Drug trafficking

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The distribution and sale of illegal drugs throughout the world has long been under the control of government entities (particularly intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies) along with their partners in organized crime. Government complicity in the drug trade ranges from looking the other way to having its own assets directly involved in the trafficking, but either way, the effective outcome is the merger of government and organized crime into a single entity with common goals. On this page, proven and suspected cases of the state being complicit in drug trafficking are documented.

Proven cases

ONI and Mafia relationship

Southeast Asia drug lords

Related articles: Nugan Hand Bank, Richard Armitage

[1]

French Connection

Operation Sunburn

Main article: Dixie Mafia#operationsunburn

A Florida-based drug ring that imported Colombian marijuana, run by Dixie Mafia players such as Cliff Wentworth and Clyde Cobb, and employing CIA assets within the Cuban exile community including Antonio Bascaro and Gustavo Fernandez.

Operation Cobra

Main article: Dixie Mafia#operationcobra

A Florida-based drug ring importing marijuana and cocaine that operated from 1977 until 1987, under the leadership of former CIA asset Guillermo Tabraue (whose Miami jewelry store was also where many of the Sunburn players came together) and his son Mario Tabraue. It had a number of crooked cops in the Miami area on the payroll, including the upper leadership of the Key West FL police which was busted for that corruption in 1984. Also of interest is that Marco Rubio's brother-in-law Orlando Cicilia was one of the men swept up in the Operation Cobra bust.

Bluegrass conspiracy

Mariposa County

Related article: Yosemite murders

Whittington brothers

Race car drivers in Florida who made appearances in numerous drug trafficking cases spanning multiple decades: being sponsored by Clyde Cobb of the Operation Sunburn ring, transferring ownership of a Lear jet to Barry Seal, providing the aircraft used by Wally Hilliard's operation in Venice FL, etc.

Contra leadership

Main article: Iran-Contra

Barry Seal and Mena

Main articles: Barry Seal, Terry Reed

Franklin scandal

Main article: Franklin child sex ring

Multiple key players in the Omaha-based Franklin pedophile network were also involved in drug distribution. Lawrence E. King and Alan Baer used the children in the ring, particularly the older teenagers beginning to get "too old" for pedophiles' interests, as drug couriers to transport cocaine from Los Angeles to Omaha. Police chief Robert Wadman was, according to one of investigator Gary Caradori's informants, involved in bringing Los Angeles drug trafficking gangs the Bloods and the Crips to Omaha. Members of these gangs were spotted driving King's car according to a report of former investigator Jerry Lowe.

Forest Service C-130s

Ecstasy trafficking

[involving the American mob under Sammy Gravano as well as Russian and Israeli organized crime; the Israeli intelligence assets involved in the "art student" spy ring penetrating the DEA were connected to the ecstasy trade as well]

9/11 flight schools

Main articles: 9/11, Wally Hilliard

Huffman Aviation, the Venice FL flight school where 9/11 hijackers Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi purportedly trained, appears to have actually operated as a drug trafficking front connected to the CIA and Russian mafia.

Afghanistan War

[2]

Crashed Mexican drug planes

Speculative cases

Ronald Stark

Main article: Ronald Stark

Satanic underground

Main articles: Process Church, Manson Family, Thomas Creech, Hand of Death

Grand Junction in 1975

Main articles: Ben Meyers, Ted Bundy

Mike Ruppert experience

Ronald Auth group

Park City UT resident Ronald Dennis Auth was a known drug trafficker and was at one point a suspect in the November 8, 1974 murder of Debra Kent (later attributed to Ted Bundy) after a key witness definitively identified him. In June 1979, he and three other associates were caught importing $390 worth of Colombian marijuana on a shrimp boat that Auth owned.

Allen Rivenbark ventures

[connected to the Farese mob group, Meyer Lansky, Joey Ippolito, John Walsh's boss John Monahan, etc.]

Parnell Traham group

Main article: Atlanta child murders

Dixie Mafia

Main article: Dixie Mafia

Hank Asher

Main article: Hank Asher

Matamoros cult

Main article: Matamoros cult

Albert Carone case

E-Systems drug smuggling

Main article: E-Systems

Mexican drug cartels

Involved parties

US government

Foreign governments

Organized crime

See also

References

  1. New York Times, "The Female Warlord Who Had C.I.A. Connections and Opium Routes", 2017/07/21 - Chinese Nationalist army supplied by the CIA funded itself by trafficking drugs in the Golden Triangle
  2. New York Times, "Brother of Afghan Leader Said to Be Paid by C.I.A.", 2009/10/28 - Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan president (during the 2000s) Hamid Karzai, was a drug trafficker on the CIA payroll

External links

Whistleblower credibility

Southeast Asia drug lords

  • The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred W. McCoy (1972)

Allen Rivenbark ventures

  • From p.393-394 of The Unsolved Murder of Adam Walsh: Book Two: Finding the Victim by Arthur Jay Harris (2016):

        In November 1981, three months after John Monahan identified Adam, he arrived at another morgue, in the Rocky Mountains, Grelen reported. A private turbojet had crashed carrying seven bound from Opa-locka airport in Dade. All had been killed and body parts were scattered, even in trees. One victim was Monahan's twenty-three years younger fiancée.
        Another was Allen Rivenbark, who at the time of his death six federal and state law enforcement agencies were investigating for suspected drug smuggling, money laundering, and harboring fugitives, the Denver Post reported in January 1982. The story said that Rivenbark owned a secluded mountain ranch thirty miles from Vail which was suspected of being a “hideout” for East Coast mobsters as well as a distribution point for drug trafficking in Colorado resort areas. The seven crash victims were all headed there. Rivenbark was also the jet's owner and part-owner of a coffee plantation in Colombia, Grelen reported.
        The Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune had it too, a UPI story published November 22, 1981: Airplane in Colorado Crash Was Being Watched by DEA. The story said the plane “was under surveillance by officers monitoring a cocaine smuggling operation, a federal agent said.”
        Said Wayne Valentine, chief of the DEA's Denver office, “It is a very likely possibility the plane was carrying cocaine” from South America to the United States.
        At the crash site investigators had found thirty handguns—one holstered to a victim's leg—and $50-60,000 in cash in the fresh snow, Grelen wrote.
        He quoted Bill Bachman, the chief investigator in 1981 for the sheriff's office of Eagle County, Colo., that when Monahan arrived, “He had a bodyguard with him that was a gorilla.” Monahan claimed and identified six of the bodies, excluding only a man with a Japanese name who was thought to be Rivenbark's bodyguard.
        “He made arrangements for dental records. He kind of took charge of the whole situation. That was kind of unusual,” said Bachman.
        Bachman added that as he investigated the crash, he received death threats by telephone.
     
