Note: For complete heading info, please refer to Chapter 01.
"What do we know?" Peter asked with determination as he joined the others around the dining room table. El reached over and clasped his hand in her own and he gave a firm squeeze. Neal had been gone for three days and fear that they would never see him again had taken a firm grip on their thoughts.
"Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Jason Donovan," Mozzie began, tossing several photos on the table. "Mr. Donovan is an underpaid and overworked employee with the 8th Street Slave Facility. During his down time, he likes to gamble. And not very well I might add."
Peter forced himself not to tell Mozzie to speed it up. The man was grieving for his friend just as much as they were.
"Mr. Donovan was the only processing agent on duty at the time of Neal's kidnapping under the guise of federal justice. From what my sources have told me, Mr. Donovan paid off a $200,000 debt to the Chechen mob. In addition, a contact which will remain anonymous in the presence of the Suits, was able to retrieve Neal's database record."
Mozzie passed around several copies of the information. Peter zoned in on the info of Neal's ownership history. The two before him and El were there. Neal had told them about his time with them over the years. While Peter didn't like the idea of Neal's past ownership, he was grateful that Neal had it relatively good when compared to most slaves. Then Peter's eyes stopped at a name appearing after his and El's.
"Vincent Adler?" he said out loud as his blood began to boil. "How could they already have Neal placed with a new owner? The mandatory waiting period is thirty days."
"We might have the answer to that, Boss," Diana cut in. Jones tossed out another file on Agent Fowler. "Hughes called in a favor with the CIA. Turns out that Fowler had a wife. Two years ago, she was murdered in a hit ordered by a group that Fowler had been undercover with trying to bring them down. Someone high on the food chain with deep pockets covered it up when Fowler killed her murderer. The same person also arranged for his transfer to OPR. Records indicate that he immediately began investigating you, Elizabeth and Neal as soon as he joined OPR."
"You think Adler is pulling the strings?" Peter concluded. "He got an FBI agent in his pocket by keeping him out of prison for murder. He knew which slave facility agent to target. He knew how to target us through Fowler. The question is, why?"
"Five years ago," El's shaky voice startled Peter, "we received a purchase request on Neal."
Peter gripped her hand tighter. "We've received lots of those over the years, Hon. We turn them down."
"I know, but this one was for several million dollars."
Everyone turned to El in shock. "I know we would never sell him, but we list his value on our tax returns every year. And even when we first got him, his value was only $500,000. Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you were away on a case that week and the answer still would have been no. I just mailed back that form letter we created and forgot about it. But the company that sent the request was Adler Enterprises which according to this is owned and operated by Vincent Adler, the man that now owns Neal."
"Son of a bitch!" Peter shouted. "How do we get him back?"
"We've got things in motion, Boss," Diana said. "Hughes already had Fowler taken quietly into custody. He doesn't want to rock the boat until we know more. We didn't have the info on Neal yet, so thanks to the little guy, we'll have Donovan brought in. He should break pretty easy once we tell him that the Chechens won't like to hear that the payback money came from an illegal slave transfer. The Chechens are all known abolitionists."
"Hughes is also trying to fast-track things to get your badge back," Jones added. "But he's being cautious because we don't know who's on the take. The strings behind Fowler are high up and he doesn't want to tip anyone off yet that we are on to things."
"Once we have Donovan's confession and the CIA is done with Fowler, we should be able to secure a warrant for Adler now that we know about him and then be able to get Neal back. Hopefully no later than this weekend," Diana said with confidence.
"It'll be a week by then," Peter said with sadness. "A week that we weren't there for him. What I don't get is why Adler was so desperate to get Neal. He offered millions and when he was turned down, he started this elaborate scheme to get him from us. There has to be a reason."
"I'll check it out, Suit," Mozzie said. "I have some people in Detroit that owe me and they can find out everything."
"Just sit tight, Boss, and it will all be over soon."
Peter just hoped that Neal would be okay when they got him back. A week was a long time and anything could happen. If one piece of the case was out of place, they could wind up losing everything.