flew into Chicagos OHare Airport together. Me and Isabel
and Maria. The flight originated in Frankfurt, Germany where I couldnt
sleep because of a bad feeling I had about this current operation.
not a superstitious person, but I had a feeling this trip would not
end well for me.
to tell you that I was not sure how things would turn out that last
night in Frankfurt when I stood in my hotel room with the two women.
off your tops, I told them in a sharp hard manner, letting them
know that there was nothing sexual in my request. They were good looking
women with decent figures but I had made myself a stone man when it
came to sexual involvement with the women I had to work with.
in my small hotel room in Frankfurt with isabel and Maria half naked
before me I didnt even get a tingle. And they were impressive,
with Isabel having the biggest set with deep cleavage. Maria was smaller,
younger and firmer, but she still did nothing for me. I kept telling
myself this was business. I refused to be distracted but still there
was a nagging pull in the back of my mind, telling me to get away from
these women as fast as I could. Of course, I ignored this; of course,
I went on with my business.
are to be worn under your clothes, I told them as I took the vests
off the bed.
wore the vests as I tapped the pockets where the drugs were stored.
Wear something loose so you dont bring attention to yourselves.
Do you understand me?
both nodded yes, my voice like a whip.
want them to think I was mean, but I didnt want them to take this
jaunt as some kind of joke. There is nothing funny about drug smuggling,
or the consequences. If caught, we were all facing serious jail time.
I, for one, was not interested in spending any time in jail. That meant
everybody had to do their job. We had to get through Immigration and
Customs with no problems.
something went wrong . . .
I was standing outside Customs looking for the women. Where are
they? I asked myself, patting my chest and pants pockets looking
for cigarettes that I knew I would not find there. I had given up smoking
three years ago, after visiting Gary Burton in the Veterans Hospital
where he was dying of lung cancer. I sat with Bonita, Garys beautiful
brown wife who was crying incessantly, her broad face looking like it
had sprung a leak, the tears never stopping. I was too stunned to cry.
getting a good feeling there in Garys room, but we had been in
the war together and I felt I owed him a visit. I was just sorry I hadnt
gotten there sooner. Gary didnt know who I was. I didnt
feel bad about that because at the stage he was at, he didnt even
know Bonita was there.
sucks and then you die.
looked skinny and pale and drawn like all the life was being sucked
out of him from the inside.
Bonita home after the visit. She asked me to come inside. I went in
and comforted the best I could. She couldnt stop crying. I couldnt
wait to get away from her.
later she called and told me that Gary had died. I was glad he had passed,
for his sake. I didnt want to go out like that, so I stopped smoking
as I stood outside Customs I wished that I had something to puff on,
knowing that it was a death wish but I was feeling that this waiting
for the two women was death too.
last time I had seen them they were waiting on line to pass through
the Immigration checkpoint. Now my face was tight with anxiety.
another ten minutes the anxiety became a painful uneasiness. In six
prior trips from Frankfurt, with different couriers, this was the first
instance of delay. We had to get through Customs then onto the next
stage of our journey.
at my watch. We had to catch a 1:30 p.m. flight to Newark International
away from the Customs area and left the International Arrivals building
by tramway and charged over to the domestic portion of the huge airport.
After a short walk I found myself standing in front of the United Airlines
counter. I checked in, then boarded the flight, locating my seat halfway
down the aisle. My fingers were crossed as I took my seat. Had I escaped
the jaws of defeat again? It was too soon to tell now. The danger was
right upon me. Anything could have happened.
not to think about the women. All I could think of were the women. Hopefully
they were caught in congestion at the Customs counter, I told myself.
They would be on the next flight. We had discussed this possibility;
they knew what to do. These women were not dumb. Itd all work
out. Wed laugh and drink at Newark Airport. it would be a grand
reunion. I might even drop my stone mask enough to be friendly. I might
even hug the women. I know Maria would like this. She was the kind of
person that likes to hug and cry, just like Bonita at Garys funeral.
didnt think Id come, but she called me, and me and Gary
had been in the war together. That had to mean something.
minutes before take off I saw them.
I saw the three Customs agents walking up the aisle of the plane. I
turned back to the window and saw that Isabel and Maria were standing
there. I noticed the men in suits standing behind them.
did they know which airline I would fly? Which flight I would be on?
Then it hit me as I recalled the words of an ex-high-ranking KGB major:
The Achilles heel of even the most sophisticated security system
is the human factor. More often than not, incompetence or carelessness
is at the source of a security breach.
had been incompetent? Who had been careless? Did it really matter at
I cursed my partners in crime, especially Mohammad. Mo, you are
the incompetent, careless human factor. You are the Achilles heel. Not
only for recruiting two inexperienced couriers, but cavalierly bringing
them to our office and providing them with the trip itinerary. In this
instance, you exhibited egotistical, doltish thought processes.
I sat there waiting for the Customs agents to get to me, my mind got
stuck on MO, Mohammad Yousaf, My partner in crime as I transported heroin
from Pakistan to the United Stateshe made the travel arrangements.
the last good time we had together two and a half weeks earlier. It
was a Friday evening, February 3rd, at my wedding to Jennifer. The ceremony
hadnt started even though we were already thirty minutes late.