The story so far:
Doug Maxwell had been the Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans district of the Drug Enforcement Administration for seven years, and would be ready to retire in another two. He began his career with the usual ambitions; catching the bad guys, clearing the streets of narcotics, making the world a safer place for kids to grow up.
Somewhere along the line, Doug Maxwell had moved far right of center.
It was more than likely that it had been shortly after he’d been assigned to this post in The Big Easy. When he reported to his new job, he was confronted with a ragged bunch of agents. All of them had seemed less interested in the agency’s own prosperity than that of themselves.
He had begun by clearing out the dead wood. Mandatory retirement had made the room for younger, more dedicated agents and he had managed to compile one of the best divisions in the region. Men he had recruited from law enforcement agencies throughout the south, as well as veterans of the Gulf War.
They were veterans of war on the streets, at home or abroad.
They were tough.
Moreover, not surprisingly, all of them thought as he did.
Doyle Pearson had been the first and it was with Doyle’s help that they had compiled one of the most productive units in the country.
The unit made numerous arrests, and it had been successful in taking an estimated hundred million dollars in narcotics and drug money out of the streets in the first six months under his leadership.
But, the courts had let them down. He didn’t know if it was New Orleans, or frightened jurists, but most defendants had been acquitted and all of the agency’s hard work looked less productive than he knew it had been.
His unit hadn’t been awarded the citations he knew they deserved and the bad guys had received lighter than normal sentences.
The drug trade continued to flourish
It was after he had lost a case to a local flamboyant attorney, Bill Gass, that Maxwell had decided that there had to be a better way.
Pearson had just made retirement when he had first approached Maxwell with his thoughts.
They had the videotape of the two NOPD officers with their hands in the pie, so to speak, and both had been acquitted, anyway.
The director had been away and couldn’t be bothered.
The case fell apart from there.
It had been Pearson’s last case and it was to have been his shining moment. One that would assure him a good consultant career after he retired.
That all had evaporated in a moment and he had been left looking like a clown, instead.
The director hadn’t even attended the retirement party, and instead of the customary gold shield, they had given Doyle a letter of recognition.
Not only had that angered Doyle, but it had also left a bad taste in the rest of the teams’ collective mouths. He had lost three good agents behind that poor decision on the director’s behalf.
Doyle Pearson had been left to swing in the wind.
Doyle had been eagerly receptive when Maxwell had suggested that they comprise a squad consisting of a few of the retired DEA agents and other trusted associates. They would try another method to clear the streets of the scum that resided there. Pearson could have the retirement he had earned and still acquire wealth from his “new job.”
It had been mostly Maxwell's idea, in the end and, with Pearson’s help to make it work, they would assault the drug lords in an all out war. After all, Maxwell had reasoned, it was a drug war.
With Doyle as the lead operative, they would hit the dealers where it hurt, they would take the money the scavengers made in the trafficking business and use the drugs to insure tight cases against the leaders of their operations. Sure, most of the players wound up dead, but that was all part of the trade; they knew it, the public knew it and, as Maxwell looked at it, war was war and there would always be casualties.
The only trick was to make it look just right, or the courts that were letting these **** go would lock Maxwell, et al, up and throw away the keys.
So far, no innocents were dead from their actions and, more importantly, because of his and the team’s actions, there were fewer innocents dying every week from the random shootings by these punks on the streets.
They were being shut down. Hard.
He was proud of it, but ironically couldn’t tell anyone of any of this “Thing of Theirs” and, like the mob, they had all been sworn to secrecy on the pain of death.
Not that it mattered; they were all loyal to him and true to their mission. As an added reward to the plan, everyone involved would make enough money to insure a peaceful retirement with no need for another career path to follow.
Just don’t screw it up.
Lately, however, nothing had gone smoothly. Doyle was screwing up by the numbers and now this **** Oliver had surfaced again.
It was bad enough he had screwed up Doyle’s final bust; he also now understood their Modus Operandi. There was a chance he could mess up the operation he and Pearson had spent so much time and effort putting into place.
Jamie Steed had not died as had been preordained. Doyle had messed up. Now, his crews were out there working to set things right.
As Maxwell sat at his desk in the Federal building overlooking Loyola Ave., he thought of how nice it was going to be to get Oliver out of the picture. Though he had heard nothing from his source on the North Shore, they’d be dragging the lake for the body formerly known as Alex Oliver LPI, by this time tomorrow.
Ten thousand dollars was nothing to pay to make sure Oliver disappeared before he had a chance to screw up this little thing of theirs.
Things had a way of falling apart when Alex Oliver was involved.
As he sat there he tried to remember that Fat cop’s name, was it Capone, Carnono, Carrone… Whatever, he decided; if the dude messed up, he could always be of use later. It was an advantage to always have well paid friends in the right places; and “martyred” cops to further his cause - were it to come to that. It was sweet justice that he could put to use the dirty drug money to remove Oliver from the picture.
Doyle was just going to have to be a little disappointed if he were not to be the one to administer this bit of justice. But, just in case, that’s why Doyle Pearson and Al Meo were in Florida and waiting for Oliver if he showed up there.
A smile formed on his face as he imagined Doyle pushing the button and sending Oliver to his just reward. He might even be welcomed back into the fold, as it were.
Knowing he had all of the bases covered was only a portion of his delight. He had just received a call from his confidential informant, or C.I., within the local mob.
Sources there had located Oliver’s girlfriend, Carlotta McBride. Knowing where she could be found added some measure of assurance to the whole Alex Oliver problem, and another piece fell neatly into place.
Maxwell smiled confidently at his ability to cover all of the bases at once.
He turned his executive swivel chair and looked out over the city from the grand window of his office, giving him a spectacular view of the heart of the city that care forgot.