After the publication of a 1996 news article in The San Jose Mercury written by Webb, who exposed the complicity of the CIA in the L.A. crack epidemic of the 1980s, Waters called for an investigation. Caught between the schizophrenic nature of US Foreign policy with one arm of the executive branch, the CIA, engaged in the secret trafficking of drugs for arms whilst the other, the DEA, is engaged in stopping it, Barry Seal who helped build the drug Cartels for the CIA became a DEA informant against the CIA . The first article, by Katz, developed a different picture of the origins of the crack trade than "Dark Alliance" had described, with more gangs and smugglers participating. "[44], In 2006 the US Ambassador in Kabul, the CIA station chief and MI6/SIS's station chief held meetings with President Hamid Karzai, according to several participants in those meetings. "[1], The charges of CIA involvement in Contra cocaine trafficking were revived in 1996, when a newspaper series by reporter Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News claimed that the trafficking had played an important role in the creation of the crack cocaine drug problem in the United States. McCoy has also written that during the 1980s "to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the CIA, working through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, backed Afghan warlords who used the Agency's arms, logistics, and protection to become major drug lords. The article also discussed Webb's contacts with Ross's attorney and prosecution complaints of how Ross's defense had used Webb's series. [20], However, aviation historian William M. Leary, writes that Air America was not involved in the drug trade, citing Joseph Westermeyer, a physician and public health worker resident in Laos from 1965 to 1975, that "American-owned airlines never knowingly transported opium in or out of Laos, nor did their American pilots ever profit from its transport. Three officials told journalists that . [6], In 1984, U.S. officials began receiving reports of Contra cocaine trafficking. Russ Winter of Winter Watch published an article earlier this month (December, 2021) about the FBI declassifying files on a CIA group called "The Finders" and the McMartin preschool Satanic child trafficking case in Los Angeles in the 1980s. During U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. According to the series, Ross was a major drug dealer in Los Angeles, and Blandn and Meneses were Nicaraguans who smuggled drugs into the U.S. and supplied dealers like Ross. CIA drug trafficking. Juarez, Mexico - The US Central Intelligence Agency and other international security forces "don't fight drug traffickers", a spokesman for the Chihuahua state government in . A number of writers have alleged that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was involved in the Nicaraguan Contras' cocaine trafficking operations during the 1980s Nicaraguan civil war. These labs were run by Corsican gang leader Paul Carbone. CIA Involvement in Drug Smuggling Part 4. An example of drug trafficking is someone making methamphetamines in his basement. [26] The second article, by McManus, was the longest of the series, and dealt with the role of the Contras in the drug trade and CIA knowledge of drug activities by the Contras. Another Costa Rican-based drug ring involved a group of Cuban Americans whom the CIA had hired as military trainers for the contras. Its function of covert operations is by definition illegal and therefore requires secret funding. Clinton brought in C.I.A front companies by awarding them state-backed low interest loans to relocate to Arkansas. The NBC news report said that the CDC admitted that heroin has become an epidemic since 2002, The CDC reports that between 2002 and 2014 the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths more than quadrupled and more than 10,500 died nationwide in 2014.. If they remove Ahmed Wali, the Taliban will fill the void. 7.6 Rate this 82 Metascore An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico. [28], Surprised by The Washington Post article, Mercury News executive editor Jerome Ceppos wrote to the Post defending the series. [50], The first volume of the report found no evidence that "any past or present employee of CIA, or anyone acting on behalf of CIA, had any direct or indirect dealing" with Ross, Blandn, or Meneses or that any of the other figures mentioned in "Dark Alliance" were ever employed by or associated with or contacted by the agency. Having no way to transport their opium, the Hmong were faced with economic ruin. BNDD agents immediately felt the impact of the CIA's involvement in drug law enforcement operations within the United States. Some sources say that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been involved in several drug trafficking operations. [2] Investigation by the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency Office of Inspector General, and United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence rejected the main charges. They identified the Cuban-Americans as members of Brigade 2506, an anti-Castro group that participated in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. [38] Despite the controversy that soon overtook the series, and the request of one board member to reconsider, the branch's board went ahead with the award in November. The investigation was conducted by the