Allegations of CIA drug trafficking
Some sources say that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been involved in several drug trafficking operations. Some of these reports claim that congressional evidence indicates that the CIA worked with groups which it knew were involved in drug trafficking, so that these groups would provide them with useful intelligence and material support, in exchange for allowing their criminal activities to continue, and impeding or preventing their arrest, indictment, and imprisonment by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Afghanistan (Soviet Union)
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The CIA supported various Afghan rebel commanders, such as Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who were fighting against the government of Afghanistan and the forces of the Soviet Union which were its supporters. Historian Alfred W. McCoy stated that:
In most cases, the CIA's role involved various forms of complicity, tolerance or studied ignorance about the trade, not any direct culpability in the actual trafficking ... [t]he CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection. In sum, the CIA's role in the Southeast Asian heroin trade involved indirect complicity rather than direct culpability.
CIA and Kuomintang opium smuggling operations
In order to provide covert funds for the Kuomintang (KMT) forces loyal to General Chiang Kai-shek, who were fighting the Chinese communists under Mao Zedong, the CIA helped the KMT smuggle opium from China and Burma to Bangkok, Thailand, by providing airplanes owned by one of their front businesses, Air America.
KMT general Sun Li Ren took charge of these forces, which controlled a region in between Burma and Thailand, but were eventually forced out of the area. The CIA later pressured Sun Li Ren to undertake a coup d'état in Taiwan against Chiang Kai-shek, but was discovered and placed under house arrest by Chiang's son, Chiang Ching-kuo.
Released on April 13, 1989 the Kerry Committee report concluded that members of the U.S. State Department "who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking... and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers."
In 1996 Gary Webb wrote a series of articles published in the San Jose Mercury News, which investigated Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras who had smuggled cocaine into the U.S. which was then distributed as crack cocaine into Los Angeles and funneled profits to the Contras. 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. Although he strongly implied CIA involvement, Webb never claimed to have made a direct link between the CIA and the Contras. Moreover, Webb's articles were heavily attacked by many media outlets who questioned the validity of his claims, although the unusual response led some to question if the CIA was involved. Webb turned the articles into a book called, Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion." On December 10, 2004, Webb reportedly committed suicide, albeit under strange circumstances (two gunshot wounds to the head).
In 1996, CIA Director John M. Deutch went to Los Angeles to attempt to refute the allegations raised by the Webb articles, and was famously confronted by former Los Angeles Police Department officer Michael Ruppert, who testified that he had witnessed it occurring.
The CIA has been accused of moneylaundering the Iran-Contra drug funds via the BCCI, the former U.S. Commissioner of Customs William von Raab said that when customs agents raided the bank in 1988, they found numerous CIA accounts. The CIA also worked with BCCI in arming and financing the Afghan mujahideen during the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, using BCCI to launder proceeds from trafficking heroin grown in the Pakistan–Afghanistan borderlands, boosting the flow of narcotics to European and U.S. markets.
A number of allegations have been written about and several local, state, and federal investigations have taken place related to the notion of the Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport as a CIA drop point in large scale cocaine trafficking beginning in the latter part of the 1980s. The topic has received some press coverage that has included allegations of awareness, participation and/or coverup involvement of figures such as future presidents Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, as well as future Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Saline County prosecutor Dan Harmon (who was convicted of numerous felonies including drug and racketeering charges in 1997). The Mena airport was also associated with Adler Berriman (Barry) Seal, an American drug smuggler and aircraft pilot who flew covert flights for the CIA and the Medellín Cartel.
A criminal investigator from the Arkansas State Police, Russell Welch, who was assigned to investigate Mena airport claimed that he opened a letter which released electrostatically charged Anthrax spores in his face, and that he had his life saved after a prompt diagnosis by a doctor.[who?] He also claimed that later, his doctor's office was vandalized, robbed, and test results and correspondence with the CDC in Atlanta were stolen.
An investigation by the CIA's inspector general concluded that the CIA had no involvement in or knowledge of any illegal activities that may have occurred in Mena. The report said that the agency had conducted a training exercise at the airport in partnership with another Federal agency and that companies located at the airport had performed "routine aviation-related services on equipment owned by the CIA".
The oldest Mexican Cartel, the Guadalajara cartel, was benefited by the CIA for having connections with the Honduran drug lord Juan Matta-Ballesteros, a CIA asset, who was the head of SETCO, an airline used for smuggling drugs into the US and also used to transport military supplies and personnel for the Nicaraguan Contras, using funds from the accounts established by Oliver North.”.
It is also alleged that the DFS, the main Mexican intelligence agency, which is in part a CIA creation and later became the Mexican Center for Research and National Security(CISEN), had among its members the CIA's closest government allies in Mexico. DFS badges, "handed out to top-level Mexican drug-traffickers, have been labelled by DEA agents a virtual 'license to traffic.'".
