This is Part I of a two-part series on dismantling human trafficking networks. You can read Part II here.
“See, dad… you push this button and a monster appears over your house and you have to do battle with it so you can get more health and survive longer!”
“Dang, Georgie; that is pretty cool,” I humored my son as he showed me yet his latest computer/iPhone game. Now my small daughter got her chance to squeeze in-between us two so she could show me the exact same things but on her phone: chowhound.
“And that way you beat the monster and… yeah, yeah… and you get more health — “g’night little pea; sweet dreams.”
In the uncertain months after my final tour of duty in the Army with the Delta Force, an odd opportunity drifted my way. It was a position with a counter-human-traffic task force hunting traffickers and victims of human traffic in Albuquerque, NM. The Lord provides just enough, just in time, every time.
And it came to be that before a long time would pass, perhaps by dumb luck, perhaps by divine providence, I would help track down the city’s biggest perpetrator of human trafficking, who was also moving illegal opiates and boasted two counts of murder one (executions). He certainly was a big fellow, huge and obese.
By his appearance, Albuquerque Big put me in mind of the rap “artist” Biggie Smalls — Biggie Smalls Yessir, Biggie Smalls, AKA Notorious B.I.G., who ran tooo often with Tooo-Paq Shakur until it was tooo late and he took twoo slugs — thug’s life. That being said, I had him fingered at a motel by making a fake appointment with one of his trafficked females in her motel room, then failing to show up at the altar — classic jilt. I surveilled her long enough and soon Big himself showed up to check on her and pick up her earnings.
I grabbed several facial ID photos that pleased the feds who had been keen on bringing him in, if not for trafficking, at least for murder x 2. For all intents and purposes, this was just a rotten guy who the feds wanted, more than anyone else in the city, out of the city! Still, you wouldn’t believe it, but I kept eyes on Big for 19 months before the feds finally went after him.
One of our many assets to fight human trafficking was a prominent businessman who owned most of the abandoned buildings in the city, including the one right smack across the street from the motel where Big had two adjoining rooms set up as his headquarters. The abandoned building was a former dental clinic and darned-near perfect for what we needed it for.
Three of us went into the abandoned building after dusk when all was dark. We wore all black and carried all our gear on our backs. We snaked along the tops of the cinderblock fences of the residential neighborhood in the back of our abandoned clinic to arrive at the blind backside of the building.
“Is all of this corny B-movie secret squirrel nonsense really necessary?” I asked myself fervently as I imagined myself misstepping the wall and plunging down into a plastic jungle gym eight feet below.
I soothed myself with those words written by a man much wiser than I: “Serve your leaders, for every onus rides on their shoulders.”
When we finally jumped down from the wall, we were in the space between the back of the abandoned clinic and the walls of the neighborhood houses. We gained entrance to the inside with the key that
the landlord had given us for the back door.
(Teammate whispers): “What in the seasonal wetlands of Lower Tarnation was all the Dick Tracy moves about?”
(Whispers) “Shut up, man… serve your leader, for every donut rides on his shoulders.” It was the boss’ idea to insert in that way. I didn’t know, I reckoned he just missed the secret spook life.
Shortly, we were set up with four IP security cameras watching every flat side of the building, and an Internet Hotspot for camera control and communication support. With everything in place, two men were able to retire for the night, leaving the third man on surveillance throughout the night until he was relieved.
I was back to the hide site (surveillance position) in the morning to relieve the night watch agent. And so I sat, a dedicated and persistent stare at the suspected base of operations of Big and his gang.
I spent the morning making an awkward cup of coffee and keeping at least one eyeball peeled at the motel across the street.
And then it happened…
(Continued in Part II)
By Almighty God and with honor,
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