Cocaine - Recap
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A silver Mercedes disgorges two men who enter a building, Importado Cosas de las Americas. These are Carl Reid, cocaine distributor for the syndicate, and Joseph Conrad, his right hand man. They meet Reid’s chief supplier Fernando Laroca. Laroca shows how he will smuggle cocaine within a sculpture crafted by Rene Santoro. The base is large enough to hold 500 kilos, the largest single shipment into the United States ever. At $20,000 a kilo, Reid’s wholesale price is $10,000,000. Santoro wants no part of this and leaves. On his way out a gunman silences his objections permanently.
Jim Phelps enters a bookshop and asks the clerk for a Victorian first edition by Richard Tremayne. The young woman directs him to an office where he finds exactly the book he needs. Within it’s hollowed out pages are pictures and tape player.
Good morning, Mr. Phelps. Carl Reid [first picture] is the most important distributor of cocaine in the United States. Fernando Laroca [second picture] is his chief supplier. These men have set up ingenious, undetectable pickup and payoff locations, and conventional law enforcement agencies have been unable to stop the flow of this dangerous drug. We have learned that within the next seventy-two hours, Laroca will deliver to Reid the largest shipment of cocaine ever to be smuggled into the United States. Your mission, should you accept, is to locate and seize this shipment. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim.
Joseph Conrad is the mark. Conrad has recently joined “The Funhouse”, an exclusive key club run by Frank Fallon. Fallon is recovering from a serious accident that necessitated plastic surgery. His appearance is no longer well known, permitting Jim Phelps to step into his identity.
The IMF team has obtained pure, triple-refined cocaine from the government and has set up a small lab in a building once occupied by Fallon’s cosmetics firm. Barney, as “Detective Sergeant Baker” will replace a police agent known to be on Reid’s payroll, and Mimi will join the club as “fun girl” Candy Collins. A trick headline tells the world that Detective Sergeant Baker has discovered an enormous cache of cocaine.
The cocaine was reportedly hidden in a shipment of liquor delivered to The Funhouse. Conrad visits the Funhouse. There “Candy” contrives an introduction to him by stumbling into his table. A staged encounter reveals “Frank Fallon” to Conrad. Fallon is angry because Candy is high – a fact that doesn’t escape Joe Conrad’s attention either. Joe’s interested and Candy arranges an after hours rendezvous with Conrad at her apartment, 303 Riverside, 3rd floor.
Meanwhile, the offices of “Associated Credit Data, Inc.” are dark, except for the flashlight carried by Willie, who is there to replace one tape with another externally identical tape...
At Candy’s apartment, between dances and champagne, Joe asks for “some of what made you feel so good at the club.” He wants Candy’s cocaine source as much as he wants Candy. She’s about to get it for him from a tricky trap controlled by a rotating railing, when the police demand entry – Detective Sergeant Baker and other officers. She manages to close the trap before they force the door. They search the apartment but do not find her drugs. Frustrated, Baker arrests Candy on suspicion. But Conrad’s answers check out and Baker cannot arrest him. Baker does caution him to stay out of trouble. That leaves him an opportunity to open the trap himself, and steal the contents.
Conrad returns to his boss Reid with one of the several small drug bags he stole from Candy’s apartment. Their chemist Stanley confirms that it is the purest cocaine he’s ever seen. Conrad is convinced Fallon is the source. The fake headline established Barney’s bonafides as Detective Sergeant Baker and also suggested the source of Candy’s candy: Frank Fallon. Reid calls Alice Chambers at Associated Credit Data. He wants the confidential report on Fallon Enterprises and she’s the rat who can get it for him.
Reid and Conrad drive to the health club, trailed by the police. Reid introduces the pickup man from Miami, Harry Barrett. Conrad tells him the setup: at 4:00pm tomorrow he’s to be at the first phone in the Coast National Building lobby. Reid will call him there and give him seven digits – a phone number, but in reverse. When he calls it, he’ll get his pickup instructions. Reid can’t give him the number now because he doesn’t know it – and won’t until Laroca gives it to him. This compartmentalization keeps all the parties honest and keeps the police baffled.
Reid has learned that Candy Collins has a sheet with four arrests and a narcotics conviction. Conrad realizes Baker knew what he was looking for. Reid orders Conrad to have a talk with Baker and find out what he knows. Reid is worried: with a $20,000,000 commitment [sic] he can’t afford any coke on the street except his. A cheap source could undercut him and make it impossible for him to recover his investment, much less make the healthy profit he plans. Conrad meets Baker in a low dive. There he suggests that Baker could improve his lifestyle. Baker angrily rejects this offer, advising Conrad that Fallon missed his chance and the next time he sends an operator like Conrad that operator might not return. But Conrad now knows something he didn’t before: Fallon is the man Baker wants. The IMF team continues to herd Conrad where they need him to go.