It is also known that the Guadalajara Cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking network in the early 1980s, prospered largely, among other reasons, because it enjoyed the protection of the DFS, under its chief Miguel Nazar Haro, a CIA asset.
Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, known as the Godfather of the Mexican drug business and the first Mexican drug lord, provided a significant amount of funding, weapons, and other aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. His pilot, Werner Lotz stated that Gallardo once had him deliver $150,000 in cash to a Contra group, and Gallardo often boasted about smuggling arms to them. His activities were known to several U.S. federal agencies, including the CIA and DEA, but he was granted immunity due to his "charitable contributions to the Contras".
Vicente Zambada Niebla, the son of Ismael Zambada García one of the top drug lords in Mexico, claimed after his arrest to his attorneys that he and other top Sinaloa Cartel members had received immunity by U.S. agents and a virtual licence to smuggle cocaine over the United States border, in exchange for intelligence about rival cartels engaged in the Mexican Drug War. It is important to note that this Cartel has been classified as the most powerful drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime syndicate in the world.
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. 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. A CIA spokesman responded calling "ridiculous" to suggest that the Agency had anything to do with the murder of a US federal agent or the escape of his alleged killer.
In 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S.—which, in exchange, allowed him to continue his drug-trafficking activities—which they had known about since the 1960s. When the DEA tried to indict Noriega in 1971, the CIA prevented them from doing so. 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. However, when CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA's activities in Latin America, and the CIA's connections with Noriega became a public relations "liability" for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of allowing his drug operations to proceed unchecked. 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. His trial took place in Miami, where he was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Noriega's prison sentence was reduced from 30 years to 17 years for good behavior. After serving 17 years in detention and imprisonment, his prison sentence ended on September 9, 2007. He was held under U.S. custody before being extradited to French custody where he was sentenced to 7 years for laundering money from Colombian drug cartels.
Venezuelan National Guard Affair
The CIA, in spite of objections from the Drug Enforcement Administration, allowed at least one ton of nearly pure cocaine to be shipped into Miami International Airport. The CIA claimed to have done this as a way of gathering information about Colombian drug cartels, but the cocaine ended up being sold on the street.
In November 1993, the former head of the DEA, Robert C. Bonner appeared on 60 Minutes and criticized the CIA for allowing several tons of pure cocaine to be smuggled into the U.S. via Venezuela without first notifying and securing the approval of the DEA.
In November 1996, a Miami grand jury indicted former Venezuelan anti-narcotics chief and longtime CIA asset, General Ramon Guillen Davila, who was smuggling many tons of cocaine into the United States from a Venezuelan warehouse owned by the CIA. In his trial defense, Guillen claimed that all of his drug smuggling operations were approved by the CIA.
- CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US
- CIA transnational anti-crime and anti-drug activities
- War on Drugs
- Air America (airline)
- Air America (non-fiction book)
- Air America (film)
- War crimes committed by the United States
- Castle Bank & Trust (Bahamas)
- Nugan Hand Bank
- Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI)
- Coletta Youngers, Eileen Rosin, ed. (2005). Drugs and democracy in Latin America: the impact of U.S. policy. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-58826-254-7.
- Rodney Stich (30 January 2007). Drugging America: A Trojan Horse. Silverpeak Enterprises. pp. 433–434. ISBN 978-0-932438-11-9. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- 9 November 1991 interview with Alfred McCoy, by Paul DeRienzo
- p. 385 of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by McCoy, with Cathleen B. Read and Leonard P. Adams II, 2003, ISBN 1-55652-483-8
- Cockburn, Alexander; Jeffrey St. Clair (1998). "9". Whiteout, the CIA, drugs and the press. New York: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-258-5.
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- "Michael Ruppert confronts CIA director about Drug Laundering". Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- RICHARD LACAYO (2001-06-24). "Iran-Contra: The Cover-Up Begins to Crack". Time. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Fritz, Sara (1991-08-01). "CIA Issued Early Warning on BCCI, Document Shows : Banking: Memo from '86 appears to counter claims that agency or Gates participated in a cover-up.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Hughes, Bill. "CIA Probed in Alleged Arms Shipments; Reports Claim Agency Was Involved in Arkansas-Nicaragua Drug Swaps". Highbeam.com. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Hughes, Bill. "Clandestination: Arkansas; Mena Is a Quiet Little Place. So How Did It Become the Cloak-and-Dagger Capital of America?". Highbeam.com. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Weil, Martin. "Truth & consequences.(Chairman Jim Leach of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee plans Mena Airport investigation)". Highbeam.com. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "What Was Clinton's Role In 'Mena Mystery!?'". Highbeam.com. 1995-07-19. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Ex-Saline County Prosecutor Dan Harmon arrested on felony drug charges". todaysthv.com. 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA (pages 105,146,216,238,239). Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Anthrax and the Politics of Terror". Stewwebb.com. 2002-01-07. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Drugging America: A Trojan Horse (page 72-74). Books.google.ca. 2007-01-30. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Drugs, law, and the state (Foreword xxiii). Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Rothberg, Donald (9 November 1996). "Investigation Absolves CIA in Alleged Drug Smuggling". Associated Press. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Cockburn, Alexander & St-Clair, Jeffrey (1998). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press. Verso. p. 282. ISBN 9781859841396.
