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Gomez, Mata, and the Caribineros brothers worked as officers in the Hialeah police force; Gomez and Mata rode together in patrol car 2785 and Primo and Segundo in 1681.  On patrol one night in the warehouse district of west 72 and 16th avenue, the two cars passed each other, circled the block, then came to an idling stop alongside one another, Gomez in one and Primo Caribineros in the other driving.  The warehouse in front of which they were parked was filled with small, expensive electronics.  Applying the least bit of ingenuity, the bay door could be opened and the place looted by local kids.  In less time than the police could respond to the warehouse blaring burglar alarm, the uniformed men had the most valuable and compact of the merchandise packed into the patrol cars’ trunks and were heading west to the undeveloped sections of Hialeah recently annexed west of the expressway.  Out in the dark, with the lights of the city illuminating the eastern horizon, they decided to divide the loot.  But Primo wanted more for himself and the next day secretly went to Mata and said:

“You have the power to take Gomez out.  Set it up.  If you do this you can take his part of the money, another two hundred thou.  This is the chance of a lifetime. Tomalo.

Mata needed the extra money for his pregnant wife and Dominican girlfriend, as well as his growing fascination with steroids.  Two weeks later, on a robbery-in-progress call, Mata fell, tripped, and inadvertently pushed his partner into the line of fire of those two Chino punks and their 38’s.  At the Gomez funeral much was said about friendship, hard work and family.

The next day over patstelitos del carne and cortaditas and the Carretica restaurant, Primo said to Segundo Caribineros “Gomez is dead.  Mata has his share, twice what we received.  I’m not sure we can trust him.  Hermano, let’s take the whole bundle for ourselves.”

So the Caribineros brothers went to Mata with a plan to double everyone’s money with one big score of Ecstasy tablets which they could dump off on a teen dance hall operator at a big profit.  Mata turned over his part of the cash and the Caribineros headed to a motel room on the beach to decide the best way to invest the lucre.

When they arrived, Primo made a phone call to Mata’s wife and anonymously informed her that she might have a problem with her husband’s wandering eye.  This would bring Mata months of trouble and disable him from attempting to regain his money. In the room overlooking the sparkling pool and swaying palms, Primo turned to his brother and said:

Imbecil.  I am strong like our father and I set this up to get us to this point.  From now on, you do as I say or you end with no cut at all.”

No joda,” Segundo said.  “I’m not your servant. I have a sense of right and wrong, como papa, and I know what we did was wrong.  That gives me strength.  I’m willing to do time for the crime. I’m not afraid of exposure, and I’m not afraid of you. You, however, live a paranoid existence and that makes you weak.”

The brothers argued most of the night, drinking heavily and nearly coming to blows.  In the morning, they were burned out, so they invested the drug loot in some short term money markets and went back to work.

But work was now days filled with silence and disinterested law enforcement. Finally, their father, Chief of Hialeah Police Sangre Caribineros called them into his office for a sit-down. The Chief had his thumb in all the pies, and he had also gotten the two boys hired despite their lack of true qualifications for the job. So it was natural for his hijos to speak openly with him.  He listened to the two squabble for a while, and finally said:

“This is the way of the badge: Segundo, you’re doomed to think you can make a difference for the good and still make a profit.  Primo, you know it’s all rotten and you owe nobody nada.  These are the two faces of experienced law enforcement necessary for the balance of enforcement.  The believer in a vague concept of justice will remember to peek into the rule book every once in a while, so that the occasional collar sticks in court and doesn’t get thrown out on some procedural mierda.  But the believer in ruckus, apuro, and corruption, that is the man who can think like the enemy, because he has essentially become one.  The money and power?  El premio? Soldier’s pay to me.  Think like a criminal and keep on eye on proper procedure, and you will be the best team this department has ever had. That will make me a proud Chief and father. Un gallo orgullos! But you will never get along, you two, because good will always fight corruption, even in a man himself, because, if he stops, he will be lost.  And your patrol car will go from being the best enforcement vehicle on the road, to an armed gang car, for a gang of two.  That, the department doesn’t want to happen and will take steps against.

“So go out and be who you are.  Share the profits.  Don’t mess with any more of my officers in your extracurriculars, and kick me back a taste, un sabrosito, now and again.  Let the system work for you.  God knows how hard we all work for it.”

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