Twin Beeches -- an Illinois Love Story
Author: paul schoaff

Chapter 44



Falling through the Crack in the Floor


Toward mid-afternoon, Buddy whistled, and told them black cars were approaching – it was, finally, the troopers with the warrant to search the farm for Eddie, as Hawkins learned shortly.   Eddie and Buddy were a mile downstream, headed along the meandering path of the Sugar Creek for the Illinois River, before the troopers worked their way to the bottom of the hill, meeting those who had used the elevator to travel down into the mine.  One black SUV with 2 agents, sent to 'close the back door' by watching the place where the Sugar passed under Illinois 100, got lost on the winding and unmarked roads, finally emerging at the little hamlet of Goodluck, long after the small boat was in the Illinois River.  "Goodluck" was still with the two escapees.


The search warrant was only for Eddie and Buddy, and, shortly, it was determined, to the jeering of the five couch potatoes, that Eddie and Buddy were not there and there was no evidence they had been.  It was also reported during the search, troopers found indications the farm had been an elaborate front for some sort of hidden manufacturing operation, but there was nothing revealing what it might have been. 



 'Night Watchman' Miller, having duly reported being discovered while moving into position to watch the farm from the public property of water of Sugar Creek, was nursing a very battered ego and a sore ear.  He was packing his neatly arranged belongings, ready to report to Chicago, where he fully expected, rightly, to be dismissed from the ATF.  As one last desperate ploy, he asked for permission to join the search for Eddie Hawkins.


Eddie had been raised on a farm where strong indications of illegal activity were seen, therefore he might still be considered a 'material' witness, at least, against the Hawkins/Knowles operation.  No other evidence seemed likely to surface, so the only possible way to arrest them and charge Howie with a crime would be to find a witness who would testify for the government, perhaps in exchange for overlooking his recent escape, and most of the rest of his sentence.


Permission was 'reluctantly' granted, but the Director knew he had nothing to lose, himself, now either.  It might all turn out alright, as long as nobody got stupid and shot somebody.



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