Pain & Gain, Part 2

Miami's Sun Gym gang developed a taste for blood and money. The police could have stopped them before they killed somebody. But they didn't.

Lugo took Weekes to Solid Gold and told him Doorbal had targeted another victim. Like Sanchez, Weekes declined the offer. He thought they might be planning to kill him, along with the Hungarian.

"Look, Sabina," began Lugo one day in their Main Street apartment after he'd returned from another trip to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. "You always ask if you can help me. Well, I need your help now." With those words Lugo conscripted Sabina Petrescu into her second undercover operation for the United States of America. This time, he told her, it was the FBI that wanted him to capture someone, some guy named Frank Griga, a Golden Beach businessman who used women for sex, especially Hungarian women. Besides that, he was circumventing U.S. tax laws. (Lugo confided that he might personally extract some money from Griga before turning him over to the FBI.)

Sabina was excited about this assignment. She was aching to display her patriotism, she was bored, she was ... dim. (She was that special type of woman about whom a prosecutor would one day say in court: "You see, God blessed Sabina Petrescu with a beautiful face and a beautiful body, but not with any book smarts or common sense.") She'd felt let down when the operation to capture Palestinian terrorist Winston Lee folded. She'd begged to participate in the surveillance missions on him.

Penthouse model Sabina Petrescu, just before she lost her innocence
Penthouse model Sabina Petrescu, just before she lost her innocence
Daniel Lugo: An uncanny mixture of brains and brawn not always under control
Daniel Lugo: An uncanny mixture of brains and brawn not always under control

Lugo filled her in on the new job. They would snatch Griga and his girlfriend from Griga's mansion. After Lugo and Doorbal entered the front door, Sabina would wait until she saw the garage door open and Doorbal driving a Lamborghini out into the driveway. Then she would back Lugo's gold Mercedes into the garage. Griga and the girlfriend would be stashed in the trunk of the Mercedes. They'd be handcuffed, gagged, tranquilized, and blindfolded.

"When you see it, Sabina, you will be frightened," cautioned Lugo. "They will be tied up, they'll have tape over their mouths, but they'll be okay."

"What about the girl?" she asked. "Why her? She doesn't have anything to do with this. He's the one the FBI wants."

"She's the girlfriend and she'll know," said Lugo. "We can't just let her go; she would talk. But we won't hurt her."

On Friday, May 19, Attila Weiland drove out to the Golden Beach house to attend a surprise party for Frank Griga's 33rd birthday. Krisztina Furton had arranged the party with Judi and Gabor Bartusz, their closest friends. A dozen Hungarians were in attendance, and Weiland made sure to take Griga aside and tell him he knew a couple of guys who wanted to pitch a business deal. Sure, Griga said, he'd listen. They agreed that Weiland would bring them by the next day.

At 6:30 the following evening, Attila Weiland sat in the back seat of Lugo's Mercedes, giving directions to the house. Up front with Lugo was his "cousin" Adrian Doorbal. As they pulled into the driveway, a mechanic was working on Griga's canary-yellow Lamborghini, the car Doorbal coveted.

For this meeting the weight lifters had abandoned their muscle shirts and jeans in favor of tailored suits and ties. They looked like a pair of Wall Street dynamos in their elegant threads. Doorbal even wore Marc Schiller's Presidential Rolex. Griga, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, was taken aback by their striking entrance. He even pulled Weiland aside to tell him these guys sure did know how to dress to impress. And they seemed like nice guys, to boot.

Lugo did the talking, explaining that he and Doorbal were offering a lucrative investment opportunity through Interling International, Inc. (which actually was a legitimate telecommunications company expanding into India). He provided authentic Interling color brochures with pie charts and text indicating phenomenal growth potential; its only real competition was AT&T. They were seeking only serious investors; he'd have to chip in between $500,000 and $1,000,000 to get in. Griga was interested. He might even want to invest more than a million, particularly if they could develop some action with cell-phone use in South Asia. Lugo agreed to look into that possibility.

As a bonus, Krisztina gave Lugo and Doorbal a guided tour of the mansion, a perfect ending to the visit.

On the drive home Doorbal was psyched. He told Weiland they'd remember it was he who'd made this introduction possible, that he'd be taken care of if the deal went through. The future looks bright, the future looks bright, Doorbal kept repeating. They dropped Weiland off at his apartment. They had a lot of work to do back on Main Street.

Once they arrived home, Lugo told Sabina the abduction of the Golden Beach couple would "go down tomorrow." That evening she watched in her living room as he and Doorbal packed their FBI equipment: guns, handcuffs, rope, syringes, and Rompun, a tranquilizer used to sedate horses and other large animals.

On the way to Griga's house the next morning, Sunday, May 21, they realized they'd forgotten duct tape, so they pulled into a store on Hallandale Beach Boulevard and Doorbal got out of the Mercedes. Sabina waited in the car with Lugo when suddenly he let out a shriek; Doorbal's gun clearly was visible in the back of his pants. Lugo raced to intercept him before he entered the store. Even in South Florida, a handgun rising from one's waistband is sometimes cause for alarm.

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