  • Miami Herald, "Seven S. Floridians killed in Colorado plane wreck", 1981/11/21: "Sara Smith, a spokesman for the Eagle County, Colo. Sheriff’s Department said the plane was flying at 11,000 feet near Wolcott, Colo. when it hit a tree on a ridge of Red and White Mountain and plunged 9,700 feet down the side of a mountain. “The plane crashed and crashed hard,” Smith said. “It literally disintegrated, killing all the occupants on impact.” The dead were identified Friday as Kenji Bando, 30, of Fort Lauderdale; Shelly Stock, 32, of Bay Harbor Island; pilot Howard Sall, 29, and his brother and co-pilot Charles Sall, 27, both of North Miami; Larry Shenfeld, 54, of North Miami; Herbert Meier, 37, of Hialeah; and one of the owners of the plane, Allen Rivenbark, 40, of North Miami. Rivenbark also was co-owner of the Black Mountain Guest Ranch, a combination winter resort and dude ranch in McCoy, Colo. That was the destination of the twin-engine Mitsubishi MU2 aircraft, which took off Wednesday from Opa-locka Air port in Dade County. [...] The plane was owned by Aldora Corp. of Miami. Lawyer Richard Baron, one of the corporate officers, said the corporation was a holding company for the plane. Baron and one of his partners, Scott Young, said the plane had recently undergone servicing with specific instructions for work on the fuel tanks. “A correction to the fuel tanks was one of the things that the plane had been serviced for,” Young said. “It certainly seems clear at this point that the servicing was not done properly.” Young refused to name the company that serviced the aircraft. The plane stopped in Shreveport, La., and had been cleared for landing in Eagle at 8:13 pm Wednesday."
  • The Town Talk (Alexandria LA), "Plane That Crashed in the Rockies Under Surveillance by Drug Agents", 1981/11/22: "A twin-engine plane that crashed in the Rockies killing all seven people aboard was under surveillance by officers monitoring a cocaine smuggling operation, a federal agent said. Wayne Valentine, chief of the Denver office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said Friday two agents were sent to the crash site as part of the agency's continuing investigation. "It is a very likely possiblity the plane was carry cocaine," said Valentine. He noted the plane was suspected as a carrier of cocaine from South America to the United States. [...] [Allen] Rivenbark was among the six men and one woman killed when the craft, a Mitsubishi turboprop, plowed into a ridge at about the 9,700-foot level of Red and White Mountain, about halfway between Eagle and the popular Vail ski resort. Also killed were the pilot, Howard S. Sall, 27, his brother and co-pilot Charles Sall, 27, and Larry Shenfeld, 54, all of North Miami, Fla.; Kenji Bando, 30, a Japanese native who had been living in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Herbert Meier, 37, of Hialeah, Fla.; and Shelly Stock, 32, also of Fort Lauderdale. The plane, which disappeared from radar Wednesday night after the pilot told the Eagle airport tower he was low on fuel, was found early Friday by a Colorado State Patrol pilot."
  • Fort Lauderdale News, "Crime figure tied to six drug rings", 1982/11/11 (pages 1a, 4a, 5a): "A South Florida organized-crime associate linked to a massive federal money-laundering investigation had ties to six of the largest drug smuggling rings ever uncovered in the United States. It has been nearly a year since Allen James Rivenbark died in an airplane crash in Colorado, but investigators have just begun to unravel all his criminal involvements. [...] Their investigation has been dubbed Operation Lone Star."
    • "Agents believe Rivenbark, 41, worked with at least two organized-crime families, the Colombo family in New York and the Simone Rizzo "Sam The Plumber" Decavalcante family in New Jersey; mob financial wizard Meyer Lansky; and fugitive financier Robert Vesco to set up financial backing of major drug-smuggling operations. Rivenbark was a partner of mobster Thomas Ralph Farese in Olympic Shipping Lines Inc. of Fort Lauderdale. The firm, which was a front for a multimillion-dollar drug-smuggling and distribution network, was put out of business in 1978 when Farese and five other men were indicted on federal drug-trafficking charges. Farese, a member of the Colombo Mafia family, was convicted and is currently serving a 30-year prison term. According to a Fort Lauderdale detective close to the case, evidence against Rivenbark was never presented to a grand jury in the Farese case. "We had as good a case against Rivenbark as we had on Farese. I just could never understand why the government didn't indict him also with Farese," said Detective Len Oliveri."
    • "The Farese group, with Rivenbark acting as intermediary, got much of its marijuana and cocaine through several other drug organizations: • The Black Tuna Gang, which was once estimated to have supplied up to 8 percent of the marijuana smuggled into the United States, is believed to have been the primary drug supplier. • Darrell and Tracy Boyd of Pembroke Park, who headed a smuggling network that employed 200 members in 48 states before federal indictments shut them down in 1978. One of the group's loads seized in Rhode Island has been linked to Lansky and Vesco. Agents believe Rivenbark, an associate of Lansky and Vesco, served as a broker for the deal. • Joseph Ippolito, a part-time raceboat driver and former Broward resident who headed an organization importing multi-ton loads of pot and huge amounts of cocaine into New York and New Jersey. Agents said Rivenbark contracted with Ippolito, a member of the Decavalcante crime family, for drug shipments from South America. • The DeLisi brothers, successors to the Boyd brothers' illegal empire, who supplied drugs to Farese through Rivenbark before federal indictments interrupted their activities in 1980. • Universal Seafood, a front company in Broward headed by Peter Spitz of Fort Lauderdale. Universal specialized in air smuggling of cocaine. Spitz and his group were convicted of drug smuggling in 1979."
    • "Rivenbark, a native of Long Island, N.Y., first turned up in the drug smuggling business in 1974 when he purchased a bankrupt raceboat manufacturing company from Vesco. Federal authorities believe Rivenbark used the plant to build fast "scam" boats to ferry marijuana ashore from ocean-going freighters. Rivenbark sold the boat company in 1976 to a member of Farese's gang and became vice-president of Farese's Olympic Shipping Lines. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration files report meetings Rivenbark had with Colombo crime family boss Carmine "The Snake" Persico and Lansky."
    • "Investigators believe the primary drug supplier for the Farese-Rivenbark operation was the Black Tuna Gang headed by Raul Davila-Jimeno, the gang leader whose radio code-name was "Black Tuna." Davila-Jimeno, a fugitive from federal drug charges in Colombia, is still operating his Black Tuna ring despite the 1980 convictions of eight gang members in Miami, according to DEA spokesman Brent Eaton. The News and Sun-Sentinel has found that the association between Rivenbark and the Black Tuna Gang did not end with the collapse of his operations with Farese. In one of Rivenbark's date books recovered at the plane crash site, the name Jose Manuel Davila was found. Davila has been identified by the DEA as a relative of Davila-Jimeno."
    • "Rivenbark's association with the Boyd brothers "came through his friend James Monaco, a former house painter who lived in Dania. [...] In February 1977, during an interview with DEA Special Agent Charlie Volpat as part of the Farese investigation, Rivenbark said he let Monaco live at his house after Monaco's release from prison. "The DEA agent feels that not only does Rivenbark have knowledge of it drug smuggling, but he is probably the mastermind behind" the smuggling ring, a DEA report of the interview stated."
    • "Rivenbark's last known ties to a smuggling venture ended Sept. 4, 1981, when federal agents confiscated a ship and 20 tons of marijuana and arrested 32 men on Long Island. Among those arrested was Joseph Ippolito Jr. Agents said the shipment had been arranged by Daniel Deatherage of Miami, who worked directly for Rivenbark. Deatherage was caught on the ship and Ippolito was arrested on the beach. Both were later convicted."
    • "After Farese's conviction, investigators said Rivenbark ran his own smuggling operation. One member of Rivenbark's ring was pilot Bernard Shapiro of North Miami, who is currently appealing his conviction as a part of the FBI's drug smuggling and money laundering investigation code-named Operation Bancoshares. Shapiro, 44, who is reportedly a former chemistry teacher in Philadelphia, was the pilot for Rivenbark's Mitsubishi MU-2 until the pair had a falling out approximately two months before the fatal crash. According to a DEA report on the Colorado plane crash, Shapiro flew at least two flights for Rivenbark in the fall of 1980. The first, on Sept. 1, was from Nassau to Fort Lauderdale. The second, on Oct. 29, was from Aruba to Fort Lauderdale."
    • "At the time of the Nov. 18 crash, Rivenbark and his party were en route to his Black Mountain Guest Ranch in McCoy, Colo. The ranch has been identified by federal agents as a hideout for East Coast Mafia figures. The other victims were Herbert Meier, an electronics expert Rivenbark had hired; Larry Schenfeld, his wife's former husband; Shelly Stock, a hotel consultant; and Howard and Charles Sail, pilot and co-pilot brothers. But for a stroke of fate, there would have been eight victims. Hallandale hotel consultant John F. Monahan, who said he had been negotiating with Rivenbark to promote the ranch, was scheduled to be on the flight but had to cancel at the last minute because of other business. After learning of the crash while in Denver, Monahan, employer and fiance of Miss Stock, went to the crash site in Eagle, Colo., to assist with funeral arrangements for several of the crash victims."
    • "The Drug Enforcement Administration began an inquiry within hours after the crash. According to a summary report of the investigation, agents were interested because a Denver agent had been told that the plane might have been carrying cocaine, weapons and explosives linked to a Cuban terrorist group. While several handguns and hundreds of syringes were found at the crash site, no cocaine or explosives were found."
    • "[Crash victim Ken] Ogawa, 32, a karate expert, was a bouncer at Hollywood's old Four O'Clock Club before he was hired as Rivenbark's bodyguard. He had been using the name Kenji Bando because he was a fugitive from Dania police charges that he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old prostitute. Ogawa's former boss at the Four O'Clock Club, Mickey Rauso, also was charged in the assault. Rauso later was convicted on lesser charges. Rauso has been a subject in numerous organized-crime investigations and his boss, club owner Joey Camperlengo, was a convicted felon indicted in New York in 1980 along with 14 others on drug smuggling charges. Camperlengo, who was an associate of Farese, disappeared in 1978 and is presumed murdered."
    • "Meier, 37, of Hialeah was "alleged to have been paid $5,000 at Opa-locka Airport in advance for possible debugging on the ground communication installation at Black Mountain Ranch," according to the DEA report. Meier's widow, Virginia, confirmed her husband was hired by Rivenbark to "do a security survey at the ranch and install closed- circuit TV cameras on ski runs and around the ranch grounds." She said her husband also installed closed circuit TV and eavesdropping devices at Rivenbark's North Miami home. The report also notes Meier's connections to two West Coast drug traffickers — Jose Egozi and Alberto Sicilia-Falcon, both former Miami residents who were partners in a cocaine importing empire."
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Geno Pasquale Raffone, Defendant-appellant.united States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Thomas Ralph Farese, Defendant-appellant, appeal decision, 1982/12/20
    • "According to the evidence, Farese was the mastermind of a drug importation and distribution network centered in the Miami--Fort Lauderdale, Florida area. This "organization" supplied marijuana to local distributors who, in turn, distributed it to other cities. Farese ran this operation through a number of "lieutenants" and other, lesser-ranked, individuals.

      Indicted as co-conspirators were several alleged members of the Farese network: Joseph Caruso, Patrick Robinson, John Scimone, and Robert Dello Russo.1 In addition to Farese, those indicted on the substantive counts included: Caruso, Counts Two through Four; Scimone, Count Two; and appellant Raffone, Count Four.2 Unindicted members of the Farese organization allegedly included Alan Rivenbark and Nicholas Forlano, among others."
    • "The indictment alleged that the conspiracy upon which the appellants were convicted occurred continuously from May of 1974 to April of 1977. Although a number of overt acts amounting to substantive violations were alleged, the specific acts giving rise to the three substantive counts were as follows: Count Two--Scimone and Forlano arranged the delivery of 200 or 250 pounds of marijuana to Piazza in October of 1975; Count Three--Scimone and Forlano were involved in the delivery by Caruso to Piazza of 1,000 pounds of marijuana near the end of 1976 or the beginning of 1977; Count Four--as a result of discussions between Farese, Caruso and Piazza, 2,000 pounds of marijuana were delivered to the "stash house" of Piazza and Dello Russo in March of 1977."
  • UPI, "A former federal prosecutor was indicted Tuesday on charges...", 1983/04/26: "A former federal prosecutor was indicted Tuesday on charges he attempted to sell sensitive information from an international drug and illegal banking investigation to subjects of the probe. Frank Robin, 30, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Houston, was indicted on charges of bribery and obstruction of justice by a federal grand jury in Atlanta. The grand jury alleged that Robin sought $200,000 to disclose the confidential information. [...] Robin, who was fired from his post last Oct. 15, had been assigned to the probe, code-named Operation Lone Star and based in Atlanta and Houston. The investigation centers on the laundering of illegal profits from narcotics or oil reselling schemes through foreign banks, primarily in the Grand Cayman and Bahama Islands. The investigation began almost two years ago during an investigation of a Houston-based oil firm, but since has blossomed into a massive narcotics and money laundering probe investigating dozens of suspects in several states including Texas, Florida and Georgia. [...] Federal investigators have said the probe was slowed because of Robin's alleged actions, but also because of a reported assassination plot against another prosecutor in the case and because of the murder of a witness in Florida. Sibley Riggs, 40, a Fort Lauderdale yacht broker, was found in the trunk of her car parked at a Fort Lauderdale airport in December 1981. She had been beaten and apparently held under water until she drowned, Florida officials said. Broward County sheriff's detective John McMahon last year said Miss Riggs had sold luxury yachts to some Florida-based suspects of investigation. At the time of her death, Miss Riggs was scheduled to testify before grand juries in Houston and Atlanta, McMahon said. Robin worked in the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston on temporary assignment from the the U.S. Justice Department. He now works for an oil and gas firm in the Houston area, Hinton said."
  • New York Times, "Group in Bahamas Charged In Big Narcotics Conspiracy", 1983/10/04: "Federal prosecutors unsealed a 36-count indictment today charging that a northeastern Georgia man led a large smuggling organization that shipped marijuana and cocaine into the United States from a base in the Bahamas. The indictment charged Tilton Lamar Chester Jr., 45 years old, of Cleveland, Ga., and 11 others with drug offenses and with conducting a criminal enterprise in a pattern of racketeering. It asserted that the group ran an organization that purchased the Darby Islands, a small group in the Bahamas, as a base through which to move drugs from Jamaica and Colombia into the United States. The other defendants are Jose M. Galan, Lance Eisbenberg, Terrance Chester, William Frederick Honchell, Joyce Greeson, Terry Michael Butler, Russell Burke, Michael Thrash, Michael Evans, George Perez and Ronald Elliott."
  • The Tennessean, "2 Deaths Remain a Mystery", 1985/07/28 (pages 1, 10): "Felt looked down at her watch. It was 7:52 am, Dec. 7, 1981, a sunny Monday morning in southern Florida. The torture and murder of Sibley Riggs, 43, an attractive blond divorcee, remains a mystery today. Were she alive, she would have been prepared to testify this summer in the trial of Tilton Lamar Chester Jr., a Georgia drug runner who federal authorities say engineered a drug smuggling and money laundering scheme that stretched from the island he controlled in the Bahamas to his native Georgia and perhaps to a dozen other states. Three weeks before Riggs was beaten, strangled and packed into the car trunk, her boyfriend, Allen Rivenbark, 41, died in an airplane crash in Colorado shortly after he also had been subpoenaed to testify against Chester. Rivenbark was later named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Chester case. And on June 20 Chester himself — a former Eastern Ailine pilot who had made thousands of takeoffs and landings ferrying passengers and illegal drugs — was killed when his Piper Cub J5A clipped a tree on his northern Georgia plantation and plummeted to earth. Authorities say his crash, like that of Rivenbark's private plane, was an accident. [...] Chester, who before his death was called to testify before a Royal Commission investigating corruption in the Bahamas, testified that he believed Riggs' death had been linked to the drug conspiracy case against him. [...] Shortly before his plane crashed, Rivenbark had testified before a federal grand jury in Houston in a highly publicized criminal investigation that federal prosecutors have given the code name "Operation Lonestar." Chester was a target of that probe because authorities believed he had amassed a fortune smuggling drugs, and then "washed" his profits through Bahamian banks. Rivenbark's first connection to "Operation Lonestar" appears to have come through his business deals with Chester, deals which were conducted through a Miami tax attorney named Lance Elsenberg."
  • Florida Supreme Court, no. 71,479: THE FLORIDA BAR, Complainant, VS. LANCE E. EISENBERG, Respondent, result of disciplinary proceeding, 1989/12/21: "The relevant facts reflect that Eisenberg, acting in his capacity as an attorney, participated in a conspiracy to conceal the proceeds from the illegal importation of marijuana. In August, 1983, Eisenberg was indicted in Georgia for laundering drug money, and, in July of the following year, he entered into a plea agreement, agreeing to plead guilty to two federal felonies and to provide information to the government in exchange for the government's dismissing indictments on other offenses in Florida and West Virginia. Eisenberg's sentencing was delayed pending his cooperation with the federal authorities."
  • Winsip Custer, "JFK, BUSH and the Election of 2000", 2011/02/18 - has many articles on Operation Lone Star