Reid has received the credit report on Fallon Enterprises and learned it lost tremendous money and closed several operations – until recently when cash flow improved without apparent cause. Conrad and Reid conclude that Fallon is a volume narcotics trafficker.
Candy returns to her apartment after the police release her; Conrad is waiting for her there. He bailed her out. He still wants the cocaine. She’s angry to discover that her stash has been emptied. Threats follow: Conrad wants the source, and Candy claims ignorance. Finally, Conrad threatens to “fix her face so that when she looks in the mirror, she’ll scream”. That threat shakes her resolve and she agrees to introduce Conrad to the Fallon.
Conrad confronts Fallon with knowledge of his smuggling and offers him a partnership. With his distribution network Fallon will have no problem moving his merchandise. But Fallon is not interested. He orders Candy out of his life and Conrad out of his office. Candy won’t go so easily. She shoots at Fallon and misses. In the struggle that follows he shoots her. Conrad demands the gun. Now he has leverage on Fallon.
Forced to take on Conrad as partner, Fallon takes him to a warehouse. There they meet Caldwell (Willie), a former professor of chemistry who has established a laboratory. Caldwell has discovered a way to manufacture cocaine. Produced in complex computer controlled machinery, Caldwell’s drug is pure and indistinguishable from the real thing. Conrad is on his way to belief but orders Stanley to the plant with his testing gear. Conrad also tells Stanley that no one is to know, but Stanley knows who pays him and reports the conversation to Reid.
Stanley visits the laboratory. A conversation with Caldwell has him nearly convinced. He examines Caldwell’s product and pronounces it “just beautiful.” At that moment, Baker bursts in. Fallon offers Baker money but evidently he has missed his chance. Conrad tells Baker he’s a fool: with cheap, manufactured cocaine there’s literally no limit to how much money can be made. Conrad’s hooked when Caldwell tells him he can make five hundred kilos easily. Conrad plans to undercut Reid to the suppliers who will be coming to town to pick up the Laroca shipment. Reid will be out of business and Conrad will move to the top of the food chain.
Conrad sends Stanley the chemist home, giving him cash to forget what he saw. Baker follows him. From the other side of the door, a shot is heard. Baker re-enters the room, and the people inside can see that Stanley looks dead. Baker tells them, “Why take chances?” He tells Caldwell to set up for production which will take until about 3:00am. Fallon and Baker arrange to meet Conrad’s distributors at 5:00am in Fallon’s club. Conrad is sure they’ll be happy to buy the drugs cheap.
The distributors see the cocaine and reveal their money. Then Fallon bursts in with a machine gun. Candy reappears and Fallon, Caldwell, and Candy depart with the money. The distributors soon learn they’ve paid $5,000,000 for several boxes of sugar. Samuel is about to kill Baker and then Conrad, when Baker tells him they can get the cocaine. The distributors have nothing to lose and everything to gain: their money is gone. Samuel gives Baker and Conrad until 9:00pm to produce the cocaine.
Conrad returns to Reid’s office long enough to confirm that Laroca, the supplier, is in town. Reid, suspicious, orders an associate named Steve to follow Conrad and report what he does.
Laroca appears at Reid’s office. The location of the money drop and the phone number that will reveal the location of the drugs change hands. Reid calls Harry Barrett. Although Mimi overhears the number, it is useless to her because she does not know the simple encryption scheme. Barrett knows what to do, and gets the location. Conrad waylays him, forces the location from him, and shoots him. Conrad’s shadow gets to the dying Harry Barrett in time to hear: Ames Art Gallery, the location of the cocaine filled statue.
Conrad races for the gallery too fast to realize he’s got a tail: Jim and Willie. Conrad manages to get by a school crossing guard but Jim and Willie are stalled. Meanwhile, Steve has reported Barrett’s murder and the drug drop to Reid, who immediately orders a man to the money drop to stop Laroca from collecting. Mimi overhears both locations; she tells Jim where Conrad is going, putting Jim and Willie back in the game. She then tips off police Captain Hamill about the money drop, where he’ll find Laroca.
Conrad arrives at the gallery and attempts to purchase the statue for $1500. Then Reid and two of his men enter to “help” him. While his men cover Conrad Reid opens the base of the statue and confirms that the cocaine is all there. Then he prepares to kill Conrad, telling him “You made a bad mistake, Joe.” But the police race in, more than enough of them to handle the drug traffickers. Conrad briefly sees the IMF team as they observe the capture and realizes with a sardonic smile that he did indeed make a bad mistake – just not the one Reid thinks.