Help via Ko-Fi

Dan Dunn Secret Operative 48
and the Dope Ring


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."


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.


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?"


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 easily? Had he but known it, at that very moment the unscrupulous smugglers were putting the finishing touches on their plans to rob the United States mint!


In an apartment blocks away from Doberton's City Hall, Dan Dunn's newspaper story was greeted with glee the next day.

Jug was so excited that he took his ragged cigar from his mouth as he gloated:

"Gee whiz! This means they won't be looking for us here!"

"Yeh," agreed Heinie, leering. "We played this too safe!"

"Listen," growled Jug. "In this racket you cant play NOTHING too safe. Come on—lets get started on the plans for sticking up the government mint!"

"How about getting Louie Weasel to help us now?" pleaded Heinie, rubbing his face nervously.

"What's the matter?" Jag snarled. "You getting yellow? Do you want to have to split with him. We're going to pull this job alone! Shelia—get us a map of the city— we'll start laying plans!"

"I'll get it, Jug," Shelia said, on her way to the door. "Be back in a few minutes."

Shelia was as good as her word.

As the three ill-assorted ciim inal figures bent over the map Ju£ pointed out a tiny square on it and said:

"There's the mint—now I want you and Heinie to go out and case the neighborhood—you must know every street and alley!

"And then what?" queried Shelia in her hard voice.

"Then we've gotta know every detail about the mint itself you two will get that dope!"

Heinie shook his head, still worried. "Looks awful big to mehow are we gonna do it?"

"Don't worry about that," ordered Jug with a wave of his fat hand. Get the information first then we'll work out the rest later!"

As Heinie and Shelia walked toward the mint Heinie was still fuming.

"I don't like the looks of this. Shelia. Jug's idea may be all right, but holding up the mint will be plenty dangerous!"

"Listen, Heinie," Shelia warned, her eyes sparkling dangerously. Jug's the head of our mob, and he's giving the orders—he's got the brain, and the best thing you can do is quit squawking and string along. Now, come on; we've got work to do!"

Back in the apartment Jug pored gloatingly over the map of the city.

"That's it—I'll have 'em check the route to make sure, and then we'll start casing the mint to find out the easiest way to get at 'em. This job ought to be worth a million dollars!"

When Shelia and Heinie returned to the hide-out to report on the neighborhood of the mint, Jug delivered further orders:

"Shelia, I want you to locate a place where we can watch the delivery entrance of the mint i$ there anything around the neighborhood?"

Shelia nodded.

"While Heinie and I were look* ing over the mint," she said, "I noticed a restaurant across the street—probably a lot of the boys who work in the mint eat there. I figured that I would get a job there and use my eyes and ears..."

"Fine!" agreed Jug. "Is there a place—say, upstairs—where Heinie could rent a room and watch the mint?"

"Sure," said Shelia. "Over the restaurant there's a rooming house. Looks like a perfect layout for us!"

Following out Jug's orders Shelia entered the restaurant across from the mint. Wearing dark glasses and speaking meekly, she looked like anything but one of the country's most notorious criminals.

"I'm a good waitress, and I'd like a job, mister. I see you got a Help Wanted sign in the window."

"Okay," agreed the proprietor, little knowing whom he was hiring. "I'll give you five a week and your meals. Take off your coat and get started."

At the same moment, Heinie, upstairs in the front room he had just rented, was peering furtively across at the government mint.

"Hmmm," he muttered to himself. "There's a truck pulling up there, now. Wonder if it's full of money? We've got to be SURE when we knock it over!"

Shelia and Heinie kept their ominous vigil well, and when they reported to Jug that night he greeted them anxiously at the door.

"Here's the report, Jug, on the first day," offered Heinie, looking more than ever like a rat as he entered Jug's apartment. "Five armored trucks made deliveries to the mint—here's the record!"

"Fine—we'll keep track of everything that goes on for a couple of weeks, and then we'll be sure what's going to happen when we're ready to pull the job."

"And in the restaurant I found that they make two big money deliveries each week. Once a month they have a load of over a million," contributed Shelia.

A broad, sneering smile split Jug's fat face. "Over a million. Then that'll be our job!

With infinite patience the criminals laid their plans, and while Ban Dunn was running up against a blank wall of silence, Jug's plans came ever closer to realization. Night cloaked the conspirators as they entered Jug's apartment toward the end of the second week.

Jug smiled evilly and rubbed hi? hands together as Shelia informed him:

"They don't take any extra precautions with the money. rJ omorrow is the time for a big shipment of paper money into the mint—I heard one of the drivers say so in the restaurant!"

"This looks like a setup to me," boasted Heinie. "Why not stick up that load tomorrow?"

"DON'T BE A FOOL!" Jug ordered. "We don't want to do ANYTHING until we know everything is ready. I'd call at room tomorrow, Heinie, and w atch 'em unload that truck."

In Heinie's room the next day two dark figures lurked in the window, gazing greedily down toward the mint.

"You see, Jug, there's the truck there are only five guards and all they carry is pistols!"

'Yah!" snarled Jug. "A tommy gun would make that job a pushover, Heinie!"

"I hate to see all that money going to waste—it could be ours!"

"That's right—watch close,now, Heinie—notice what every one of them does—then when we get ready to stick 'em up we won't have no trouble!"

Next day, back in Jug's apartment, the three criminals were not so cocksure. Anger lay in a cloud over Jug's gross face, and Heinie's thin face twitched with fear.

Jug rumbled in his usual sullen tone:

"It was lucky we saw Dan Dunn yesterday—we wouldn't DARE stick up the mint with him in town!"

'I'll say we wouldn't, Jug—but what are we going to do?"

You're going to San Fragel, Heinie, steal Babs and bring her here!"

"WHAT? Steal Dan Dunn's little girl? Do you mean that?"

Cold sweat broke out on Heinie's pallid forehead.

"Right!" continued Jug. "Then as soon as he knows she's gone he'll beat it for San Fragel to find her!"

"B-But what'll we do with the kid?"

"Don't worry about that now— get going! You've got to be back in time to stick up the mint!"

Speeding over the road toward San Fragel in the repainted Borman sedan, Heinie, his courage restored by Jug's desperate words, muttered to himself:

"We'll show that smart detective he can't fool with us—and when we stick up that mint he'll have a REAL headache!"


All unsuspicious of the rat-faced Heinie and his sinister purpose, Miss Kay, Dan Dunn's beautiful, blonde sweetheart, called to Babs:

"Babs, dear, we need some sugar —would you run to the store while I finish setting the table?"

"Sure," smiled Dan's dark-haired little girl, with no idea of what lay waiting outside in the dark night. "I'll be back in just a minute, Miss Kay."

Scampering out as fast as she could go, Babs forgot to take Dan's big police clog, Wolf, with her! As Wolf stood beside the closed door to the stairs a low growl rumbled in his throat, but hKss Kay, lacking the dog's intuitKe sixth sense, only shrugged.

"Goodness," she said to herself, intended to have Babs take Wolf along but then oniy a few steps to the store. Nothing could happen to her."

Wolf thought differently, though, and as the minutes dragged by without the sound of Babs's light feet on the stairs, he began to whine frantically. Soon Miss Kay realized from Wolf's actions that all was not well, and when she glanced at the clock and saw how long Babs had been gone she caught her breath with fear!

Slipping on her coat, and keeping calm with an effort, she spoke to Wolf:

"Maybe she stopped to play with someone—come on, Wolf, let's you and I find her."

But downstairs in the grocery she heard bad news. The grocery man leaned across the counter, and with worry in his kind, old eyes said:

"No lady—Babs was here, got a Pound of sugar and hurried out— she said she was in an awful hurry because dinner was nearly ready and you needed the sugar!"

Miss Kay's face went white, and her mouth was a taut line as she cried:

"WHAT? Then something has happened to her! Find her, Wolf! Find her!" she pleaded, turning to the huge police dog that was already on his way to the street.

