Saturday, July 09, 2005

Rene Burrola's father opened a hardware store in Agua Prieta in the 50's. The store was still open and Rene built a motel in the early 80's. Burrola had the money at the right time to go in with his cousin who owned two ranches. One of the ranches had a straight, flat road that was widened into a landing strip. They weren't the only people to move marijuana across the border but they happened to be among the clever traffickers who became two important things, successful and survivors. Rene and Salvador Burrola knew how big they could become without stepping on toes. They never got greedy. They nodded at others who went for the "big prize" and then attended their funerals. When larger operations moved into the area from Chihuahua they negociated and became support players for what was a smaller take then they were used to. They realized that the benefits of less actual hands on work were worth it.

The "old days" to Rene and Salvador were days when they learned to remove a gas tank, cut it open and fashion ways to compact the marijuana into every corner. Rene's hardware store was the perfect reason to buy trash compactors at Sears a half-dozen at a time. Large purchases of duct tape and vices of every size were common as well. They remembered how nervous they were when they hired their first mule, a college aged female, to take a load through the port and how they followed her through to Douglas. They laughed when they thought of how college girls seemed to come out of everywhere when the first one would tell friends of the easy money for flashing cleavage at the inspector. Their favorite was the girl who wore a mini skirt and lacy panties and who was always asked to open the trunk on primary for a voyeuristic inspector. She passed so much dope under the back seat of that Lincoln that the brothers presented her with the keys to a brand new one at her wedding/retirement. She married one of the customs inspectors who wouldn't allow her to wear mini skirts anymore. The inspector never questioned the car because he believed Rene was her godfather. Customs Internal Affairs questioned it but like always, they had nothing.

Rene and Salvador were millionaires many times over who didn't need the money but liked to keep a hand in. Rene's son Alvaro was active in trafficking and was flashier then his dad and uncle. He did have one thing that his uncles never had. He had an inspector working for him.

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