Sub-Committee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations, chaired by Senator John Kerry, so its final 1989 report was known as the Kerry Committee report. History of CIA Involvement in Drug Trafficking "In my 30year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA." Dennis Dayle, former chief of an elite DEA enforcement unit. At least four transport companies under investigation for drug trafficking received US government contracts to carry non-lethal supplies to the contras. [31], The 2014 movie Kill the Messenger depicted actor Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb. [51], It found nothing to support the claim that "the drug trafficking activities of Blandn and Meneses were motivated by any commitment to support the Contra cause or Contra activities undertaken by CIA." Let me be frank about what we are finding. [32], In October 2013, two former federal agents and an ex-CIA contractor told an American television network that CIA operatives were involved in the kidnapping and murder of DEA covert agent Enrique Camarena, because he was a threat to the agency's drug operations in Mexico in the 1980s. Julio Zavala, also convicted on trafficking charges, said "that he supplied $500,000 to two Costa Rican-based Contra groups and that the majority of it came from cocaine trafficking in the San Francisco Bay area, Miami and New Orleans. African Americans, especially in South Central Los Angeles where the dealers discussed in the series had been active, responded with outrage to the series' charges.[18][19]. [59], Examining the support that Meneses and Blandn gave to the local Contra organization in San Francisco, the report concluded that it was "not sufficient to finance the organization" and did not consist of 'millions', contrary to the claims of the "Dark Alliance" series. The Central Intelligence Agency's involvement in drug trafficking is back in the media spotlight after a spokesman for the violence-plagued Mexican state of Chihuahua became the latest. Launched in 1970, Eagle targeted anti-Castro Cubans smuggling cocaine from Latin America to the Trafficante organization in Florida. The paper also gave Webb permission to visit Central America again to get more evidence supporting the story. The systematic involvement of the CIA in international drug running is as old as the agency itself, created in 1947 at the beginning of the Cold War. It is portrayed in the movie Air America. However, not only heroin from Afghanistan is the major source for U.S. citizens,BigPharma,or thecorporate drug dealerswho selllegal drugsalso have a hand in the epidemic because they produce and sellOpioidssuch asOxyContinandPercocetwhich is similar to heroin. He enlisted 30,000 Hmong tribesmen in the service of the CIA. Ironically drug trafficking through Panama increased after the US invasion. And in return, large shipments of narcotics flowed . We also explore the depth and breadth of the Iran Contra investigations and reports, specifically focusing on the investigations into the connections between the Contras and drug trafficking. [56] In 1986, the agreement was modified to require the CIA to stop paying agents who it believed were involved in the drug trade. But the director of the Drug Enforcement Agency initially praised him for his "vigorous anti-drug trafficking policy." Eventually . In his book "Politics of Heroin",[43] McCoy alleges CIA complicity in the global drug trade in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Colombia, arguing that the CIA follows a similar pattern in all their drug involvement. Provision of assistance to the Contras by narcotics traffickers, including cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials, on a voluntary basis by the traffickers. Marseilles first heroin laboratones were opened in 1951, only months after the Corsicans took over the waterfront. [36] Operation Just Cause, whose ostensible purpose was to capture Noriega, pushed the former Panamanian leader into the Papal Nuncio where he surrendered to U.S. authorities. In city after city, local dealers either bought from Ross or got left behind.. Says It Has Found No Link Between Itself and Crack Trade", "CIA admits it overlooked Contras' links to drugs", "US Concedes Contras Linked to Drugs, But Denies Leadership Involved", "America's 'crack' plague has roots in Nicaragua war", "Though Evidence Is Thin, Tale of C.I.A. The CIA's Inspector General said the Agency wanted the money returned "to protect an operational equity, i.e., a Contra support group in which it [CIA] had an operational interest. . Throughout its existence, it's been involved in drugs trafficking - documented by Alfred McCoy's book titled "The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade." . New Haven police said emergency responders saw at least 15 overdoses since Thursday afternoon, and possibly up to 22. Gene "Chip" Tatum, former CIA operative and pilot, was a firsthand witness to drug and weapons trafficking in the early 1980's by Bill Clinton, George H.W. New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 2003. The second article described Blandns background and how he began smuggling cocaine to support the Contras. It was a way to raise large amounts of "hard to trace" cash. "In 1984, CIA received allegations that five individuals associated with the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE)/Sandino Revolutionary Front (FRS) were engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy with a known narcotics trafficker, Jorge Morales," the report found. Carey ultimately decided that there were problems with several parts of the story and wrote a draft article incorporating his findings.