Babs's trail ended at the curb, and though Wolf tried frantically to pick up her trail by running up and down the street, it was all too plain that Dan's little girl had been forced into a car.

Back in the apartment, almost unable to speak for the sobs that welled up in her throat, Miss Kay put in a call for the office of the Secret Operatives.

"This is Kay Fields," she sobbed. "Yes—come quickly! Babs has disappeared!"

His forehead knotted into angry lines of worry, the operative relayed the call to Police Headquarters.

"Hello, Police Headquarters? Put in a general alarm—Dan Dunn's little girl has just disappeared!"

Immediately grim policemen in dark squad cars were leaning forward alertly as a voice crackled over the radio waves from headquarters. Each policeman knew and admired Dan Dunn, and most them knew Babs herself.

As the circle of speeding squad cars began covering all roads ou: of the city, it looked bad indeed for the cowardly plans of the renegade smugglers!


Three of the country's most vicious members of the underworld congratulated themselves back in Doberton as they gazed mockingly at little Babs.

"So you got her all right, eh, Heinie?" gloated Jug.

"What do you think?" retorted Heinie cockily. "There she is!"

"We'll put her in that big clothes closet—I've fixed a bed for her there," suggested Shelia.

"Okay," agreed Heinie. "What will we do now, Jug?"

"The government mint stickup is all set for tomorrow. Dan Dunn will be hunting around San Fragel for the brat for a week or so—and we can pull this job and be gone before he knows what's happened."

"Swell!" snickered Heinie, "We've left that dough laying around too long now, anyway."

The three murderous smugglers spent the night oiling and cleaning their pistols and their vicious submachine guns. They checked and re-checked their plans for the getaway, and finally the day dawned that was to mean death for some helpless government employee.

As they drove up to the loading entrance of the government mint Jug leaned from the back seat and spoke through the corner of his mouth to Heinie.

"You did a good job of stealing this car," he snarled. "Now go around and act as if somethings wrong with the front wheel."

"Here comes the truck," warned Heinie from his position by the front wheel. "Keep those guns handy, Jug!"

"We're ready, Heinie," answered Jug as he eyed the truck pulling into the curb. "Keep the car running, Shelia."

But Shelia's dark, smoldering eyes were on the guard who appeared at the door of the mint. She, too, wanted to kill!

"Watch it, Heinie!" she cried.

The pistol in her steady hand sent a bullet whining over his head straight to the heart of the unsuspecting guard.

Instantly, Jug was in the street beside Heinie, and each of them covered the truck guards with the wicked snouts of their sub-machine guns.

"Come on, you fellows!" Jug] threatened. "Load those bags in our car—hurry up, or this typewriter is going to talk!"

The startled guards leaped to follow the crook's orders. In split seconds the four federal men had loaded the money in Jug's car and were looking desperately about them for some way to foil the reckless plot of the desperadoes.

"There," ordered Jug, waving his tommy gun ominously. "The bags I are all in—you fellows start walking up the street—hurry up!"

Jug winked broadly at Heinie as he spoke to Shelia.

"Get going, Shelia!" he said.

The stolen car roared through the streets of Doberton, and Shelia drove like a demon in response to the growled directions of Jug. Heinie sat twisted in the seat watching the streets behind them and reporting to Jug.

When they were certain that "Get Going, Shelia." their twisting and turning had thrown all pursuit off their track they shot into a deserted alley far from the mint.

"Here's the garage, fellows," said Shelia. "Hurry and let's get the car in."

"And there's the Borman," smirked Jug, glancing in at the sleek, repainted Borman sedan. "We'll close the doors and take the dough out of the bags and put it in suitcases!"

"It worked perfect, Jug!" Heinie gloated as he swung back the garage door.

"There—did you ever see so much dough before?" asked Jug, running his fingers lovingly through the stolen bills.

While the criminals gloated over the haul, the police station in Doberton sounded a frantic radio alarm. All unaware of the thieves' clever trick of switching and hiding their cars, the police were warned to be on the lookout for a Port sedan! Even as the call went out over the powerful police transmitter, Jug and Heinie were working breathlessly to make the Port unrecognizable!

The Borman stood ready and waiting for their getaway.


"What does the telegram say, Dan?" queried Irwin, his fat face calm as he watched Dan tear open a yellow envelope.

"Just a minute, Irwin," Dan answered, expecting some routine instructions from Washington to be in the telegram.


His fists clenched, and the muscles of his lean face stood out in livid, red knots as he read the message.

"Babs disappeared! Think someone took her away in an automobile!" he unbelievingly repeated.

Irwin's cigar fell out of his mouth and his placid face changed expression as if he had been hit.

"We'll leave for San Fragel at once, Irwin!" snapped Dan. "We'll be there in a couple of hours, and if anyone did take her I'll never rest until I get my hands on them!"

When Dan Dunn arrived at his apartment in San Fragel one glance at Miss Kay's tear-stained face was enough to tell him that she was nearly hysterical with worry over little Babs.

"Hello, Kay, darling," he said comfortingly. "Now calm down, and tell me everything you know about Babs's disappearance!"

"O—oh, Dan!" she sobbed. "There isn't much to tell—I sent her to the corner store for some sugar while I finished getting dinner ready. When she didn't come back in twenty minutes I got scared and went for her."

"Yes. Yes—and then?"

"W-Well, the grocer said she had left—we found the sugar bag on the curb where she had dropped it. I—I called the Secret Operatives at once."

Dan Dunn whirled to Irwin and barked:

"Get my office on the phone, Irwin. Tell the men to drop everything and come here!"

When the Secret Operatives had assembled in his apartment, Dan Dunn stepped in front of them, his shoulders hunched dangerously and his face rigid with anger.

"All right, men," he ordered. "I want you to make a canvass of everyone in the neighborhoodfind out if anyone saw a car loitering around, or a little girl getting into one! If anyone has, find out all they know about it—now, get going and don't come back without some information!"

"Who do you think could have done it, Dan?" queried Irwin, as he closed the door behind the other Operatives.

"That's hard to say, Irwin—, someone in the underworld—I have many enemies among the crooks and hoodlums."

It was a couple of hours later before Dan Dunn got his first clue on the disappearance of Babs. He admitted a Secret Operative to his apartment and waited impatiently for him to speak.

"A black car was seen loitering in the neighborhood the night that Babs disappeared," the man ported.

"A black car?" frowned Dan Dunn. "What make?"

"It was a black Borman sedan!"

Dan Dunn scowled and pointed a muscular forefinger at the operative.

"It was a Borman sedan that Jug, Shelia, and Heinie used in their escape!" he barked.

"Yeah, Dan," objected the Secret Service man, "but theirs was red."

'Did you get the license number?" Dan asked, stroking his jaw reflectively.

"No," answered the operative, "But it was a foreign plate!"

Dan Dunn had for years put more faith in his own clear thinking than in the ideas of his subordinates. Always ready to play a hunch, the fast-acting detective was on a plane for Doberton almost before the operative's words had quit ringing in the air of Dan's apartment.

When Dan Dunn plunged into the office of the Doberton Chief of Police the man was sweating.

The only important clue the Chief had been able to uncover was that for a few weeks before the robbery a strange woman with black eyes had worked in the restaurant across the street from the government mint. He connected the woman instantly with the broadcast description of Shelia, but when he had called Dan Dunn to inform the Secret Operative of the clue he was told that Dan had already left for Doberton.

When Dan Dunn burst through the door of the Chief's office the Chief grasped his hand, wringing it gratefully.

"Dan Dunn!" he cried. "Boy! I'm glad you're here! I've discovered that Jug, Heinie, and Shelia were in town just as you suspected. It was they who robbed the United States mint!"

Dan Dunn grasped the Chief's hand in a grip of steel and his teeth gritted as he answered.

"Now I have a double purpose in taking in those fiends," he vowed. "Not only have they robbed a mint and killed two of my brother officers, bnt they have kidnapped my little girl, Babs!"

