After proving his worth locally, on April 21, 2007, Hickey says he went to work for the US Marshals. Along with his girlfriend, their newborn daughter, and their dog, he was driven to Albany, New York, where he says they spent three days in a motel, unsure of what to expect. Hickey suspects that agents were staked out in a nearby parking lot and monitoring his behavior.
From Albany, the family were moved to Lockport, New York — just a few miles from Lake Ontario and the Canadian border. There, Hickey was put up in a Holiday Inn for two weeks, during which time he took tests ranging from mathematical to psychological, while his girlfriend signed forms required for the program and cared for their child. The carpets were soiled, his room reeked like mold and cigars, and he started having second thoughts.
With his abrasive Townie accent, Hickey says he had no choice but to assume the true-to-life cover of a Bostonian — whether he was Billy Wright in Illinois, Brent Conway in Colorado, or Rayne Greco in Indiana. In his third identity, Liam Foxx, Hickey says he was assigned to Minnesota around the time John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. Staying at the Residence Inn in downtown Minneapolis, he says he was tasked to study Somalian crime syndicates, and to infiltrate gangs trafficking guns and narcotics in the Twin Cities. Hickey's detail: to purchase contraband, report his activity, and help authorities secure wire-tap warrants.
To penetrate, Hickey says he landed an events-director job with a Minneapolis modeling agency, then manipulated the cover to throw parties at Somali-run night clubs. Using real-life references of promoter friends in Vegas, Hickey says he inched close enough to gauge "who was who, who knew what, and who were the weak links."
"The Republican National Convention happened about four months into my assignment there, and it fucked a bunch of shit up," says Hickey. "The police were riding around packed in buses and streets were blocked off — they thought the place was going to get bombed. At the same time the criminals thought it was the perfect time for them — that all of the police were busy with the convention, and that the only worry was that someone might blow up the hotel that John McCain was staying in."
In his next identity, Hickey moved to Colorado. Receipts show that he received thousands of dollars worth of furniture at an Englewood apartment, and drove cars including a hunter-green Volvo and a black Jeep. Sources and documents also confirm that he traveled extensively between Boston, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles as Brent Conway, and received health and auto insurance in that name. Veterinary records show that even his dog had a covert handle: Diesel Conway.
"As crazy as the whole thing was, in a way, I planned this from the beginning," says Hickey. "The way my life was going, with my criminal history, I was going to be working at Home Depot for the rest of my life. In the back of my head I knew that if I got in deep enough I'd find some way out. I was going to do whatever I had to do to get out of that situation — I just never knew the level of shit I'd get to see."