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Fear No Evil by James Patterson

Fear No Evil by James Patterson

Author:James Patterson
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: 2021-11-22T00:00:00+00:00


Chapter

51

We waited until Ned Mahoney arrived to talk with Rosella Hernandez while her demand for federal witness protection worked its way up the chain of command at the Department of Justice.

Mahoney also had orders from the U.S. Attorney General’s office for DEA Special Agent in Charge Jill Hanson; she was directed to stand down, cooperate with the FBI, and immediately hand over all pertinent evidence. Including the confession.

Hanson was furious but did as she was told. Within minutes we had the evidence bag containing the bloodstained, unopened confession. We read it inside Rosella’s house as she worked with two officers from the U.S. Marshals to pack in anticipation of a move.

Written in a shaky scrawl, the late Eddie Hernandez’s confession corroborated and gave details on what his wife had told us. The agent had been compromised his second year with DEA, taking a twenty-five-thousand-dollar bribe to look away when the Alejandros ran ten pounds of illegal fentanyl across the border. It was a test and Eddie passed.

By the time his wife-to-be joined the agency and came under his influence, Eddie was socking away nearly two hundred grand in cartel cash every year. But the Alejandros had bigger plans for him. They wanted Eddie to rise up the chain of command so they would have access to the best intelligence regarding threats to their empire. The cartel helped him along the way, sacrificing low-level soldiers and lieutenants in return for Eddie’s increasing stature and influence inside the DEA.

With his transfer to Washington, the agent had expected to earn a million dollars a year for his services to the Alejandros. In the confession, Eddie listed his bank accounts, the location of his security boxes, and the information required to access his cryptocurrency stashes. He also named ten other agents on the take in New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Texas. Special Agent Hanson, his superior in Washington, was not among them and was clearly shaken when Mahoney invited her inside to read the confession.

“I vetted Eddie myself,” Hanson said. “I told you, I thought he was a damned superhero.”

“Someone else knew he wasn’t,” I said. “Any ideas who that might be?” Before she could reply, Mahoney’s cell rang. He turned away and answered.

I said, “Mrs. Hernandez says there’s a vigilante named Maestro killing corrupt agents in the Southwest.”

Hanson nodded. “At least five we know of.”

Mahoney lowered his phone. “We’ve got a break. Whoever hacked the security system at the Congressional Country Club didn’t know about a battery-operated night-vision still-photo camera independent of the system and mounted overlooking the terrace. It caught one of the killers. They’re sending over the picture now.”

His phone dinged. He opened the attachment. The still showed a tall, rangy man in a white coverall crossing the terrace and headed toward the green where Hernandez’s body had been found. The man’s entire face was clearly visible.

“Facial-recognition software?” I asked.

“Quantico’s already running it,” Mahoney said. His phone dinged again. He looked at the screen in shock. “They’ve got him.”

“Already?” Sampson said.

“Immediate hit, hundred percent accuracy,” Mahoney said, scrolling down the new attachment.



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