"Then let's get going!" cried Doberton's Chief of Police. "I have just got a report from an apartment manager that a woman answering to Shelia's description was renting an apartment from him!"

Sirens screamed their message of vengeance as Dan Dunn and the Chief of Police bore down on the apartment that had been the hideout of the smugglers.

Accompanied by the manager of the apartment building, Dan Dunn worked his way over every inch of space in the criminals' apartment.

Scanning every tiny mark in the smugglers' hide-out, at last Dan Dunn came across a pathetic little message scrawled unobtrusively on the wall of a large clothes closet.

"Please, Mr. Dan," it read, "if you ever find this come to New Orean as fast as you can. Jug and Shelia robbed the United States mint and they are holding me prisoner while they escape to New Orean!"


A black sedan streaked down the highway southwest from San Fragel bearing the murderous criminals and the pathetic figure 0f little Babs. As the sedan roared across an intersection at a peaceful little hamlet, Jug growled around his cigar at Heinie:

"Don't drive too fast, Heinie. We don't want any cops to stop us.''

"I'll say we don't, Jug," leered Heinie, thinking of the million dollars in United States currency stuffed in the suitcases on the floor of the car. "I'll be plenty careful!"

Babs stirred in the back seat and raised her tear-stained face to Shelia.

"Please," she pleaded. "How soon will I see Mr. Dan?"

"Shut up," Shelia snapped, her face setting in hard lines. "Shut up and mind what we tell you or you'll never see Dan Dunn again!"

An evil snicker came from Heinie as he grinned nastily.

"That's right, Shelia," he urged, "tell Babs where to get off!"

Babs trembled as the truth began to dawn on her. "B-But y-you promised to take me to Mr. Dan!" she begged.

"Aw, dry up!" snarled Jug, his eyes on the road ahead.

Ignoring Babs, Shelia leaned forward toward the front seat.

"Let's get hold of Shanghai Pete," she suggested. "He'll give us a good place to hide."

Jug's heavy head nodded ponderously.

"That's the best move—I've known him for years—me and him used to work together, Shelia."

As Babs saw the criminals' plans unfolding she could not help listening, in spite of her fear. Unconsciously she leaned forward to catch every word the crooks spoke. She knew that Dan Dunn would want her to listen so she could tell him about their nefarious deeds—if she ever escaped!

So interested was she in what she was hearing that Babs forgot her fear until Shelia's hand caught her a stinging slap across the mouth.

"There, brat! Let that teach you to mind your own business!"

Her eyes blurred with tears of pain, Babs did not see the car pull up to the curb in front of a dilapidated building.

Jug heaved his fat bulk out of the front seat, and still chuckling at the sight of tears in Babs's eyes he rapped on the dingy door to the building.

"Hello, Shanghai," he mumbled in a low voice to the lantern-jawed man who answered the door in response to his knock. "We're on the lam out of Doberton!"

The man's eyelids drooped to veil narrow, fox-like eyes.

"So you're the wise guys that pulled that job, eh? Nice going— hear you cleaned up over a million, Jug!"

"Aw, we didn't do as good as that —by a long shot," lied Jug. "But we want to hole up for a whilecan you take care of us?"

"Well," murmured the longnosed man, Shanghai Pete, watching Jug narrowly out of the corner of his eyes. "I guess I can—but it'll cost yuh dough!"

"I expected that," agreed Jug. "But I'm figuring on a new racket, and I'll cut you in on that."

"How many are with you?" queried Pete.

"Three," confessed Jug. "Heinie and Shelia and Dan Dunn's little girl."

Shanghai Pete's cruel face lit wdth vindictive glee when he heard that Jug had been the one who had stolen Babs. He chortled wickedly, and the two men drove out to inspect the hide-out that he was going to let Jug use.

"This is a nice layout, Shanghai," commented Jug. "I'll get busy on the new racket. We'll get our lines all laid and then I'll put it all before you."

"Okay, but what is the racket?"

Shanghai took his cigarette from his mouth and listened intently to Jug's proposition.

"Dope!" Jug's fat face quivered with eagerness as he spoke the fearful word. "I've got a lot of connections across the border."

Shanghai paused on the threshold of the low, rambling building where Jug was to stay.

"Well," he admitted. "There's real dough in it, if it's done right." Jug tossed his hat on a chair inside the door and leveled a pudgy finger at Shanghai Pete.

"This racket is worth plenty," he bragged. "And I've got all the connections. All we need is you and your gang. We'll pick the dope up across the border—run it in and when we get it here we'll arrange for the sale of it."

"And I get half the profits, eh?"

"Right," agreed Jug. "Is it a deal?"

"Put her there, boy," snarled Shanghai, putting out his hand for a thieves' handshake. "We'll clean up plenty. Now let me show, you around the hide-out here—it's one of the best in the country."

Jug's eyes shone.

"This place was built for a millionaire," Shanghai explained, "and we took it over and fixed it up. No cops'll ever be able to knock you off here!"

"No?" queried Jug. "Why not?"

"Plenty of reasons—I'll show you." Shanghai pointed to a light switch on the wall. "For example, this lights up the grounds all around the house—no one can sneak up on you at night. And this doorway..."

"Goes to the basement, huh?"

Jug followed the tall, lean figure of Shanghai down the stairs.

"Right," agreed Shanghai with a smirk. "And here's a secret button!"

He pressed one of the bricks in the wall, and a whole section of the wall swung noiselessly back.

Jug took the cigar stub out of his ugly mouth and cried in astonishment:

"Boy! The wall opens up— where does it lead to?"

"First to a secret chamber which is gasproof, and then to a tunnel, come on!"

Shanghai explained the safeguards against police raids to Jug. As they walked down the tunnel, Jug rubbed his hands together gleefully. The tunnel was dark and musty, and the two men's footsteps echoed eerily in their ears. Jug's eyes were blinded for a moment as he rounded a turn and saw the brilliant sunlight pouring in from outside.

"There you are," explained Shanghai proudly, pointing across a low hill to the deserted-looking house they had just left. "We went clear under that road—the hideout's over there on the other side of the hill."

"Boy!" breathed Jug. "What a neat layout for dodging the cops!"

"I never use the driveway to the house, either—to all appearances the house is deserted."

Jug's piggish eyes peered out of his fat face toward the hide-out thoughtfully.

"Must have cost you plenty to fix the place up, eh?"

"I'll say it did—now what move do you want to make next, Jug?"

"Let's get Heinie across the border and get the dope in our hands as soon as possible!"

"Oke," agreed Shanghai as the two men strode back to the house. "I can have the plane ready to get him away tonight if you want! I'm as anxious to get started as you are."

"Fine, he'll be ready—you'll pick him up in your car?"

"Yeah, about nine—where'll he want to be set down on the other side?" queried Shanghai, his narrow face close to Jug's heavy-jowled, unpleasant one.

Jug spoke around his cigar.

"At Calixo. It'll take him a couple of days to contact our agent there—see you later, Shanghai."

The two crooks parted and Jug hurried to Heinie. Heinie's evil face split in a yellow-toothed grin as he heard what Jug had to divulge.

"Get ready, Heinie," Jug growled. "Shanghai is going to have you run across the border tonight. He'll be here for you at nine."

"Going to start smuggling the dope right away, eh?"

"Yeh—have'm get a shipment ready." Jug peeled several bills off a roll of the stolen money from the mint in Doberton and stuffed them into Heinie's grimy hand. "Here's the dough for expenses—don't pay them off until you get the dope, see?"

"But how're we gonna ship the stuff?" Heinie asked.

"I don't know yet—Shanghai will give you instructions," Jug rumbled, turning away. "But you stay with the shipment until it gets here —there's plenty of dough invested in that, see?"


At the office of the chief of the Secret Operatives in New Orean a tall, muscular man shook hands with the Chief Operative of the New Orean district. It was Dan Dunn. He had wasted no time in following the clue that plucky little Babs had left for him.

Dan outlined the situation for the other Secret Operative in a few short, crisp sentences.

