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Pack your Bags

Posted on 16 Mar 2022 @ 12:40pm by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kevin Roe & Chief Warrant Officer 2 Buzz Bradley & Petty Officer Second Class Hannah Belton & Special Agent Angelica Passolini & Special Agent Mason Benoit

Episode: S1E2: The Conex Box of Horror
Location: Team Office, Conference Room
Timeline: Date 2021-05-17 at 1048

Kevin had been summoned by their Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge with the knowledge that they would be heading for a major case and it would require the full team and travel. Kevin had texted his full team and left for the meeting with the ASAC to find out further. Upon completing the meeting with his boss he stopped into the office of LT Thora Newman and asked her to join in.

"Lets get straight to business people," Kevin said, as he entered the conference room. He moved to the head of the table and motioned the Lieutenant, the only one in uniform, into a chair.

"Benoit this is Lieutenant Newman, Lieutenant this is our newest team member. Mason Benoit he joins us from US Fish and Wildlife," he told her.

Mason shook the woman's hand, "Pleased to meet you ma'am." He took one of the seats farthest from the end of the table as he nodded to his new collogues. He had already met most of them in passing around the office. He adjusted the Sig Sauer on his belt as he sat and pulled a notebook from his shirt pocket and flipped it to a fresh page.

"Pleasure is mine," She said with a warm smile after standing to shake hands. She returned to her own seat and shuffled a few files around in front of her.

Leaning comfortably back in his chair, Buzz visually read the room in simple, contemplative silence.

"We have a case and it is going to require travel, once again, this is a major case true to the purpose of this unit," Roe announced, as he took his seat and looked around so that the team could gather the gravity of his tone and expression.

Hannah was making notes so that she could get their reservations in order. The look on Kevin's face did give her pause.

Major case. That piqued Buzz's interest as well as raised the hair on the back of his neck. His eyes met Roe's in an unspoken question that the younger man expected was about to be answered.

Major case that made Angelica take notice, Travel was expected, but damn she just got home and now she was out again, She would ask one of her cousins watch Charlie again, this time try and keep the pup in his home, she was hoping she wouldn't give the cheerful lab a complex. Her pen was out and she was ready to make notes.

Mason could read the room and looked at the senior agent expectantly. His time in the New Orleans FO had not involved much travel, but his time in USFWS had so he was no stranger to the notion.

"We are headed to Newark one of the LETs was conducting a routine check of conex boxes as the ship was being inspected by sector and it was discovered that there were a bunch of corpses inside. It looks like a human trafficking case..."

Hannah's eyes widened "Crap." she muttered under her breath. She had just done a training on human trafficking and knew that it was becoming a much bigger problem and more reported.

A heavy exhale preceded Buzz stretching out his legs and then leaning forward to rest elbows on the table. Hands clenched tightly, his mind involuntarily presented him with graphic imagery of corpses from his own personal nightmare while his brow furrowed deeply. "No one alive?" He heard himself ask.

Angelica blinked at that and in an unconcious gesture touched the St Michael medal she had been given when she graduated the Police academy, many years ago. She whispered, "Jesus."

Mason shook his head at the news. He could only imagine the horrors the victims had endured prior to the end of their lives. He knew that those responsible needed to be brought to justice, no person deserved that fate.

"I've asked Lieutenant Newman to join us to help with things we can do legally as the cargo ship in question is a Chinese flagged vessel," Kevin added.

"Thank you," Thora said as she started passing down the handful of files. They were exact copies of each other that provided some information about the legalities of working in this kind of situation.

"I have prepared some information for each of you, but will also do a walk through and answer questions to the best of my abilities. What I can't answer now, I will find answers."

"For now, we will need to tread carefully but investigate diligently." Thora ended her little speech on that.

Hannah looked around "Where the victims Chinese or other ethnicities?" She asked curiously.

"As far as I know it appears that they were all Chinese or at least some asian decent. I would say they are likely all Chinese. The preliminary investigation has been mostly halted while they contacted us as well as made arrangements for medical examiners to handle this operation. They are looking locally but I think we might try and ask some of our sister federal agencies to assist, although, that will open up the can of worms that they want in on the investigation."

"Do we know what port she sailed from," Mason asked tentatively. Being knew he was cautions to ask a question, but he was curious. Even though it was a Chinese flagged vessel, the ship could've come from anywhere. "I also imagine Customs and Border Protection will be in on this as well," he said as the thought occurred to him. He still had a few contacts in CBP and Homeland Security Investigations from his time at USFWS.

"As this was discovered by a Coast Guard asset we are the only agency involved until we arrive and make decisions on who to include. Customs and Border Protection will obviously be notified but at the moment we are the only agency responding. The Port Authority Police is also very good about making us their initial call for things. Ports are ours and we have a good relationship with PAPD. As for where the ship came from I was told China and that is the only information I have. I don't even have a name of a ship or company yet."

Mason nodded and jotted a few notes down in his notebook before looking back up at Kevin to continue.

Angelica spoke up, "Do we have a manifest of where those CONEX boxes were supposed to go?"

“We have nothing until we get there,” Roe said.

"Lieutenant Newman, would you be interested or able to respond to the field with us on this one? Having you present to deal with the international aspect, the shipping company, and outside agencies would be invaluable for this," Roe said.

"Sadly, I am unable to. I will ensure you have appropriate level of support through the office. I have been called to the West Coast to help clear up some short staffing." Newman said with almost a sadness. She was looking forward to getting to work with the team some. However, it seemed that she wasn't destined to get to do that. Maybe one-day she would cross paths with the team again.

Roe nodded, “fair enough. Thank you for your support I look forward to an email with your legal advice for dealing with the cargo ship.”

“Of course,” Nora said with a nod.

“Alright guys, Buzz you’ll be with me. Mason and Pasolini will be a team. Belton you’ll be following along in the crime scene van,” Roe said. “Everyone have their go bags?” Each agent was supposed to be prepared for deployment at a moments notice for a case.

"Mine's in the trunk. Ready when you are, Kevin," confirmed Buzz with a positive attitude rather than a happy face. There was nothing joyful about this mission, but he was keen to get on the road and stuck into the details.

The others indicated they had theirs as well and so Roe dismissed the team. Wheels rolling in twenty.

 

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