On April 19, 1968, Sarti was arrested along with fellow Corsicans Auguste Joseph Ricord and Francois Chiappe for questioning regarding the robbery of a branch of the National Bank of Argentina. The three were released due to lack of evidence. In April 1972, Sarti was shot to death in Mexico City during a police raid of a drug trafficking ring. A detective in Rio de Janeiro was later suspended from the police force after being accused of accepting a bribe to free Sarti and Helena Ferreira, his girlfriend, from jail earlier in 1972.
Allegations of involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy
The Men Who Killed Kennedy
On October 25, 1988, the British television program The Men Who Killed Kennedy named Sarti as one of three French gangsters involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. According to the program, Sarti, Roger Bocagnani, and Sauveur Pironti were contracted by organized crime in the United States. In the French newspaper Le Provençal published the following day, Pironti denied the allegation stating he believed at the time of the assassination that Sarti was held in Marseille's Baumettes Prison and that Bocagnani was in Bordeaux's Fort du Hâ. He also showed the paper military records showing that he was serving on a minesweeper from October 1962 to April 1964. The French Ministry of Justice stated that Bocagnani was in prison on the day of Kennedy's assassination and officials for the French Navy confirmed Pironti's military service. Pironti's assertion that Sarti was in prison has not been confirmed.
E. Howard Hunt
After the death of career CIA operative, spy novelist, and convicted Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt in 2007, Saint John Hunt and David Hunt stated that their father had recorded several claims about himself and others being involved in a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy. In the April 5, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone, Saint John Hunt detailed a number of individuals purported to be implicated by his father including an assassin he termed "French gunman grassy knoll"  who many presume was Sarti, as well as Lyndon B. Johnson, Cord Meyer, David Phillips, Frank Sturgis, David Morales, and William Harvey.
The case against Sarti stemmed from the British television series referenced above, in which researcher Steve Rivele interviewed imprisoned Corsican drug smuggler Christian David, eventually to be given a single name "Lucien". After further inquiries, Rivele himself supposed that Lucien was Lucien Sarti which David then confirmed. However assassination researchers have also implicated another French heroin smuggler and assassin using the possible pseudonym of Michel Mertz as well as his real name Jean Souetre, and with much stronger evidence.
Souetre appears in CIA  and FBI  documents released in 1977 under the Freedom of Information Act as having been in the Dallas area around the time of the assassination and actually in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He had previously been a commando in the French foreign legion stationed in Algeria. According to his military record  he was arrested for desertion after joining the OAS (Secret Army Organization), a resistance movement opposed to Algerian independence from France, which orchestrated numerous failed assassination plots against President DeGaulle. In 1962 Souetre escaped from a detention camp at Saint Maurice l'Ardoise. Following another failed OAS assassination attempt, he was sentenced to death in absentia. However still according to the record, Souetre was in Algeria and then the African sub-continent fighting as a mercenary from early 1962 until 1968 when he was repatriated to France.
Souetre himself later claimed he was not in Dallas, but that still another heroin dealer named Michel Mertz was using his name as a pseudonym. However the documents referenced above actually refer to Michel Mertz as one of Souetre's pseudonyms. While it's possible that both used the other's name on occasion, and that the CIA and FBI had the names confused, there seem to be no official documents related to a Michel Mertz. There are some biographical stories, but though colorful reading like a spy novel, they are unsourced. So it's also possible that Mertz's biography was fabricated as part of a false identity Souetre himself assumed to hide his status as a stateless fugitive.
Indeed one of the FBI documents referenced above is a communication from the CIA to the FBI about Souetre indicating that he himself disclosed that he travelled on various passports, one being a U.S. passport, during a meeting with CIA representatives in Portugal where he asked for help for the OAS. A close reading of more of these documents reveals some inconsistencies as to the identity of certain French visitors who were in and around Dallas in November 1963 and who left shortly after the assassination. It appears that the FBI suspected and investigated a sophisticated effort at concealment including the use of pseudonyms. Some sections are redacted. In 2009 San Francisco attorney Anthony Bothwell requested the CIA release any additional information it has on Jean Souetre. The CIA responded that any records on Souetre would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act as "intelligence sources and methods information". In 2013 Bothwell filed a federal lawsuit demanding a court order forcing the CIA to produce whatever records it has on Jean Souetre.
The above information doesn't exonerate Sarti, but there is no known record of his presence in Dallas as there is of Souetre's. However it can be supposed he would have been using a pseudonym. Whoever the "French gunman" was, Hunt's claims of a high level Johnson-CIA conspiracy would have been difficult to prove and the two sons alleged that their father cut the information from his memoirs, "American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond", to avoid possible perjury charges. According to Hunt's widow and other children, the two sons took advantage of Hunt's loss of lucidity by coaching and exploiting him for financial gain. The Los Angeles Times said they examined the materials offered by the sons to support the story and found them to be "inconclusive".
An insider's account of Lyndon Johnson's rise to power and the Texas political machine he managed can be found in the autobiographical book "Billy Sol Estes: A Texas Legend", now apparently out of print but available online. This book indicts Johnson and contains alleged details of the assassination plot, including the strategy of planting numerous false leads and a reference to the French Connection. Johnson's mistress Madeleine Brown has stated that he himself laid blame for Kennedy's death on "the oil men and the intelligence men".
The following is editorial commentary by this author. It should be remembered that Johnson and his supporters were Roosevelt era New Deal Democrats, that the Kennedy brothers were virulent anti-communists, and that the oil men and intelligence men were the tactical heroes of World War II. Allen Dulles, the director of the CIA that Kennedy fired after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, had been a U.S. spy in Europe during both World War I and II. Such circumstances may be why those in the know are still reluctant to press charges, even for the sake of history. Or maybe it's just that it turned out President Kennedy was right.
There were 100 tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba after the Cuban missile crisis  which had been undetected by U.S. aerial reconnaissance flights, and which were not revealed to Kennedy by Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev during negotiations to have the medium range ballistic missiles removed. These weapons were Hiroshima-sized warheads fitted to cruise missiles, artillery fired shells and airborne bombs. The last could have been delivered to U.S. cities in the Southeast using Soviet made IL-28 bombers in the possession of the Cuban regime. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara lobbied Kennedy to also have these bombers removed some weeks after the missiles. The undiscovered warheads were unilaterally withdrawn by Khrushchev within a few months, because he felt Castro was unstable, having already made threats. However the CIA later received information that some warheads and missiles remained.   The agreement Kennedy made with Khrushchev did not allow for on site inspections so this could not be verified. There were in fact no more nuclear weapons in Cuba well before assassination plans went into effect.
Within a few years and in the cold light of internationalist politics The Establishment decided they had simply made an error in judgement by trusting Johnson. Within twelve years of Kennedy's murder there were shakeups at many levels of the U.S. Government especially the CIA and the Executive Branch, suggesting that it was handled behind the scenes, and leaving another Kennedy brother in a position of political power for the remainder of his natural life.
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- Clark, Evert and Nicholas Horrock (1973). Contrabandista! Praeger, ASIN B0006C4TXQ. The authors state Sarti was 41 at time of death.
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- "French accused of killing JFK". Observer-Reporter. Washington, PA. AP. October 27, 1988. p. A-8. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
- Williams, Carol J. (March 20, 2007). "Watergate plotter may have a last tale". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- Hedegaard, Erik (April 5, 2007). "The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 18, 2008.
- McAdams, John (2011). "Too Much Evidence of Conspiracy". JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think About Claims of Conspiracy. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books. p. 189. ISBN 9781597974899. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- The Men Who Killed Kennedy - an article on the TV series, which mentions David's claim of Sarti's involvement.