"I haven't any idea where the gang is hiding here," he admitted. "But when they held Babs captive in Doberton she was smart enough to write a message on the wall just before they left."

"Good for her!" praised the Secret Operative.

Gan's face was grim as he thought of the horror that little Babs must have gone through, and was still going through.

"We've got to find her," he warned. "But we've got to move quietly —otherwise they might harm her!"

Dan's colleague was on his feet, determination in every line of his alert figure.

"We'll shoot the works for you, Dan—I'll put the grapevine out on the gangs. Might be able to get some information that way!"

Dan Dunn picked up his hat and nodded soberly.

"Do what you can," he said. "I'm going into the gang districts and see what I can find!"

As Dan Dunn skillfully applied his disguise in his room, he thought of the warnings of the Chief Operative. The last thing his friend had done was to warn Dan of the danger he was going into when he entered the gang district in disguise. Dan shrugged. As usual he cared little for danger as long as he got results.

Irwin, too, was thinking of the risk Dan was taking.

"Be careful, Dan," he warned, genuinely worried. "You know what'll happen to you if you're recognized."

Dan scowled.

"Those criminals," he growled through taut lips, "have murdered two government men, now. They're wanted for smuggling, robbery, kidnapping, and MURDER! going after them."

Irwin nodded soberly.

"I'll stand by waiting for a word from you, Dan," he said quietly.

Dan entered the Grub Hotel, glancing furtively behind him as he went in the door. He felt the eyes of the desk clerk and the loafers in the lobby on him, and he was careful to give the impression that he was afraid of being followed. When he spoke to the desk clerk he spoke sullenly in a hoarse, rasping voice.

Dan stayed in his room for nearly a week, playing the crooks that surrounded him as a fisherman plays a fish. Pie knew that sooner or later they would bite, and he would be taken into the underworld of New Orean as a fullfledged member.

Finally, one day as Dan was going out to eat, the seedy-looking desk clerk stepped up to him in the lobby.

"Say, listen, pal," he murmured, "you stick in yer room a lot—what are yuh doin', hidin' out for something?"

Dan Dunn could scarcely repress a shout of glee—the bait had taken! But with a practice born of long years of detective work he kept his face in a rigid look of sullenness.

"I ain't talkin' about nothin', see?" he snarled. "I mind my own business!"

The clerk raised a dirty hand soothingly. He didn't want a fuss.

"Oh, don't get me wrong—I just thought I might be of some help to yuh!"

Dan sneered back at the petty crook.

"Don't worry about me," he rasped. "I can help myself plenty —I'm just restin', see? An' I can pay my bill—so don't worry about me!"

Dan Dunn slouched away toward the door, seeming not to care what the desk clerk thought or did, but as he moved away Dan watched the clerk's reflection in the huge plate glass window. When the clerk hurried through the door marked MANAGER, a ghost of a smile crept over Dan's mouth. He seemed to be getting on the inside.

When the detective returned to his room he carried with him some old newspapers stuffed in his side pocket. He had bought the newspapers from the back files of one of New Orean's big metropolitan dailies.

Closing the door behind him and locking it, he drew out the papers and began cutting out certain news stories. One was about a bank stick-up in which a notorious criminal, "The Silver Kid," had gotten away with a huge haul. The other was about a prison break in which the Silver Kid had escaped a couple of weeks before.

Dan tucked the news stories down in the corner of his suitcase, and just as he was disposing of the papers from which he had clipped the stories there came a soft knock at his door.

Dan straightened up and moved over to the door in two quick lithe strides. As he had expected, it was a message from the hotel manager! He wanted to see Dan Dunn in his office!

The Secret Operative's face showed no trace of emotion or curiosity as he slouched into the manager's office.

The manager was a little, bald-headed man with steel-rimmed glasses and an untidy, drooping mustache. He looked up at Dan intently as he entered, much as one might look at a horse one was thinking of buying.

"I sent for you, bud," he divulged in a thin voice. "Thought I'd like to have a talk!"

"About what, pal?" asked Dan, eyeing the man coldly.

The man leaned across the desk, his bright, beady eyes watching every single move that Dan Dunn made.

"I understand you're on the lam," the man chirped. "Hidin' out from the coppers."

Dan jumped to his feet, one hand streaking to his side pocket and his face livid with rage.

"That's a lie," he shouted. "What are you, anyway? A stool pigeon?"

"Now, now, take it easy." The manager was on his feet, too, his hands up in front of him. "If we're sure of you, maybe we can put you in right here—the big guy needs more men with nerve—get what I mean?"

Dan's heart skipped a beat. He was going to meet the "big shot" himself! Dan remembered the clippings he had stuffed in his suitcase thankfully. Even now one of the big shot's henchmen was probably pawing through Dan's things upstairs.

Dan answered the manager's proposition.

"Oh, yeah?" he snarled. "I'm doin' all right, an' mindin' my own business."

As the manager opened his mouth to speak, Dan stopped him with a gesture.

"But," he agreed, "if the big shot around here's got an interesting proposition, let HIM talk. I always been a lone wolf, but if there's a good thing around—I might be willin' to go in, see?"

The little manager looked relieved.

"I'll let you know," he promised Dan.

Evidently the big shot was satisfied with what the manager reported and with what the man who searched Dan Dunn's room had discovered, for Dan Dunn got a message the next day asking him to report to the big boss of the gang.

Dan moved into the gang leader's room warily. His eyes flicked from side to side and he seemed ready at any minute to fly into action if he found himself caught in a trap.

The big shot watched Dan just as warily, and his cold eyes rested on him speculatively. His cigarette jerked as he spoke.

"I understand you're the Silver Kid. That right?" he snapped.

Dan balanced himself on his feet like a snake coiled ready to strike, and his hand slid around the smooth butt of his pistol.

"Say!" he rasped. "What IS this?"

"Hey!" cried the gangster, as his cigarette fell to the floor. "Not so fast there, I'm no stool pigeon. I'm Shanghai Pete—I run all the rackets around this town!"

Dan took his hand off his pistol and straightened up.

"Is that right?" he queried. "Well, I ain't tryin' to muscle in on anything here, so you don't want nothin' with me."

"Now, lissen, pal," objected Shanghai Pete. "I got some good things here—how would you like to throw in with me?"

Dan turned as if to go. He did not want Shanghai Pete to think him too anxious to get on the inside.

"Pal," he sneered, "Pve never tied up with any gang in my life. I don't know that I want to now!"

"Yeah?" Shanghai sneered back. "Well, I can show you more dough than you ever made before—does that interest you?"

"It sounds interesting," Dan admitted, his eyes narrowing to slits. "What's your proposition?"

"I'll lay my cards on the table," Shanghai Pete promised. "There's a guy by the name of Jug started a new racket here. They're cuttin' me in for half, but I don't trust 'em."

Only by a supreme effort of his iron will did Dan Dunn keep his face straight. Shanghai Pete in league with Jug! Dan had not dared to hope for luck like this.

"And so?" he queried flatly.

"I want you to work along with them—keep an eye on everything, and report to me confidential. Is it a deal?"

"I'll try it out," stated Dan. "But if I'm not satisfied I e'n tell you and break it off. Is that okay?"

"You can start tomorrow. Shake!"


Babs stretched her stiffened muscles and sat up on her hard cot in the dark room where she was imprisoned. The sound of voices came from the next room.

"Okay, Shanghai, get Heinie back soon," she heard Jug saying. "Shelia's leaving for the North— she'll fix it so we can get rid of the stuff."

"He'll be back in a couple of days —and a load of dope with him!" Shanghai answered.

Babs leaped to her feet as she heard the crooks' plans. Dope! Even Babs knew what that vicious word meant—narcotics, sold against the law. She knew the wrecked lives and broken hearts that are the result of traffic in dope—of the damage its unrestrained use might do.

