Meet Spicy Mike

Spicy Mike was not his birth name; that is, his mom never stepped out onto the front porch to call him in for dinner:


Spicy Mike was his street pimp name. The special agents for human trafficking in the Attorney General’s (AG) office of Albuquerque, New Mexico wanted him in a big way. Spicy Mike was running the gamut of the nation’s most deplorable crimes — the bell was tolling Mike’s name.

The Spice Man himself just outside of his motel room.

SOFREP’s Role in the Surveillance

So firm was the resolution of the AG’s office to get Spicy Mike that we chose to install a persistence stare remote IP camera to keep watch of the activity at his motel room. The camera was a real piece of work and in fact, was donated to our Counter Human Traffic organization by a member of the one-and-only

The concept was simple enough: find a concealed location to install the camera so we could log onto it through our cell phones or desktop workstations and record the activity at Mike’s digs. I selected five potential locations. We analyzed each one closely and, by process of elimination, rejected all but one: the roof of a business at the end of a small strip mall.

The origin of the red arrow is where the camera was installed. The end of the arrow is right where Spicey Mike’s motel room was located.

The camera itself was in a container the size of a thick briefcase. To solve the camera’s power requirement we chose to drag a deep-cycle rechargeable marine-grade car battery up to the roof with us. A drive-by reconnaissance of the camera install site revealed that it was ironically the roof of a massage parlor and not a legitimate one at that: rather, it was one whose masseuses were on record for routinely offering “happy endings” at the culmination of their massage therapy sessions.

The facade of the massage parlor on whose roof the camera was installed. The red arrow indicates the look angle to Mike’s motel room.

The first night’s operation to get the camera installed took three operants. Two went up on the roof and one remained on the ground dressed as a local gentry of incidental leisure (vagrant and usually addicted) filling the role of roving security with eyes on the ground 360-degrees. Since I have always been the measure of a bum, I filled the role of the security rover.

There was a set of dumpsters between the massage parlor and Mike’s motel that always sported discarded furniture — chairs and sofas and the like — which made for a comfortable means to sit for a while and observe and also backstopped the notion that I was a vagrant. Mattresses too were omnipresent at that dump, though I was reluctant to avail myself of their service.