- Bunck, Julie M. & Fowler, Michael R. (2012). Bribes, Bullets, and Intimidation: Drug Trafficking and the Law in Central America. Penn State Press. p. 274. ISBN 9780271048666.
- Peter Dale Scott (2000), Washington and the politics of drugs, Variant, 2(11).
- Scott, Peter Dale & Marshall, Jonathan (1998). Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Latin America. University of California Press. p. 41. ISBN 9780520921283.
- "Court Pleadings Point to CIA Role in Alleged "Cartel" Immunity Deal | the narcosphere". Narcosphere.narconews.com. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Name * (2011-08-01). "Top Drug Trafficker Claims U.S. Government Made Agreement to Protect Sinaloa Cartel". Public Intelligence. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "U.S. Intelligence Says Sinaloa Cartel Has Won Battle for Ciudad Juarez Drug Routes". CNS News. 9 April 2010.
- ""Te CIA helped kill DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena," say witnesses". El País (Spain) (in Spanish). 15 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- Cockburn, Alexander; Jeffrey St. Clair (1998). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press. New York: Verso. pp. 287–290. ISBN 1-85984-258-5.
- Buckley, Kevin (1991). Panama: The Whole Story. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-72794-9.
- Schpoliansky, Christophe (2010-04-27). "Panama's Ex-Dictator Manuel Noriega Extradited from U.S. to France". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Manuel Noriega scheduled for September release". USA Today. 24 January 2007.
- "Manuel Noriega sentenced to 7 years". Reuters. 7 July 2010.
- New York Times Service, "Venezuelan general who led CIA program indicted," Dallas Morning News (26 November 1996) p. 6A.
- Chua, Howard G. (1993-11-29). "Confidence Games". TIME. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Russ Kick, ed. (2001). You are being lied to: the disinformation guide to media distortion, historical whitewashes and cultural myths. The Disinformation Company. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-9664100-7-5.
- "Venezuelan General Indicted in C.I.A. Scheme". New York Times. 1996-11-23. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Scott, Peter Dale; Marshall, Jonathan (1998). Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21449-8.
- Scott, Peter Dale (2003). "11, "Opium, the China Lobby, and the CIA"". Drugs, oil, and war: the United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-2522-1.
- Kruger, Henrik. (1980). The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence, and International Fascism. South End Press. ISBN 0-89608-031-5.
- Kwitny, Jonathan (1988). The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA. Touchstone Books. ISBN 978-0-671-66637-8.
- Levine, Michael (1993). The Big White Lie: The Deep Cover Operation That Exposed the CIA Sabotage of the Drug War. Thunder's Mouth Pr. ISBN 978-1-56025-084-5.
- McCoy, Alfred W. (2003). The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Central America, Columbia. Lawrence Hill & Co. ISBN 1-55652-483-8.
- Webb, Gary (1999). Dark Alliance: CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Seven Stories Press,U.S. ISBN 1-888363-93-2.
CIA & DOJ Reports
- Overview of CIA/IG Investigation (January 29, 1998) — A short summary of The Inspector General's Report of Investigation regarding allegations of connections between CIA and the Contras in cocaine trafficking to the United States.
- Report of Investigation--Volume I: The California Story (January 29, 1998) —The Inspector General's Report of Investigation regarding allegations of connections between CIA and the Contras in cocaine trafficking to the United States. Volume I: The California Story.
- Report of Investigation -- Volume II: The Contra Story (October 8, 1998) — The Inspector General's Report of Investigation regarding allegations of connections between CIA and the Contras in cocaine trafficking to the United States. Volume II: The Contra Story.
- USDOJ/OIG Special Report. THE CIA-CONTRA-CRACK COCAINE CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT’S INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS (December, 1997)
- NarcoNews: U.S. Cocaine-Plane Invasion Spooking Latin America
- Consortium News - CIA Admits Tolerating Contra- Cocaine Trafficking in 1980s - 08/06/00
- Frontline: Guns, Drugs, and the CIA
- Congressional Testimony of Peter Kornbluh