Denahy’s first day back at work was
miserable. All he could think of was Lisa. His meeting with McKenna had
been a disaster from the moment he walked into the Deputy Director's
office. As Denahy entered the large paneled office, McKenna was sitting
with his back to him. Without turning around, McKenna impatiently
motioned Denahy to sit at his desk.
“Well, let’s hear it!”A very
upset McKenna asked in a curt voice.
Without saying a word, Denahy handed McKenna his action plan and
began to go over the details. “How long?” McKenna demanded angrily.
Standing up from his chair, McKenna moved to his large office window
wall. Arms crossed, he stared out the window with his back to Denahy.
“You’ve known for months that the President wants
answers.”Denahy’s boss had delivered a veiled threat.
“We have some answers.” Denahy offered, waiting for his
Angry, McKenna began pacing his office
floor. “Was Aragón
dirty?” McKenna asked Denahy in an agitated voice. “We don't
know.” Denahy responded matter-of-factly. “I’ve told you before,
he appears clean. He has no priors and no record of
Denahy began to go over Robertson’s
latest report. “We’ve concentrated on linking people to
corporations.” McKenna listened attentively to Denahy’s explanation
of Kayee Chan and Stevens’ development of linkages between corporate
names and the barrio gangs. What emerged was a pattern of circumstantial
involvement. The traced names and addresses were entered into a database
with fields for states, counties, and cities. As the puzzle developed
into a coherent picture, a complex network emerged. Their findings and
conclusions pointed to a potential strategic blueprint for the
Mexican-American Mafia in the Southwestern United States. Denahy stressed, while only
preliminary, it had to be called to McKenna’s attention.
Additionally, the web spread across
all major cities in the Southwest. From Los
Angeles to New Mexico and Texas,
the corporate names were present, always near a barrio.
Denahy stated emphatically that this was no accident. The linkage mapped
to an organized chain of affiliations. Although
inconclusive, the Chicanos had
developed an organized crime network, only the names differed.
Outlining Stevens’ research for
McKenna, Denahy emphasized the movement of services and money between
entities. A clear picture of the Aragón
corporate empire’s assets emerged. The man Aragón
was a billionaire, owning or controlling twenty-two corporations and
several international conglomerates. The international corporations
involved aircraft manufacturing, construction, engineering, and
import/export. Spain was the country most heavily invested in.
All facilitated the easy movement of capital and material. The
structure was perfectly developed for the easy transport of money and
drugs. Denahy tried to give his boss assurances that his research was
based on facts and not half thought out theories. “The team received
files from Interpol, the Fed, and the World Bank. The files include
information on two banks in Spain.” Denahy explained to McKenna. His
team was concentrating on the relationships between Aragón’s
laundering activities and his financial institutions. Finally, Denahy
reported that his team was interfacing with LAPD investigating officers
regarding case files linking barrio
gang member names to Aragón’s dead bodyguards Vincente
Rey, Sammy Perea, and Roberto
Palma. The case files showed them to be associated with various
gangsters. The link was made and investigations were ongoing. The three
men could definitely be traced to one investigation involving drug
trafficking. Having completed his initial briefing, Denahy waited for
his boss’s response. “We need more answers and faster.” Peter
McKenna said in a pensive voice. “This thing is still a political hot
potato. The Latino vote is
important to this Republican President.”
McKenna spit the words out as he walked over to the office
window. Everyone in D.C. knew that the McKennas were Democratic targets
of the present administration.
Denahy watched his boss carefully as
he delivered his last few words. The Deputy Director looked more tired
than usual. “Boss,” Denahy began in a quiet almost assuring voice,
“I have some bad news. Rolf Grover, the known associate of Aragón's,
he’s gone. He left town and hasn’t been heard of since.” McKenna
just nodded. There was no other reply. The meeting was over. Denahy left
his boss's office and headed to a local bar for an early morning drink.