[39]. The Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA to wage war against Communist China, became the opium barons of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand and Laos), the worlds largest source of opium and heroin. And the CIA and government officials were closing their eyes, fighting a war that was technically illegal.. The city is warning residents that there is a batch of tainted, life-threatening heroin on the streets. Only large packages were inspected, so that small amounts of opium for local consumption might have been carried by individuals, but the prohibition of commercial traffic was unequivocal. [36] The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America. Sent Ton of Cocaine to U.S. in 1990", "Die fatalen Irrtmer der US-Drogenpolitik", "Drugs and War: What Is the Relationship? He told the Examiner, "I just wanted to get the Communists out of my country." The three articles in the series were written by four reporters: Jesse Katz, Doyle McManus, John Mitchell, and Sam Fulwood. The charges linked the Contra trafficking to Sebastin Gonzlez Mendiola, who was charged with cocaine trafficking on November 26, 1984, in Costa Rica. While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients' drug trafficking. Each is closely examined in terms of their relationship with CIA, the drug trafficking activity that was alleged, the actions CIA took in response to the allegations, and the extent of information concerning the allegations that was Shared with U.S. law enforcement and Congress. Despite the numerous, documented and fully admitted examples of CIA involvement in drug dealing in the past, the idea that the agency is still tied in with . [7], In 1985, another Contra leader "told U.S. authorities that his group was being paid $50,000 by Colombian traffickers for help with a 100-kilo cocaine shipment and that the money would go 'for the cause' of fighting the Nicaraguan government." The Taliban banned the production of opium in 2000. According to the three men, the CIA was collaborating with drug traffickers moving cocaine and marijuana to the United States, and using its share of the profits to finance Nicaraguan Contra rebels attempting to overthrow Nicaragua's Sandinista government. The review was conducted primarily by editor Jonathan Krim and reporter Pete Carey, who had written the paper's first published analysis of the series. The allegations accuse the agency of selling crack cocaine in the Los Angeles area to fund . The CIA sets up proprietary arms, shipping, and banking companies to facilitate the criminal drug. Regarding issues raised in the series' shorter sidebar stories, it found that some in the government were "not eager" to have DEA agent Celerino Castillo "openly probe" activities at Ilopango Airport in El Salvador, where covert operations in support of the Contras were undertaken, and that the CIA had indeed intervened in a case involving smuggler Julio Zavala. It noted that Blandn and Meneses claimed to have donated money to Contra sympathizers in Los Angeles, but found no information to confirm that it was true or that the agency had heard of it. [41] After discussions with Webb, the column was published on May 11, 1997. In a follow up letter later Smith stated "I have been advised that a question arose regarding the need to add all narcotics violations to the list of "non-employee" crimes". U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York City experienced a rise in crime and disease. A pair of BNDD [the predecessor of the US Drug Enforcement Administration] agents tried to seize an Air America."[13]. By developing a system for supply of the Contras, the US built a road for drug supply into the US. CIA supplied trucks and mules, which had carried arms into Afghanistan, were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan Pakistan border. By Ian Stuart. In 1986, the Reagan Administration acknowledged that funds from cocaine smuggling helped fund the Contra rebels, but . And I know so because I was told by some of these pilots that in fact they had done that. SIN was purportedly created to fight . View Essay - CIA & drug trafficking from ECONOMICS 11023 at Michigan State University. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was used to refine heroin. Like the CIA and Justice Department reports, it also found that neither Blandn, Meneses, nor Ross were associated with the CIA. Editor's Note: The ongoing relationship between Drug Trafficking and the CIA has been fairly common knowledge for the past 45 years and was well documented by Alfred McCoy's, . In exchange, the CIA allowed Trafficante to import tons of narcotics into America. In 1984, U.S. officials began receiving reports of Contra cocaine trafficking. [25], The Los Angeles Times devoted the most space to the story, developing its own three-part series called The Cocaine Trail. in Central America", "Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story", Involvement in Contra cocaine trafficking, Official reports by the U.S. Government on the CIA,, History of the foreign relations of the United States, Investigations and hearings of the United States Congress, All Wikipedia articles written in American English, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0. [40] By January, Webb filed drafts of four more articles based on his trip, but his editors concluded that the new articles would not help shore up the original series' claims. Additionally, the Medellin Cartels Miami accountant, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, testified that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through long-time CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who was based at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador. According to an NBC affiliatereported that state officials were set to declare a public health emergency in New Haven, Connecticut over the rise of heroin use which has resulted in two deaths: Officials in New Haven on Friday were set to address a public health emergency declaration brought on by a rash of heroin overdoses in the city beginning Thursday. The sanctuary that Cuba provides to drug traffick- ers complicates drug-enforcement efforts in the Caribbean: - Vessels carrying drugs from South America to the United States frequently use Cuban waters to avoid interdiction, with and without official Cuban sanction. [45], Then in October 2009, the New York Times published an article by Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti, and James Risen who reported that unnamed former and current American officials had said Ahmed Wali Karzai had received regular payments from the CIA for eight years starting shortly after his brother was elected President and was involved in opium trafficking in Afghanistan. Fox News had a segment with Geraldo Rivera that shows how the U.S. government (in this case, the U.S. Marines) is involved in Afghanistans heroin production with Washingtons approval of course. "[52], The report also stated that former DEA agent Celerino Castillo III alleged that during the 1980s, Ilopango Airport in El Salvador was used by Contras for drug smuggling flights, and "his attempts to investigate Contra drug smuggling were stymied by DEA management, the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador, and the CIA". These included CIA assets, pilots who ferried supplies to the Contras, as well as Contra officials and others. Noriega facilitated guns-for-drugs flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, as well as safe havens for drug cartel officials, and discreet banking facilities. Much of the article highlighted the failure of law enforcement agencies to successfully prosecute them and suggested that this was largely due to their Contra and CIA connections. From its very inception, the CIA has been embroiled in the murky underworld of drug trafficking. [41], Alfred McCoy has argued that the CIA had fostered heroin production in Afghanistan for decades to finance operations aimed at containing the spread of communism, and later to finance operations aimed at containing the spread of the Islamic state. officers". A 1985 National Intelligence Estimate revealed cocaine trafficking links to a top commander working under Contra leader Edn Pastora. The San Jose Mercury News series documents just one thread of the interwoven operations linking the CIA, the contras and the cocaine cartels. Americans, 5% of Earths population, take 60% of painkillers on Earth. 2023 We Are Change | Website by Dave Cahill, er Ronald Reagan, began funding and arming groups of rebels opposed to the Sandanistas known as the Counterrevolutionaries, or Contras. Former Panamanian deputy health minister Dr. Hugo Spadafora, who had fought with the Contra army, outlined charges of cocaine trafficking to a prominent Panamanian official. In 1989, after the Costa Rica government indicted Hull for drug trafficking, a DEA-hired plane clandestinely and illegally flew the CIA operative to Miami, via Haiti. Read more Print length 734 pages Language English Publisher Lawrence Hill Books Publication date May 1, 2003 " (G)overnments themselves, and the links they develop with major traffickers, are the key both to the drug-trafficking problem and to its solution." The CIA is a sinister, secretive, unaccountable agency, operating extrajudicially. [52], The House Intelligence Committee issued its report in February 2000. From opium to marijuana to cocaine, a variety of. This support "was not directed by anyone within the Contra movement who had an association with the CIA," and the Committee found "no evidence that the CIA or the Intelligence Community was aware of these individuals' support. In the beginning, CIA arms, money, and disinformation enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrestle control of labor unions from the Communist Party. Then, too, he said all the profits went to the Contras. All of his claims are fully documented and backed up by records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. In sum, the CIA's role in the Southeast Asian heroin trade involved indirect complicity rather than direct culpability. Three officials told journalists that they considered these reports "reliable." While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients drug trafficking. Contents 1 Early reports 2 FBI probe 3 Reagan Administration admits Contra-cocaine connections 4 Kerry Committee 5 Gary Webb [24], The New York Times published two articles on the series in mid-October, both written by reporter Tim Golden. An editorial in the Times, while criticizing the series for making "unsubstantiated charges," conceded that