Bluegrass conspiracy

Mariposa County

  • Ch.1 of The Last Circle by Cheri Seymour (1994, 2010)
  • See the Yosemite murders page, which describes a group of meth culture thugs led by Paul Candler, a hitman in Mariposa County CA who was enlisted to kill investigator Orb Hatton (called Raymond Jenkins in Seymour's book)
  • Curry Company involvement in drug trafficking - the largest concessions operator in Yosemite National Park, a subsidiary of MCA Inc. (formerly Music Corporation of America) which was connected to Ronald Reagan and organized crime, and the employer of Kenneth Parnell along with numerous other criminals and perverts at the time
    • New York Times, "Around the Nation; Yosemite Staff Accused Of Embezzling for Drugs", 1981/08/27: "A Federal grand jury is looking into allegations that young employees of Yosemite National Park's major concessionaire are embezzling millions of dollars, with company officials' knowledge, to buy cocaine and marijuana, it was disclosed today. Ed Hardy, president of Yosemite Park and Curry Company, confirmed that the grand jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were investigating, but he said the concessionaire was not involved in what witnesses called ''blatant drug dealing'' at the park. Mr. Hardy said four company officials had been subpoenaed by the grand jury, which will meet again Sept. 24. Witnesses said company officials were providing a protective canopy for drug dealers and users. A survey by the company found that it lost $2.25 million in a year through embezzlement. Witnesses estimated that 8 of 10 Curry employees used drugs."
    • New York Times, "FEDERAL DRUG INVESTIGATION FOCUSES ON YOSEMITE PARK", 1981/09/12: "A Federal grand jury in Fresno, 90 miles west of here, has heard allegations that scores of employees of the park concessionaire regularly sell cocaine and other illegal drugs to park visitors; that company funds have been diverted to purchase drugs for employees' use, and that at least one executive of the company attempted to obstruct an investigation of the drug allegations. [...] No evidence has been made public that implicates the concessionaire, the Yosemite Park and Curry Company, which for more than 70 years has operated hotels, restaurants and other facilities in the park under contract to the National Park Service. But the investigation has focused new attention on the company, which was purchased in August 1973 by MCA Inc., the Los Angeles conglomerate whose major holding is Universal Studios. The Park Service's decision to sanction MCA's acquisition was controversial from the outset. Several senior executives of the company were major campaign contributors to Richard M. Nixon, and critics charged that the company was allowed to take over the concession under terms that reflected its political ties to the Nixon Administration. [...] Edward C. Hardy, the company president, said he was confident that the investigation would clear company officials of any involvement in drug trafficking. [...] According to a senior official of the Park Service who is familiar with the case, the investigation began when two security officers employed by the company told the F.B.I. that two other employees had interfered with them when they sought to investigate drug trafficking among the staff. Among other things, the guards are said to have learned that some employees were holding regular ''sex and drug parties'' in Yosemite Lodge, one of the park's major hotels. On June 26, the body of Roger Banister, 25 years old, who law enforcement officials thought was a cocaine dealer and a source of drugs to dealers here, and whose name has since come up in the investigation, was found near Martinez outside Oakland. Both Mr. Banister and his companion, Cathy Sugrue, 21, had been beaten and shot in the back of the head. [...] Six weeks later, Kenneth Robinson, a cook at the Yosemite Lodge, was beaten outside a dormitory for employees. According to park officials, he had informed on his roommate, a young woman who had been arrested on charges of possessing cocaine. The same day, another employee was beaten. The seven employees who were indicted in the beatings are scheduled to stand t rial in Fresno next month."
    • Note that Curry Company president Ed Hardy was friends with the Mariposa County power structure, such as District Attorney Bruce Eckerson and Rep. Tony Coelho (himself reportedly linked to Barry Seal and to another drug trafficking player Democratic National Committee chairman Charles Manatt; see In Search of the American Drug Lords by Daniel Hopsicker for more info)
    • Legacy of the Yosemite Mafia: The Ranger Image and Noble Cause Corruption in the National Park Service by Paul D. Berkowitz and James (“J.T.”) Reynolds (2017)
      • At one point, they discuss M. Scott Connelly a.k.a. Marshal Scott Connelly, an "original member of the Yosemite Mafia" and a local federal court prosecutor for crimes within the park; while overseeing their investigation of the "Curry Case", Connelly allegedly undertook "improper and probably illegal practices and techniques", such as altering or destroying investigative reports and pouring urine samples down the drain; Connelly was alleged to have a "predilection for underage boys"
  • Cheri Seymour, "VORTEX", 1992/02/24 (text format) - discusses a drug trafficking ring in Mariposa County CA known as "The Company", which was involved in methamphetamine dealing and protected by the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office; the location and timeframe (1991) correspond to the drug trafficking ring near Yosemite that was responsible for the 1999 murders which were later pinned on Cedar Lodge handyman Cary Stayner; according to Michael Riconosciuto, three people involved in the Mariposa County drug operation, which stretched into Fresno and Madera counties as well, were Ben Kalka, Richard Knossi, and former Mossad agent Al Holbert; in 1982, a Fresno grand jury indicted several people involved in a Latin America drug and gunrunning operation, including Drew Thornton
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Federal Sting Often Put More Drugs On The Streets", 1998/11/23: "Ben Kalka had been a bit player in the San Francisco drug world off and on for most of his life -- mostly scoring small hits of cocaine -- but at the time of his arrest in 1982, he’d become a major supplier of methamphetamine on those same San Francisco streets. Cheaper than cocaine and heroin, it induced many of the same sensations, including quick addiction. Federal agents had set Kalka up in a sting. But by the time Kalka began manufacturing the drug, the Drug Enforcement Administration insists the sting had ended, an argument Kalka finds bizarre. By the time the government caught up with him, Kalka figures he’d produced 8,000 pounds of drugs worth $10 million, using ingredients federal agents had arranged for him to buy. Kalka should have been suspicious of his good fortune in 1980. A chemist friend had asked him to find a barrel of phenyl acetic acid, a key precursor for the manufacture of methamphetamine. Kalka had a contact at a chemical company who said there was no way he could get him the chemical. While it wasn’t illegal, the government scrutinized who bought and sold the chemical. A week later, this contact called to say he could get Kalka a semi-truck load of the chemical precursor weighing 25,000 pounds. All Kalka needed was the money -- $250,000. What Kalka didn’t know was that in the interim, the contact, Paul Palmer, had become an informant for the government after being busted for selling the very precursors Kalka had bought. By now, Kalka was hooked. He set up a partnership with another drug dealer, Paul Morasco, to get the money, then began his search for the last ingredient he’d need for the speed -- monomethylamine. Palmer put him in touch with Michael Riconosciuto, whose past included shadowy connections with various U.S. intelligence agencies, unbeknownst to Kalka. Riconosciuto greeted Kalka like a long, lost brother. He claimed Kalka had once talked him out of suicide when they were imprisoned in the 1970s at Lompoc federal prison. Kalka vaguely remembered Riconosciuto. Riconosciuto said in a recent interview that he was working for the FBI when he connected with Kalka and the agency told him to find the monomethylamine for Kalka as part of the sting operation. When the chemical was delivered, the FBI planned to bust Kalka and various subordinates. The plan failed miserably, an array of court documents show. Kalka, naturally mistrustful of almost everyone, managed to divert the tractor-trailer truck carrying the chemicals away from federal agents who were tailing it. Even so, Kalka wonders today why the FBI didn’t track him down once the methamphetamine began hitting the streets. The agency maintains it eventually stumbled across Kalka’s drug enterprise during another undercover operation. Soon, he had produced what might have been the largest batch of methamphetamine produced in this country. And it was all with chemicals supplied with the help of federal agents. When he was finally arrested, Kalka gave the government $1 million and 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine, all that remained of the 8,000 pounds of the drug he’d produced, in exchange for a promise that he would serve no more than 10 years in prison. A judge ignored the prosecutor’s request and slapped Kalka with a 20-year sentence. In the meantime, Riconosciuto was arrested and convicted on a methamphetamine manufacturing charge. From his prison cell in Coleman, Fla., he described the role of federal agents and their authorization for him to sell Kalka the final ingredient needed to make the methamphetamine. Kalka says the government’s complicity in supplying the drugs might yet win him release from prison if he can convince a court to hear him. In the meantime, he has been moved from one prison to another because of his repeated attempt to sue the government over his case and the conditions of his incarceration."
  • In Ultimate Prey by Stephen Sanzeri (2012) (see the Yosemite murders page for more information), the author describes fulfilling a 1995 bounty to track down Hughlen Cliff Watkins, whom he called "the main drug mule for the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department"

Central American drug cartels

Forest Service C-130s

  • American Forests, "The great airtanker debacle", 1994/05/01: "The "flight plan" seemed simple: To update an aging airtanker fleet used for firefighting, the Forest Service encouraged some of its contract private airtanker operators to swap their older planes for newer, government excess models through a little-known exchange program. Then things went off course. The headlines appearing last year in the Los Angeles Times, The Oregonian, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer grabbed my attention like a field of poison-tipped cacti. I pondered those startling articles, wondering how on earth the United States Forest Service, with its tanned [...]"
  • Arizona Daily Star, "Aircraft in scam may have flown for CIA" by Tim Steller, 1998/04/01: "Roy D. Reagan and Fred A. Fuchs were convicted of conspiracy to put the 22 C-130s and six P-3s in private hands through exchanges for relatively worthless older planes. [...] The participants in the criminal case consistently denied any connection with the CIA until last month. Then A. Melvin McDonald, Reagan's attorney, brought up the CIA in a court filing. While requesting a new trial, McDonald said one of the government's witnesses, William Eck, was a CIA operative, and that he should have been informed of an investigation of Eck. ``William Eck was known . . . as a major airplane broker who routinely furnished C-130s to Third World and other foreign countries by the CIA,'' wrote McDonald, a former U.S. attorney for Arizona. [...] there is evidence - none of it conclusive - that keeps the allegation alive, despite the Justice Department's efforts to end such speculation. The evidence arises largely from the 1994 civil suit filed by a private whistle-blower, Gary R. Eitel, of Washington state. Eitel, a former combat pilot who claims to have flown for the CIA, alleges in the suit not only that Reagan and Fuchs defrauded the government, but that the six contractors who received aircraft also did. [...] ``The CIA recruited smoke-jumpers out of the Forest Service beginning in the 1950s to go on CIA clandestine operations, particularly in the Far East,'' Leary said. ``Later it was one of these ex-CIA smoke-jumpers who put together Intermountain Aviation,'' Leary said. That company, wholly owned by the CIA, operated Pinal Air Park in Marana until it was bought by Evergreen Air Center, the current occupants, in 1975. [...] Fifteen of the C-130s passed through Evergreen's base at Pinal Air Park on the way to private contractors, and Eitel says they were used for covert operations then. [...] The former director of maintenance for Hemet Valley, Daryl Shippy, said in a 1995 deposition for a separate lawsuit that two of the planes had performed CIA missions before the company received them. More hints at CIA involvement came in a 1993 sworn declaration by the head of a Chandler company, T&G Aviation, that received three of the C-130s in the exchange program. In the declaration, William ``Woody'' Grantham said another aircraft company, Southern Air Transport, did not want him to receive planes. ``The chairman of the board for SAT, James Bastian, was counsel to the Central Intelligence Agency when George Bush was director. I believe SAT was concerned that I was going to get some of the overseas work they had been traditionally getting,'' Grantham said. [...] Tom Miller, an FAA investigator, backed up the alleged CIA connection in a December deposition. He said he worked with the CIA and recruited Eitel during the 1980s to fly helicopters for a South American government."
  • Arizona Daily Star, "Mexican drug runners may have used C-130 from Arizona" by Tim Steller, 1998/04/15: "The federal attorney general's office froze the assets of Aero Postal de Mexico in October after seizing a shipment of cocaine from one of its planes, the newspaper Reforma reported. Mexican federal officials suspect the cargo-carrying company of transporting drugs for the Tijuana-based cartel of the Arellano Felix family, an unidentified official told Reforma. [...] A C-130A belonging to the company remains confiscated under guard at a hangar in Mexico City's international airport, Reforma reported. The airplane may be one of two C-130As purchased by Aero Postal de Mexico from a Chandler company. T&G; Aviation sold the C-130As in 1993 for $3.6 million, said T&G; president William ``Woody'' Grantham. They were two of about six aircraft T&G; has sold in its 23-year history, he said. [...] If Aero Postal did work for the Arellano Felix organization, it is not the first time that drug traffickers have crossed the path of T&G; Aviation. For eight months in 1990-91, T&G; leased a C-130A - one of the airplanes it later sold to Aero Postal de Mexico - to a Panamanian company called Trans Latin Air. Trans Latin Air was indicted in 1994 in Chicago as one of several aviation companies hired to transport drugs by the Cali cartel."
  • From the Wilderness, "ONLY THE GODFATHER: CIA and Subsidiaries Exposed in Court Documents As Active Drug Smugglers Using Military Aircraft Washed Through Forest Service", 1998/12 (cites document on Forest Service C-130s that candidly discusses "drug smuggling")
    • TODO: Find the Riverside Press-Enterprise stories by Dave Hendrix
  • Medford Mail Tribune, "Convicted aviation broker goes free", 2000/12/27: "The tangled case dates to 1989, when the Forest Service got involved in an obscure federal program that permitted the government to swap surplus military aircraft for planes of historic or "museum-quality" value. Prosecutors alleged Reagan and Fuchs conspired to take advantage of the program and trade valuable surplus aircraft — 22 Air Force C130A transports and six Navy P-3s — for almost worthless tankers owned by five or six private aviation contractors. The planes were supposed to be used to fight forest fires. The exchange program came under scrutiny when two of the planes turned up in Kuwait at the end of the Gulf War. Government auditors concluded most of the newer planes were not being used to fight forest fires and that the aging C119 transports the government got in exchange were junk. Many of the planes were scavenged for parts or lost in complicated title transfers, prosecutors said. Some of the planes were linked to CIA activity, and one was even leased to a Central American airline that was later identified as a front for Colombian drug traffickers."

