THE MILLIONAIRE DRUG ADDICT, THE HOT CAR, AND THE ROOKIE MISTAKE
©2023 By Raquel Vasquez
I would get a shot of adrenaline into the vein every time I wrote a bond. I would be completely interested to hear the circumstances of my client’s unfortunate situation. That’s because my clients are an interesting type. This client was a millionaire drug addict. They had the means to support a very taxing drug addiction that nearly took their life. Idle hands, as they say.
To keep this strictly confidential, I will use everything in my word power to never reveal the gender of this client. We’ll call them Casey (my favorite androgynous name). This young person had a family that cared about them and went to various lengths of treatment to help them. The family was under the impression that the drug addiction stemmed from emotional issues such as depression, loneliness, boredom and a lack of interest in life. Casey’s family had tried every way they knew to try to get Casey off of drugs: twelve-step programs, hospitals, begging and pleading and therapy. Life had gotten so frightening for Casey and their family that Casey’s family hired a full-time adult babysitter to live as a shadow, to be a chaperone and to report every move Casey made. Casey was not to be let out of sight. Not even to use the bathroom — especially not to use the bathroom.
Casey would wake up in the morning, and a complete stranger would be standing by the half-open bathroom door. All meals, all phone calls, all social activities, all twelve-step meetings would be chaperoned by the “companion.” The babysitter let Casey out of sight and just like clockwork Casey caught themselves a criminal case while out on the streets. That’s where I came in. I ended up being the bail agent on the matter.
The family was a beautiful one. Designer fashion, fine jewelry, ten-car garages and the stench of old money surrounded them. The family asked if I could please speak with Casey and set up some conditions of bail. They wanted me to be involved with the bond, more than what’s usually expected. This was not always uncommon and typical of parents bailing out their adult kids.
Drug addicts are all highly annoying, and this one was especially needy on top of the annoyances. They had an overabundance of everything due to their endless flow of cash. Copious amounts of cigarettes, food and soda which made them unhealthy. Crack cocaine was slowly making Casey lose their mind. The family was desperate and were trying everything and anything to get their loved one sober. Twelve-step meetings were not working because they couldn’t force Casey to attend them. Therapists can be ineffective if they don’t make a connection, and abstinence will only last so long without a support system of some kind.
The family liaison called me and asked if we could have a meeting. I agreed. We met at a seafood restaurant in the Sunset Plaza area of West Hollywood. It’s not the rock ’n’ roll side of the Strip, it’s the haughty part of the Strip that used to be home to the famous Trocadero nightclub. The names of the venues have all changed over the years, but the area still holds the same glamorous ambiance. When I arrived it was a scene. The scurrying valets, the women in Jackie O sunglasses and men in their tailored suits. I sat down and listened to their proposal.
Casey was caught buying drugs from an undercover agent in Los Angeles. Under Casey’s circumstances, I would first have to arrange for them to turn themself in. I would call the commanding officer of the jail and ask politely when would be the best time to bring my client in, adding I wouldn’t want to interrupt your lunch. After making arrangements, the booking would be quicker than normal, and within a couple hours I would bail them out. This happens when an arrest isn’t immediate and a bench warrant is issued by a judge. This was easy enough. Next, they wanted me to create a contract of agreements, one being that remaining sober be part of the bail stipulations. Not unreasonable, if you ask me. I need my clients to sober up and go to court, so I gladly agreed.
The conditions of bail were that Casey stay sober, check in with me every day, and put up their car as collateral along with the premium. Casey agreed. Everything was good with Casey until it wasn’t. Casey stayed sober for a few days, checking in here and there and then escaped the babysitter and was missing in action. The family called me and wanted to revoke Casey’s bond. They were afraid of Casey overdosing and wanted me to find them immediately.
Our contract agreement had been breached. I had full rights to the car, to the nonrefundable premium, and to put the defendant back in jail and free my business from a giant liability. Their family liaison offered plenty of information on where Casey might be. They had been going through this a long time and knew all of the addicts’ classified activities.
The intel on the subject was that their habit was to get a hotel room and a lot of crack and a lot of glass pipes, butane lighters, cigarettes and Coca-Cola, and not come up for air till weeks had passed. They begged me to please get their person out of there. I agreed, it’s my job. I had to!
