Travis placed a call while he drove. The phone rang twice before being answered. "This is Martinez."
Luis Martinez was a former detective from the Denver PD, who now worked as an operative with RMJ. Travis met the other man during the Pleasant Pines killer case, and they'd formed a tight bond during the hellish investigation.
"This is Deputy Cooper," said Travis. "We have a problem. Are you familiar with Los Diablos, the biker club?"
"I dealt with some of them in Denver. Drug dealing. Prostitution. A little extortion on the side," said Martinez. "Why?"
"They've rented an abandoned summer camp about ten miles from town and I've been doing some investigating. I'm pretty sure they're cooking meth up there. I saw hundreds of empty antihistamine boxes being burned in an old oil barrel."
"One of the key ingredients for making bathtub meth."
"Exactly," said Travis. He flicked his gaze to the rearview mirror. Cassidy's old sedan was less than a quarter of a mile behind. Returning his attention to the road, Travis continued. "They also have several RVs on the property and at least one woman at the compound."
Martinez looked at him sharply. "You think that they're using the RV for prostitution?"
Travis shrugged. "Well, it didn't look like Brittney was exactly free to come and go by choice." True, it was only a theory, yet he didn't want to share his suspicions with Cassidy. She was the girl's mother after all—and if he was right, then the horrible situation was about to get worse.
Especially since Travis knew from experience—his best efforts to save Brittney might not be enough.
"I'd say you do have a problem. What do you want?"
"To get rid of Los Diablos once and for all."
"You should call the feds or the state police. Report what you saw," said Martinez. "They'll open an investigation."
"It's more complicated than just drugs and human trafficking."
"Those are some pretty serious complications," said Martinez.
"Look, the young woman is the daughter of an old friend. Cassidy—the mom—came to me for help." He paused. Martinez was right: Travis really should contact the feds or the state police—organizations with resources and manpower that the Pleasant Pine's sheriff's office lacked. Besides, by calling other law-enforcement agencies, Travis wouldn't jeopardize his chance at becoming the next sheriff.
So why was he on the phone with Martinez? "I don't want to waste any time. I want the girl back before anything happens to her, and I want Los Diablos gone."
"What do you need from me?"
Travis had returned to Pleasant Pines. The County Office Building stood across the street from the town park. Late-afternoon sun shone through the slats of the wooden gazebo. Pulling into a parking place, Travis said, "Manpower. Guns. Tech."
"Whatever you need, I can get."
Travis paused. Was he really willing to break every oath he'd ever taken? In the moment, Cassidy's face came to mind. "Come to my office now," he said. "We'll create a battle plan, because tonight we go to war."
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