Albert Carone case

E-Systems drug smuggling

  • Letter from E-Systems Inc. associate counsel James M. Bolding to Detachment 9 AFCMC administrative contracting officer Richard C. Blair on 1975/01/31 with subject "Purchase of Air Asia Company Limited from Air America, Inc. by E-Systems, Inc.": "As of the date hereof, E-Systems and Air America, Inc. completed the transaction whereby E-Systems purchased Air America's subsidiary, Air Asia Company Limited. In connection with the transaction, E-Systems agreed to complete certain U. S. Government contracts awarded to Air America, Inc. which are being substantially performed by Air Asia Company Limited in Taiwan."
  • Washington Post, "THE SECRET'S OUT: COVERT E-SYSTEMS INC. COVETS COMMERCIAL SALES", 1994/10/24: "In short, E-Systems' technologies, part of the central nervous system for the nation's intelligence community, are regarded as brilliant by intelligence agencies and Wall Street. [...] Critics say in some ways the company is almost indistinguishable from the CIA because it operates so secretly, lacks accountability and is loaded with retirees from the CIA and other intelligence agencies. E-Systems' critics say it has lied in legal proceedings to protect its interests. [...] E-Systems, which is based in Dallas but has a strong presence in Falls Church, is a company with an identity crisis. For decades a fixture in classified work, it is accustomed to selling its wares only to the intelligence community -- and doing it secretly. [...] "The customer" is a term E-Systems employees use often, as in "the customer is disappointed," to refer to the CIA, the National Security Agency and other hush-hush agencies. Classified contracts furnished $1.8 billion of E-Systems' $2.1 billion in 1993 revenue, or 85 percent of sales -- the highest percentage of any large firm. [...] CIA employees who are experts in high technology are "automatic hires" for the firm, a former CIA official said. "E-Systems made it a point to say, 'When you retire, come work for us.' ... E-Systems has one of the more unique relationships with the agency," he added, calling it "chummy." A staff member of a congressional intelligence committee said E-Systems is "virtually indistinguishable" from the agencies it serves. "Congress will ask for a briefing from E-Systems, and the {CIA} program manager shows up," he said. "Sometimes he gives the briefing. They're interchangeable." [...] Employees said they often are asked to repaint the identifying numbers on the planes' tails -- leading them to suspect they are being used on covert missions. [...] E-Systems develops software and hardware used by the CIA and NSA to take pictures and eavesdrop from spy satellites and planes. Its gear also is used to gather and analyze the data at secret facilities. Among its other projects, E-Systems: * Installed the electronics and communications systems in Air Force One and other White House aircraft. * Fitted jets with communications gear for use by past or present heads of state of Romania, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Malaysia."
  • New York Times, "Raytheon Offers $2.3 Billion for E-Systems", 1995/04/04: "The Raytheon Company said today that it had agreed to pay $2.3 billion in cash to acquire E-Systems Inc., a military contractor that builds top-secret spying equipment and other advanced electronic gear. [...] E-Systems, which would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon, would continue to be based in Dallas and operate under its own name. The E-Systems board would become an advisory board with members from E-Systems and Raytheon. A. Lowell Lawson is to remain chairman and chief executive of E-Systems and to join Raytheon as an executive vice president and board member. Raytheon said it had up to $3 billion in unsecured financing commitments from Chemical Bank, the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association, and the Chase Manhattan Bank to support the offer. [...] It had been seeking a military acquisition for some time to broaden its business. Last month it lost out to the Loral Corporation in a bid to buy the military units of the Unisys Corporation for $800 million. [...] While many military contractors have fallen on hard times with the end of the cold war, E-Systems prospered by specializing in intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance systems that enable Government agencies and others to electronically eavesdrop and gather information. The company's customers include the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the military services and foreign governments."
  • Inter Press Service, "Brazil: Amazon Contractor Raytheon has CIA Ties", 1995/12/03: "The 1.4-billion-dollar contract for satellite monitoring of drug trafficking and deforestation in the 3.2-million-square-kilometre forests in the Brazilian Amazon was awarded last summer to Raytheon, a 12-billion-dollar, Massachusetts-based company that makes Patriot and Sidewinder missiles. Part of the Raytheon contract is to be implemented by E-Systems, a Texas-based company that Raytheon bought last April. E-Systems' major clients have historically been the CIA and other spy agencies like the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office. [...] Immediately after acquiring Air Asia, E-Systems won a contract to maintain planes for the U.S.-funded Operation Condor in Mexico. Condor monitored drug trafficking in the state of Sinaloa in the mid-1970s. A 1985 U.S. congressional study found that the contract was ''a shambles ... There are no adequate records to indicate how the funds have been and are being spent.'' The study also cited incidents of planes being used for joy rides. Peter Dale Scott and Jonathon Marshall, authors of ''Cocaine Politics,'' say that the Condor operation ''succeeded in filling the jails with hapless peasants ... but failed to arrest a single drug trafficker.''"
  • David Hoffman, "E-Systems: CIA, drug dealing and murders", 2000/03: "According to statements of former E-Systems employees and agents at the Northeast Texas Drug Interdiction Task Force, E-Systems developed sophisticated electronic systems to enable drug planes to cross the U.S. border without tripping NORAD Early Warning and other surveillance systems. As [former employee Billy Wayne] Rath states: “The electronic holes used to avoid radar involves a ground proximity following system tied into the plane’s yoke and pedometer - sort of an autopilot that allows the plane to fly low and follow the ground’s contour. We put them on 24 aircraft - including the Combat Talon Two aircraft.” [...] A pilot, mechanic and small arms and explosives expert, Rick worked for E-Systems from 1986-91 as an assembler and inspector, working on “classified” aircraft such as “Casper” and “The Ghost” - both C-47 gunships used in Central America. He eventually became disenchanted with the operations. Describing how infrared systems are used to fly low and make drops, Rick states: “E-Systems is probably one of the biggest drug drops there is in this area,” and says that Hunt County is another. “The drops are made at E-Systems and Lake Tawakoni. We’re talking bale-of-hay-sized coke shipments.... The planes’ N-numbers are always repainted after coming in.” [...] Kent Williamson, an attorney for the Northeast Texas Drug Interdiction Task Force gave sworn testimony in a court case about E-Systems’ drug-smuggling: [...] Q: Do you know who E-Systems is? A: Yes. Q: And who are they? A: They’re probably the biggest supplier in Hunt Co. [...] Interestingly, FBI Deputy Director Oliver “Buck” Revell was transferred to the Dallas office as SAC around the same time as the drug-smuggling allegations broke - which began heating up with Senate hearings in June of 1991. (Revell was sent to Dallas in the summer of 1991.) Although Richardson alleges that Revell was sent there to keep a lid on the case, Revell vehemently denied any involvement with E-Systems. [...] Although Buck Revell denied any involvement with E-Systems, Richardson alleges that Revell’s son works at E-Systems - bragging that his father got him the job. A check with E-Systems’ personnel office revealed a Michael A. Revell in their employment. [...] [Michele] Cooper had gone to Danny James - “Buck” Revell’s subordinate - at the FBI’s National Security Section, with allegations of national security violations at E-Systems. James threatened to file charges on her. [...] E-Systems employee Leo Salis Had information concerning drug drops and the illegal use of PROMIS software. His wife Dolores was followed and harassed. Her son and daughter-in-law were run off the road - totaling their car. Her daughter was abducted and raped."

