“Are we gonna let his father know?” asked Stillman.
Chan shook his head. “No. Let’s give him a chance to recuperate.”
“What information do you think the son was holding?”
“I don’t know, Bobby, but I’m thinking about something. Whoever these people are, they wanted information from both Mr. Jones and his son. Once they get the information, they kill the son is killed. Not so with the dad. That’s interesting.”
Stillman, eyes on the road, said nothing.
Chan continued. “As I said, I think someone knew that warehouse was unoccupied. From whom did they learn this?”
“Well, it is Jones’s warehouse, so maybe he tells them.”
Chan’s heart sank. This was something he’d been thinking. He pictured his father and Mr. Jones out on the Honolulu Country Club golf course, Chan caddying for his dad. Such good friends for so many years. Could Jones be involved in whatever was going on?
“Or,” continued Stillman, “they could’ve found out from the son.”
This option sunk Chan’s heart further. He’d helped the boy, he thought, turn it around. Chan and his son had worked hard to get Calvin Jones steered away from criminal activity. They’d made sure that Cal had left all of that behind. Or had they?
“Or maybe the people who vacated the warehouse told them?”
Chan grasped for this option, pondered it. “That would be something worth finding out,” he said. “It does seem possible that the former lessee, whether intentionally or accidently, could have given that info to these people.”
Back at headquarters, Chan called Jones’s office. Speaking to a secretary, he learned that Aquino Import and Export had been the last lessee.
“Filipino,” said Stillman. “Maybe some kind of Spanish connection?”
True, Chan thought, there could be a connection between the three Mexican men and a Filipino import export company. But wasn’t it more likely that they would be working together, rather than killing each other? Still it was an option to look into.
“Bobby, I want you to find out where this Aquino company is located right now. Let’s go check them out, see if there’s a link we need to explore.”
While Sergeant Stillman followed up on Aquino, Chan called forensics. He reached Leon Chaney, one of the lead investigators.
“Leon, hey, it’s David Chan. Are you folks finished with those three hotel rooms for our Mexican victims?”
“Yeah, David, we just wrapped up. The only room of interest, I think, is the one with the pile of clothes on the floor. We found trace amounts of heroin both on the bed and on the floor.”
This was substantial. All major drug trafficking in Hawai‘i had been controlled by one Korean crime syndicate, the Yu clan, since time immemorial. First it had been opium, then the addition of heroin. The thing was, however, that the niece of old man Kang Yu now ran the syndicate, and her whole push had been to legitimize the family business. She had gone heavily into the real estate purchase and development business, and her company was snapping up land and buildings.
Could it be, Chan wondered, that in this move to get out of criminal activities, Gi Yu had left a vacuum in Hawai‘i for others to come in and take over the drug market. It seemed possible, but highly implausible.
Old man Kang Yu sat in his fortress back in Korea. From there, even in his late 70s, he ran the show in Hawai‘i. His granddaughter might be the face of legitimate enterprise here, but Chan still felt that the old man ultimately called the shots. And that meant that he still ran the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses. They had always been his bread and butter.
“Boss,” said Stillman, “I’ve found them. They moved to another warehouse out by the airport on Lagoon Drive.”
The warehouse was larger than the one where the three Mexican men had been found. The two talked to the second in command, a Jaime Bautista. He and Angelo Aquino had founded their import export business ten years ago. They imported wood carved items, bowls, plates, platters, utensils of different sizes. More on the artistic side, they brought in all manner of carved wall décor and sculptures, much of it religious in theme. There were numerous representations of Christ standing on shelves and hanging on the walls, most of them variations on the crucifixion. On another wall were carved arks and creche scenes.
All of the artwork was exquisite. Chan complimented Bautista on the quality.
“We’ve many gifted artists in the Philippines, and we’re happy and proud to give them an avenue to market their work outside the country. We have had great success both here and on the mainland.”
“So,” said Chan, “the export part of your business is sending these items to the U.S. continent?”
“Yes, that is correct, Lieutenant.”
“So do you not export anything back to the Philippines?”
“Not really, no, sir.”
“Why did you vacate the other warehouse?”
“We expanded beyond capacity. We simply needed more space.”
Chan nodded. “From whom do you lease here?”
“Oh, it’s Mr. Jones too. He owns this place. He knew we were looking for a bigger space, and when this one came up, he let us know.”
Chan and Stillman drove back to headquarters.
“You don’t import heroin from the Philippines,” said Chan, “but you certainly could import it from Mexico.”
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterSunday, I hope you weekend is going well. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing, any style, any length, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply leave it as a message below. I would love to read it : )