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Dan Dunn Secret Operative 48
and the Dope Ring

CHAPTER I
THE FIRST CLUE

Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48, turned to his pudgy helper, and snapped: "Well, Irwin, we don't seem to find a clue anywhere about this office of Jug's—let's call up the boys at Shelia's apartment!"

"That's a good idea, Dan!" Irwin answered, grinning as he noticed the fire in Dan Dunn's eyes.

The famous detective had just blown the cover off what looked like the country's biggest smuggling ring, and now the dragnet of the Secret Service was tightening. Every operative in the district, with Dan Dunn as their fearless leader, was searching for the smugglers who had eluded them hi their raid the day before.

You say she drives a Borman sedan which is missing?"

Dan was talking on the telephone to the operatives in Shelia's apartment, and his nostrils dilated slightly as, like a human bloodhound, he felt himself on the scent of the smugglers. Shelia was one of the escaped leaders of the smuggling ring.

"HI have the police all over the country on the lookout for that car, and we'll send out descriptions of all of the smugglers!" he continued crisply.

Far to the eastward, a Borman sedan pulled up beside a newsstand in a small city. A dark woman writh heavy brows slid out and selected a paper. A wily smile wreathed her full lips, and she winked knowingly to the two sinister-looking men in the Borman.

"Yep," she sneered. "The story about the Borman sedan is in here, Jug. They got everyone except ourselves—they don't seem to know who we are!"

The two men grinned, and, criminal-like, with never a thought for their erstwhile friends who had been captured, congratulated each other on their getaway.

Back in Shelia's apartment Dan Dunn scanned a scrap of paper anxiously. "This seems to be the only clue we're able to pick up here of course we have pictures of all three—Heinie, Jug, and Shelia!" he mused.

"Yeh," agreed Irwin, his forehead creased in worry. "But I never thought that piece of paper would be worth anything, Dan."

"Jug wrote the name of the city —Doberton—then erased it," mused Dan, stroking his square, hard jaw reflectively.

"And you think he thought of the town because he intended going there?" queried Irwin.

Dan Dunn nodded shortly. Sweeping up the telephone, he spoke in crisp syllables:

"Give me the Chief of Police at Doberton—hello—this is Dan Dunn calling—have all your men be on the lookout for a red Borman sedan containing two men and a woman. THEY'RE WANTED FOR THE MURDER OF OPERATIVE JONES — AND FOR SMUGGLING! I'll be there in a couple of days."

CHAPTER II
CROOKS' MASQUERADE

Meanwhile, off the main road in a secluded glen, two men moved about a strange task with feverish haste.

"Heh, heh," growled the heavyset man. "Now this car will never be recognized as the one we drove out of San Fragel!"

"Right, Jug!" agreed the smaller man in oily tones. "That spray gun did the work fast—from red Borman to black Borman in less than twenty minutes! Now we'll change the license plates."

"And another thing," spoke the woman sitting near the car—the same woman who had bought the newspaper back in the small town, "we'll drop Heinie off at the next railroad station!"

'"What!" snarled the little man, and his thin curled up to reveal discolored teeth. "What's the idea of ditchin' me?"

"Take it easy," sneered the woman. "If our descriptions have been broadcast, the police will be looking for two men and a woman, —the two of us will have a better chance of getting through in the car."

The little man subsided as Jug agreed in his heavy voice: "That's a bright idea—good girl!"

"There... that's settled!" sighed Shelia as she and her mysterious criminal companion drove away from the railroad station where they had left Heinie. "Now what are the plans for us in Doberton?"

"The best way is for you to rent an apartment for us. Tell the landlord I'm recuperating from a nervous breakdown."

That's fine—the cops will never hnd us there—an' then we'll get in touch with Heinie through the personal columns in the newspaper. How's that?"

"Right!" agreed Jug. "And I don't believe we better get in touch with the local mob for a while—best way in the world for the police to get a lead on us. We'll just live the lonely life for a while."

"Yeh," laughed Shelia sullenly, "until WE FIGURE OUT A NEW RACKET!"

As the Borman sedan sped rough the outskirts of Doberton bearing the figure of a dark woman seated beside the gross, stubble-jawed Jug, two policemen on the sidewalk turned to stare at the car. One of the policemen spoke:

There goes a Borman sedan, ack. We got a broadcast from Dan Dunn in San Fragel about a Borman sedan."

'Aw, those aren't the smugglers!" answered the other as he turned away. "They had a red car and there were three of 'em—boy, I'd sure like to catch 'em, though!"

Thus the first men to get w'thin striking distance of the criminals since the cowardly murder of Operative Jones lost their chance to even up the score!

'This looks like a good neighborhood, Jug, and there's an apartment building that would suit us," suggested Shelia, bringing the heavy Borman sedan to a quiet stop before a red brick apartment building.

'Yeh." agreed Jug. 'That looks okay to me—now handle the thing smart with the landlord. I'll wait in the car for you."

The landlord was all too easily taken in by Shelia's story of her husband needing quiet to recover from a nervous breakdown. His old eyes gleamed sympathetically as he offered:

That's a shame, Mrs. Tupple— when do you think you'll want to move in?"

Tonight, sometime—whenever Mr. TuppJe feels able to move from his hotel," affirmed Shelia, or "Mrs. Tupple," as she called herself, veiling her black eyes with puffy lids.

