Read The Cartel Enforcers (The Bill Dix Detective Series Book 2) Online
Authors: C.L. Swinney
Dix fired a few rounds toward the muzzle blasts he saw on the second floor of the building he assumed was abandoned moments before the shooting began. He frantically reached for his cell phone and dialed 911.
Romero sprung the trunk open and yelled to Dix, “Long rifles in the trunk as well as vests, cover me while I grab them.”
Dix finished off his magazine while Romero grabbed two tactical vests and an AR-15 rifle. As Dix put on his vest he noticed there were two shooters, both on the second floor that appeared to be firing from the same general area. He chambered a round in the rifle and carefully squeezed rounds toward the shooters as the call on his cell phone finally went through.
Dix yelled to Romero as he tossed him the cell phone, “It’s 911, give em’ our location.”
Romero caught the phone and calmly identified himself while requesting emergency cover. The dispatcher had difficulty hearing him as his voice appeared to be covered by bullets being fired. Two rounds exploded near Romero’s feet forcing him to jump back and caused him to lose his grip on the cell phone. He turned toward the direction of where the rounds were coming from and fired his handgun until it was empty.
Dix caught the reflection of a rifle muzzle in a window and fired the rest of his magazine where he thought the shooter would be. The barrel of the gun jumped then fell out of sight.
Romero motioned to Dix that there were two more rifle magazines in the trunk. As Dix went for the magazines more rounds started hitting the front and roof of the car again, but this time, they were coming from a different area. They both assumed one of the shooters had moved, and since only one person was shooting at them, it was likely the other shooter was dead or had fled.
Dix was able to get the extra magazines and located better cover behind several old dumpsters. He fired a few rounds at the window where the last rounds came from while Romero moved to cover.
For the next six minutes, the single shooter pinned them down. Romero tried to retrieve Dix’s cell phone, but every time he moved out a bit, rounds would plunk the brick façade near the dumpster.
He’d been in numerous fire fights as a veteran of war in Desert Storm and Afghanistan. He calmly stated, “He’s got us pinned down. You got the call out right?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t tell them about the position of the bad guy.”
“Well, once the shooter sees the cavalry coming, I’m pretty sure they’ll figure it out because he’ll fire on them too.”
Romero gave Dix a puzzled look as he noticed the firing had stopped. He poked his head around the corner and saw police cars speeding with lights and sirens blaring speeding toward them. He wished they were closer, but they stopped short to set up a perimeter.
, thought Romero. He was freaking out and didn’t want to die.
About five minutes later, tactical units with a SWAT bearcat worked their way toward them and the marked patrol units. The shooter kept pelting the bearcat with rounds, but the armor plating surrounding the vehicle was preventing penetration. Once the bearcat got up to Romero and Dix, they both jumped in. They looked at each other and gave each other a high-five.
The SWAT team leader looked at Dix. “Why is it where ever you go, you get into fire fights?”
Dix winked at him and replied, “I have no idea, besides, this one’s on Romero.”
He shook his head and said, “Give me the update.”
Dix quickly relayed the circumstances. As he finished, the shooter began aiming for the tires of the bearcat and
finally hit one.
He got on the radio and said, “Get this bucket the hell out of here!”
A command center was set nearby and within a few minutes a tactical team was advancing on the shooters location. Over a loud public address system the suspect was ordered to stop shooting and come out with his hands up. The shooter continued to fire rounds. Dix thought,
man, this guy’s crazy.
The captain on scene determined it was time for action. She gave the order to take out the threat by lethal force.
Flash bangs and tear gas were shot into the entire second floor. The percussion and heavy plume of tear gas was daunting to feel and witness, even from a block away.
Petersen and Sullivan arrived at the scene and tracked down Dix and Romero.
Sullivan shook her head and asked them, “You guys all right? What the hell happened?”
In unison they both replied, “We’re good.”
Romero excitedly continued, “Sullivan, you remember Shorty, my CI, I wanted Dix to meet him and question him about the cartel. We pulled up and two shooters opened fire on us!”
The group turned toward the building as a large explosion shook the command post vehicle. Petersen and Dix looked at each other in disbelief. Once the debris dissipated, they could see half of the building had been blown off followed by a large cloud of black smoke. All contact with the SWAT team was lost.
As Dix, Romero, Sullivan, and Petersen grabbed rifles and began running toward the scene, the captain stopped them and said, “It’s Code 4! They have one detained. Bomb squad is suiting up and will do the rest of this with the robot.”
The group looked at each other with a sense of relief.
Romero looked at Dix, “I’m sorry man, this guy is a little crazy, but I didn’t know he would shoot at us.”
Dix knew the young agent was feeling guilty and believed he had no idea his informant would go rogue.
“Don’t worry about kid; CI’s are unpredictable at best.”
Petersen looked up to see Kovach speeding toward them. “Your buddy is in-bound hot.”
Dix looked toward the end of the block and saw Kovach speeding toward them.
“I bet he’s about to blow his lid,” Dix said while he laughed.
As Kovach exited his vehicle, the SWAT team arrived back at the command post with a man in handcuffs. The SWAT members with explosives experience were asking to suit up with the Bomb Squad, while the remaining SWAT members volunteered to personally book the suspect in jail.
Romero looked at the man they had in custody and could not believe his eyes. It wasn’t Shorty, but rather Felipe Calderon, a known killer for another cartel. Dix saw fear in Romero’s eyes. Sullivan looked over at the man and instantly recognized him also.
Dix looked at Romero, “Okay, who is he and why are you looking at him like that?”
“His name is Felipe Calderon, a murderous psychopath and known enforcer for a cartel. He’s number five on the most wanted list in Mexico, and hasn’t been in the United States for at least ten years,” answered Romero without looking at Dix.
