Fly Diamonds

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Chapter 26

Leo sent a Mexican insurance agent to find out about Buitre’s tenants with the pigeon hutch. He gave him a $500 budget to bribe Buitre. In a few days, his agent called him.

“Leo, I have what you need. But it will cost you,” the agent said.

“You need more money? I gave you plenty,” Leo said.

“Not really. This Buitre is a real gangster. I ended up giving him a grand. But he spilled the beans.”

“A grand! Jesus!”

“You want the intel or not?”

“Yes, I will send you the other five right away. Count on it.”

“Virginia Merlo. M as in Mary, E as in Eduard, R as in Robert, L as in Luis, and O as in Ocean. Merlo. Got it?”

“Yes, thanks, my man.”

“You are welcome.”

Buitre had no trouble giving Virginia’s name to some investigator. After all, the Merlos were not doing anything wrong at his property, and dishing out the name would only distance any scrutiny away from his projects.

In a cursory Google name search Leo found out all about Virginia and particularly, her former husband’s death and his case with TIPCO. Leo was shocked to find that he was working for TIPCO and reading this. The coincidence was just too strong, and his business frowned on coincidences. She had motive, but it was a male he sought. That is when he did the math on her son. He was only twenty-five years old, and it seemed that someone so young was incapable of an intricate crime like this. But he had the same motive, revenge.

Leo read more. The case stunk and definitely TIPCO looked evil in its treatment of the Merlos. For an moment, he felt he was working for the wrong team. Maybe the Merlos kept the birds for someone else, but in any event, he would need to interview this lady and her son. He requested funds to travel to Mexicali, where the last credit card in the name of Juan Luis Merlo had been used. He began with the motel attendant and ended with the sale of the Camry. The trail was cold after that. Traveling south into Mexico without knowing where they could possibly have gone was ludicrous. There were no pings for any credit cards in her name or her son’s from that day onward. It was an impossible search until they surfaced into the system. Leo was not defeated, but now needed to wait until the perpetrator or perpetrators made mistakes. Fencing ten million dollars in retail value of diamonds always surfaced in his system of informants, and he would find them soon enough. For now, though, he was returning empty-handed.

That evening, he called on Ivory and they went to the Outback again. They met in the lobby and kissed. It was the true beginning of a relationship, as he no longer needed anything from her office. She was delighted that he had called and really enjoyed that Brent hated Leo.

“It is so nice to see you again,” Leo said.

“Same here. How did it go?” Ivory asked.

“Cold trail.”

“But you know who did it?”

“Not really. I have a suspect, but absolutely no proof.”

“But that is something. We have no idea who did it. Who is the suspect?”

“You know I can’t divulge that information. But I’ll let you know once we find him.”

“Find him? What do you mean?”

“Well, I think I know who did it, but I have no idea where he is.”

“Oh boy. I would love to meet him,” she blurted out, immediately regretting having said that.

“You would love to arrest him, you mean. Right?”

“Yes, that is what I meant. Although…”

“What?”

“I am intrigued by the ingenuity of the crime. It was a perfect crime until you found him.”

“I said I have a suspect. I can’t prove anything.”

“He didn’t leave much behind. It was masterful!”

“But he does have a fortune in diamonds, and I doubt he’ll avoid making mistakes as he cashes them in. That is always how we catch these fools.”

“Oh, Leo. I love the way you speak.”

“Ivory.”

They were a pair of lovebirds. Patrons and staff at the Outback couldn’t help but stare at them in envy. True love sprouts in the strangest and most random fashion.

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