The body of a Russian prostitute is dumped in a Washington Heights park and Detectives Kelli Storm and Eric Ryder are called to the scene. A note found on the woman’s body containing her name and that of a former Russian mobster leads Kelli to an old nemesis.
When they confront a Russian Diplomat and the Russian Brotherhood with little success, they seek the help of an FBI contact who aids them in finding a connection between the Diplomat and a corrupt FSB Agent, and uncover a criminal conspiracy between a dangerous Mexican cartel and a notorious New York crime family.
As Kelli peels away the layers of death and corruption, she soon finds herself targeted by these organizations, all wanting to eliminate the threat to themselves and their livelihoods.
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Friday September 27th – 9:45 A.M. – Elizabeth, New Jersey
Corbin Street – Maher Terminals Inc.
Kelli flipped through several pages of the manifest, shook her head and looked back at the clerk. “Exactly how many containers were on this ship?”
The little man adjusted his glasses, tapped the keyboard in front of him, studied the screen and looked up at Kelli. “Exactly three thousand four hundred, all containing machine parts. Do you want to know where they are?”
“No, I don’t. What I want to know is, were these containers inspected, and if so, who inspected them?”
“Are you kidding me? Do you know how many containers come through this port every day? Even the Department of Homeland Security admitted that it was impossible to check all of the containers coming in to U.S. ports. Sure, if we feel there’s a reason to inspect a container, it gets inspected, but otherwise, it just goes on to its destination.”
Kelli looked at Greg, shook her head and turned back to the clerk. “So can you tell me if any of these containers are still here?”
He shrugged, looked back at his screen, tapped a few keys and nodded. “It looks like there are three containers from that ship that haven’t been picked up by the carrier yet.”
“And where are these containers?”
“Section B, spaces twelve, thirteen, and fourteen,” he said and looked back up at her.
“Okay, get somebody to take us to them; I’d like to see these machine parts.”
“Sure, you got a warrant, right? Those containers are private property; you can’t just open them up. Besides, your NYPD, this is New Jersey, you don’t have any jurisdiction here.”
Kelli leaned over the desk, her face inches away from the clerk’s face. “True, I may not have jurisdiction, but my friends here do, isn’t that right, Special Agent Gallo?”
“That’s correct, Detective Storm,” he said as he stepped up next to the desk and tossed the warrant down.
“Now, I want you to get on the phone and get someone over here to take us to those containers.”
The clerk nodded as he fumbled for his desk phone. “Yeah, sure. I’ll get someone from security over here. What’s so important about these containers anyway?”
“Maybe nothing, but it’s possible that one or all of them were used to smuggle young women into the country, as in human trafficking, sex slaves,” she said, her eyes focused on his. “Now, make that call.”
“Shit, really? I mean you hear about it, but you never think about it,” he said and hit a button on the phone and waited.
The first two containers held exactly what was stated on the manifest, crates of machine parts, bound for Chicago. When they cracked the doors on the third container however, it was all they could do to keep from vomiting. The overpowering stench emanating from the open door was just the beginning. Greg was the first one to regain his composure, and with a hand over his nose and mouth, he entered the container.
“Sick sons of bitches,” he said as he exited moments later. “We’ve got three inside, dead. I didn’t get close enough to check, but my guess is that they died from dehydration. And from the level of decomp, it looks like they’ve been here for a while too.”
Kelli looked up at him, forcing down the bile in her throat. “Those Russian sons of bitches. They kidnap these girls, throw them in this thing and then don’t even give a damn if they live or not,” she said, balling her fist, her face growing hotter. “I want these bastards, Greg; they have to pay for this shit.”
“Calm down, Kelli. They will pay, but let’s get these girls out of there first, okay?” He put his arm around her and eased her away from the container. “Gallo, Graham. One of you want to get forensics down here, and a coroner,” he called over his shoulder.
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Kenneth Hoss was born at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas in 1957 to Albert and Mary Hoss. He served a combined total of fourteen years on active duty from 1974 to 1987 in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. His tour in the Army took him to Frankfurt, Germany where he had the opportunity to travel Europe. While in the Navy, Kenneth spent most of his time stationed in San Diego and Long Beach. His Navy travels took him to Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Okinawa, the Middle East and Pakistan. He has lived in several States, including South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Washington and California.
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