A lone sheriff’s department vehicle showed up just ahead of the Harmon-Dominguez trucks. The firefight had been over for just over an hour. There were fire-trucks and ambulances just behind the sheriff’s vehicle. The deputy pulled up, got out, took a look around at us, walked over to the shattered cars and trucks full of bloating MS-13 corpses, and went back to his car without a word. The other first-responders went to deal with the overturned semi. The wrecker was half an hour behind the ambulances, who ended up just bagging up the bodies and driving away.

When the Harmon-Dominguez convoy finally got there, they slowed way down and hesitated for close to five minutes, hanging back a good hundred yards from the scene. When they finally crept forward to the crashed box truck, they were slow, hesitant, and gave off the appearance of staring fearfully at the sheriff’s department vehicle. I just shook my head.

We’d been contracted because some of the people Renton works with thought that Harmon-Dominguez was a front company for Mexican cartel interests. They wanted some inside reconnaissance, and we were it. And maybe my perception was colored by that knowledge. But these guys just seemed extra nervous around law enforcement, as they carefully backed up to Harold’s truck and opened the back doors of the new box truck.

Of course, if the sheriff’s deputies noticed, they didn’t budge out of their white-and-green car to do anything about it.

It took a while to get the cargo transferred. Harold got in the new box truck, but the original driver stayed with the wreck to get it towed away. The rest of us were already in the two new trucks that had come to pick us up.

Harold came over to my vehicle. “Okay, we’re loaded back up,” he said. “We can get back on track now. We’ll have to move quickly to make up lost time.”

I just shook my head. “No, we’re going back to Tucson,” I said. “After what just happened, we need to reset.”

He got a little bit of that panicked look in his eyes. “We can’t afford the time,” he said.