From there, he called Robertson and scheduled a meeting for
Denahy entered the conference room on
time. The team was assembled and ready to go to work. Inviting them to
discuss their latest findings, Denahy hoped for the best. Robertson
proposed that the team emphasize international trafficking. Chan
suggested that the Bureau review its conclusions based upon DEA findings
and assumptions. Stevens felt that the problem was still data gathering.
It was obvious to Denahy that they were all bone tired. The past several
months of non-stop investigating had drained them. They had lost their
edge. A very disappointed Denahy asked Agent Doami to comment on the
discussion. Telling the group that a psychological profile would break
this case wide open, he still felt that Aragón
was the key to this entire case. Doami wanted a more complete picture of
Aragón the man. Robertson commented that he had just
received Aragón’s military records. Denahy ordered an immediate brief. The
meeting ended as it began, they had nothing.
The next day, Denahy asked Robertson
about the partial number match. There were still no answers. Contacting
a friend of his at the White House, Denahy called in a favor. It was the
Vice President who called Mexico
that day. The Mexican president called the Bureau personally offering
all assistance regarding the five possible banks in Baja.
Chan and Stevens were dispatched a second time to Mexico City to meet with the Federales.
They arrived two days later for their second meeting with Comandante Raul Rodríguez.
The Comandante was prepared to deal with his two visitors when they
arrived. This time, when ushered into his Mexico
City office, he was a new man. Warned by the Mexican President’s
office to cooperate, Rodríguez
was ready. The Mexican president had personally called Rodríguez’s
boss and made arrangements for a speedy resolution of the matter. This
trip, there was no wasted time. The Comandante
called his assistant into his large office and barked orders to him
in Spanish. The assistant left as quickly as he came. The Comandante
then informed the two guests that their meeting was at an end. Manuel,
his assistant, would take care of their needs from that point on. His
two guests departed without a thank you.
was instructed to give them all assistance necessary. There would be no
limits on access to files. Over the course of the week, they found
everything they needed. The two agents found the Baja
bank. Upon their return to D.C., Denahy was one happy man. Hearing that Rodríguez
had been a good boy, Denahy was appreciative of the information. The use
of his back channels to secure the data had worked.
Two days later, Robertson was waiting
for Denahy when he got to the office. With a great big smile on his
face, Robertson shouted, “We’ve really got him this time! Doami
found the trail. We now have two banks in Mexico,
not just one. Doami also linked transactions to one in Spain. Bank
transfers were made in August and September of last year. Later, Banco De Madrid did an account transfer to a bank in San
Diego, noting the original account transfer numbers. The
transferring bank account matches one of Aragón's
accounts in Mexico.”
Robertson said the words with great pride. Denahy stood up from his
chair and smiled at Robertson. “Tell Doami that he gets another gold
star. We needed this break.” Robertson agreed flashing a large ugly
grin. Denahy then picked up the phone and gave a very unhappy McKenna
the good news.
It was now time for Denahy to turn his
attention to Kenneth Aragón.
Before the news of Michael Aragón’s involvement with organized crime could be made public, Denahy
would need an airtight case against Aragón’s
son. The problem was that Kenneth Aragón had no record.
Now August, Denahy found himself in Los
Angeles hunting down leads on Kenneth Aragón
with Gómez. Interviewing over
forty witnesses and LAPD, Denahy and Gómez
had been unable to link Kenneth Aragón
to the Eme. Daily updates were
given to McKenna via telephone from the local Bureau field office.
As September came, the weather in Los
Angeles was hot and the air dirty. Missing the seasons of the East
Coast, to Denahy, California seemed to be one long summer. The one good point to it
all was that Denahy and Lisa spent a great deal of time together,
visiting as many of the local sites as they could get to. Spending his
nights with Lisa, he found himself happier. The agent drank less and ate
better, he wanted to feel good. The job had its problems, but he now had
his Lisa. They had become closer and Denahy was now thinking of Lisa as
more than just someone to date. He wanted to ask her to share the rest
of her life with him.