Babs huddled near the door leading to the crooks' room, scarcely daring to breathe. She heard Shelia get her last instructions from Jug before she left for the North. She heard Heinie murmuring in low tones with Jug before he boarded the plane for Calixo, and she wracked her brain frantically for a means of escape.

Not only was she in terror as to what would happen to her, but she also saw it was her duty to get word to Dan Dunn and help him foil the evil plans of the unscrupulous smugglers if she could.

As the door slammed behind Heinie, she heard Jug's heavy footsteps thudding across the floor to the room where she was held prisoner. The door banged open, and Jug leered viciously as his hand squeezed her shoulder like a vise. The tears sprang to her eyes as pain shot down her arm.

"Get in the kitchen, and get those dishes cleaned up!" snarled Jug as he gave her a push in the direction of the big kitchen.

Babs hurried to do as she was told. She realized how helpless she was, and her hands trembled as she wondered what her fate was to be.

She found herself wishing that Heinie and Shelia would complete their business and come back to the hide-out. While they were gone Jug had nothing to do but vent his viciousness on her. Babs was forced to wash dishes and cook and scrub floors until her arms ached almost unbearably.

At last Jug got a wire from Shelia, and immediately sent for Shanghai. He paced the floor until Shanghai came, his fat face wreathed in smiles and his hands rubbing together greedily.

"Ah, Shanghai," he rumbled as he let Shanghai in, "just got word from Shelia—a code telegram!"

"What'd she say?"

"She's got fifty grand worth of cash orders—that means a profit to us of over twenty grand! We're really going to town!" chuckled Jug.

"Yeah," agreed Shanghai, "but how're we going to deliver it?"

Jug grinned.

"Ship it out in milk cans—you know those little cans that the grocers use?"

Shanghai was still dubious.

"Where are you gonna do the canning?" he queried.

"We'll get a little canning outfit and fix up the dope right here in the basement!"

"Swell!" gloated Shanghai, as his hawk-like face split into a grin. "Nobody will suspect that—they slip a lot of canned milk out of this town."

Babs heard the dope peddlers completing their plans. Heinie was expected back that day, and Jug arranged for Shanghai to get the canning outfit. Babs wrung her hands in despair to think there was nothing she could do to stop the crooks in their merciless greed for illicit profits!

Everything seemed to be breaking right for the criminals. When Heinie returned he said the Calixo dope dealers could supply any amount of dope the mob needed, and Jug winked happily at Shanghai.

"And I just got another wire from Shelia," he divulged. "She's got orders for over a hundred grand—more'n half of that's profit!"

"We're certainty going," agreed Shanghai from the depths of the overstuffed chair where he sat. with his hat pulled down over his cruel eyes.

"Yeah, but we've got to get to canning this stuff," ordered Jug. "We'll have to ship this week or the guys who've laid their dough on the line are liable to squawk!"

"Yeah, that's right, Jug."

"But what about more dope?" Heinie questioned, his shifty eyes avoiding Jug's. "When'll we get that?"

"You'll make another trip in a couple of days," Jug told him.

Babs saw Heinie grin slyly to himself as she watched the crooks through a tiny crack in the door. Once again she prayed fervently for a chance to get in touch with Dan Dunn, and then she cowered against the wall as she heard Jug saying he was going to force her to help can the dope!

She heard Shanghai objecting, and her heart beat faster as she hoped he would win his point. Babs would almost rather have died than help the smugglers wreck human lives.

"She'll know all about our business if she helps do the work," Shanghai pointed out.

"So what?" Jug smiled and clenched his fist suggestively. "What she knows she'll never get a chance to tell," he threatened.

His black-jawed face looked more like a beast's than a man's as he shouted at Babs to get down to the basement and get to work. Babs cringed instinctively, for she knew from experience that his orders were usually accompanied by a blow.

"Fill these cans with this white powder—use this scoop—set them down on the table," he ordered, waving at the little milk cans which covered the top of a work table in the basement. "And don't stall on the job!"

Babs's hands shook as she measured out the harmless-looking white powder into the little cans. She knew that the powder that looked so harmless was more vicious than a thousand snakes.

"Gee, I hate this!" she sobbed. "But it's better to do what you're told, when you have to. If I didn't do it something awful would happen to me, but I feel that something is going to happen to me anyway."

She followed Jug with her eyes as he went into another room in the basement. Babs was determined to find out all of the mob's secrets that she could. Frightened as she was of what the gang had in store for her, still she knew it was her duty to do everything she could to aid the forces of decency and law.

Jug, and peered cautiously around the door frame into the other room. She saw him go to the other side of the room and press one of the bricks.

Babs's mouth dropped open as she watched the wall slide inward in response to Jug's pressure on the key brick. She eyed the bundle that Jug carried under his arm speculatively. It was obvious that he intended to hide the package in the tunnel that yawned on the other side of the secret door, but she could think of nothing Jug would be hiding from the others.

Babs had heard that there was no honor among thieves, but even she might have been surprised if she had known what Jug was up to.

"If the G-men raid this joint," she would have heard him mutter if she had followed him into the tunnel, "I'm going to lam with the dough. Heinie and Shelia will have to take care of themselves, AN' I'M GOIN' TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF! It ain't going to be Jug that's caught short!"

As the brick wall swung slowly closed behind Jug, Babs scurried back to the table where she had been ordered to work. Her brain buzzed with thoughts as she busied herself scooioing the dope into the milk cans. The knowledge of the secret tunnel gave her new hope of escape, and she resolved to act so dumb when the eyes of the mob were on her that no one would suspect her of having any idea of fleeing.

When Jug came out of the tunnel Babs did not look up. She filled one can after the other as if she were a machine. So innocent did she look that Jug smirked with satisfaction as he mounted the stairs, little suspecting that little Babs knew one of the mob's most treasured secrets!


Shanghai Pete leaned forward in his chair as he leveled his glittering eyes toward the slouching, unkempt figure of Dan Dunn in the guise of the Silver Kid.

"The first thing I want you to do, Kid," Shanghai ordered in his cold, hard voice, "is to make a trip with Heinie. He's flying across the border tonight."

Dan Dunn's mind raced ahead, considering the consequences of Shanghai's new orders.

"Hmm," he mused, stroking his chin thoughtfully in silence. "This is going to be ticklish. Heinie has seen me and Jug has seen my pictures—so has Shelia. I wonder if those guys will penetrate my disguise—they're all killers!"

"Across the border?" he asked Shanghai, stalling for time as he laid his plans.

"Yeah," Shanghai affirmed. "He picks up a load of dope and brings it to a secret flying field—we'll meet him there."

"But what do you want me to do with Heinie?" questioned Dan Dunn.

"I want you to check his buying," Shanghai explained, drawing his cruel lips tight. "See what he pays for the stuff—and see if they pay as much as they tell me they do!"

Dan knew it would fare badly with Jug, Shelia, and Heinie if Shanghai Pete found that they were double-crossing him. He would at once put them "on the spot," and he would probably expect the Silver Kid to "rub them out." Dan Dunn did not change his expression, but inwardly he smiled as he thought of the grim complications of the dual role he was playing.

"You know, Shanghai," he snarled in the gruff voice of the Silver Kid, "I don't much like this playing stool pigeon—it ain't my way of doing things."

"I know, I know," soothed Shanghai Pete. "But it's got to be done. Come on, now, we'll go out to the field."

"Okay, Shanghai," rasped Dan, starting for the door. "I'm with you."

As Shanghai's powerful, chauffeur driven limousine purred smoothly over the highway toward the secret flying field, Dan turned the situation over in his mind. Soon, he believed, he would be able to round up Jug's mob and make them pay the penalty for their crimes. Especially would they pay for the wanton killing of the government men who had gone down before their blazing guns.

Dan's satisfaction in having the dope smugglers falling into his hands, however, was mixed with sorrow. Somewhere Babs was in danger, and he could only hope that he would pick up a clue as to her fate from members of the dope ring.

So deep was Dan's preoccupation that Shanghai had to speak twee before Dan heard him.