it did find "drug-smuggling and dealing by Nicaraguans with at least tentative connections to the Contras" and called for further investigation. The involvement of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in cocaine trafficking in Central America during the Reagan Administration as part of the Contra war in Nicaragua has been the subject of several official and journalistic investigations since the mid-1980s. This article first appeared and was authored by Joe Bowman. The article suggested this was in retribution for Ross testimony in the corruption case. Journalist Gary Webb's expose of CIA involvement in Nicaraguan drugs trafficking, supporting the contras, dealing with Los Angeles crack dealers, made him a . In fact, it is estimated by U.S. customs that at least 75% of all drug smuggling aircraft have passed through . He concluded: "How did these shortcomings occur? in Central America", United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, "Key Figures In CIA-Crack Cocaine Scandal Begin To Come Forward", The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Report of Investigation Concerning Allegations of Connections Between CIA and The Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States, Central Intelligence Agency Office of the Inspector General, Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, And The Crack Cocaine Explosion, "PBS Frontline: Cocaine, Conspiracy Theories & the C.I.A. Citing existing federal policy on narcotics enforcement, Smith wrote: "In light of these provisions and in view of the fine cooperation the Drug Enforcement Administration has received from CIA, no formal requirement regarding the reporting of narcotics violations has been included in these procedures. Spadafora was later found murdered. When the failed plan came to light, the CIA officer in charge of the operation resigned, and his supervisor was transferred. The subject remains controversial. Several also said they supplied information about the smuggling to U.S. His articles asserted that the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by the Contra personnel and directly aided drug dealers to raise money for the Contras. To show this, the series focused on three men: Ricky Ross, Oscar Danilo Blandn, and Norwin Meneses. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs. But ultimately, the responsibility was, and is, mine. 2) The series' estimates of the money involved was presented as fact instead of an estimate. [35], In 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. To support these claims, the series focused on three men: Ricky Ross, Oscar Danilo Blandn, and Norwin Meneses. "[59] It also found no evidence to support Webb's suggestion that several other drug smugglers mentioned in the series were associated with the CIA, or that anyone associated with the CIA or other intelligence agencies was involved in supplying or selling drugs in Los Angeles. (See Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA, W.W. Norton & Co., 1 987. [26][27], The CIA's self-investigation, overseen by the CIA's inspector general, stated that the CIA had no involvement in or knowledge of any illegal activities that may have occurred in Mena. Season 5 of the Archer series (Archer Vice) depicts Archer trying to sell cocaine in America which they later discover is a part of a drugs for arms deal between the CIA and the dictator of the fictional Country of San Marcos. The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been accused of involvement in drug trafficking. By the end of September, three federal investigations had been announced: an investigation into the CIA allegations conducted by CIA Inspector-General Frederick Hitz, an investigation into the law enforcement allegations by Justice Department Inspector-General Michael Bromwich, and a second investigation into the CIA by the House Intelligence Committee. Hallucinogens are drugs that affect sensation, thinking, self-awareness, and emotion. The joint Lansky-CIA operations in the international drug racket were a lucrative venture that thrived as a consequence of deep U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia as a cover for drug smuggling activities." Piper's simple one-paragraph explanation may be the most concise overview of the Vietnam War ever written. "[10], On December 20, 1985, these and other additional charges were laid out in an Associated Press article after an extensive investigation, which included interviews with "officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Customs Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Costa Rica's Public Security Ministry, as well as rebels and Americans who work with them". The US repeatedly thwarted Costa Rican efforts to extradite Hull back to Costa Rica to stand trial. "Allegations linking CIA secret operations and drug trafficking have persisted on and off ever since the Agency's founding in 1947. She questioned whether the U.S. government paid or organized operatives to . After Ceppos' column, The Mercury News spent the next several months conducting an internal review of the story. [7][8][9] Pastora had complained about such charges as early as March 1985, claiming that "two 'political figures' in Washington told him last week that State Department and CIA personnel were spreading the rumor that he is linked to drug trafficking in order to isolate his movement.
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