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A gust of dirt skid across the body of the flashy full-size pickup truck as it halted at the entrance of the massive ranch. A holster by the steering wheel was one of many modifications that included 4.0 " bullet resistant glass on the vehicle. Several armed men, impressively dressed in classic Mexican [i]vaquero[/i] fashion guarded the cast-iron gates, barely acknowledging the arrival of the large truck. It was custom for them to open the gates only when given specific order to do so by the [i]jefe[/i], or boss. If guests where expected, they should be certain to arrive on time or simply be turned around. If guests where not expected, they should arrange to meet at a later time or simply, disappear. Quickly.

The order was received & the gates where opened for the truck to continue on. Sergio Calaberas maneuvered his truck cautiously through the beautiful landscape, eventually coming to to luxurious face of the extravagant property compound. Again, guards where present, but from these men he was more cordially received by a facade of [i]vaquero[/i] hospitality.

[i]"Bienvenidos, compadre. Come in, we will see to it that your truck is cleaned & parked safely."[/i]

Sergio never lifted a finger from the wheel, [i]"Muchas gracias, but if you do not mind I'd like to park it myself."[/i] There was no way in hell that he was about to let these men in his truck. He was guided as to where to park & upon exiting the vehicle was patted down & stripped of any firearms he was carrying before being escorted into the compound.

It was formally the land of a rich [i]hacendado[/i], owner of the property with cattle, horses, as well as a major marijuana plantation. It was this plantation that caught the eye of the Llanos Cartel who immediately enticed the former owner to grow for them, meaning a cut from his profits. He held on tight to his money too tight for the organizations liking. He was taken out of the equation, but not before his deeds where transferred to the possession of the Llanos Cartel. The complex in use by the Cartel's head.

Into the decorated columns of the massive [i]hacienda[/i] went Sergio & several men of the Llanos Cartel. Entering, yet even more armed [i]vaqueros[/i]; it was beginning to look as though a small army of these types was stationed at the location. Before long he arrived at a large balcony on the third & top floor of the complex. There stood the embodiment of criminal power that now loomed in the region, an old friend, Cenovio [i]"Voz de Mando"[/i] Gálvez, or [i]"the voice in command[/i]" known simply as [i]"El Voz"[/i] or Gálvez.

He wasted no time in greeting Sergio, offering him his choice of strictly Mexican alcoholic beverages, [i]"Welcome to my home. Sit, drink. Its been too long, my friend. Far to long."[/i] Sergio grasped his hand firmly, taking a drink of his icy [i]cervesa[/i] as he took his seat. [i]"I am really very glad to drink with you again, Carnal. Especially after all these years."[/i] Sergio took another drink & looking around at the armed men nearby he continued, [i]"So what is it? I know you don't need anymore friends. What business do you have to offer?"[/i]

Gálvez took his seat alongside Sergio, [i]"Sergio, this time you've gotten it wrong. I do need friends; ones like you. I know you would like very much to drop off the map, but that just isn't you, my friend. I do not boast when I tell you- you are lucky I found you first."[/i] Gálvez finished his beer & grabbed another from an icy bucket on the small table before them, [i]"You're still in command of Los Matones, this I know for a fact & had you not been, you would not be sitting here drinking with this old friend right now I will tell you that much. There is your first hint. Now, perhaps you understand a bit more as to why I called you here?"[/i]

Sergio stroked his mustache, "Is that right? And what makes you so sure of my position?"

Gálvez grinned as he chuckled lightly, [i]"Three black SUVs where reported just beyond those hills over there. Lean this way a bit, over there you see? I happen to know we are being watched. I a watching them too. They arrived about 3 hours before you did. I've discovered them to be men from Los Matones, & they are trespassing. I will kill them if they are not your men, if they are I will let them be of course."[/i] He took another drink. Sergio thought hard for a moment then replied, [i]"I know...We know that you are the jefe of the Llanos Cartel, that much is obvious, I could have figured that conclusion by walking up to your ranch gates."[/i]

Gálvez chuckled, [i]"You would have been shot if you walked up to my ranch gates." [/i]Sergio chuckled as well, [i]"It is a paramilitary wing you are after then? Sicarios, ex special forces hit men to take your Cartel to the top & that's why you want my help, que no?"[/i] Gálvez raised an eyebrow as he grinned, [i]"So they're yours?"[/i] Sergio finished his beer, [i]"I'll have them leave as soon as our meeting is done."[/i]

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The local police commander heard the sound of mariachi from his pants. He answered his cell phone. "Hello?... Going well, eh?... Good, good... It's nice to have things running smoothly for a change... OK, I don't have anything new, so just keep checking in with me... OK, bye."

He closed the first phone and pulled out another and sent a text message to his cousin in Zacatecas. "Wish you were here. Beautiful weather in the mountains." That message would eventually make its way up the food chain so the government would know what's going on... the government and whoever else was working with them... [i]Mother of God, but I hope whoever's connected at the top won't have me killed for keeping tabs on meetings... how else am I going to afford getting my family smuggled to the FRA?[/i]

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CONTRANAR Headquarters... Mexico City... 5:11 PM...

"Here's the report on the Llanos Cartel. We've got full transcripts of several key meetings. Our mole is doing a great job."

"Excellent. Thank you."

The messenger left the executive's office. Once he left, the executive dialed up his contact in the Lobos Cartel. "I got some great stuff here, let me tell you the best of it..."

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Adriana rolled the last ball of dough when the phone rang. Rinsing her hands, she playfully wiped them over her mother's apron. Her mother playfully threatened to wipe dough on her in revenge [i]"¡Calmate traviesa! Vas a ver! Calm, go get the phone please mija."[/i] Adriana shook more water off her hands as she picked up the phone, [i]"I'm going mama...¿Bueno?"[/i] Her father was on the other line, [i]"Hola, mijita! How are you & mama? Good?"[/i]
Adriana's eyes immediately lit up, [i]"Papa! I missed you so much, we hadn't heard from you all week. When will you be home?"[/i] Gálvez sighed, [i]"Mija, I know, I know. I'm sorry. I've been working on some very important business mija. Remember, how else.."[/i] Adriana cut him off, [i]"Yes, yes. How else can we live so nicely, and be protected, and have everything we need. I know, papa, but why can't I just have you?"[/i] Her words cut deep into the ruthless drug lord, [i]"I'll be home very soon. Let me talk to your mother?"[/i] Adriana wiped a tear from her cheek, [i]"Sure..Mama! Its daddy. Come, let me finish the tortillas."[/i]

Cenovio made a rare visit to the beautiful family home on the shining coast of protectorate-Sonora he had purchased for his wife Maria & daughter Adriana. They where civilians; innocents on the stage of drug trade, but the old rules of trafficking had been scratched out. Women & children? A new option in the target beam of rival traffickers & Cenovio would use all his power above else, to protect his family.

Cenovio's visit served two purposes. He needed to quell the worries of his family, his wife had been growing impatient & his most precious possession, his daughter, she had been growing distant. The second purpose involved laying low for a while. As of yet, no one really knew Gálvez even had a family- well they suspected, but his enemies had yet to find out where & even if they had, Cenovio made sure their position was secured. The family had grown accustomed to friendly [i]vaqueros [/i]who often greeted them on inconspicuous patrols up & down their street, or in the form of Cartel landscapers who regularly visited the family home armed with flower pots, rakes, & various caliber handguns.

Cenovio also had two sons, not of the same spouse & none of whom had ever met the rest of the family, but they where grown & operating separate parts of the Llanos Cartel. One such operation was just beginning, in the city of Hermosillo..

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