"Here we are at the field, Kid," Shanghai pointed out. "No one knows about this place but our gang!"

"A nice little layout, Shanghai," averred Dan as he stretched his legs and flicked his keen eyes over the surroundings. "But where's this guy Heinie?"

"There they come now—from behind that clump of trees..."

Dan Dunn waited in the background, watching Shanghai Pete's angular figure striding toward the mobsters. The criminals' voices drifted back to him through the sweet country air.

"'Lo, Shanghai," he heard Jug growl. "Who's that fellow over there? What's he doing here?"

"Oh, him?" grinned Shanghai. "He's one of the boys who just got outa stir. I'm gonna break him in on this stuff—send him out with Heinie."

Heinie's ratlike face clouded quickly, and he flicked one of his hands in a nervous gesture of protest.

"Aw, I don't need anyone to mess around," he whined. "He might queer me with the guys across the border. Yuh can't tell!"

"Yeah," scowled Jug, "he might interfere with things."

Shanghai's voice took on a more assertive tone.

"He'll be all right," he stated flatly. "He's dumb—he'll do anything Heinie tells him to."

"Well," shrugged Jug. "There ain't much to do but take him, eh, Heinie?"

As the dusk gathered over the lonely airfield Dan Dunn, posing as the Silver Kid. shook hands with the two desperadoes. Their searching eyes scanned him up and down, and the detective knew that at last the acid test of his disguise had come.

Passing the insolent inspection of the dope peddlers, Dan Dunn climbed into the tiny cabin plane behind Heinie. As carefully as possible Dan plied Heinie with questions as the plane droned monotonously southward over the ocean's trackless wastes. Phrasing his questions to sound like those of any dumb crook, Dan probed into the activities of the gang.

On being told that the plane could make two trips a week to Calixo, Dan leaned forward a little in his seat.

"That'll make plenty of dough for you fellows, won't it?" he queried, watching Heinie closely.

"I'll say," divulged Heinie, unsuspectingly. "Look! There's land showing ahead of us!"

"Doggoned if it isn't," admitted Dan.

"Yep," expanded Heinie, loosening up now that Calixo and safety were in sight. "This one load will mean a hundred grand profit for us."

Dan did some quick mental calculation as he eased himself out of the cramped quarters of the criminals' monoplane. He whistled softly under his breath as he thought how many hundreds of pitiful drug addicts would lie, and steal, and starve to raise the dollars that would find their way into the pockets of these super-crooks.

Once they had arrived in Calixo, Heinie tried to get Dan not to follow him into town, just as Shanghai and Dan Dunn had suspected he would.

"You stay here with the pilot," he ordered. "I'm going uptown and meet the bird who's gettin' the stuff for us. I'll go alone."

Dan was stupid but stubborn, pretending not to understand.

"But don't you want me to go along with you?" he asked.

"Naw," snarled Heinie. "Nobody in Calixo will bother me!"

Dan was obdurate.

"But Shanghai told me I was to stay with you all the time. He said you were carryin' a lot of dough!"

"Oh, all right, come on then!" snapped Heinie with ill-concealed irritation. "Anything to please Shanghai."

As Dan paced along beside Heinie he reflected on the irony of a situation in which crooks were cheating each other out of the profits made by the basest criminal conniving.

"When we get where I'm to meet the fellow who handles the dope, you wait downstairs for me—nothing can happen to me without you knowing it."

Heinie glared at Dan as if daring him to say he was going upstairs with him.

Dan had no intention of forcing the issue.

"Okay, Heinie," he agreed quickly, "but be careful. I wouldn't trust nobody if I had all that dough on me!"

Heinie pretended not to hear, and as he turned into the verminridden lobby of a dilapidated, adobe hotel he motioned rudely for Dan Dunn to be seated. Slipping a coin into the grimy paw of a darkskinned urchin standing by the stairs, he said:

"You will go to Señor Blanco and tell him that Heinie is here, eh?"

"Si, señor," murmured the lad. "I will hurry!"

Through half-closed eyes Dan Dunn unobtrusively watched Heinie mounting the stairs to the second floor, and waited for Señor Blanco to appear on the scene. Slumped in his chair, twisting his unshaven face nervously, Dan Dunn looked for all the world like a petty criminal as he formulated a plan for spying on Heinie's dealings with the Calixian dope peddler.

Dan had not long to wait, and when Señor Blanco sauntered in and climbed to Heinie's room, Dan Dunn mounted the stairs softly behind him. His keen ear pressed to the unpainted door to the conference room, he heard the outlaws murmuring their business.

"Ah, Señor Blanco, it is good to see you again!" he heard Heinie say.

"Si, mi amigo," came the oily tones of the Calixian's voice. "And I have a fine shipment ready for you. Do you want to inspect it now?"

"I will inspect it at the plane when we are ready to go. We will do our business now, and I will hand you the money in an envelope after the dope is loaded on the plane."

The Calixian's voice was cold and inquiring.

"In an envelope?" he murmured softly. "I do not understand."

"There are others snooping on me, and I do not wish them to know everything. Catch on?"

"Ah, you collect a little—shall we say—'commission'—eh ? "queried Señor Blanco with a new note of cunning. "And so, my friend, since you are charging your friends a little commission, I, too, must raise my price a leetle."

"Now, don't try to get away with that sort of stuff, Blanco!" warned Heinie, angrily.

"But," suggested Senor Blanco, "supposing I should inform your friends of what you are doing, eh?"

"Okay, then—but I'm warning you—I'll find another source!"

Dan Dunn stood up quickly as he heard feet start toward the door, but as he glided down the stairs he heard the Calixian's voice raised in anger.

"Yeah? Just try that leetle thing, Senor, and you'll find that my tongue will not be silent!"


The thought of Babs was uppermost in Dan Dunn's mind as he watched the mob's secret landing field grow from a tiny speck to a green, open space with the figures of two men standing beside a powerful car. Dan scarcely thought of his own danger as he breathed a prayer that he would find Babs held prisoner in the gang's hide-out when he got there.

"Ah, Heinie," grunted Jug, heaving his fat frame toward the plane as it coasted to a stop, "you got the stuff all right?"

"Yeah," smirked Heinie. "It's on the plane—gimme a hand unloading it, will you?"

Dan Dunn helped the mobsters load the dope into the limousine, and more than once he felt Jug's eyes resting speculatively on him. Never once did Dan betray by so much as the trembling of an eyelid the fact that he knew he was being watched, and when the limousine was loaded he unconcernedly took his place in the back seat between Jug and Shanghai.

It called for all the patience Dan could muster not to pull his pistol and round up the dope peddlers on the spot, but he knew he had to stay with them for two reasons. First, he must locate the hangout so that he could take in Shelia and the rest of the elaborate dope ring, and secondly, he must see whether or not little Babs was being held captive by the renegades.

As the limousine pulled to a noiseless stop at the side of the seemingly deserted house, Dan did not see a second floor curtain move as a dark, pathetic little head gazed down at the group of crooks. Nor did Babs realize that the unkempt, broad-shouldered thug with the cap pulled down over his forehead was none other than Dan Dunn, Operative 48.

As Heinie and Dan transferred the cargo of dope to the hide-out Dan's eyes were busy getting the lay of the land. Soon he would spring the trap—unless he was recognized first!

Seeing Jug and Shanghai with their heads together mumbling secretively, Dan strained both ears to find out what they were talking about, but it was not until Dan and Shanghai were back in town that Dan could surmise what the whispered conversation had been about.

Shanghai was taken aback when Dan told him that he had not been able to catch Heinie cheating in the deal.

"If I tell Shanghai what Heinie and the Calixian were doing," thought Dan, "he'll start a gang war and spoil everything. First I want to find Babs, and then I'll take care of these gangsters in my own way! But I must find Babs first!"

Shanghai looked puzzled, and as his glittering eyes bored into Dan's, the detective wondered if Shanghai suspected he had been lying.

