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“You’re sure?” Prichard turned to Bette.
“Positive. The wife confirmed it. She said the older man with her was her husband’s father and Quintrell was her son’s uncle. I have no doubt the old man is the head of a cartel.”
“What makes you think that?” Prichard asked.
“I followed him to that house in Oakland we told you about, and when he left, Los Dorados ambushed me.”
Tina gave Bette’s thigh a gentle squeeze beneath the table. Hours had passed, but Bette’s close call still had her on edge, and Tina’s reassuring touch helped.
Prichard offered Bette an appreciative nod. “Glad you made it out, but this is way above my pay grade. I need to bring in Washington D.C.”
Bette’s stomach soured. A house of cards, her case had only the gray-haired man to tie Quintrell to Los Dorados. Bringing in more Feds and more bureaucracy at this point would take the fate of Quintrell and the cartel out of her hands. She feared the case might go nowhere.
“Let’s think about this, Nate.” Joyce shook her hand up and down to cajole him into hearing her out. “First, we don’t know how far this goes. Nor do we know if anyone else in the Justice Department or the DEA is helping him. If we bring in outsiders, we lose control and the element of surprise.”
“I’m listening.” Prichard relaxed his posture, a sign she held his interest.
“Second, this relates to the death of a San Francisco CSI agent. We have jurisdiction. Everything we have on Quintrell is circumstantial. Why not let SFPD, along with Agent Kennard, continue to investigate and bring Quintrell in for questioning when the time is right?”
“You’re proposing a joint operation?”
“Unofficially, it already is. Agent Kennard has been an integral part of us getting this far.” Joyce pointed at the three across the table. “These three have been a well-oiled machine. They know the players. This is their turf. Let’s not bring in any more outsiders until we have to.”
“I can get whatever warrants you might need,” Kyler said.
Prichard turned his attention to Tina. “I was wondering if I had made a mistake bringing you up, Kennard. I see now you were the right choice. You’ve done good work.”