Terry Monroe and Bob Bolaño, two corrupt cops, return to the Albuquerque police force after being suspended for assaulting a racist coworker. Bolaño and Monroe regularly rob and extort criminals, accept bribes, and take drugs. While surveilling small time thieves, the two come to believe Jimmy Harris, a local criminal, is planning a heist. They contact one of Harris' former associates, Reggie, and coerce him into revealing information by threatening to falsely arrest him. Reggie and his friend, Irishman Pádraic Power, identify Clifford Reynard, a getaway driver, and tell them Harris' girlfriend, Jackie Hollis, used to dance at a strip club owned by Russell Birdwell. Birdwell, though suspicious, reveals Hollis' address. After bursting into Harris' house and knocking him out, they extort several expensive possessions.