"Hmm," murmured Shanghai. "Even if you didn't catch them this time I still think they're double-crossing me, but we'll catch 'em yet, huh? You watch!"

Dan stifled a sigh of relief as he twisted his face into a leering snarl.

"Sure, chief," he growled. "We'll 'get 'em!"

No one suspected the real identity of the "Silver Kid."

"Listen, chief," Dan continued. "I wuz readin' about Jug—he wuz in that big stickup in Doberton— he sure cleaned up there, didn't he?"

"Yeah, I guess so," answered "Listen, Chief."

Shanghai warily. "Why?" "I wuz just thinkin' he never lays off—the heat should be on fer him and his pals right now!"

"Yeah," grinned Shanghai, "but the law'll never catch up with them in that hide-out I've fixed up."

"Naw, I guess not, chief," agreed Dan Dunn. "That sure is a swell setup out there. You know what I was thinkin'?"

"What?" asked Shanghai.

"I was thinkin' that spot would be a peach fer hidin' people, if yuh should want to go into that racket too."

Dan's eyes watched Shanghai narrowly to see the effect of his words.

Shanghai's dark beady eyes sparkled.

"Yeah," he divulged. "They've done a bit of that, and they don't know what to do about it. That's what Jug was talkin' to me about before we came back here."

"What's that?" Dan asked, pretending ignorance.

"They got Dan Dunn's little girl, Babs, out there, and they don't know how to get rid of her now they've got her!"

Dan felt his muscles draw up into aching knots, and behind the passive mask of his disguise rage and relief conflicted in his mind.

When he spoke it was in a level voice with not the slightest trace of emotion.

"Gee, boss," he rasped, "if I could make a little dough outa the job I'd be glad to get rid of the brat for 'em."

Shanghai looked pleased. Here was what he had been looking for.

"Great, Kid!" he agreed. "I'll tell Jug you're the guy to get rid of her."

"Swell, Shanghai," growled Dan. "But don't forget I get paid extra for it or I won't touch the job. You understand?"

"Yeah, sure—that's okay. When do you want to do it?"

"Aw, in a couple of days," stalled Dan. "I'll want to figger out just how to do it so there won't be no kick-back, see?"

Dan Dunn wras thinking fast as he and Shanghai started back to the gang's hide-out. He was wondering if he could stall things without being suspected. It would not do for things to wind up too fast, because he wanted to make a country-wide sweep of the whole vicious dope ring.

Jug's face was noncommittal as he heard the news that the Silver Kid would take the responsibility for getting rid of Babs.

"You want the job, eh?" he queried, his eyes on Dan's face.

"That's right," agreed Dan. "IF I get paid extra for it."

"Why don't you let him do it, Jug?" prodded Shanghai Pete. "I think it's a good idea."

"Um," rumbled Jug. "I guess it's okay, but who's going to stand the extra expense?"

Shanghai shrugged.

"That's up to you—you brought her here, and you can pay for getting rid of her!"

Jug was surly. His lips curled back from his yellow teeth.

"Okay, okay," he growled. "But we've got to get rid of her right away—Shelia's due back any minute and I wanna get rid of the brat before she gets back! That kid is getting to be a nuisance."

Dan Dunn started to object until he heard that Shelia would soon be back. If she was to arrive tonight, then tonight would be the night to strike.

"All right," he agreed. "I'll drive Shanghai back to town. By the time I get back here then it'll be dark—you have the kid ready for me when I get back."

Jug clamped his dirty, stained teeth on his cigar stub as he nodded shortly in sullen agreement.

"Okay, make it snappy," he said.

Meanwhile, poor Babs's brave little chin was quivering as she overheard the crooks laying plans to wipe her out. There was nothing in the hoarse, rasping voice of the Silver Kid to remind her of the clean-cut Dan Dunn that she knew, and she planned to risk her life in a final desperate attempt to escape her fate.

The little girl had no way of knowing that her only chance of escape lay in waiting for the return of the Silver Kid!


Dan Dunn put Shanghai's sleek, black car in gear and pulled away from the curb in front of the gangleader's headquarters. As he waved his hand in farewell to Shanghai Pete his mind was working at top speed. Rapidly a plan formed in his mind.

Tonight was the night to raid the dope peddlers in their den! His mind was made up.

The problem now was to get in touch with the office of the Secret Operatives without arousing suspicion.

Dan did not think he was being followed, but he could afford to take no chances. He sent the big car wheeling through the streets of New Orean, twisting and doubling on his trail until he was positive he had thrown off any wouldbe spy.

Puling up before a small drug store across town from the gang's hangout, Dan Dunn ducked out of the car. Giving his number in the crisp accents of his natural voice he waited impatiently for his connection to go through. Finally a voice answered.

"Hello, Irwin!" he snapped as the familiar voice of his assistant came over the wires. "Listen, Irwin, and get this straight! Get the operatives, riot guns, and tear gas—be at the old Callister estate on the edge of town at eight o'clock sharp. Surround the place, but keep hidden until you get word from me. Do as I say, and be careful!"

Dan Dunn turned away from the telephone, squaring his shoulders involuntarily. His jaw squared menacingly as he steeled his nerves for the night of danger and quickthinking detective work that lay before him.

Afraid that he had wasted so much time in contacting the operatives that the smugglers might be suspicious, he pressed the accelerator of the limousine to the floor board. Whizzing across town and through the suburbs he had scarcely time to review his plans for the night before the familiar roof top of the crooks' hide-out came in sight. Quickly he drove up the driveway.

As he bounded out of the car at the side of the house, he saw two dark figures crashing through the shrubbery surrounding the house. In the flickering beams of the men's flashlights he recognized Heinie and Jug looking about frantically.

"What's the matter, Jug?" rasped Dan as he approached the clumsy figure of the mob leader. "What are you huntin' around these bushes for?"

Jug wiped the sweat from his pallid forehead with one of his fat hands.

"Gee, I'm glad you got here, Kid," he confessed. "That brat, Eabs, has disappeared! Got away from us!"

Dan could feel his heart sinking as Jug's words rang in his ears. He had been so close to bearing Babs to safety, and now—what could have happened to her?

"What?" he cried. "She's gone? But where could she have gone to? How could she get away?"

"How do I know?" snarled Jug. "She isn't in the house. Come help us hunt for her—if she gets away she'll be sure to squawk to the cops!"

Dan Dunn hunted with a will. If anyone found Babs he wanted to be the one. He knew that the best she could expect from the enraged Jug and Heinie would be to vent their wrath on her if they found her.

He saw a car pull up at the hideout with a screech, and without seeming to watch he saw Shelia get out. Beating the bushes as he went he moved close enough to hear the conversation between Jug and Shelia.

"Who is this new guy around hei'e?" he heard Shelia demand of Jug.

"Oh, him?" answered Jug. "He's working with us—Shanghai took him in. He's all right. He just finished a stretch in stir."

Seeing Shelia's narrow eyes on him, Dan Dunn was forced to move away from the crooks. He heard Shelia's voice raised in sharp accents, but was unable to hear what she said.

Working around to the front of the house, Dan darted swiftly through the black shadows toward the ornate iron gates at the end of the driveway. Whistling softly the signal of the Secret Operatives, he waited for an answer, and then glided toward the shadowy figure coming toward him across the lawn.

"Hey," he whispered. "This is Forty-Eight—who are you?"

"It's okay, Dan," the operative answered. "We've got fifty men around. What are the orders? Shall we raid?"

"Babs has disappeared," Dan's voice was bleak with anxiety. "Don't make a move before midnight. I must find her before the gunfire starts. We don't want her to be killed. I'll come out on the porch and whistle when it's time to strike!"

The Secret Operative slid quietly back into the shadows as Dan started back to the house. Dan made another quick tour of the grounds, searching desperately for Babs. Suddenly he realized that the smugglers had all gone into the house. He dashed toward the house. He must get back before the dope peddlers missed him and started looking around!