Mexican drug cartels

Afghanistan War

Crashed Mexican drug planes

  • BreakingNews.ie, "Government pilots linked to drug seizure", 2006/04/13: "Two pilots detained as they awaited a shipment of cocaine from Venezuela are employees of Mexico’s federal water commission, local media quoted officials as saying today. [...] Officials said they were waiting for a larger, DC-9 jet carrying five and a half tonnes of cocaine. Local media quoted Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, the country’s top organised crime prosecutor, as saying that detainees Fernando Poot Perez and Marco Perez de Gracia were listed as working for The National Water Commission. [...] The DC-9, registered in the United States, was seized at the airport by Mexican army soldiers, as was the smaller plane. Soldiers found the drugs packed into 128 suitcases. There were no passengers. They arrested the Colombian co-pilot of the DC-9, but the pilot escaped."
  • Archive of "Cocaine One" stories by Daniel Hopsicker
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "Aircraft’s Owners in 5.5 Ton Cocaine Bust Include Tom Delay Appointee,”Royal Sons LLC”", 2006/04/17: "Moreover, to reinforce the effect, or subterfuge, the plane carries an official-looking Seal painted on its side, which reads: SKY WAY AIRCRAFT, PROTECTION OF AMERICA'S SKIES, around an image of a federal eagle clutching the familiar olive branch in its talons. Many have been fooled into concluding that the plane belongs to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. [...] The DC9 was purchased several years ago in a partnership between "Royal Sons Motor Yacht Sales, Inc. DBA Royal Sons" and a company owned by Brent Kovar called Skyway Communications Holding Corp, which jointly signed a loan with United Bank and Trust Company in St. Petersburg, FL. for $1.5 million. [...] "Congressman Tom Delay, Majority Leader, has appointed Brent C Kovar to serve as the Honorary Chairman, Business Advisory Council,” read the headline of an August 7, 2003 release from PrimeZone Media newswire and press release service. [...] But the "Royal Sons" connection may prove even more enlightening… While Huffman Aviation's familiar blue-awning flight school was at 400 E Airport, its hangar (see picture below) was several hundred feet down the runway, at 224 E Airport Ave. Royal Sons used this same address, apparently during the same time frame that the flight school was serving as the home-away-from-home of terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta."
    • 9/11 Research Wiki page on Frederic Geffon: "Royal Sons once listed its address on 'Aircraft Shopper Online' as: Royal Sons Inc. 224 East Airport Ave Venice, FL 34285 Phone: (727) 535-5005 Fax: (727) 535-5156"
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "San Diego Defense Firm Link to Mysterious 5.5 Ton Cocaine Bust in Mexico", 2006/05/11: "In May of 2004 Titan Corp. announced in a press release a major purchase from SkyWay, a penny stock fraud company about to go bankrupt amid accusations by investors of fraud after they discovered the firm had nothing but non-existent products to show for its two year cash burn of almost $40 million. Somebody's doing damage control, because on Titan's page of press releases on its website, this release, curiously enough, is the only one missing. [...] A May 13, 2004 press release headlined, “ SkyWay Communications Holdings Corp. Announces New Business Strategy as the Result of Agreement with Major US Defense Contractor,” Titan promised as much as half a billion dollars worth of business to the grateful company… "We are excited about the possibilities Sky Way Aircraft System technology offers," said Titan's David Stinson.” It was standard boilerplate, until we discovered this incestuous nugget: before signing on with Titan Stinson was the executive vice president of an Annapolis Maryland firm, Intergraph, whose Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) deal with Brent Wilke’s ADCS Inc. opened the money spigot now being investigated by the FBI. [...] [Pentagon document conversion employee John] Karpovich was reluctant to talk with us, but conceded he’d watched the deal being put together by Brent Wilkes, House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter, and the just-deposed No. 3 man at the CIA, Dusty Foggo."
  • Makram Chams (apparent handler of Mohammed Atta in Venice FL) and Titan Corporation (TODO: move to 9/11 page?)
    • Daniel Hopsicker, "San Diego Defense Firm Link to Mysterious 5.5 Ton Cocaine Bust in Mexico", 2006/05/11: "A MadCowMorningNews investigation of Titan Corp. also revealed that the firm has a curious and so-far unexplained connection to Mister X, a mysterious Lebanese man who provided assistance to Mohamed Atta and other terrorist hijackers in Venice Florida before the 9.11 attack. Mister X, who owned a convenience store in Venice, befriended and assisted the terrorist hijackers before disappearing after the 9.11 attack, leaving behind a thriving Kwik-Check mini-market which has since stood abandoned in the heart of the Venice business district. Evidence in SEC filings recently brought to our attention reveal what happened to Mister X: he went to work for Titan. According to documents filed by the company, Mister X was a contractor working for Titan Corp in Saudi Arabia as recently as last year."
    • Dave Emory, "FTR #554 Conversation with Daniel Hopsicker: The Wonderful World of Makram Chams", 2006/06/13 (interview with cab driver Bob Simpson)
      • "Makram Chams owned a Kwik-Check convenience store in Venice, where the biggest overseas money transfer to the terrorists, $70,000 from the UAE., was sent, according to the testimony of FBI agents during the 9.11 Commission hearings. Actually the FBI testimony never mentioned Chams, or his store. They did however show the receipt for the money order at the final hearing of the 9.11 Commission, which we attended. And we were already familiar with the address where the money order went: 201 Nokomis Avenue. Makram Cham’s Kwik-Chek... "
      • "A marriage announcement in the Sarasota Herald Tribune from January of 1998 gave us the full name of the Makram Chams who’d lived in Venice, identical to the name of the man suing Titan in Saudi Arabia. ‘Makram Majid Chams,’ said the announcement, had married ‘Rim Ghazi Abou Zein, both of Venice.’"
      • "A Venice Yellow Cab driver, Bob Simpson, first told us that the Middle Eastern man who owned the convenience store had been close to the hijackers, and that Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi frequently met at an apartment in Venice which he rented. [...] Cabbie Simpson told of how he had picked up a wealthy Saudi businessman at the Orlando Airport after picking up the convenience store owner at the apartment in Venice. [...] After clearing international customs, they proceeded back to a Venice apartment rented by the convenience store owner. Six weeks later, he drove the wealthy Saudi’s wife back to the Orlando Airport, Simpson told the FBI. Again they left from the convenience store owner’s Venice apartment. When he arrived to pick up his fare, Simpson was asked to come up to the apartment to help carry a chest down to the cab. ‘The chest was so heavy it took two people to carry,’ Simpson said. ‘A big bald guy who was there helped me carry the chest down.’ The man who helped him carry the chest down the stairs to the cab, said Simpson, was Zacharias Moussaoui."
      • "In February 2001, the jurors were told, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi had been spotted in Clearwater Florida flying a single-engine plane registered to Huffman Aviation...almost two months after the FBI’s official chronology states Atta left Venice and Huffman for good."
      • "Then we discovered that Chams had been a PARTNER in 1997 and 1998 in a gambling boat called ‘Vegas in Venice,’ which cleaned up in Venice for two years. [...] The controlling partner in the gambling ship in which Makram Chams was a partner is Ian Goldfarb, from Gladwyne, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. The only other local partner in the casino ship, we were shocked to discover, was Max Burge, who we’d interviewed during research for ‘Welcome to TERRORLAND,’ because Burge owned the planes used at Huffman Aviation. [...] Frederic Geffon from ‘Royal Sons,’ the aggravated part-owner of ‘Cocaine One,’ told us that he had done business with Burge."
      • "We finally found someone who knew what had happened to Makram Chams. It was his sister, May Chams. She was then working at the same pharmacy in Venice where we discovered, much later, that Mohamed Atta had brought his father, less than two weeks before the attack. We persisted in questioning May, in the face of her obvious hostility, and were finally rewarded. ‘Mak is in San Diego,’ she told us,’ helping the FBI.’ Only now does her statement make sense to us. But, if Makram hotfooted it to San Diego on ‘business’ after the 9.11 attack, it would be a strong indication that he had a relationship with Titan Corp... while he was still in Venice. It has since been revealed that Titan trains mercenaries, and provides mercenaries for operations."
    • 10-Q SEC Filing ("NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS") by TITAN CORP on 2005/05/06: "On March 14, 2005, Makram Majid Chams, a former consultant of Titan filed a claim with the Preliminary Committee on Labor Disputes Settlement in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Chams alleges that Titan wrongfully terminated his consulting agreement and that he was defamed by Titan's publication in a local newspaper of a mandatory notice that he is no longer representing Titan. The plaintiff is seeking approximately $21.9 million in damages. Titan intends to defend its position vigorously."
  • Titan Corporation (later bought by L-3 Communications) links to Duke Cunningham
    • San Diego Magazine, 2004/10, p.32: "The usual players are lining up behind hawkish Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham in his quest for an eighth term in Congress. Titan Corporation tops the list with $18,000 in donations, followed by defense-industry stalwarts General Dynamics, General Atomics and Cubic Corporation, each with $10,000 gifts. Titan is also the top donor to the congressional reelection campaigns of Duncan Hunter ($18,000) and Darrell Issa ($11,500), both Republicans."
    • Daniel Hopsicker, "Cunningham Scandal Far From Over", 2006/11/03: "A MadCowMorningNews investigation has revealed that San Diego defense contractor Titan Corp is at the center of a private intelligence network engaged in a broad range of criminal activities with seeming impunity, everything from drug trafficking to white collar crime that includes massive stock fraud cumulatively totaling billions."
      • "However, with the recent conviction and sentencing of California Republican Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the influence-peddling scandal involving a nest of San Diego defense and intelligence contractors that includes Brent Wilkes, Titan Corp. and SAIC may be losing momentum before getting anywhere close to the dark heart of corruption beating just below the surface."
      • " A cabal of Republican Congressmen from Southern California that remain unscathed have culpability: Duncan Hunter, Dana Rohrabacher and a man who may be doing more long-term damage to American national security than any of the others, current Chairman of the SEC and former Republican U.S. Rep. from Newport Beach, Christopher Cox." - is there any connection to the Cox family in Newport Beach CA that is related to Fleet White Jr.?
      • "The company was hit last year with a record-breaking $28 million fine after its conviction for fixing a Presidential election in an unlikely location: the African state of Benin."
      • "Rounding out the rap sheet, according to corporate watchdog CorpWatch the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently investigating bribery charges against Titan in at least five separate countries: Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe."
      • "Of course, it is Titan’s still-unexplained involvement with both Michael Farkas and the company he founded, SkyWay Aircraft of St Petersburg, FL., which is ultimately the firm's most intriguing criminal connection…"
    • Spero News, "CIA contractors face the boot", 2009/04/23: "After media reports brought the scandal to light, an August 2004 paper released by the Pentagon found that Titan Corporation (now L-3 Communications) and California Analysis Center, Inc (CACI) employees had participated in abuse or failed to report offenses at Abu Ghraib. [...] In November 2005, a California congressional representative resigned after pleading guilty to accepting bribes from at least three private companies in return for defense contracts. Dubbed the Cunningham Scandal, investigations found that Rep Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R) had taken at least US$1.4 million in bribes from the totally unknown MZM Inc, the same company that prior to the scandal had been awarded a contract by the CIA."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "PORTER GOSS RESIGIATION ‘MYSTERY’ SOLVED:DC9 with 5.5 Tons of Cocaine Was CIA Plane", 2006/05/25: "Goss’ resignation appears to be connected to the unprecedented withholding by the Federal Aviation Administration of the registration records for the DC9 (N900SA) which more than six weeks ago was caught carrying a cargo of five-and-a-half tons of cocaine, neatly packed into 126 identical black suitcases at a jungle airstrip in the Yucatan. [...] However, the MadCowMorningNews was successful in obtaining the FAA records last week of the confiscated plane’s sister ship, an identical twin DC9 (N120NE) owned and operated by the same partnership. Both aircraft, painted to resemble U.S. Government aircraft from the Department of Homeland Security, were parked for several years at the general aviation terminal at Clearwater St Petersburg International Airport. [...] SkyWay, which only lost $40 million of investors money, is an absolute paragon of excellence, corporate governance-wise, when compared to the DC9's previous owner… Genesis Aviation is one of several dozen company fronts, all of which contain the name “Genesis” in the title, controlled by one of the key figures in the Iran Contra scandal, Saudi billionaire and long-time CIA asset Adnan Khashoggi. [...] The DC9 has also been “owned” by Finova Capital, revealed in the early 90’s as a CIA front which also “owned” the C123 military cargo plane used by notorious drug smuggler and CIA pilot Barry Seal, which was later shot down over Nicaragua with Eugene Hasenfus onboard. [...] Before Finova, the DC9 belonged, or, to use the spook phrase, “been parked” with a company called Greyhound Leasing of Phoenix, AZ. [...] Greyhound during this time period also “owned” a Beech King Air used by CIA pilot and drug smuggler Barry Seal. After his death it became the favorite plane of then Texas-Governor George W. Bush."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "FAA Stonewalls Release of DC9 ‘Cocaine One’ Records", 2006/06/22: "While SkyWay was running out of money, its executive cadre was busy cashing out. The heavy lifting involved nothing more serious than issuing increasingly rosy press releases. In late December 2004, SkyWay announced a new $24 million dollar loan from Lantax, Ltd, described as “a Private Investment Group consisting of four Western European and Northern African families.” [...] less than a month later the Manager of Aviation Systems and Support for Jeb Bush’s Florida Department of Transportation issued a press release praising the "esteemed Sirs" at SkyWay, stating, "This is a great accomplishment for the FDOT's Aviation Test Center. The FDOT wants to make Florida's airports safe and secure with the use of the latest technology available. We are looking forward to working with SkyWay." [...] SkyWay founder Farkas is a major investor in one of El-Batrawi’s other front companies, Genesis Realty. [...] …And Michael Farkas, a Miami attorney who founded and was a major stockholder of SkyWay Communications Holding Company, the last registered owner of the Cocaine One DC9. Farkas serves double duty as the American representative of an ultra-nationalist Zionist party in Israel; hr is as well a sales agent for anti-missile technology developed by Israel Aircraft Industries' for the Israeli Defense Force."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "The Homeland Security Rackets", 2006/07/05
