Monday, February 19, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 1


© 2001 AVANTA INC.


Roc Hatfield is an author/producer/and recording artist who has lived in South Florida for many years. As a business executive in the 80’s he traveled and spent many months in South America and the Caribbean. His observations of the social and economic impact of cocaine and other drugs in­spired him to look deeper into the issue. His work placed him in the heart of the drug industry, traveling to Medellin, Bogota, and Cali Colombia frequently. Vacations in the Cayman Islands, and other Caribbean retreats helped focus
his knowledge of the banking and fin
ancial community that sup­ports the Narco economy. All of this up close information has provided the author with a wealth of details that make his first novel an amazing and riveting look at the inside world of the Kings of Cocaine.

The cold war may be over, but the coke war is just heating up. The mayor of Washington D.C. caught on video using crack cocaine. South American drug lords appearing at the White House during state functions with the President. Fortune 500 business leaders engaging in cocaine trafficking. These and many more headlines blaze across local and national newspapers everyday. Just a reminder of how prolific drug use and the drug economy has become in our everyday lives.
The profits from the sale of cocaine exceed those of General Motors, Texaco, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Motorola, Ford, Boeing and Exxon combined. The Narco dollars flow into a multiplex of business investments, real estate, private armies, and unthinkable lavish lifestyles.
World governments are paralyzed against Narco traffickers due in part to their own participation, and absorption of the ill gotten gains. The U.S. CIA has been accused recently of introducing crack cocaine into the black community in an attempt to finance various covert operations around the world. Today every government on the planet is engaged in battling against the flow of drugs into their countries, while simultaneously courting the Narco economy and its architects.

The Cold War Is Over . . . .

A Coke War Begins

Cuban native and international businessman Antonio Diega earns a lot of money, his connections within the Cuban and U.S. Government has given him clout. Diega's trans-shiping of cocaine has created an empire and a hierarchy that will stop at nothing to protect its billion dollar investments.

When a number of U.S. Senators who are knee deep in graft turn greedy Antonio sets them straight leaving six Miami cops dead. Diega's lust for South beach and its wanton women makes him vulnerable to the undercover tactics of two beautiful Justice Department investigators who want him behind bars. These seductive undercover investigators know of Antonio's dark obsessions and are not above using them against him. Antonio turns the tables on everyone and leaves a trail of death and destruction across South Florida that has never been seen until now. The violent effects set off shock waves at the highest levels of government in the U.S. and Cuba. A Cuban-American War becomes a realistic possibility . . . danger waits along The Edge of Paradise.

Death Comes

The water off the coast of Southern Florida is warm and calm this time of year. May is one of the best months, not too hot just warm and comfy. A light rain is moving in from the Bermuda Triangle and the sea has a slight chop. Captain Guillermo Miguel Uribe is tapping the top of a color radar screen in the bridge of his 600 foot freighter. Capt. Uribe has tread these waters a million times carrying containers from the islands to the port of Miami. 'This damn thing,' he says in Spanish as he hits the box harder, "this thing works only in good weather, a little rain and it stops." The first mate jiggles the wires leading into the back of the box - how's that - como Va. The good captain's vessel is in need of many repairs, he bought her with a loan from a childhood friend he grew up with in Santo Domingo. He convinced the friend they could become rich with the freighter by hauling freight from the Caribbean to the U.S., but after six years of hard work and struggle Captain Uribe was losing the ship to rust and creditors.

Today all that was going to change, an extremely profitable load was on the deck of his freighter. A voice cracks over a small portable radio, "Captain, are we in position?" Captain Uribe keys his mic while banging on the box once more. The radar screen becomes clear. "Yes, we are exactly at the location you desired. We have some weather moving in from the South, looks like light rain, some wind." The radio crackles and the voice is calm, "OK. Let's hope it moves around us, it's a go. Repeat it's a go." The Captain acknowledges the radio transmission in Spanish," Si Claro."
On the deck of the ship crews are moving methodically, opening 20' containers and pulling equipment from the freighters hold. Large pieces covered in black neoprene plastic are set on the deck, three in all. The crew is guiding the crane operator and the mysterious equipment is being precisely placed into position. As the crew rushes to remove the plastic covering, three shiny new helicopters are emerging like butterflies from a wintry cocoon. Three brand new McDonnell Douglas Explorers, twin jet engine "NOTARS" no-tail-rotors. One point five mil a copy. Fast, quiet, and agile. Crew members are prepping the aircraft and checking every feature. Cockpit instrumentation is being examined and a cadre of electrical switches are put into their proper positions.
The crew stops for a moment and all eyes are pinned to a door across the deck. As the door opens 12 men emerge dressed in black, S.W.A.T. like military uniforms. Each has a ski mask with dark aviator style sunglasses, not a single patch of skin is exposed. The crew returns to work preparing the helicopters.
Captain Uribe is standing on the bow of the ship and conversing with one of the masked soldiers.
"Capt. Uribe, you have been very professional and your hospitality has been exceptional." The soldier passes a nylon travel bag to Captain Uribe. The Captain immediately opens the bag and pulls a stack of bills from its interior.
"It has been a pleasure, con mucho gusto, Senor," the Captain replies. The soldiers move rapidly toward the helicopters, the blades have begun to rotate, and the smell of AV fuel has filled the air. Within seconds the noise level and heat from the jet exhaust is intolerable. Many of the freighter's crew have backed away. The pilots pull the birds one by one into the air and line up in single file as they circle around the ship, making a farewell salute. As they fly over the stern they see a crewmember removing plastic lettering that has changed the vessels name from "Artic Glass" to "Smart Girl", the ships real name.
Aboard the helicopters the masked soldiers are stowing equipment and organizing clipboards with charts and diagrams. The helicopters are moving at 130 knots, 43 feet above the surface of the ocean. 130 knots isn't fast in terms of airspeed but at 43 feet it can get your attention as the spray from the light chop mists over the windshields of the helos. Miami is only 40 miles ahead of them.
Aboard the lead helicopter the pilot is speaking in Spanish to the soldiers. The soldiers are wearing hi-tech earphones and small microphones that look like telephone operators' equipment. The pilot shouts," E.T.A. in 13 minutes, target zone in 13 minutes. Prepare your weapons, stand-by for deployment."
* * * * *
It's the morning shift at Metro Dade's downtown station and the midnight to seven shift is headed for home. Some of the guys stop off for breakfast at a Denny's across the street from the station, but most of the younger officers want to get home to their wives or girlfriends.

In the parking garage under the station the morning shift is milling around half heartily putting their police cruisers in order and preparing psychologically for an eight hour stint behind the wheel of an urban peace-making machine. The community's first line of defense, the thin blue line. And in Miami, one of the countries toughest cities and defacto capital of South America, that thin blue line is almost transparent. Officer James "Jimmy" O'Neil and Officer Gabriel "Gabby" Castra climb into their cruiser, fire up the high performance engine, and pull out of the garage and up onto an on ramp that merges them onto the world's largest parking lot: Interstate I-95 running North and South along the very edge of Southern Florida.

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