On their way to question a suspected Eme
member in downtown LA, Denahy and Gómez
got a call from Robertson. The LAPD had contacted D.C. requesting an
agent to assist in the interrogation of a long-time associate of Aragón,
one John Lucero. The man was
being detained at the Hollenbeck Division for suspected armed robbery.
Returning the call, Denahy agreed to a three o’clock meeting.
Arriving at Hollenbeck on time, Denahy
and Gómez were met by
Sergeant Johnson, a tall man with a large beer belly. Keeping his blonde
hair in the traditional LAPD crew cut fashion, Johnson was as hard as
they came. The past twenty years of service had been with the LAPD in
the East Side barrios.
Briefing Denahy and Gómez on Lucero, Johnson was holding him in an interrogation room downstairs.
Thirty years of hard drugs had damaged Lucero’s seventy-year old mind and further twisted his already
sick personality. As Denahy looked through the one-way mirror, Lucero reminded him of an old pimp with his slicked back gray hair
parted in the middle and a pencil thin mustache. Wearing loud clothing,
a white suit and red shirt, he was a throwback from the sixties. His
expensive rings and watch told Denahy a lot. Lucero,
a small time hood, wore his wealth on his sleeve. The man had the smile
of a rat. It was more a grin than a smile.
As Lucero stood stretching, Denahy could see that his tall thin frame
had taken a great deal of abuse from a life gone wrong. He had the look
of a heroin user. Entering the interview room as Lucero
sat down, Denahy and Gómez
said nothing. His cloudy eyes stared past Denahy, looking straight at Gómez
with a strange look of contempt on his face. Gómez
knew the look. It was the special look of contempt held by gang members
for Chicano cops. The opening questions regarding the Eme
were asked by Denahy. Giving Denahy a dirty look, Lucero
laughed. Just then, an angry Johnson opened the door and walked in.
Saying nothing, he walked over to Lucero.
Standing above the sitting Lucero,
Johnson punched him twice hard in the face. Pulling him by the collar of
his shirt, Johnson threw Lucero
down on the cold concrete floor. Kicking him several times in the
stomach and back, Johnson told him to watch his mouth. His work done, he
left the room.
After Gómez helped Lucero onto
the chair, Denahy asked if he’d ever known a man named Michael Aragón. Lucero’s
eyes narrowed as a scowl appeared on his face. At that moment, the
policeman in Denahy knew he had something. Probing with a few more
questions about the Eme, Lucero
began talking. Lucero asked
Denahy, “What will you do for me?” Denahy had no reply. The
interview went on for an hour. First,
Denahy pressured Lucero,
threatening a minimum five years sentence. Then Gómez
hammered on him. The questions were always the same, just phrased
differently. Dancing around every question, Lucero
pretended to know nothing. Denahy noticed that whenever Michael Aragón’s
name was mentioned, Lucero’s demeanor
changed. The cop in Denahy believed somewhere in the past, something had
happened between Aragón and the beaten man sitting in front of him.
Feeling there had been bad blood between them, Denahy knew what to do.
Another hour of questioning passed
before Johnson returned. Wrapping his leather belt around his hand,
Johnson went to work on Lucero’s
ribs. After several hard punches to the ribs and stomach, Lucero began to understand. Throwing Lucero face first against the wall, Johnson hammered his kidneys. As
blood began drooling from his mouth, Lucero
was ready. His spirit broken, he would trade information if he could
walk on all charges. Denahy could feel the tide of the investigation
turning. After Johnson left the room, Gómez
once again helped Lucero onto
the chair. Coughing up blood, the man was having problems breathing.
Johnson’s work had left him with broken ribs and damaged kidneys. The
official report would read that Lucero
fell down the basement stairs while being escorted to interrogation.
Denahy didn’t care for the tactics, but they worked.
