The Story

Unlikeliest of allies unite

By Christopher Burbach
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
The Rev. Servando Perales, left, and former cop Virgil Patlan at the Victory Boxing Club.

The Rev. Servando Perales, left, and former cop Virgil Patlan at the Victory Boxing Club.

 

 

Destiny was calling on that May day when the telephone rang in the Omaha Police Department’s gang unit office at 24th and Lake Streets.

Officer Virgil Patlan picked up the phone. A federal agent he knew, Jim Slosson, was on the line from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Slosson needed police to arrest a dangerous young felon whose name kept coming up in gang, gun and drug investigations in those days, the mid-1990s.

“Do you know Servando Perales?” Slosson asked.

“Sure, I know him,” Patlan answered.

“We just issued a federal warrant for him,” Slosson said. “Can you keep an eye out?”

Patlan hopped in his cruiser. He drove south, toward Perales’ parents’ house near Rosenblatt Stadium.

That call on May 28, 1996, could have led to many things. The least likely result is the one that happened.

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