joe said as he ran back in. “We’ve gotta go.” Tossing a bag towards the back of the room, he pulled me up and out the door before it destroyed the room in a big explosion. Holding me around my waist as his arm held mine across his shoulders, he helped me walk away. I pushed back the pain as we exited onto the street and turned left. It hurt like hell, but we had to cover a block and a half to get to our car.

Chase, I’m hit. Joe’s helping me to the car now. Someone came up behind us and put two into me.”

“I’m coming for you,” he replied.

NO, you need to get everyone away from here before the cops show up. We’re almost there; we’ll meet you at the rally point we were at before we came here.” I was glad I could talk mentally because it was getting more and more difficult to breathe. I was coughing up blood as we turned the corner. Joe leaned me against the rear passenger side as he opened the door, then set me in. As soon as he got in, we were rolling.

I pulled my belt off and wrapped it around my thigh, tightening it up over the handkerchief he gave me. I couldn’t do anything about my chest, and I started to feel woozy as I lost more and more blood.

Everything went dark when we pulled up behind the U-Haul.

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