    • "Recently we were contacted by one of SkyWay's original employees who passed on more intriguing details of top SkyWay executive's government and political connections. “James Kent (President of SkyWay) is a real strong Republican with a lot of connections in Washington, like U.S. Senator Mel Martinez,” the former SkyWay employee told us. “And he’s also in tight with a lot of politicians in Tallahassee, like (Republican gubernatorial candidate) Charlie Christ.” “He was a mole for military intelligence during the Vietnam war. He was with Air America over there, and I guess he told some people he worked for the CIA.” According to SkyWay SEC filings, Kent “served in various government contract management positions supporting projects of the Department of Defense, National Security Agency, and Department of the Navy.”"
    • "FAA spokesman Roland Herwig told Howard Altman of the Tampa Tribune that the FAA received a copy of a letter from Royal Sons dated April 7, asking that the plane be exported to Venezuela, and that the FAA officially took Royal Sons' name off the books three days after the cocaine bust. [...] Fax numbers at the bottom of the letter indicate it was faxed to Geffon and Corrales just minutes after being submitted to the FAA. [...] The FAA’s stamp indicated they received the documents on April 11th. However, the plane was busted April 10th."
    • "Another striking irregularity in the released FAA records is that the bill of sale indicates Geffon and his SkyWay partners bought the airliner in May of 2004. But he did not record the sale with the FAA until August of 2005, over a year later. [...] Geffon came into sole possession of the DC9 after SkyWay Aircraft went bankrupt. But his claim to have paid for the plane is in doubt. “At the time of the bankruptcy, Fred Geffon wanted to buy one of the planes. He had a charter pilot, a Venezuelan guy who lived in Venice, and they were going to use it for charters,” said our source. [...] A spokesman for a lawyer working closely with the Bankruptcy Trustee for bankrupt SkyWay states they can find no record that Geffon paid SkyWay for the plane."
    • FAA registry for N900SA - plane was a DOUGLAS DC9-15 with serial number 45775; certificate was issued 2005/08/05 and canceled 2006/04/13; exported to Venezuela; owner was ROYAL SONS INC at 15875 FAIRCHILD DR in Clearwater FL
    • "It had been learned almost immediately that two pilots, arrested in a corporate jet waiting for the DC9 to land, were employees of the Mexican federal government. But the fact that both pilots previously spent time in prison for drug trafficking was new and startling information… That they were apparently not hampered by their drug cartel connections when landing jobs flying for Mexico’s National Water Commission was also startling. The Mexican Agency they work for is headed by a personal friend of President Fox, a man who had also served with Fox as a director of Coca-Cola in Mexico."
    • "The former SkyWay employee also indicated that government officials went out of their way to assist the company. “I was one of Skyways’ first ten employees, there from the start in the communications division, and I participated in the installation at the FDOT (Florida Department Of Transportation) mentioned in your article,” he said. “The guy in charge there told us that airports in Florida were all told that the state of Florida would reimburse them 100% for any airport upgrades that had to do with security.” The State of Florida created a ready-made market for SkyWay’s non-existent “Homeland Security” products by subsidizing their purchase by local governments."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "5.5 Ton DC9 Coke Bust Fallout:Worse Than Snakes on a Plane", 2006/08/23: "An unidentified 40-year old American wearing a green polo shirt was in charge of the contingent of drug traffickers on the ground awaiting the arrival of the DC9 “Cocaine One” airliner arriving from Venezuela on the evening of April 11th with a spectacular haul of 5.5 tons of pure cocaine aboard, according to a recent article in Mexican newspaper Proceso by a respected Mexican journalist. [...] One control tower employee is approached by an American, described as about 40 years old, with blond hair, a deep tan, and a green polo shirt. The American not only wants the airport to allow the plane to land… he also wants the tower to certify the flight, which means the DC9 can then continue its journey into Mexico as a domestic flight. No need to go through customs. [...] The American, cliché that he is, carries a Big Wad. He offers to pay cash. But his money was in dollars, the controller explained later. The airport operations office doesn’t take foreign currency, they told him. They didn’t want his bribe. His offer was refused. Surely they had been asked to bend the rules before. The tension was palpable…The continuing mystery is why she turned him down. “He indicated to me that the plane would just refuel and then head towards Toluca,” the employee stated. She knew what he wanted. He isn't going to get it."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "The CIA, the Narco-Republicans, & 5.5 tons of cocaine", 2007/04/23: "Although owned by SkyWay, the airliner was registered to Royal Sons Inc., a company controlled by an aircraft broker from Tampa, FL. named Frederic Geffon. Geffon partnered with SkyWay in the company’s three planes, two DC9’s and a Cessna, then illegally appropriated them when SkyWay went bankrupt in 2005, to the annoyance of SkyWay’s Federal Bankruptcy Trustee, who filed suit to get the planes returned. “Geffon was under court order to not let the planes leave the St Petersburg-Clearwater Airport,” stated a source close to the Bankruptcy proceedings. “The Airport Tower had even been ordered not to let the plane take off." "Geffon was in direct violation of the court order when that DC9 took off for Venezuela,” the source stated last week. [...] Geffon’s Royal Sons Inc has one other distinction that needs to be mentioned: The firm occasionally listed its address as 224 E Airport Ave at the tiny Venice, FL airport, in a hangar belonging to terror flight school Huffman Aviation. [...] Six months ago we received an email alleging that Dusty Foggo and Barry Seal had more than a nodding acquaintance in Honduras during the go-go ‘80’s. [...] Then we read "Dusty Abroad" in the Washington Babylon column by Ken Silverstein in Harpers magazine online. It contained new information on Foggo’s years in Honduras in the early 1980s, when, according to the article, “the Agency was using the country as a base both to support the Nicaraguan contras and for a variety of other covert programs in Central America.” The article, concerned with Foggo’s involvement in “a brisk hooker trade,” revealed that while Foggo was based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he had been a regular at the Maya Hotel and casino. [...] we knew that Barry Seal had hung out there too."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "UQ Wire: Dusty & 'The Boys' II", 2007/05/09: "Between 2003 and 2005 Titan Corp and a group of allied firms combined to issue a steady drumbeat of phony press releases, announcing multi-million contracts to purchase products which didn't exist, and major deals which never took place, as part of a concerted effort to "pump up" the price of stock in SkyWay Aircraft of St Petersburg, FL. The goal was to inflate SkyWay’s stock price--the pump--in advance of a massive sell-off--the dump-- by company insiders. [...] Several of the companies involved in the SkyWay stock fraud scheme have received extraordinary government assistance at both the state and federal level. Triton Network Systems, for example, closely-related to SkyWay through shared management, was not exactly a triumph for free enterprise... Instead, the firm was a “double-dipper." It was founded with money from the CIA, and also pocketed cash from a quasi-public state entity called “Enterprise Florida,” controlled by Florida Governor Jeb Bush. [...] Some of the companies involved in the SkyWay pump & dump fraud were also implicated in the epic prosecution of major Wall Street brokerage houses by Elliot Spitzer, then the Attorney General of New York State. [...] Spitzer named more than thirty corporations whose stock was run up and then dumped in the scheme. Little attention seems to have been paid to how these companies were chosen. However three of the companies involved in Spitzer's probe also are part of the network which "busted out" SkyWay: L-3 Communications, Net Command Tech Inc, and Triton Network Systems Inc. [...] Triton was a joint effort between Tampa-based Military Command Technologies Inc. and Lockheed Martin. Triton was the largest recipient of money from Enterprise Florida. Its initial funding from Finova Capital, which has long been another way of saying CIA. [...] According to SEC documents, in early February of 2000 Titan put up $72,386 for restricted shares of a shell company Farkas created which later became SkyWay. At the time, according to SEC filings, Farkas’ company had only one full time employee: himself. He mentions Titan five times in the company’s business plan."
  • St. Petersburg Times, "Plane with a past disappears after drug bust", 2007/07/01: "The rusted-out DC-9 wasn't fit to fly, but the aircraft broker from California called anyway. A man identifying himself as Jorge Corrales said he needed a plane for a traveling soccer team. The plane's owner, Fred Geffon, needed the money. Like dozens of others, Geffon had believed in Brent Kovar and his innovative wireless technology, Geffon would later tell lawyers. He bought the DC-9 to be a flying showcase of Kovar's work. But now that business was crumbling, creditors were calling and the twin-engine DC-9 was one of the last things left. Geffon sold the plane, painted white with blue trim and a gold seal that made it look presidential, for nearly $1-million. [...] The DC-9 was built in 1966 and originally made runs from New York to Miami for the now-defunct Trans World Airlines. It is a "tank of an airplane, " said Jeff Wolfson, a Chicago area businessman who once owned the plane. In the 1980s, the plane flew for billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp., majority owner of the MGM Mirage resort and casino chain. It also shuttled Kenny Rogers across the country on a music tour. The NFL's Seahawks used it in the 1990s. And it was Howard Dean's presidential campaign plane in 2004. Later that year, Wolfson sold the plane to Geffon for 2.5-million shares of stock in Kovar's company, SkyWay Communications Holding Corp. [...] On April 5, 2006, the DC-9 took off from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. The FAA, however, says it has no records about the flight, or which inspector authorized the departure. [...] In Mexico, authorities fingered Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera as the man behind the drugs found on the DC-9. Guzman's cartel smuggles multiton cocaine shipments from Colombia through Mexico to the United States, according to the U.S. State Department."
  • New York Post, "CRASH JET HAD AIR OF MYSTERY", 2007/10/01: "A corporate jet owned by a principal in a trendy Meatpacking District hotel reportedly made several mysterious flights over the years to the U.S. military installation in Guantanamo Bay where terror suspects are held. [...] Yesterday, a lawyer for an ex-worker at the air-charter company said his client knew that up to 80 percent of the firm’s rentals of its fleet of planes involved “confidential, governmental flights.” Ex-employee Mark Billey said there were “governmental people, armed people. He did recall flights to Long Beach where they did have a lot of U.S. Marshals,” according to the lawyer, Ian Friedman, who spoke to Billey in an Ohio federal prison yesterday. Billey – who worked at the company for six months until his arrest in April – is awaiting trial on unrelated kiddie-sex charges. The intrigue surrounding the corporate craft, a Gulfstream II, deepened last Monday, when the plane crashed in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula carrying 3.6 tons of cocaine. The Gulfstream had been owned by Hotel Gansevoort proprietor William Achenbaum from 2001 until Aug. 30 of this year – more than three weeks before the plane crashed. The plane was reportedly sold to Florida aircraft broker Donna Blue Aircraft, which then promptly peddled it to another man, Clyde O’Connor, for $2 million. When Achenbaum owned the plane, it was managed by a Long Beach, Calif., company, Air Rutter International, which offered it for charter. Air Rutter is owned by Arik Kislin of Long Island, who according to the Hotel Gansevoort’s liquor license is also a principal in the hotel. Earlier this year, The Post reported that a Manhattan company Kislin ran in the 1990s had sponsored a U.S. visa sought by an alleged Russian mob hit man."
