Dead Men and Smugglers

Dead men do tell some tales….

Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

 Welcome back.   This week I’m bringing you a tale of murder. Out in the country thirty years of weather can change the earth’s surface dramatically. Grass, weeds, livestock, wildlife and even man play a role in shaping the condition of the ground.  The fate of the two men whose unmarked graves lie peacefully somewhere in this ever changing landscape was unknown until now. This is part of their story.

Born into poverty in Mexico, the two were first recruited as “mules” to carry marijuana across the Mexican border with the United States near Tucson, AZ.  The job did have its risks but always being paid in cash by American drug buyers was quite lucrative. There were usually six or seven other Mexican men in good physical condition working with them.  Each man would carry thirty to forty pounds of compressed marijuana in brick form that was stuffed into gunny sacks. With only a canteen of water, these men had ten hours to cover about eighteen miles in the dark of night, drop off their load to an American in a waiting car and get back over the border by sun up. This was a trip the two young men who were just in their twenties made several times a week. Many times the Mexican men would be accompanied by a couple of the American pot buyers who would also carry a load if need be. The job was harder than most Americans were prepared for and mules often made extra money by sharing their loads and making sure they got delivered.

Over several years different agreements were made and many mules were entrusted with more responsibility, expanding from running pot across the border on foot to delivering it in cars with built in secret compartments. Good drivers were given routes to New York City where pot sold for big money. Other routes included college towns in Oklahoma where quality product was in high demand, making the shorter routes sometimes even more profitable. The less time spent on the highway the better because two young Mexican men speaking little English and carrying a load of contraband were just trouble waiting to happen.

On their last trip alive everything had started out as usual. They had met with their Mexican employer about fifty miles outside of Nogales at a commonly used smugglers’ crossing. There were three or four other cars there, all with secret shipments headed for the states but they didn’t know where the other cars were going and they didn’t ask. They were told which car to take and given a map, an address and expense money. Then they were pointed down the dried up creek bed which crossed a road about a quarter of a mile away. From there a right turn would take them across open ground. This was a border patrol road and the men didn’t want to spend much time on it. At night lights along the road could be seen from miles away but they had no choice- headlights were a necessity in order to stay on this goat path of a road which had deep ravines on either side, This trip was almost routine for the pair who by now had made it many times before. Something else was becoming routine as well. On their first night on the road they would steal a little of each shipment for themselves. They figured that a pound or two out of a couple of hundred wouldn’t be missed and at first it wasn’t. The two would hide their stash somewhere along their three day drive, often under things behind hotel rooms, knowing that they would be back to pick it up in a few days. There was a real demand on the Mexican side of Nogales where tourists wanted to buy small 1 oz. bags of pot. This trade was even more profitable for the two young men than their cross country drives and they thought it was a lot safer.

As frequently happens they got greedy as their earnings grew and after several successful trips to Oklahoma, their pilfering increased from one or two pounds to five or ten pounds.

This last trip became a one way delivery when they found out the hard way they had crossed a pair of men who lived by a prison code. One of the rules was that they didn’t tolerate stealing among themselves and when thieves were caught the consequences were harsh. A witness to the killings called them brutal. The pair was already dead when the girlfriend of one of the killers came home unexpectedly. She found her boyfriend in the midst of cutting the men up on a large piece of plastic and putting them into fifty-five gallon metal drums. Their lives were over and all that’s left is this story.

Next week: the boss. He was born to a wealthy family in New York City. A college educated man, at 6’4” with an athletic build, he had the goods and charm to be successful and he was. He owned several profitable businesses including a film company, a trucking firm as well as restaurants and night clubs. He also bought and sold dozens of homes, paying cash at the drop of a hat. There was also one other line of business that few knew about until recently. He sold pot. He was not part of the Mafia or a Mexican cartel; he just did it for fun. Till then I’ll see ya down the road…



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