I spent over a year reporting and publishing on this topic. I applied for a grant (it was quite a package we were required to put together) and I just found out I received it. It was from a very decent journalism foundation willing to support my trip and reporting. I fly out of Newark airport on Nov. 9.
I’m happy as hell and grateful. It’s an important story with a lot of national security implications. It’s also a hard story to do. To do right that is, not just some soft feature, get a few quotes, talk to a retired Interpol cat and some experts in the field.
I want to get the hell deep inside and tell the truth of their story, all of them, the cops and the robbers, the mothers, the gun slingers, the analysts, the guards, the beat up mob friend, the in charge shot caller, the hapless detective, the cop or prosecutor who works 14 hour days and is nailing this thing and no one really knows (I mean, damn, nobody ever knows about Albania here in the States) — no judgements — just a true story for posterity, history, so it will be documented, real.
Yeah, so a little help — you journos, sources, cops, feds, marshalls, friends from the old days, criminologists, bag men, young muscle, retired big shots — tell me what’s up. I’ll do it right. You know my e-mail kevinjayheldman[at]yahoo.com
I’ll give you my damn phone number if it’ll help — 347 – 351, the rest is easy to find. Tell me if you have something real. I know this unorthodox but I don’t work for the Times or the New Yorker (I would though, Dave and Susan/Sam/Punch whoever hires there; but I’m not good punching a clock to be honest). I’m grass roots, renting cars, borrowing money, hitting up old friend skip tracers for database help, hustling on my own so…I’m asking. No shame — it’s an important story — I’m going to do it anyway. A little help though fella’s.
Thanks, Kevin Heldman (check my credentials, I’m a pretty good reporter; I try to do decent work). It’s hard out here for an investigative journalist who likes to get a little literary and doesn’t want to be Dateline, wait till everything is over and then get the nice little story with a bow.