    • Center for Public Integrity, "FBI Tracked Alleged Russian Mob Ties of Giuliani Campaign Supporter" by Knut Royce, 1999/12/14 (archived older copy): "A prominent commodities trader who acknowledges a business history with a reputed Soviet Bloc crime figure and a notorious arms dealer has been one of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's top campaign supporters. [...] Commodities trader Semyon (Sam) Kislin and his family also lavished thousands of dollars in contributions to Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, to the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign, to former Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato and to a number of state and city politicians. [...] A 1996 Interpol report claims that Kislin's firm, Trans Commodities, Inc., was used by two reputed mobsters from Uzbekistan, Lev and Mikhail Chernoy, for fraud and embezzlement. And a confidential 1994 FBI intelligence report on the Brooklyn, N.Y., mob organization headed by Vyacheslav Ivankov, the imprisoned godfather of Russian organized crime in the United States, lists Kislin as a "member/associate" of Ivankov's gang. It claims that his company co-sponsored a Russian crime boss and contract killer for a U.S. visa and asserts that he was a "close associate" of the late notorious arms smuggler Babeck Seroush, who later settled in Russia. [...] Kislin said he met Seroush, who he said also trafficked in narcotics in Russia, through the arms dealer's former wife, who was a personal friend. "I used to go to their house on the West Side in New York City," he said. [...] Reports by the FBI and Interpol, the international law enforcement intelligence-sharing agency, claim that Trans Commodities, Inc., had laundered millions of dollars and was used for fraudulent banking documents by the Chernoys in the early 1990s as the brothers engineered the takeover of much of Russia's metals industry, notably aluminum, through alleged embezzlement, money laundering and murder. [...] Arik Kislin, Semyon's nephew, contributed $1,000 to the mayor in 1995. According to New York corporate records, Arik Kislin is chairman of Blonde Management Corp., 459 W. 15th St. in Manhattan. In the early 1990s, Blonde shared space with Trans Commodities and co-sponsored the person alleged by law enforcement agencies to be a hit man, Anton Malevskiy, for the U.S. visa, according to the 1994 FBI report. Malevskiy, an acknowledged friend of the Chernoys, also is reputed to be the head of one of Russia's top mob families, Moscow's Izmaylovo gang."
    • New York Post, "Hotel big caught in ‘NYet’", 2012/03/26: "Hamptons-hopping businessman Arik Kislin was one of three people “authorized to give [financial] instructions” to a company in Liechtenstein now identified as a front for the Ismailovskaya organized-crime group, according to law-enforcement officials and court documents from three countries obtained by The Post. [...] According to the papers, only Kislin, Anton Malevsky — then the reputed godfather of the mob group — and Malevsky’s brother Andrei exercised control over the illicit gang’s front operation, called the Trenton Business Corp. [...] The documents raise new questions about his business activities in the early 1990s, when chaos reigned in post-Soviet Russia amid the battle for control of state entities. At the time, Kislin was president of New York-based Blonde Management Corp., a purported commodities trading firm that sponsored a US visa for Anton Malevsky, according to a 1994 FBI intelligence report. [...] Kislin’s partner in Blonde was Michael Cherney, who is now wanted by Interpol and Spanish authorities on money-laundering charges. [...] Kislin is not charged with any wrongdoing, but allegations about his activities are emerging in a massive civil suit in London pitting Russian metals oligarch Oleg Deripaska against Cherney in an ownership struggle over the world’s largest aluminum producer, Rusal."
    • Apollo bio of Mark Billey - worked at Evergreen International Airlines (a CIA front used to wash many of the C-130s used by the Forest Service) from 1994 to 2003 as a ramp agent; was an assistant to the director of operations at Air Rutter International LLC from October 2006 to March 2007; is located as of 2019 in Buena Park CA (in Orange County CA)
  • New Times Broward-Palm Beach, "Dogging a High-Flying Bird", 2007/10/11: "After a Gulfstream II jet carrying four tons of cocaine went down in Mexico, suspicion fell on Fort Lauderdale aviator Clyde O'Connor, who had bought the $2 million aircraft just two weeks before. But the 42-year-old O'Connor, who has been a fixture at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport for several years, isn't offering any answers as to how his red-white-and-blue plane wound up carrying so much Colombian coke. [...] Authorities determined that Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman owned the cocaine found in 132 bags among the Gulfstream's wreckage. Guzman is head of the Sinaloa drug cartel and considered the most powerful cocaine kingpin in Mexico. [...] I did find Gregory D. Smith, who reportedly co-owned the Gulfstream with O'Connor. Smith runs a company in Pembroke Pines called Global Jet Solutions. I called and asked him about the plane crash. "I'm not allowed to discuss that — I'm sorry," he said before hanging up. [...] Still, some facts have come to light, thanks to reporting done mostly by the McClatchy News Service. [...] O'Connor and Smith reportedly bought the Gulfstream from a pair of Brazilian businessmen on September 16. That same day, according to logs available on www.flightaware.com, the plane was flown from Clearwater to Fort Lauderdale Executive, which is operated by the city that bears its name. Two days later, at 7:22 p.m. September 18, according to the logs, the 80-foot-long jet with tail number N987SA took off from Fort Lauderdale for Cancun. [...] The jet had its own mysteries. Between 2003 and 2005, it was flown from Guantanamo, the U.S. base in Cuba, to Washington, D.C., and Oxford, Connecticut, leading to speculation that the CIA might have used it for the "rendition" of terrorism suspects."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "Bush Fundraiser Linked to CIA Drug Plane", 2007/10/29: "Recently-released FAA records from the Gulfstream II business jet that went down in Mexico a month ago with four tons of cocaine reveal that before it was “parked” in the name of a New York real estate developer with ties to the Russian Mob, the plane was owned by a secretive Midwestern media baron and Republican fund-raiser, who had a business partner who, incredibly, owned the other American drug plane, the DC9, recently busted in Mexico. [...] Moreover at the same time the Bush Ranger extraordinaire Stephen Adams owned the Gulfstream (N987SA) in 1999 and 2000, he was personally buying over $1 million of billboard ads for George W. Bush for his 2000 Presidential election bid. [...] According to SEC filings, Stephen Adams and Michael Farkas jointly controlled Holiday RV Superstores, Inc., which was used by arms merchant and CIA-fixer Adnan Khashoggi in a complicated securities fraud which stole as much as $300 million from investors and taxpayers. [...] The registration had rapidly passed through the hands of two Brazilians operating a dummy front company called Donna Blue Aircraft ( or, for aficionado’s of the ‘boys’ seemingly endless cleverness in naming front companies, d/b/a for short ). The Brazilians then supposedly “flipped” the plane, just two weeks before it crashed, to Greg Smith and Clyde O’Connor, the pair of hapless pilots, based at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, being fitted for “I’m The Patsy!” t-shirts. [...] Their bill of sale states they bought the Gulfstream for the princely sum of $100."
  • Narco News Bulletin, "Mysterious Jet Crash Is Rare Portal Into the “Dark Alliances” of the Drug War: Paper Trail for Cocaine-Filled Plane that Crashed in Yucatán Suggests Link to U.S. Law Enforcement Corruption in Colombia" by Bill Conroy, 2007/11/17: "McClatchy reported that a Florida-based company called Donna Blue Aircraft, which is supposedly owned by two Brazilian men, acquired the Gulfstream II from a company connected to New York real estate developer William Achenbaum. That deal was allegedly cut on August 30. Donna Blue then flipped the jet to a new owner, for a supposed payment of about $2 million, on September16. That’s where the enigmatic Greg Smith comes into the picture, as one of the supposed co-signers on the bill of sale drafted by Donna Blue for the Gulfstream II. Media reports to date have followed the trail of his supposed partner in the deal, Clyde O’Connor, and even delved into the background of Achenbaum, but the trail on Smith seems to be cold. [...] Baruch Vega is a colorful Colombian who has worked as an asset for the FBI, DEA and CIA, among other agencies, over the years. [...] According to Vega, between late 1997 and 2000, he traveled between South Florida and South America via a private jet for a total of some 25 to 30 “recruiting” trips— some with FBI agents on board, some with DEA agents on board, and some transporting Colombian narco-traffickers who were being brought back to the United States to negotiate deals. Vega claims that the main pilot for all of those flights was none other than an individual named Greg Smith. [...] A judge’s ruling in another legal case that is related to Vega’s pending lawsuit, in fact, backs up his claims. It describes the CIA’s involvement in one flight in 1999 that departed from Panama for Florida that involved Vega, federal agents and an indicted, fugitive Colombian narco-trafficker: [...] And those same legal pleadings mention the name of the company from which Vega chartered the aircraft: Aero Group Jets. [...] Vega also confirmed that Smith’s company was called Aero Group Jets. A check of the public records available through Florida’s Department of State lists the registered agent/officer of that now inactive company as Gregory D. Smith."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "CIA Drug Planes Probe Targets 9/11 Figure", 2008/01/31: "New revelations in the broadening scandal kicked off by two CIA and Dept of Homeland Security-linked airplanes busted in Mexico with multi-ton loads of cocaine point to a level of criminality and turpitude well beyond the corruption at U.S. Customs in South Florida to which officials have already admitted. A central figure in the Customs corruption probe is Guyanese pilot Michael Francis Brassington, the MadCowMorningNews has learned, a name familiar to readers who have followed the unfolding and still largely untold story of the activities and associates of the terrorist hijackers while in Florida… Michael Brassington was the co-pilot on a drug running Lear jet (N351WB) caught by DEA agents at Orlando Executive Airport in July of 2000 carrying 43 pounds of heroin. [...] In the current Customs scandal Brassington is under suspicion for trafficking drugs, passports, people, currency, and diamonds into the U.S. through two airports in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with the assistance of high-level officials in U.S. Customs and the FAA. [...] J. L. Sanders was the unlucky Inspector charged with checking Brassington through Customs that night. When he entered Brassington’s name into his computer, the July 2000 heroin bust came up on his screen. [...] “Brassington handed me a manifest for the flight from Executive Flight Support, which I found out later was owned by Wally Hilliard, and managed by Afphonso Bowe,” Sanders stated. [...] “The charter company Brassington was flying for is controlled by a family suspected of running an organized drug ring," said Sanders. “In the Customs computer system, the terminology used to describe the criminal organization associated with Executive Flight Support is the ‘Alfonso Bowe Smuggling Group.’"
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "THE MOTHER OF ALL SCANDALS? Drug Pilot, Election Exec Killed on CIA Plane", 2008/05/07: "One week after the crash outside Caracas, Venezuela of a twin-engine Piper Navajo (N6463L), an air of intrigue surrounds almost everything about the flight, including the plane's ownership, passengers, and pilot. [...] The downed plane's relevance to the ongoing story of vote fraud in America involves the identity of it's passenger, Jose Alfredo Anzola, a 34-year old founder of Smartmatic, a Venezuela-based election company whose American subsidiary counted one in every three votes in the 2004 Presidential election, while engaged the whole time in heated controversy over allegations the firm counting America's votes had hidden ties to—of all people— Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The connection between last week's plane crash and the ongoing saga of CIA Drug trafficking begins with 43-year old Mario Donadi Gafaro, the veteran drug pilot at the controls of the twin engine plane. Donadi boasts a 1999 drug trafficking conviction in the U.S., where he served three years. Then, even more recently, he was convicted of the same offense in Venezuela, and sentenced to an eight-year stretch at Venezuela’s Big House. When he crashed and burned last week, reporters noted with surprise, he still had six years to serve. [...] “According to the Federal Aviation Agency in the United States, the aircraft is owned by Aircraft Guaranty & Trust of Houston,” The Miami Herald reported. Well, not exactly. The downed plane was merely registered to Aircraft Guaranty, which reportedly regularly disguises, or "sheep-dips," CIA aircraft into the unsuspecting world of general aviation. [...] Aircraft Guaranty today owns a DC 9 (N120NE) which was the sister ship of the DC-9 (N900SA) caught carrying 5.5 tons of pure cocaine in April of 2006, which set off a chain of events that eventually led law enforcement authorities in Mexico to identify 100 American planes purchased with laundered money from Mexico’s dominant Sinaloa Cartel."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "CIA Drug Pilot Linked to Russian Mob", 2008/05/21: "Michael Francis Brassington, whose name is a footnote in the 9/11 investigation, was named in a procurement scandal over the disputed purchase by the Guyana Defense Forces of two antique 30-year old helicopters from a ‘dummy’ company in Delaware that sounds suspiciously like a front for the CIA, the ironically-named “Global X Group.” [...] Brassington’s father was the head of Guyana’s “state’s privatization unit,” and rejected bids by the local subsidiary of U.S. aluminum giant Reynolds Co. to buy out the state’s interest in a joint bauxite venture in favor of selling out Guyana’s state-owned bauxite company to Russian Aluminum (RusAl), controlled by Russian Mob Boss Oleg Deripaska. [...] Brassington was never charged, or even mentioned by name in DEA affidavits filed in the case, indicating, at the very least, that he had a certain level of protection. [...] “Wally Hilliard put P.J. Khan and Mike Brassington together back in the 90’s,” stated one authoritative source at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. “Brassington was like a son to Wally.” Ironically, Pervez (P.J.) Khan, another of Wally Hilliard’s shady “business partners,” is suspected of involvement in the current Customs corruption probe as well. [...] “The pilot had a lookout for heroin smuggling. His name is Mike Brassington. He had in his possession a letter from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stating that is record would be modified so that he would no longer receive close scrutiny from Customs,” said Sanders. “However, he still had an active record in the system. This conflict may have occurred because the letter he had was from Customs but he had a record from the DEA. This may have been an attempt by Customs to illegally override a DEA lookout.”"
