It was 9:05 in the morning. The sun was shining as our crew drove the silver Mercedes to meet the pilot of the Cessna Citation II jet taxiing toward us on the tarmac of the executive airfield in Florida.
Something seemed off, but it was too late for the four of us to abort the mission.
We were committed.
The door of the plane opened and off stepped the pilot I’d met with two days earlier at a Kansas City hotel room. He had agreed, for a price, to deliver a jet that was on our laundry list of planes we were stealing from the United States and delivering to the Colombians in South America.
This was our second plane in a month. The pick-up place was Boca Raton, the delivery location, Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, where the plane would be repainted in a hanger, data plates changed and then used in the cocaine trafficking world by the Cali Cartel.
Later I would discover two things: Boca Raton is translated, Mouth of the Rat, and a big rat was among us.
I pulled a bag filled with cash from our vehicle and stepped onto the plane to meet the pilot to hand over partial payment. The rest would be delivered once the plane was safely in the air. My pilot entered behind me in preparation to take the captain’s seat.
In a matter of seconds, 20 plus federal agents descended on us from all four sides, in unmarked vehicles and running on foot, all with weapons.
The next thing I knew a chrome 45 caliber pistol was pointed in my face while the agent was yelling, “Get your hands up, YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!”
Everything was happening so fast. My head was spinning. My hands automatically went up in the air to display the international sign of surrender.
As I quickly assessed the roof situation it revealed two snipers with beads drawn on our other two crew members seated in the car.
I was ordered to put my hands on the wing of the plane. Everyone else was forced to the ground.
As I looked into the morning sunshine streaming down on my face I realized I was going to jail.
This would not be an orange juice morning in South Florida. Rather, this was the beginning of, My Journey to Freedom…