A Deal with the Devil
Camilo Rivera’s visit to Humboldt was not going to be a surprise.
Julio Escobar knew the Mafia Commission was meeting at an undisclosed location somewhere near Humboldt, Tennessee, and earlier he had sent a discrete message to Tony Scarsetti. The message advised him that Camilo Rivera’s would be traveling to meet him and collect the unpaid money from the last drug shipment.
The Mafia families had several problems, the major one concerned the FBI’s renewed involvement after the drug bales had washed up in the Everglades. Tony Scarsetti had hastily called a meeting of the families so they could come together to find some solutions.
However, Escobar’s missing money was not one of these problems. Tony Scarsetti wasn’t interested in listening to some Colombian hit man whining about money that he was unable to collect.
But, to keep Julio Escobar from coming out of his box, and defuse some of the anger, he agreed to meet with Camilo Rivera. And besides, Camilo around might become useful during the next few days. Scarsetti was having difficulties determining whom he could and couldn’t trust in his organization. He knew someone was stealing and he intended to find them and deal with that problem; but, he had not been able to determine who that person was. Rivera was from Colombia, so Scarsetti knew he wasn’t involved with the stealing. Scarsetti was also very aware of Camilo Rivera’s reputation and ‘special’ talents. Scarsetti wasn’t exactly sure how, but Camilo Rivera just might prove useful.
Tony Scarsetti could care less about Escobar’s missing money, and he planned to tell him when the time was right.
Tony Scarsetti and his bodyguards were staying at the ‘Humboldt Motel’. He was registered as Tony Smith.
Camilo arrived in Humboldt during the early afternoon and went straight to the ‘Humboldt Motel’. The desk clerk advised that Mr. Tony Smith was not in his room and he had no idea when he would be back. While listening to the clerk, he looked around the small lobby and decided he would simply wait for Mr. Tony Smith to return. Camilo left a note at the desk and found an empty table in the adjoining lobby restaurant, which wasn’t difficult because it was EMPTY.
For the next two hours, Camilo remained in his chair at the restaurant table; smoking Colombian cigarettes and drinking black coffee – only leaving once to visit the lobby Men’s Room. Just after sundown three gentlemen dressed in dark suits entered the motel through the main door. The smallest of the three walked to the reception desk and was handed the note Camilo had left earlier – this was Tony Sacarsetti.
Tony glanced in the restaurant and at Camilo, still sitting at his table, and then said something to the two gentlemen who were with him. They talked for a moment, and then all three turned and headed toward where Camilo was sitting.
The restaurant was completely empty, except for a couple of waitresses and a busboy. It was empty because Tony had rented ALL the rooms, and anyone dining in the restaurant would have been local and not a guest of the motel.
Along with his two bodyguards, James Henry King and Johnie Gibson, Tony walked over to Camilo’s table and quickly sat down. James Henry King and Johnie Gibson remained standing.
“You must be the Colombian ‘grease ball’ that I heard was coming to see me,” Tony said as he settled in his seat and lit a cigarette.
“Sen¢or, I am Camilo Rivera. I work for Julio Escobar and have been sent here to meet with a Tony Scarsetti. Are you Sen¢or Scarsetti?” he asked calmly.
“I am, and I am also busy. What do you want?” Tony asked rudely.
“I have come to collect payment for our last delivery. The product was delivered as ordered, but we have not yet received the money. Payment according to the negotiated terms is necessary,” Camilo said softly.
“You guys must have balls bigger than a grapefruit! I’m going to tell you just like I told your boss on the phone, there were problems with that delivery – the product never reached the mainland. Why should I pay for something that was never delivered?” Tony shouted.
“Sen¢or Scarsetti, I know nothing about grapefruit, but the product was delivered. If your people lost it, or were unable to get it to shore, then that is not our problem. And without payment, Sen¢or Scarsetti, there will be no future deliveries. I’m sure Sen¢or Escobar told you that.” Camilo already knew that had been discussed.
“Yes, we discussed that,” Tony answered wiggling in his chair. “And the fact is that we did send payment for that product, even though we never took delivery.” Tony was disgusted.
“We don’t have the money, Sen¢or Scarsetti. Our contact in Puerto Rico, Sen¢or Chavito in San Juan, said the money didn’t arrive, as it should have. It is for that reason Sen¢or Escobar has sent me to meet with you and get the payment. This is necessary if we are to continue with our business,” Camilo said calmly.
“Yes ‘grease ball’, we know,” Tony said crushing out his cigarette. “Somehow the money was misplaced or stolen, and I understand that is not your concern. But, I’m going to give you your money and another 50 thousand for your trouble. However, you will need to do something for me to earn it. Understand?” Tony was making his pitch.
“I cannot do that Sen¢or Scarsetti, I work for Julio Escobar and he would not like it.”
“Oh yeah? Well, ‘grease ball’, there’s a phone located out in the lobby; I want you to go get on that phone and call Mr. Julio Escobar. I want you to tell him that if he wants his money, plus a bonus, then you will need to follow my instructions for a couple of days. Otherwise, no money and no more deals. He can find a new buyer and I’ll find a new supplier. Now, you go make that call and tell the operator to have the long distance charges added to Mr. Smith’s room bill. I’ll wait here for your answer.” Tony wasn’t bluffing and Camilo knew it.
Tony and Camilo both leaned back in their chairs and stared at each other in silence. It was like two bulls in a ring, and neither was willing to give any ground.
Tony retrieved a Cuban cigar from his jacket pocket, cut it, lit it and blew a large puff of blue smoke over the table. “Well?” Tony finally said staring at Camilo through the smoke.
Camilo pushed his chair back, got up and slowly walked toward the lobby. Tony motioned with his cigar for his bodyguards to follow him; they had instructions to kill him if he didn’t cooperate.
Camilo made the call. He mostly listened, while whomever he had on the line did the talking. The conversation was over in less than 15 minutes, and Camilo rejoined Tony at the restaurant table.
“Sen¢or Escobar says I should stay with you and follow instructions. You will then be required to redeliver the money to San Juan – including the bonus. How that happens is up to you, but there must be no mistakes this time,” Camilo said frankly.
“Good. Now, Camilo Rivera, I want you to get back in your car, drive to the Memphis Airport and book a flight to Miami. When you arrive, I want you to take a cab to Miami Beach; a room will be reserved for you at the Fontainebleau Hotel. You are to stay there until you hear from me. Can you do that?” Tony instructed.
Fontainebleau Hotel – Miami Beach
“Se’ Sen’or. I can do that,” Camilo responded.
“Just consider it a vacation – on me. Work on your tan, play in the ocean, chase the girls; do whatever. Just stay close to a phone. I’ll be calling in a couple of days,” Tony nodded.
Camilo didn’t speak. He got up from the restaurant table and walked to the parking area, where he had left his rental car. Within minutes he was headed back to Memphis, as instructed.
Tony and his two bodyguards watched in silence as Camilo made his exit. “Stupid ‘grease ball’!” Tony said to no one, as he crushed out his cigar and got up from his chair.
Then Tony turned to his bodyguards, Johnie Gibson and James Henry King. “I want you to kill that bastard, but not until I give you the word. Understand?”
Johnie Gibson and James Henry King nodded their acknowledgement, and then they all left the restaurant and headed to their rooms.