Sullivan continued, “Whatever caused him to be here is big. He must have had a major problem on his hands to come to the US. One thing’s for sure, he won’t say a word.”
Petersen looked at Dix and gave him a look like
Dix picked up on the last name of the suspect. He looked at Sullivan, “This guy related to Jose Calderon? The guy your CI gave up?”
“Felipe is Jose’s brother, and they’re mortal enemies,” replied Sullivan.
“Well, at least we have that going for us,” said Dix sarcastically, “Maybe I can get him to talk?” He formulated a plan of attack mentally against Felipe. He hoped to use what he knew about cartels, turf wars, and hatred to extract something useful to help him capture Jose Calderon.
Both Sullivan and Romero shook their heads, “No way.”
Dix chuckled and Petersen snorted.
“Neither of you have seen Dix do what he does best, break people. If anyone can get him to talk, it will be Dix,” Petersen said.
Dix looked at Sullivan. “Have SWAT transport Felipe and place him in protective custody. Let’s grab some food and coffee, and see if we can get anything useful from him back at headquarters.”
“Deal,” replied Sullivan.
Dix looked over at Kovach, “I’ll deal with Kovach.” They all grinned. None of them wanted to deal with him, especially after how the morning had started.
While walking over to Kovach, Dix made eye contact with Petersen. He motioned for Petersen to take Romero and Sullivan with him. He had a feeling the conversation with Kovach was going to be nasty. But, if everything ended okay, he hoped Kovach would help him grab food for the team and give him a ride to headquarters.
Doug Kovach felt as though he’d lost complete control of the situation and his life. Oddly, the shootout his team had been in was the last thing on his mind. His thoughts were consumed by Jose Calderon. He wasn’t getting the answers he needed for him and he was running out of time.
I’m a damn Group Supervisor, who do they think they are moving Pedro and not telling me anything about it
Kovach saw Dix walking toward him and as he watched Dix, Kovach realized he truly and genuinely liked the man. He admired what Dix stood for, justice and truth. However, he pondered the fact that he may have to kill him if he caught on to the charade.
Business is business.
He surprised himself that he could even think this way.
Dix saw Kovach was on his cell phone.
When he hung up, Dix said, “Well, it seems we have a bunch of leads now. Unfortunately, we have another shooting and another dead body.”
“I was just told the guy you shot in the building is Juan Ramirez, aka “Shorty.” Looks like Felipe was beating him for answers when you guys showed up. It seems Felipe forced him to fire on you guys. A real deal turf war just crossed over into San Diego. The wheels have fallen off the bus,” replied Kovach as he shook his head feigning disgust.
Dix did not like war, and certainly not on American soil. This whole thing was an international frenzy now. Washington D.C. would send federal agents from CIA, FBI, DEA, while state and local law enforcement would quadruple their efforts in the San Diego area. He didn’t mind all the resources being involved, it was having too many chiefs involved that bothered him.
Dix looked Kovach directly in the eyes. “Doug, I’m not entirely sure you’ve told me everything about what we’re dealing with. Turf wars in the U.S. and rival cartel members beating and killing people in San Diego is a whole new ball
game. It’s time you’re up front with me, regardless how deep you’re in the middle of all this.” Dix studied Kovach while making the statement in an effort to get a read on him. Two decades worth of interrogations and training on reading people made him believe that when his gut said there was a problem; there was a problem.
Kovach looked away. “Get in the car. As usual, you’re right, but even the great Bill Dix won’t be prepared for what I’m about to tell you.”
Dix cautiously got into the vehicle with Kovach and acted as though he was checking his text messages while turning on the recording function on his cell phone. He placed the cell phone between his legs and rested his hand on his holster. While Kovach got into the car, Dix discreetly unlocked the safety measure on his holster.
Just in case
, he thought.
Kovach began driving out of the area and turned to Dix and said, “Bottom line, I’m in over my head. I’ve made some decisions that have potentially compromised hundreds of investigations over the last ten years.”
The hair stood up on the back of Dix’s neck. “Doug, what the hell are you talking about?” He hoped what came next wasn’t as bad as he was anticipating.
Kovach’s mind raced in a hundred directions. He wondered if he should tell Dix everything. He thought he was more intelligent than Dix and decided he’d tell him yet another lie to make the investigation point toward another agent and not him.
Kovach replied, “Man I don’t know what’s going. Bosses won’t tell me shit about Pedro, and I’m starting to think Romero is involved with the cartel.” Kovach noticed Dix was caught off guard by his statement.
“You better have some great facts to support that statement Doug. He’s been your best agent for years. You said you trusted him. What would change your mind now?”
Dix was sure Kovach had just lied to him as his eyes demonstrated deception, but he was attempting to gather intelligence by pretending to entertain the thought that Romero was the leak.
And why would he try to throw me a curve ball now?
“Romero is related by marriage to one of the drug mules we caught with Pedro during the last seizure. He was one of three or four people who knew where Pedro had been the entire time, at least until the bosses moved him,” he replied with a shrug.
Dix recalled how Romero asked everyone if they knew where Pedro was while they were messing with the SWAT guys at the hospital.
But, he was asked to find information
, he thought. However, he could see how easy it would be for Kovach to point the finger at him. But, he wasn’t completely sold. Not yet.
“Lots of people have connections to people they don’t care to discuss once they get married, especially when they’re wearing a badge. Even if it’s true, what does it matter if Romero is connected to a drug mule by marriage? It’s circumstantial at best and it doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy.”
“Well what about the fact that only a few people knew where Pedro was after the initial attack?”