Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport
|Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport|
|IATA: none – ICAO: KMEZ – FAA LID: MEZ|
|Owner||City of Mena|
|Elevation AMSL||1,080 ft / 329 m|
Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport (ICAO: KMEZ, FAA LID: MEZ) is a city owned, public use airport located two nautical miles (4 km) southeast of the central business district of Mena, a city in Polk County, Arkansas, United States. It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation facility.
Although most U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, this airport is assigned MEZ by the FAA but has no designation from the IATA (which assigned MEZ to Messina, South Africa). The airport's ICAO identifier is KMEZ.
Facilities and aircraft
Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport covers an area of 667 acres (270 ha) at an elevation of 1,080 feet (329 m) above mean sea level. It has two runways with asphalt surfaces: 9/27 is 6,001 by 100 feet (1,829 x 30 m) and 17/35 is 5,000 by 75 feet (1,524 x 23 m).
For the 12-month period ending August 31, 2009, the airport had 31,000 aircraft operations, an average of 84 per day: 93% general aviation, 5% air taxi, and 2% military. At that time there were 43 aircraft based at this airport: 63% single-engine, 28% multi-engine, 7% jet, and 2% helicopter.
CIA drug trafficking
A number of allegations have been made about the use of Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport as a CIA drop point in large scale cocaine trafficking, beginning in the latter part of the 1980s. Several local, state, and federal investigations have taken place in relation to these allegations. The topic has received some press coverage that has included allegations of awareness, participation and/or coverup involving prominent figures such as Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, 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 for 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".
Allegations regarding Bill Clinton
Reporter Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News alleged that when Bill Clinton was governor, Mena, Arkansas was a CIA airport Drop Location. During the Clinton presidential administration (1993-2001), there were accusations (most notably in the controversial film " Clinton Chronicles) that Clinton, during his time as governor of Arkansas, and other high-ranking state officials were involved in some way with illegal cocaine importation, money laundering, and drug use centered upon the airport in Mena. These allegations have been disputed by several different investigations, including one by the Banking Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
- FAA Airport Master Record for MEZ ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
- "Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport (ICAO: KMEZ, FAA: MEZ, IATA: none)". Great Circle Mapper. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- "Messina Airport, South Africa (IATA: MEZ, ICAO: FAMS)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- "Mena Intermountain Municipal – MEZ (KMEZ)". National Flight Data Center. Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- 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.
- Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport, official site
- Mena Intermountain Municipal (MEZ) at the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics
- Mena Air Center, the fixed base operator (FBO)
- Aerial image as of March 2001 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective April 30, 2015
- FAA Terminal Procedures for MEZ, effective April 30, 2015
- Resources for this airport:
- , The FBI uses polygraphs to eliminate suspects