Breaking the ice, Denahy promised Lucero,
he would do no hard time. Promising nothing more than a fair shake if he
cooperated, Denahy waited for an answer. To Denahy’s surprise, Lucero
took the carrot. Beginning to name names and the locations of Eme
assets, Gómez told him to stop. Bringing in a police stenographer, they
took down every word Lucero
said. The old man was a gold mine. The tastiest morsel was the fact that
his nephew, Johnny Ramos, was
now a trusted Eme soldier with
knowledge of Kenneth Aragón’s business dealings. In particular, his nephew
had told him of a location at Kenny Aragón’s
Santa Barbara house where
large sums of cash were held. The cash was placed in Aragón manufacturing cases loaded with industrial
equipment before being trucked across the border. Denahy had hit the
The interview ended at seven o’clock
in the evening. Denahy and Gómez
were tired and ready for a good night’s sleep. As they left, they
shook hands and patted each other on the back.
They’d finally gotten the break in the case they needed. As
they departed Hollenbeck station, Denahy planned the arrest of John Ramos.
Hopefully Ramos would sing and
cut deals like his uncle. But that was for tomorrow. Denahy was headed
home to his Lisa and a cold glass of beer.
The next morning Denahy was on the
phone to McKenna. Giving him the details on Lucero
and Ramos, McKenna authorized inter-agency cooperation on the arrest of Ramos.
The two agreed that LAPD would handle the charges. Asking Denahy to make
sure that the PD was creative, McKenna then ordered Denahy to remain in
LA and personally supervise the operation.
Denahy was to remain on the West Coast until hell froze over if
necessary. McKenna then placed a call to a college buddy, Mike Lester,
in the LA District Attorney’s office. He asked Lester to personally
take charge of the DA’s side of the Lucero investigation. Lester agreed.
It had taken two weeks for the LAPD to
arrest Ramos. But the wait was
worth it. LAPD called Denahy and scheduled an interview with Ramos. Officer Johnson had visited Ramos for an hour earlier that morning. There had been an
unfortunate accident, and Ramos
had suffered a fall on the stairwell leading to the basement.
Fortunately, he had only suffered a few broken ribs and a broken leg.
After a visit to County General Hospital’s emergency room, Ramos
was released to the LAPD.
Within minutes of Denahy’s arrival, Ramos
was singing like a bird. He would cooperate in exchange for the witness
protection program. Deputy DA Lester agreed. All that was left was to
get a search warrant for the Santa
Barbara house. Lester promised one within two days. On top of the
world, Denahy and Gómez could feel the noose tightening around Kenneth Aragón’s
neck. He went back to the Bureau office and finished some paperwork. It
was 6:30 PM when he left the office to spend a quiet evening at Lisa’s
home. Tired, they turned in early. Denahy was asleep by ten o’clock.
The next day was spent with Lisa
shopping at malls and hunting for antiques. By late afternoon, both were
hungry. They went back to Lisa’s place and Denahy showered and shaved.
Looking forward to dinner, they got dressed and left for the restaurant.
Arriving at a fashionable restaurant in Marina
Del Rey, they walked into the bar and ordered two Tequilas.
Denahy was in the mood to celebrate. As they sat talking and drinking, a
news flash came onto the television set. Scenes of a New York City
massacre were being aired. The newscaster stood in front of a New York
City restaurant frequented by the Martín
Family, a New York Colombian crime family. The newswoman stated that the
Mexican mob, La Eme, had
struck at eight o’clock that night. Early reports said that over a
dozen drunk and boisterous Martín
Family gang members dining at the restaurant were massacred. Witnesses
reported seeing two teams of purported Eme
gunman dressed as bag ladies with shopping carts full of bags. At the
planned moment, they stationed themselves directly in front the
restaurant entrances. According to one witness, the shooting stopped
after fifteen seconds. Mr. Martín
and his five sons were dead. The
Eme soldiers escaped in
Denahy could only shake his head and
order two more shots of Tequila.