When he shouldered his way through the door it was a hostile group that met his eyes. The first thing Dan noticed was that Shanghai was in the ring of crooks facing him. At once Dan Dunn knew the jig was up. Shanghai would not have come out from town tonight unless he was suspicious of the Silver Kid!

Before Dan could put any of his thoughts into action he found himself looking down the muzzle of Jug's gun.

"Stick 'em up!" Jug roared. "You're not goin' to do anything, not now!"

"Take his cap off!" screamed Shelia, her long fingers working like claws.

When Heinie pulled Dan's cap off, Shelia pointed one of her long, thin fingers at his face.

"Just as I thought! The Silver Kid, my eye! You chumps!" she sneered.

Sweat stood in beads on Jug's low forehead.

"What do you mean, Shelia?" he asked.

"That's Dan Dunn!" shrieked Shelia. "Tie him up—take his gun away from him!"

As Jug's pistol pointed at Dan Dunn's head, Dan felt himself seized by the hard hands of Shanghai and Heinie. Their hot, angry breaths were on Dan's neck as they trussed him in strong rope until he could feel the bonds cutting into his arms.

"We gotta get outa here," muttered Jug.

"Right!" whined Heinie. "Get our stuff together and let's get going before it's too late to dodge those cops!"

"Take that rat to the basement," cried Shelia, and Dan Dunn felt himself lifted bodily and thrown down the basement stairs.

"Lay there, Mister Detective, for a while," jeered Jug. "If the cops are around the house now, we'll burn the house down and you'll burn with it while we go out and escape through the secret tunnel."

Shanghai stopped Jug as the two gangsters started back up the stairs.

"Listen, you fool," he said in a frightened undertone. "If the joint's surrounded we'll have to find out. We'll let Shelia and Heinie go out with the car—we'll wait and go the other way with the dough!"

Jug's breath came in frightened pants.

"Right," he agreed. "It's every man for himself now. And we gotta be sure this Dan Dunn burns before we go!"

Dan Dunn heard the basement door slam as if it had been the sound of the drum of Fate, sealing his doom in the moldering basement of the dope peddlers' hideout!


Dan Dunn strained furiously at the ropes that bound him. He had stared death in the face before, and he could face it now without losing his nerve. It was not for himself that he was frightened, but for little Babs. He knew that if the crooks tried to escape through the determined ring of Secret Operatives outside there would be plenty of gunplay!

If Babs were hiding out there in the dark somewhere, she would be right in the line of fire!

Straining his ears for every telltale sound from inside the house he thought he heard the sudden roar of a high-powered motor. Shanghai and Jug had sent Shelia and Heinie out as bait! They were using their own comrades to find out if the house wras being watched.

Dan made a vain effort to free himself. When Shelia and Heinie were stopped by the Secret Operatives outside, Shanghai and Jug would make their escape through the basement and the secret tunnel.

Dan Dunn was the only one who could stop them!

The courageous detective lay listening as the sharp crackle of pistol fire shattered the still of the night. It could mean but one thing. The Secret Operatives had stopped the fleeing Heinie and Shelia!

Dan heard hurried footsteps upstairs, and then a sudden silence. He sniffed the air suddenly. Fire! Shanghai Pete and Jug had set fire to the house!

As the basement door opened, a thin trickle of smoke seeped through, and Shanghai and Jug started down the stairs. Dan could hear them chuckling to themselves.' as they came.

"Hurry it up, Jug," cackled Shanghai. "Maybe when Dan Dunn is cooking over there he'll be sorry for the trouble he's caused us!"

Dan watched helplessly as the men disappeared through the secret door. His ears rang with his efforts to break his bonds, and his lungs ached with the acrid bite of the smoke from the raging fire upstairs.

At first he did not hear the soft patter of footsteps coming toward him.

Looking up suddenly he found himself looking into the tearstreaked, bruised face of little Babs! New hope flooded into his heart.

"Quick, Babs!" he ordered. "Reach in my pocket—get out my knife and cut these ropes. How did you get here, anyway?"

Babs's voice was low and quivering, but she followed Dan's instructions with steady hands.

"I was hidin' behind a barrel by the door into the secret room, and I heard those men say you were goin' to burn here in the basement," she explained.

"Good for you, honey," soothed Dan, patting her arm gently. "I'd never have gotten out of here alive if it hadn't been for you. Now hurry, I must follow Jug!"

"Sure, Dan," Babs agreed. "I can show you how to open the secret door."

Dan and Babs ran to the secret door, and once on the other side Dan pulled the heavy steel door to the gasproof room shut so that the flames would not follow them down the tunnel. Then they ran, gasping and panting for breath, down the secret passage after the cowardly dope dealers.

The detective motioned to Babs to stay in the security of the cave mouth as his legs, like bands of steel, hurled him over the open ground toward the car that Jug and Shanghai were entering.

Grabbing Jug roughly by the shoulder and spinning him around, Dan thought of the times Jug had struck little Babs as he timed a murderous punch to the point of the gangster's jaw.

Before Jug's fat body had slumped, unconscious, to the ground Dan had snatched the gangster's snubnosed pistol out of his hand and was covering Shanghai!

The two criminals' faces paled when they saw themselves in the power of Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48. They knew the time had come for them to pay their debt to society for their wanton lawlessness.

The dope peddlers' handcuffed wrists jerked and their hands twisted nervously as the detective herded .them back to the house. They stumbled often, blinded by their fear of what was coming.

A mighty yell of relief went up from the throats of the other Secret Operatives when they saw Dan Dunn and Babs safely bringing in Jug and Shanghai.

Chubby little Irwin's eyes were suspiciously wet as he clasped Dan's hand.

"Gee whiz, Dan!" he gasped. "We thought Jug and Heinie had escaped and you were burned to death in the hide-out."

Dan Dunn grinned and put his arm around little Babs's shoulder.

"No," he said. "Thanks to this little lady here I was able to escape from the burning house and capture these two fiends."

While the Secret Operatives were praising Babs, Dan turned to Irwin.

"Irwin," he ordered. "Take a car and drive to the secret flying field beyond that little hill there. Unload anything you find in the limousine parked there and bring it back."

As Irwin streaked down the road toward the flying field one of the Operatives came over to Dan Dunn. "You think there's something of importance in the car, Dan?" he inquired.

Dan's words came slowly.

"The criminals wouldn't have left their valuables in the burning house," he deduced. "Yes, I've got a hunch that what we find in that car will blow the lid off the biggest dope ring this country has ever known!"

Irwin Streaked Down the Road Irwin's car skidded into the driveway with a squeal of brakes, and before the car stopped rolling he was panting across the lawn toward Dan Dunn.

"Dan, Dan!" he called excitedly, waving a large paper bundle. "I've found the money from the mint stick-up!"

The Secret Operatives formed a ring around Irwin as he tore the bundle open. Dan Dunn knelt beside him, and as the two men fingered the stolen money they both thought of the federal man who had bravely given his life to prevent the theft of the money.

"This practically closes the case as far as the crooks are concerned, doesn't it, Dan?" queried one of the operatives gleefully.

"Not yet," answered Dan Dunn wearily. "We've got to have a list of the dope peddlers before we can break up the dope ring—wasn't there anything like that to be found in the car, Irwin?"

Irwin's face lit with a proud smile. He handed Dan a small, black book, and looked over Dan's shoulder as the detective thumbed through the pages.

"Great stuff, Irwin!" cried Dan. "This book contains a complete record of the names and addresses of all the criminals' agents all over the country!"

The Secret Operatives, weary but happy, piled into their cars, and headed back for New Orean. Dan Dunn threw his arm around Babs and sighed with relief.

''All we have to do now is wire the officers in those different cities and have them arrest the peddlers listed in that book, and we will have broken up the biggest dope ring in the country!"

"With a hundred percent arrests, too," gloated Irwin, chuckling.

Babs snuggled closer to Dan Dunn.

"You know what?" she asked.

"What, honey?" Dan queried.

"Miss Kay's gonna be awful glad to see us!" she grinned.