The Baggage Handler: El griego
El griego was the third piece of our drug operation.(The others were Mano and myself.)
Mano shipped the drugs from Venezuela to the U.S. El griego received the merchandise at Miami International Airport. I picked it up and delivered it. Within 24 hours everyone was paid and satisfied. My job was to keep everyone happy and under control.
El griego was Greek but was born and raised in Miami. He was 42 when we worked together, 5’9″, solid build, and spoke Greek and Spanish, in addition to English. He had a short temper, probably because he was addicted to marijuana. When he didn’t smoke, we had a very long day.
I got the blame for El griego’s bust, but it was his own damn fault. I tried to protect him, like I did the rest of my team — none of whom were ever arrested — and told everyone not to call me (my phones were tapped). But El griego didn’t listen. He kept calling, saying he wanted to do another job. I did everything but come out and tell him that my phones were tapped, but he just didn’t get it.
My DEA team was an international team so they weren’t interested in local boys like El griego, but finally, after many such calls, they got suspicious about me — wondering if I was still in the game and double-crossing them, which I wasn’t.
To prove that I wasn’t, and avoid going to jail, they made me do the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with since my brother’s death. They made me take my friend down.It Killed me to do it, and the fall-outfrom it hurts me to this day.
Excerpted from the forthcoming memoir, The Baggage Handler.