Saying nothing until the server brought the drinks to his table, he
quickly drank them both down. Motioning to the bartender, a frustrated
Special Agent Denahy ordered two more. Lisa remained silent knowing
something was terribly wrong. The couple moved from the bar into the
main dining room. Lisa and he talked about how beautiful the ocean
looked. Chatting about his boating as a young man, Denahy deliberately
stayed away from discussion of New York, neither wanted to open up a can
of worms. After ordering dinner, the two stepped outside the restaurant
for a cigarette.
The night was cool and breezy with a
large full moon. Reflections from the red, blue and green harbor lights
fell on the quite bay. As they finished their last puffs, Denahy
gathered her in his arms and held her close to him. To Lisa’s
surprise, Denahy told her that he loved her. She cried.
They returned to the restaurant
changed people. Denahy was now committed to her. It was Lisa’s move
now. Dinner had been excellent. After Denahy ordered them coffee, the
two sat talking about life and enjoyed each other’s company. While
laughing, Denahy spilled his coffee onto his lap. Lisa only smiled,
telling him that she loved him. His face lit up. As they left the
restaurant, both spoke little. The evening was long and filled with
emotion. They were happy to be headed home to a nice soft bed.
The next day brought the dreaded
calls. The press was looking for a story. The public wanted to know when
the killing would stop, forcing the Bureau’s Director to hold a press
conference. McKenna was
drafted to speak to the problems with the investigation. Talking to the
issues related to the investigation, McKenna refused to confirm or deny
that the New York killings were related to the death of Michael Aragón,
saying only that the investigations were ongoing and he couldn’t
speculate. The reporters were not satisfied with his answers. Calling an
end to the press conference, an angry McKenna placed a call from his
limousine to Denahy in Los Angeles. Shouting at the top of his lungs, he
demanded Denahy make arrests. He wanted them to be very public. And he
wanted them in large numbers.
By the week’s end, twenty-three Eme
suspects were arrested by the LAPD. Sergeant Johnson made a point of
alerting all three local affiliate major television networks. Mike
Lester was on hand to offer congratulations to the LAPD for a job well
done. The arrests were largely symbolic. There would be no convictions,
only media hype. Lester made sure his old Harvard pal was taken care of.
Peter McKenna’s shining star would not be tarnished.
The evening brought with it sad news
for Denahy. Receiving a call from D.C., Peter McKenna’s father had
suffered a heart attack. It was Peter who placed the call. After,
McKenna hung up, Denahy told Lisa the news. The Senator was in intensive
care, and things did not look good. Lisa had never seen Denahy cry. As
the tears trailed down his face, even Denahy was surprised.
Embarrassed, he walked outside and lit a cigarette. Taking a long
deep drag, Special Agent Brian Denahy cried like a little boy. Life had
become too much to handle.
After making plane reservations for
the red eye to Boston, he quickly called for a cab. The Denahy packed
his carry on, checked his weapon and holstered it. It had only been
fifteen minutes when the cab pulled into Lisa’s driveway. They kissed
and held each other before he left for LAX. The cab ride to the airport
went quickly. Arriving with an hour to spare before boarding, Denahy
tried not to think about his friend’s condition. Instead, he thought
only of Lisa. While checking in, Denahy’s thoughts turned to Peter.
The Senator was Peter’s strength.
The boy would be in a state of depression by now.
Sleeping during the flight, his plane
to Boston landed at 4:30 a.m. Making his way through the crowded plane,
he grabbed his carry-on from the rack and made his way outside. The
early morning air was chilly as he deplaned. The darkness was a reminder
of his depression. Not expected to live, his life-long friend, Senator
McKenna, was at the edge of eternity. Having gained respect the old
fashioned way, the grand old man of the U.S. Senate had many friends.
