A Grocery Bag Full Of Cash
Mom and Dad were living in California City, in a new house that my mom loved, and Dad had a good paying job. But all this wasn't enough, Mom wanted more. Mom wanted to know for sure that the ranch life was over. Dad needed to sell that ranch and get rid of the last piece of construction equipment he owned, the trencher. So, he did.
Dad sold the trencher to a construction company in Bakersfield. The Ranch sold the moment Dad told the real estate broker it was for sale. It was almost as if the local real estate broker was looking for a remote location, with a giant ranch house that contained a clear view of every practical approach, but was still not too far from the airport, while also having its own air strip. Some coincidence, right?
The real estate broker, the only one in town, told Dad that if we could get completely off the property in two days, the interested party could give us half the listed price in cash as a down payment. So, we scrambled, and in two days, we were off the property.
A very polite, well-dressed gentleman representing a respected northern California, Sicilian family of wine producers (and you would know their name if I said it...) met my dad and the real estate broker at the bank where they could finalize the papers. The gentleman handed my dad a grocery bag full of cash. No, stop. Let me say that again. A Sicilian dude showed up with a grocery bag FULL OF CASH!
Never Blame Malice When Stupidity is On Duty
This story should have ended right here. Dad should have taken the cash and that should have ended our history with the ranch. But no. For some stupid reason, my brother had to go stick his nose in someone else's business.
Roy drove out and started poking around. He's lucky no one was there or this story could have turned ugly. He entered the house and stole a sample of the plants that the new owners had hung up to dry inside the house. Then, he came into town to find me.
"It's been a lot of years since I've seen any of this, but I think I know what it is. Is it what I think it is?" he asked as he handed me the sample.
"That is a bud of a female pot plant." I said, "Where did you get it?"
"The ranch house is hanging full of it. That's why they were in a hurry for us to get Mom and Dad's stuff out of there." Roy explained, then he went on to provide an excuse for his going out there. Something about a mattress. I don't know, it seemed to me like a lame excuse for him to stick his nose where it didn't belong.
Then Roy dropped the bomb. He was going to call the FBI. I just shook my head and walked away. He was actually proud of himself.
I had some things I had to take care of, so I couldn't get to Mom and Dad's new house for a few hours. By the time I got there, things had escalated past the point of no return. Roy had called the FBI and they had told him it wasn't really their issue unless it involved interstate trafficking or organized crime. Remember, the DEA was formed by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, but wasn't funded to any significant level until the Reagan administration in the 1980s. So, in reality, there was no DEA to speak of. The FBI suggested Roy call the Kern County Sheriff's office. So Roy did that. Since the deed on the property hadn't been officially transferred yet, the sheriff said he needed my dad to go to Bakersfield and sign a paper giving the sheriff's department permission to search the property. So, Roy talked Dad into leaving right then for Bakersfield. My mother explained all this to me when I arrived. I didn't know what to do.
Every possible scenario that I imagined was disastrous. Every possible act that I could do, including doing nothing, would be wrong. I knew the Brothers weren't involved in this kind of an operation, so that means they likely didn't know about it. If they didn't know about it, then that means someone moved a major operation onto their turf and wasn't giving them a taste. Who could do that? Who could afford the risk of disrespecting the Brothers in their own territory? Only the Mob could do that. This could get real messy, I thought. I spent the next few hours slipping in and out of panic until Dad and Roy returned. Then a new twist was added.
Since the time Roy had called them, the sheriff's office had already assigned an investigator who recognized the Sicilian family name and had already called the FBI. The investigator also discovered that a large set of greenhouses at the California City Airport had been purchased by the same people that purchased our ranch. And that was just a few months ago. So, the Kern county sheriff himself had hand carried a warrant to a judge's house in Bakersfield for his signature to search the greenhouses. Since this was a potential RICO case, in other words organized crime, the FBI would be running the show. So, there we were. We were sitting on this information and Dad and Roy had been ordered to tell no one what would happen first thing in the morning.
I saw no choice. I had to act, and it wasn't for the money. The sheriff's deputies would keep samples for evidence, but then haul that pot out of there and burn it all in a bonfire. Beautiful ten inch long buds of sinsemilla, with bright purple and green hairs and a delicate scent, would all be destroyed. It was a sin to let this happen. I had to turn off all emotions, dig down to my grit, and do what had to be done. I had to save the weed.
That sounds idiotic, because it was. I had a twisted sense of loyalty and a brain damaged by concussions, drugs, and a steady diet of whiskey. I wasn't thinking straight, but I was determined to save as much of that weed from the sheriff's fires as I could.
I needed a crew that could walk into a building of armed professional guards and take them out. I couldn't ask the Brothers. First, they would forbid me from doing anything. Then, they would do nothing. They couldn't afford a war with the Mob, and they couldn't afford a possible confrontation with the FBI. The Hell's Angels were more than they could deal with at that time, much less the Feds! The Brothers were out of the picture. But if I didn't ask them, then they couldn't tell me not to do it.
I also couldn't ask my regular crew. First, they weren't the violent type. They had never done anything like this. Second, I really liked those guys and I knew that this could be a death trap.
Dinky could do this. Other than the Brothers, Dinky was the one person I knew that could walk into a pit of death and not think about it. If I talked him through it enough times, he could do it. He had experience doing smash and grabs, and he had robbed several pharmacies, so this was right in his field of expertise. Dinky and I could clear the ranch house. There was probably just one guy guarding it, but at the most only two or three. If we could get the drop on the guard (or guards), we could wrap them up with duct tape and things would be easy...if we could get the drop on them.
Once this was done, how would I get rid of the product? It's not like I could stash it at Mom and Dad's house. I needed an individual with a connection to someone not local, and I needed them to be someone not connected to the Brothers. Mr. Garcia! It has to be Mr. Garcia! Plus, Mr. Garcia has a fast car. Fast car... Mr. Schmit is my other man.
That's it, then. Now I just need to get them on board.
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