Monday, 29th May 2023 - 16:05:44 pm

The first priority of the drug ring was to find out who they were dealing with. Thus far all they knew was there were Asians involved, probably Vietnamese. There were Vietnamese gangs, but they were small time, mostly kids.

They offered rewards for information. The word was spread widely but an extra effort was made in the area where the first payoff was made.

With surprising speed, the answer came back. A Vietnamese came in. He was an ex-major in the South Vietnamese army. His English was good.

“Steve Kincaid is the man you are looking for. He fought in Viet Nam. But this is a bad man. He fought on both sides. He is a Communist. That is why he causes so much trouble.”

Then an ex-colonel in the South Vietnamese army came in. This one had been a province chief. He told the same story but went even further. The man they wanted was Steve Kincaid. He was with the Communists. He had fought for the Viet Cong. He was now a fugitive in the United States. The US government had been looking for him for years.

Neither man could say precisely where he was now but both thought he was somewhere in orange County. The men were paid enough to keep their interest up and more was promised if they should learn anything additional.

That gave the drug ring two avenues to explore. They had the easiest access to the Justice Department.

Steve Kincaid, they learned, was technically a fugitive but the Justice Department had no interest whatsoever in apprehending him. If some other law enforcement agency were to arrest him, the Justice Department would not file charges against him. Steve Kincaid had done some questionable things in Viet Nam but the Justice Department had no evidence that he had ever fought on the side of the Viet Cong or that he was a Communist.

So that all appeared to be a dead end. But the Communist angle started someone thinking. Suppose the Russians could be talked into helping out. If the price was high enough, who knows? Anyway, what did they have to lose?

And so it came to Rudmetkyn's attention. The problem intrigued him. There was nothing more that the field agent could contribute. He sent off elsewhere for more general and specific information. There were still serious questions that needed answers. He had no common denominator. There must be a common denominator.

Another source that he had previously queried verified most of the story but included another piece of interesting information. The KGB field agent in Los Angeles was a habitual drug user and was deeply in debt. Rudmetkyn was glad to hear it. It filled a hole in the story the agent had told. He had not believed the reason for the drug ring turning to the KGB. Now the saga had more of a ring of truth. That was the common denominator in the problem. He hoped it would be as easy to find the solution.

From another source he found that the KGB never had a field agent who used the name Steve Kincaid in Southeast Asia or anywhere else for that matter.

On this occasion Rudmetkyn did not put the problem entirely away while waiting more information. He allotted time to think about it at various periods during the day. He thought about it while shaving in the morning. He thought about it while having lunch. He thought about it while exercising before going to bed.

As always happened when he worked on a problem in this way, it began to sink into his subconscious. He developed a definite “feel” for the different elements involved. The whole thing began to come together in his mind. By the time the additional information had arrived, the beginnings of the solution had formed.

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