Many owed their fortunes to him, including Denahy. Walking
through the airport and onto the sidewalk, Denahy hailed a cab as he lit
a cigarette. Within seconds, the cab pulled up in front of him. Asking
the driver to take him to the Charles Grace Arms Hotel, he got in. By
the time he arrived, the sun was beginning to rise. After paying the
cabbie, a depressed Denahy walked into the hotel. The early morning hour
made the front desk check-in immediate, he was in his room by 6:00 a.m.
Showered and dressed, he was ready to
face the painful ordeal. The cab ride to the hospital that morning gave
Denahy time to think. Reminiscing about the Senator, he recalled his
many kindnesses. The Senator had done much for him over the years. The
Senator was owed a great deal by Denahy.
Arriving at the same time as Peter
McKenna, the two walked up the stone steps of the hospital together
toward the entrance, neither wanted to see the Senator in his present
state. Walking through the great lobby, they entered the elevator and
rode to the third floor. Neither spoke, both were lost in their
thoughts. As the elevator doors opened, Denahy mustered up all the
courage he had. Determined not to lose it, he glanced at Peter McKenna
for strength. McKenna’s
skin was pale. Clearly, the emotional strain was beginning to tell. But
he was being a man about it. As they began the long walk down the hall
to the Senator’s room, the men summoned up all the courage they had.
As they entered the door to the
Senator’s private room, the sight of him on life support was hard to
bear. Sounds coming from the oxygen pumps and other monitoring equipment
suggested that Senator McKenna was no longer his own man. A pale olive
green, the room added to the antiseptic depression of the occasion with
the light green walls reflecting the flashing red and green equipment
lights. The metal framed hospital bed with its drawn privacy drapes,
were a testament to medical efficiency.
Humanity had no place there.
Neither of the men wanted to startle
the Senator as they approached. Tip-toeing quietly, they reached his
bedside. The once proud, strong, vital man was now totally dependent
upon machines for his survival. His curly silver hair was matted from
sweat and hours of forced fluids. The
Senator’s skin had taken on a grayish tone. Unable to maintain his
composure, Peter McKenna kissed his father’s forehead and left the
room. To Peter, the Senator was now only a dying old man, whose power
and wealth couldn’t add one second to his life. The Senator’s son
wouldn’t accept the affront. Peter McKenna had expected more out of
life. After all, it had always blessed him.
Remaining behind, Denahy sat in a
chair next to the bed. Patting his old friend’s hand, he told the
Senator to get well quickly. He closed his eyes and said a silent prayer
for his friend, begging God to intervene. Opening his eyes, he noticed
four small picture frames on the small bedside table. One of the photos
seemed very familiar; it was of Peter as a very young boy.
Standing up, Denahy stroked his old friend’s hair. As he said
his goodbyes, a nurse entered the room and informed him that it was time
to leave. Thanking her, he squeezed his old friend’s hand one last
time and quickly left the room. As he walked into the hallway, Denahy
looked both ways down the long empty hospital corridor. Peter McKenna
was nowhere to be found. Taking one last look back at his friend, Denahy
wished him well. As Denahy walked to the elevators, he forced himself to
only remember the good times. Arriving at the elevators, he decided not
to wait. Instead, he took
the stairwell. Denahy walked down the three flights of stairs. The
Senator’s condition bothered him more than he knew. Walking out of the
hospital, Denahy said another silent prayer. Wiping the tears from his
eyes, he entered an empty cab and headed back to his hotel.
After arriving back at his hotel,
Denahy placed a few calls. Robertson and the team had nothing new to
report. The LAPD and DA’s office were controlling the Los Angeles situation. Denahy’s call to McKenna’s line had gone
to his secretary. Peter wasn’t due back for several hours.
Spending the remainder of the day reviewing case notes, day
slipped into night. Denahy welcomed the end of this day. All he wanted
was a long hard sleep.
His flight back to D.C., the next
morning was uneventful. Denahy welcomed the grind of the job with its
daily ups and downs. Thoughts of the Senator’s illness were kept at
bay. Little time was left to dwell upon anything other than Michael Aragón.
