Nick dropped a heavy binder onto the table and positioned it in front of Dane. Matt was still next to the kid with his elbow on the table and hand holding up his chin.
Dane looked confused as Nick opened the book to the first page and took a seat next to him, across from Matt. The double team.
“What is this?” Dane asked looking at a couple of pages of faces in front of him.
“Those are border patrol agents,” Nick explained. “You told us the case was placed into the trunk of your car and then you crossed the border on a dirt road in the middle of the night. Is that correct?”
“Sure, yeah that’s how it happened.”
“Good,” Nick said, easing the boy into the development. “So as you drove onto this dirt road, there was a man, maybe several men who ushered you through the border. They may have had rifles or machine guns draped across their shoulder.”
A flicker of recognition ignited Dane’s face. “Yeah, but there weren’t any border patrol guys around.”
“They wouldn’t be wearing their uniforms for this particular event.”
“You mean those guys weren’t Reynoso’s Men?”
“Yes they were, but they were also border patrol agents.” Nick pointed to the book of faces and said, “Just look at these and see if any of them are familiar.”
Dane examined the first page of the photos with a blank stare. “I don’t know, man. This doesn’t seem right. You’re telling me that Reynoso hires border patrol to smuggle things across the border?”
Matt gently patted the kid on the side of the arm. “You’re starting to get it, dude.”
Dane frowned. “Look, I made a mistake, okay? I just don’t think I can do this. Why me? Can’t you keep me in prison until you catch them?”
Matt’s expression changed to sympathetic. “I’m curious, what did you think was going to happen once you drove your car into that car wash?”
“Um,” Dane had a faraway look in his eyes.
“Did you really think they were going to pay you ten thousand dollars and let you drive away? After you could identify several of them?”
Dane’s face fell as the realization struck him.
When Dane didn’t respond, Matt added, “With all due respect, buddy. You’re best chance to survive is to help us track these guys down and put them away. Do you understand?”
Dane nodded vacantly.
“Good,” Matt said, turning the page of the book and gesturing to the pictures. “Now let’s focus our attention on these photos.”
Dane looked down, then back at Nick and Matt. “Are you going to do something about those guys waiting for me outside?”
Matt smiled. “I thought you’d never ask.”
Nick got up from his chair and headed out the door. Matt and Dane stared at the monitor and watched as a few seconds later they could see Nick outside the complex heading toward the sedan.
* * *
Nick walked along the cement path in a slight drizzle, watching the driver in the sedan stare at him from behind dark sunglasses. They weren’t going anywhere and their demeanor suggested they were ready for the confrontation.
As he approached the sedan, he leaned into the driver’s window and said, “How’s college going Emelio?”
“Good Agent Bracco.”
“A nice break from Baltimore, eh?”
Nick dropped two hundred-dollar-bills into the kid’s lap. “You did a good job. Tell your mom I said hello.”
“You can peel rubber as you head out,” Nick said. “Make a good impression for me.”
“Will do,” the driver said, then started the car and began fish-tailing the sedan down the street.
Nick stood there with his arms folded and watched the car make a right turn at the light and burn rubber as it sped off into the distance. He waited a good two minutes before he turned to go back inside.
He’d just solidified his latest informant. Now the real work was about to begin.
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