From the cobblestone streets and red roofed houses to its pristine beaches, Puerto
Vallarta is a place you take your beaten body to heal. This is the primary reason I bought
land and built a home there. The vista surrounding my home is breathtaking and I can easily
blend into its surroundings and become non-existent.
New York is a powder keg of activity since the Newman murder trial. The police and
FBI have joined forces to form a task force to bring me down. The pressure has become
intolerable. My bookstores and film labs have become cash liabilities instead of cash cows.
My escape from the cocaine dealers in California and their subsequent execution in
New Jersey have weakened my position in the Times Square area. My sources of income have
been stymied, I need to turn some of my Mexican holdings into cash.
* * * *
In Mexico it takes me two weeks to accumulate $160,000. An advance on the
remainder of cocaine I have stashed in California. I head to Acapulco to make arrangements,
for my return to New York. No one knows of my home in Mexico, because I fly in and out of
there from various locations. My money is in a belt around my waist as I plan to fly to
Acapulco where I’m meeting a friend, Johnny Brown. He also will wear a money belt with
half the money through customs. No use taking chances. My sister always reminded me that
half a loaf is better than none.
It’s an uneventful flight home. Most of my thoughts are about what my next moves will be.
Johnny is sitting three rows in front of me, where I can keep my eye on him and
appear not connected. On deplaning we pick up our luggage and head to the custom’s
gate. Johnny breezes through customs and sits on the other side of the partition separating
himself from the customs area. I walk to customs and hand my declarations form and passport
to the agent.
“How much money do you have with you?” he asks.
“A few thousand, give or take.” I answer, and prepare to move on, when the agent says,
“Please open your luggage.”
Hefting my suitcase on top the table, I open the latch and open it to afford a full view.
“Is everything you’re declaring on this declaration form?”
“Yah, you have it all.”
Another custom agent walks over and starts going through my luggage, while the first
agent tells me, “Remove your shoes.”
No question about it, I have a problem. “What’s going on?” I ask him. My nerves start
their usual dance when things are not right.
The second custom agent is using a pen knife to rip open the inside of my luggage. The
first agent is prying the heels off my shoes. A third agent requests that I empty my pockets. I
look beyond the glass petition to see my friend going through...