Two weeks had passed since his trip to
visit the stricken Senator in Boston. His prayers had been answered. The
Senator’s condition was improving slowly and the prognosis was good.
Peter McKenna had been changed by it all. His natural arrogance
was shaken. Seeing his own mortality in his father’s brush with death,
McKenna was less driven and more introspective. Denahy liked what the
Senator’s illness had done for Peter. In fact, he looked forward to
working with young McKenna.
Assembling his team for a briefing,
Denahy informed them that the Santa
Barbara Police Department had been unable to secure a search warrant
for the Aragón
villa. The judge in question believed there to be no probable cause. The
Attorney General of the United States disagreed and began to apply
pressure. For now, the raid was not a go. Asking the team for input,
their responses lacked imagination. He was disappointed with their lack
of initiative, with the exception of Doami. The one bright spot of the
meeting was Doami’s reading of the Psych Presentation. His reading of
the psychological profile of Michael Aragón
brought to light a very structured and orderly individual. Aragón
was depicted as a man who took few chances, and his actions were
deliberate and measured. This particular personality type planned
analysis, and documentation were high on his list. “Therefore, Doami
concluded, “there has to be a cash of documents or ledgers hidden
somewhere. The question is where?” Robertson liked what he heard. It
was Chan, who suggested the East LA house as the possible depository.
Denahy began to ask himself how he could get into that house.
It was now New Years Eve of 1990. Like
the rest of America, Denahy and Lisa were ringing in a much needed 1991.
At the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los
Angeles for a large party, Denahy had invited Gómez and his wife for an evening out. The four were having a great
time. The Gómez’s were
happy for Denahy. His life seemed more complete with Lisa by his side.
Losing weight and smoking less, Lisa had brought order to his life. And
their long evening walks were helping to curb his drinking.
The Gómez’s watched as Denahy and Lisa danced to the tunes of the
sixties. It was obvious that the two were madly in love. The night’s
fun went into the early morning hours. The four ended the night with
breakfast at the hotel. During breakfast, Denahy pulled out a large
diamond ring and proposed marriage to Lisa; she accepted. The date was
set for the thirtieth of June. It was a night and morning to remember.
The following week, Denahy headed to
D.C. to expand his team. The Bureau had decided to make it a task force.
Augmenting the team with ten veteran investigators, it was time for deep
cover operations. Peter McKenna needed a big win.
That same week, Senator McKenna
announced his retirement. His son, Peter, was making noises about
running for his father’s soon to be vacant senatorial seat. If he ran,
Peter wanted a media splash just before his announcement. The politicos
believed that a Massachusetts Democratic law and order candidate would
sweep the election. Denahy knew he would be called upon to carry the
battle for Peter McKenna’s future senate seat.
Within days, Peter McKenna called
Denahy personally, formally announcing his run for the senate. He made
it a point to say that Michael Aragón’s Eme involvement would
have to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. There could be no
mistakes; McKenna needed the good press. Out of allegiance to Peter’s
father, Denahy agreed. This meant that Denahy would have little time to
perfectly orchestrate indictments and arrests.
In the following weeks, Denahy set out
to begin deep cover operations. Enlisting the aid of both the Santa
Barbara PD and LAPD Denahy wanted to break the Eme.
Gómez agreed to go deep cover
in Santa Barbara. Moving into
the barrio a week later, he
began to work the gangs. Partying
with the local vatos and doing
the Chicano party scene, he played the part of the vato loco. Understanding the stakes, he took all the necessary
precautions. Aaron’s call-ins were on time, his meets made regularly.
The SBPD had a line on him at all times.
In Los Angeles, Denahy reinforced surveillance with six agents.
Operating around the clock, the agents tailed the corporate suspects.
Four other agents were assigned to various families on a rotating basis.
The heat was on. Bureau brass wanted the Eme
destroyed, and they didn’t care how. The work was going to be long and
hard. Every day would bring its challenges and difficulties.
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