CHAPTER III
CONTACT

After night had fallen, hiding Jug's too-familiar face from the police of Doberton, the two smugglers moved into their new hideout.

"Boy!" groaned Jug, peering up at Shelia through his shaggy black eyebrows. "It's good to be safe in this apartment!"

"Sure," muttered Shelia. "But we'd better run that personal ad an' get Heinie over here before the coppers pick him up."

"Sure," agreed Jug. "Here's the ad—I've got it written out."

"Let's see it, Jug!"

Shelia reached out one of ier long-fingered, greedy hands f oi the scribbled advertisement Jug had written.

"See," explained Jug. "We agreed to use the name Bill for Heinie and George for myself. Then, too, by using the first letter of each word, the words HEINIE and then JUG are formed!"

"That's clever, Jug," flattered Shelia. "I'll take it out and mail it to the newspaper."

The next day, in a sordid rooming house across town, Heinie nervously paced the floor. The cigarette stub dangling from his thin mouth jerked angrily as he spoke to himself.

"I'm holed up here, and the newspapers are full of our escape from that raid by the G-men! I'm afraid to move—the cops are liable to nab me any time I show my face in the open!"

Thumbing anxiously through the evening paper, a sly smile crept over his ratlike face. He muttered:

"Aha! That was a clever way of doing things—I'll answer in tomorrow's paper, and I'll give him my 'phone number!"

Heinie had seen Jug's ad in the personal column, and, seizing a grimy stub of a pencil, he scrawled an answer.

Once more the newspaper was the innocent means of these merciless murderers communicating with each other. Jug licked his fat chops and Shelia laughed deep in her throat as the smugglers read Heinie's answer in the paper the next morning.

"Hello, operator—give me Travers nine seven four five—HelloBill? This is George—yeh, sit tight—tonight we'll pick you up. Yeh, take a cab to Walt and Gray avenues — stand under the arc light—yeh—at nine!"

The Jug turned to Shelia.

"Everything's set, Shelia. You'll get him, and a lot of groceries. We don't want to stir out of here for at least a week!"

"Okay, Jug—I'll be on the job»" agreed Shelia, moving toward the door. "But, listen, Jug, we can't hide here forever! Have you thought about starting a new racket?"

CHAPTER IV
A FALSE STORY

In the weathered old city hall of Doberton, Dan Dunn, fearless Secret Operative 48, and his assistant, Irwin, talked to Doberton's gray-haired Chief of Police. Dan Dunn was working desperately against time, because he knew all too well that the unscrupulous smugglers would soon break out with a new form of crime.

What it would be he could not say, but as he leaned over the chief's desk, every line of his muscular body told that he was ready for anything.

"So you have had no word about these smugglers—Shelia, Jug, and Heinie, Chief?" Dan queried tersely.

"No, Dan, our force has made a quiet investigation, and I'm sure they haven't contacted the local hoodlums!"

"Hmmm," Dan mused for a second. "Then you're pretty sure they're not here?"

As the Chief of Police nodded gravely, Dan Dunn turned on his heel, and, beckoning to Irwin, started back to his hotel.

Back in the hotel room Dan picked up the telephone and called a number.

"Hello, is this the City Editor?" he barked. "This is Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48—I've got a story for you if you'll send one of your reporters over..."

Irwin's jaw dropped as he heard Dan's words.

"What the deuce, Dan!" he cried. "You never give out stories!"

Dan did not answer, but smiled slowly and mysteriously at Irwin.

"I'm from the Daily Star," explained the man who knocked at their door a few minutes later. "You got some news for us, Mr. Dunn?"

"That's right," admitted Dan. "I thought you might like to know something about that big smuggling ease we cracked out in San Fragel!"

"That'll make a swell story! the reporter cried eagerly. "You got all the smugglers except three, didn't you?"

"Right! All except Shelia, Jug, and Heinie, who, I believe, were the leaders of the ring."

Have you any idea where they went?" queried the man from the Star.

"We traced them to San Fragel —I believe they flew over the border! Our agents are searching for them there!" Dan lied calmly.

"Then the search isn't being made in this country?"

I'm sure they're across the border—rm on my way to the capital to report the case right now. I'm catching the afternoon train."

As Dan Dunn closed the door gently behind the departing reporter he grinned at the look of popeyed astonishment on Irwin's face.

Satisfied that his scheme to mislead the smugglers had worked, Dan Dunn worked night and day in his hotel room trying to bring the criminals to justice. He had broken the rule of a lifetime and given a story to a newspaper, but only to make the smugglers think he had left Doberton.

As night fell one evening and Irwin chewed nervously on his fingernails in the corner, Dan spoke to a dirty, nondescript little crook who had slunk into his room a moment before:

"So you didn't get a line on Jug or his two cronies, then?" he demanded.

"Nope... if they're here they am't tyin' up with none of the local mobsters!"

Dan Dunn gave the little stool pigeon a bill for his cowardly tale* beai'ing, and, involuntarily grimacing distastefully, let him out the door. Dan turned to Irwin, and sounded discouraged as he spoke.

"There's nothing to do," he admitted. "We've exhausted every possibility. Maybe they didn't come here, but I'll wait around a c°nple of more days and see what Ue can find. But we've GOT to them—THEY'RE DANGEROUS CROOKS!"

Was Dan Dunn going to give up too e...

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