|Arkansas State Police|
|Rank||Criminal investigator and Researcher|
|Other work||Criminal investigator of the Mena airport|
Russell Franklin Welch (born 1947 or 1948) is a former investigator for the Arkansas State Police Department. He was the second criminal investigator assigned to the Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport in Mena, Arkansas, where he monitored air traffic and developed sources of information and methods to determine what drugs were being trafficked into the airport. 
Allegations of CIA involvement in cocaine smuggling
Welch sounded the alarm for decades about an alleged CIA smuggling operation of cocaine into the United States via Mena in Arkansas, and claimed that Barry Seal was trafficking more than cocaine, and that there were more places like Mena in Oklahoma.
Alleged anthrax attack
Welch claimed he was exposed to military grade anthrax, a poison only available at that time through the U.S. government, after he opened a letter which released electrostatically charged floating spores in his face, and that he had his life saved after a prompt diagnosis by a doctor.[who?] Later, he claimed, the doctor's office was vandalized, and robbed, and that test results and correspondence with the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta were stolen.
Welch further alleged that there was no investigation of this attack, and no concern or sympathy from the state police for his condition. However, he claimed that after leaving the hospital he met with an FBI agent, and that while Welch assumed the meeting was about the anthrax attack, the FBI officer told him he was being investigated for an illegal wiretap. However, Welch said that he was able to show that he was in the hospital[which?] during the time of the alleged wiretapping activity.
Attempted firing and negotiated retirement
In 1995, the Arkansas State Police attempted to fire Welch for incompetence. Welch admitted to several accusations of poor record keeping and tardiness, and agreed that his caseload had dropped in recent years – a situation he attributed to the media attention surrounding the Mena investigation. Welch reached an agreement with the police where he would work under close supervision until January 1996, when he would become eligible for retirement benefits, at which point he would resign from the police force.
- Stich, Rodney, Drugging America: A Trojan Horse, Silverpeak Enterprises, June 29, 2005 (pages 72–74).
- Traver, Harold H., and Mark S. Gaylord, Drugs, law, and the state, Transaction Publishers, January 1, 1992 (Foreword xxiii).
- Cockburn, Alexander, and Jeffrey St. Clair, Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press, Verso Books, November 17, 1999 (pages 330-331).
- Secret Heartbeat of America - The CIA And Drugs Part 1/11, Mad Cow Productions (Documentary with interview of Russell Welch).
- Secret Heartbeat of America - The CIA And Drugs Part 5/11, Mad Cow Productions (starting at time 8:30).
- Vincent, Lynn, Donkey cons: sex, crime, and corruption in the Democratic Party,Thomas Nelson, April 4, 2006 (page 213).
- Reed, Terry, and John Cummings, Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA, S.P.I. Books, February 1, 1994 (pages 105, 146, 216, 238, 239).
- Uyttebrouck, Olivier (6 May 1995). "State Police Want Investigator Fired; Officer Blames Poor Performance on Media Calls about Mena". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. p. 1B.