I called my bounty hunter and we devised our plan. I would take the car; he would take the live body to jail. The bounty hunter did all the hunting. Bounty hunters know a thing or two when it comes to places of ill repute. They found my client’s car within a matter of hours.
The hotel was the kind where the parking lot works as the lobby. My client’s $90,000 car was parked right in front of their bungalow hotel room. They would not open the door for anyone but their connection, so I didn’t waste too much time there. We didn’t act without caution. The bounty hunter suggested that he do at least forty-eight hours of surveillance to see if there was any unusual or dangerous activity or any visible weapons and such. I thought this was a fine idea, and was grateful I had a professional to lead. My client’s car was still parked and hadn’t moved during the days under surveillance.
We were now entering Phase II of the operation. At this point I was using as much cop jargon as I could think of with my bounty hunter and everything was tongue in cheek. I really wasn’t so concerned, but looking back, I should have been. Our task was to confiscate the car. The bounty hunter would handle the rest and take Casey back to custody.
I think the stakes of the “job” changed when I was leaving after picking up the spare key, and the family liaison reminded me that my client was always carrying a loaded weapon. As I was driving to the sleazy hotel I took this into consideration, as well as how many days my client had been there on drugs with no sleep and the paranoia that comes with it.
Before I get into the madness of the situation, there are things I should mention. We were not about to involve the hotel management. Our plan was to get in and out. We’d have the family deal with the hotel after we were long gone. The bounty hunter and I arrived at 1:30 a.m. We scoped things out for a few minutes and all was quiet, no drug addicts running wild or any prostitutes or pimps in sight. I saw the car in the same spot it had been in for the last three days.
It did not take long for things to get sketchy. I creeped up on the car, I clicked the unlock button on the key and two beeps sounded off. In the dead of the night they sounded like two train horns to me and I could feel my body lock up with panic. I didn’t know if it was my heart that was beating so loud or if the car was loaded with a time bomb for thieves, but I knew it was time to move fast.
I got inside the car. The first thing I did was manually switch off the interior light. At this moment I was having some serious second thoughts. I noticed for fuck’s sake there’s no key ignition, there’s seemingly nothing. I had assumed that a key would pop out of the car remote and that there would be someplace to stick it. In a hot second I realized I’m in a ninety-thousand-dollar spaceship. I instantly felt the sweat on my back. I wanted to watch the hotel window for movement, but I couldn’t. At least I had the bounty hunter as a separate set of eyes. After fumbling with the key in the dark, I found a button that said “start.” I thought to myself, there’s hope. I pushed it — nothing! Nothing happened. I was so nervous, I was about to abort the operation when my bounty hunter texted me, asking what the hell was going on. Through furious back-and-forth texts, he explained to me I had to have my foot on the brake and then push the start button! Jesus, I did not know this, it was 2007, for crying out loud. I finally started that sucker up and burned rubber out of there without incident.
Before I arrived at a predestined location, I received a text from Casey, stating “My Mom has been blowing me up, I’m coming out, don’t fuck up my rims, the air is low in the right front tire, please don’t drive on it.” Casey was far more calm then I was. We communicated through text and Casey was cooperative. The bounty hunter took Casey to county jail high on a plethora of drugs. I would bet money they keistered a few rocks of cocaine for their personal use and also to sell while inside the county jail.
What I thought would be simple shaved off at least five years of my life. The family paid the hotel for the cost of the room and the damages that typically occur while being used by people out of their minds on drugs. The family paid the bounty hunter, which is never cheap. I did not charge my client any extra fees because, for one, I was a rookie, and for two, I enjoyed driving the 90k car for the next three months that Casey was in drug rehab. I learned a hard lesson with this scenario.
The worst part of this story is that while we were doing the surveillance that night at one-thirty in the morning, an acquaintance drove by and saw me walking in front of the sleaziest hotel in the San Fernando Valley. They waved, I was mortified.
Raquel Vasquez is an entrepreneur and freelance writer from Los Angeles with a background in dance and photography. Born in Las Vegas, Raquel is the progeny of entertainment industry parents and spent her early years traveling. Raquel has been a columnist for LA Canvas magazine and other outlets covering boxing, music, art and pop culture. She is currently in college furthering her education, owns two businesses and is working on her second book.
(This week, Raquel is featured in NY Fights magazine – and so is Legsville!)