Two birdwatchers find a woman in a crashed car. Deeks stays at the bar to deal with a health inspector. DeChamps hangs around after testifying to sub for Deeks. The dead driver in the car was a journalist writing an expose on a mishandled classified military operation. She had been trying to reach Retired Marine Sergeant Odell Ikande. He had retired abruptly after a blown mission. Sam discovers the car's steering could have been hacked. Kensi and DeChamps find that Ikande's house had been broken into. Ikande's team was wiped out on a mission to rescue contractors in Afghanistan, which involved a drone attack that killed local villagers as well. Eric finds the van that had been tracking the journalist's car, but Sam and Callen shoot the men in the van before they can torch it. Both were gang members. Kensi and DeChamps talk to Phillip Beckett, a contractor who Ikande rescued, who Ikande called that day. He leaves and they trail him. He meets Ikande. A man attacks Ikande, but Kensi takes him down, while DeChamps captures Ikande. The attacker was another gang member. Ikande says he was working with the journalist. Someone tried to abduct Ikande. Sam and Callen theorize that the mission screwup had something to do with drug trafficking. Beckett's company was smuggling drugs out in broken equipment. The team breaks into Beckett's local warehouse, where drugs are being processed. Beckett kidnaps Ikande's roommate Ruya, who was a survivor of the earlier mission. She was the one who contacted the journalist. DeChamps rescues Ruya. The team takes out Beckett and a half-dozen gang members. Ikande ponders shooting Beckett, but hands over Beckett's gun. Beckett created a Mexican gang to hide from where the drugs are coming.