  • Dissident Voice, "Crashed Jet Carrying Cocaine Linked to CIA" by Jeremy R. Hammond, 2008/09/13
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "Pilot in 9/11Intrigue Flew for Russian Mob", 2009/08/06: "The Tempest in a Turks & Caicos Teapot erupted when the British Commission of Inquiry into corruption in Prime Minister Michael Misick’s government backed down from releasing its full report in the face of an angry campaign threatening media outlets with lawsuits by lawyers for a shady Eastern European billionaire who stands accused in U.S. Senate documents of involvement in money laundering, as well as ties to international organized crime. [...] Brassington figured prominently in the British Commission’s report on Misick’s corruption, as not only the personal pilot but Misick’s partner-in-crime as well. As we first reported earlier this year, the Gulfstream jet Misick and Brassington were jetting around the world on belonged to a former White House Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton named Jeffrey Watson, who was once called “Florida's insider at the White House” by the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Watson is currently a Washington lobbyist. [...] The man funding efforts to keep Misick and Brassington’s crime secret, Mario Hoffman, is a full-fledged Russian Mob oligarch. [...] In written evidence presented to the UK Parliament as well as to the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Hoffman's company Istrokapital was described as a conduit for “Russian money” and a front for money laundering,” described as having the “strongest ties to the underworld,” which reportedly “draws its muscle from former officers of the Slovak intelligence service.” Hoffman was the first registered stockbroker in Czechoslovakia. He grew fabulously rich in Viktor Kozeny’s "privatization vouchers" scam."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "Pilot of DC9 in 5.5 ton cocaine bust Escaped custody in three countries", 2010/07/15
    • "The identity of the pilot of the American-registered DC-9 (N900SA) from St. Petersburg FL caught carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine in Mexico's Yucatan several years ago, long a mystery, finally saw the light of day recently in Mexico. Carmelo Vasquez Guerra, a Venezuelan, was the DC9’s pilot who was said to have “escaped” from the airport while his airplane was being seized, and four other members of his crew were arrested. He was later taken into custody by Mexican authorities, and charged with flying an airplane packed with 128 identical suitcases filled with cocaine. [...] So imagine reporter Francisco Gomez of Mexico City's El Universal surprise when he made a startling discovery: Carmelo Vasquez Guerra—amazingly and inexplicably—had been released from prison less than two years after being arrested. The shocking news was delivered via an international headline stating that a pilot named Carmelo Vasquez Guerra had been arrested in the West African nation of Guinea Bissau on a twin-engine Gulfstream II carrying… what else? 550 kilos—a half-ton— of cocaine. [...] The date of Vasquez's West African arrest was July 13, 2008."
    • "Authorities in Mexico refused to discuss Vasquez Guerra's release with reporter Gomez. [...] Gomez discovered that Mexico was not the only country to arrest Vasquez Guerra for the presumably major offense of flying box-car sized loads of cocaine, only to let him go. It's happened in three. Caught and released under mysterious and unexplained circumstances. in Mexico, in Guinea Bissau, and in Mali, home of Timbuktu."
    • "Bloomberg Magazine reporter Michael Smith story last week, "Wachovia’s Drug Habit,” about the bank’s sordid history of laundering drug money for Mexican drug cartels, can be seen in an entirely new light. Wachovia's nasty habit of moving money around for Mexican drug smugglers, the story reported, provided the clean cash necessary for the purchase of a still-undisclosed number of American planes, including the DC-9, which cumulatively flew at least 22 tons of cocaine, which put the massive drug bust aboard the DC9 back in the news."
    • "Despite the blandishments of airport personnel, as well as those from a sizeable contingent from Mexico’s Federal Preventive Police (PFP), brave Sergeant Garcia demanded to search the plane. Ironically, the PFP is a 7-year old FBI-trained federal police force whose main mission is enforcing Mexico’s laws against drug trafficking. [...] After the DC9 bust, and despite the very real threats faced by all Mexican journalists, Ricardo Ravelo was another Mexican journalist who went looking for answers. [...] Ravelo discovered that as many as a dozen Federal PFP officers had been working to ensure the success of the drug move, including five in Ciudad del Carmen, who attempted to keep airport personnel from calling in the Mexican military. Other officers visited Mexican airports where the DC9 was scheduled to land, in Toluca and Monterrey, presumably to drop off part of the load."
    • "The silence was broken the day Carmelo Vasquez Guerra was forced to land an American-registered Gulfstream II (N351SE) at Guinea Bissau's Osvaldo Vieira International Airport."
    • "Carmelo Guerra Vasquez wasn't the only prominent drug trafficker to have simply "disappeared" after being busted in Mexico. Gomez counted six. With each arrest authorities held a triumphant press conference to celebrate the latest victory in the war on… whatever. Later, they were quietly released."
    • "The story of the willing participation in laundering drug money by what was then America’s 4th largest bank puts a welcome spotlight back on a case with a number of troubling and so-far unanswered questions about two American planes from St Petersburg busted in Mexico carrying 5.5 and 4 tons of cocaine… with no repercussions to their American owners. The first, an American DC-9 (N900SA) whose livery convinced even savvy planespotters that it belonged to the Dept of Homeland Security (and perhaps it did), was carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine neatly packaged inside 128 identical black leather suitcases, each of which bore a stamp on the side reading “Privado.” The second, a Gulfstream II (N987SA), had used by the CIA, when it wasn’t running drugs, in Colombia, and to fly extraordinary renditions, making several trips to Guantanamo documented by the EU Commission which was instrumental in charges being brought against a half-dozen CIA agents in Italy."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "From Tampa to Timbuktu…The American Drug lords in the news", 2010/08/04: "According to a DEA report on the DC9 sent to Venezuela’s National Anti-Drug Office, Frederic Geffon was investigated by US Customs in Tampa, Florida in 1995, after being identified as an aircraft-broker-dealer working with drug traffickers. “Frederic J. GEFFON DOB: 08.02.1948, home address 10316 Paradise Blvd, Treasure Island, Florida, was the subject of an investigation by US Customs in Tampa, Florida in 1995,” stated a DEA report on the highly-publicized DC9 incident in the Yucatan to Luis Correa, the Director of Venezuela’s National Anti-Drug Office.“GEFFON was identified in 1995 as an aircraft-broker-dealer working with drug traffickers." [...] Since losing the DC9 and its 5.5-ton cargo, The Organization has been responsible for: Precipitating, according to UN officials, a violent coup in the West African nation of Guinea Bissau, called Africa’s first narco-state. A Boeing 727 airliner discovered burning the middle of the Sahara, torched after delivering 10 tons of cocaine onto an improvised runway of dirt and hardened sand. And an official from the Dept. of Homeland Security in Timbuktu, who raised the alarm earlier this year with a claim that Al Qaeda was behind the recent surge of drug trafficking through Africa. The drug plane cited as proof (SEE PICTURE ABOVE) that Al Qaeda was moving into African drug trafficking was flown by the same pilot, Carmelo Vasquez Guerra, who flew the DC9 from St Petersburg busted with 5.5 tons of cocaine. He was caught flying a business jet carrying a half-ton of pure cocaine in the West African nation of Guinea Bissau. And once again, he was released. [...] Big chunks of the drug money laundered by Wachovia was used to buy a fleet of American planes. At least nine planes came from two St Petersburg aircraft brokers,including the DC9 from St Petersburg Fl caught in Mexico carrying an astonishing 5.5 tons of cocaine in April of 2006."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "Is Chavez Crony Drug “King of Kingpins?”", 2010/11/12: "The U.S. claims to have identified the global narcotics trafficker and “king among kingpins” who “coordinated the transportation to Mexico” of the now-famous last flight of a DC9 which took off from St. Petersburg FL on April 5 2006 before being busted, five days later, carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine. In an indictment unsealed this week in Manhattan, Federal prosecutors fingered Syrian-born Walid Makled-Garcia, 43, a former crony of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, as the man behind the flight. [...] Known as “El Turco” (The Turk) and “El Arabe” (The Arab), Makled was arrested in Colombia two months ago near the border with Venezuela. Since then he has been talking from prison to anyone who will listen. He has dirt on top figures in the Venezuelan government and military, he says, citing fifteen top Generals receiving pay-offs, a $2 million campaign contribution to Hugo Chavez two years ago, and a million dollar bribe to the head of Venezuela's Anti-Drug Czar yearly…"
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "Tough on Chavez, Soft on the American DrugLords", 2010/11/18: "In a much-criticized move, Acting DEA administrator Michele Leonhart spent more than $123,000 to charter a private jet, instead of one of the DEA’s own 106 planes, to fly to Colombia two years ago. [...] In a Feb 16, 2009 story headlined “DEA official's private charter cost $123,000,” Taylor reported that the DEA chartered the jet for Leonhart's trip from L-3 Communications, which bills itself as the nation's sixth largest defense contractor, and which made more than $32 million from the DEA in 2008 for transportation services, while the company's largest subsidiary, "Titan Group of L-3 Communications," had a $70,000 investment in a shell company in Miami with no employees, no earnings and no prospects, but which somehow wound up as the true and legal owner of a DC9 carrying a cargo of 5.5 tons of cocaine. [...] The arguments made by Acting DEA administrator Leonhart and U.S. Attorney Bharara were echoed by a veritable “Who’s Who in the Amen Corner” of the American foreign policy establishment. "One of the world's top drug kingpins may soon be telling U.S. prosecutors everything he knows about Venezuelan officials who have abetted his cocaine smuggling operations," wrote Roger Noriega of The American Enterprise Institute. “Slowly but surely, Chávez is being unmasked as a deadly kingpin of a criminal.” “Makled implicated high-level officials, from both civilian and military branches of the government of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as being complicit in the drug trade,” wrote Joel Hirst of Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)"
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "Chairman Chavez, Oliver North, & “Co-Conspirators Not Named As Defendants”", 2010/12/09: "Just four months ago federal prosecutors used the bust of the cocaine-laden DC9 to finger Wachovia Bank, then the U.S.’s fourth largest, for laundering drug money used to purchase the plane. [...] The bank was allowed to plead guilty to laundering a fraction of that amount, was fined $160 million, and then sold off to Wells Fargo Bank. [...] Today the DEA is gearing up to go after—to Noriega-ize—Hugo Chavez, accusing him of engaging in a global drug trafficking conspiracy of staggering dimensions. Hugo Chavez is the latest victim of a U.S. reverse propaganda campaign. [...] The propaganda campaign began in earnest last January. That's when an unidentified official from the Dept. of Homeland Security announced the discovery of a pipeline, using cargo planes and even Boeing 727’s, pumping cocaine from Venezuela across the Atlantic to West Africa. The surging sales and burgeoning supply of cocaine in Europe could be blamed on Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. And, can you guess? Al Qaeda in North Africa. "Al Quaeda linked to rogue air network: U.S. official” read the headline on a January 14, 2010 wire service report. [...] A careful reading of the indictment and DEA affidavit filed in New York Federal Court provides evidence confirming Makled's involvement in drug trafficking. [...] It states Makled operated and controlled several airstrips in Venezuela between 2006 and 2010 which were "used by different drug trafficking organizations. Makled was responsible for paying off local law enforcement officials in Venezuela so that planes carrying drug loads could leave Venezuela, said DEA Agent Ball's confidential informant. They weren’t Makled’s drugs. They weren’t Makled’s planes either."
  • Daniel Hopsicker, "DC-9 COCAINE PILOT RE-RE-RE-ARRESTED", 2011/07/06: "One of the greatest escapes since the Great Houdini was locked in handcuffs and leg-irons, nailed inside a crate, and lowered to the bottom of New York’s East River reached its conclusion two weeks ago, when a drug pilot who has escaped from custody in three different countries and eluded an international manhunt was arrested in a van with 70 kilos of cocaine in a parking lot at the Radisson Hotel in Caracas, Venezuela. Carmelo Vasquez-Guerra, the pilot on two of the most infamous and controversial drug flights of the past decade, was taken into custody by Venezuelan police without incident, along with two other men, ending an incredible five-year long saga featuring repeated arrest… but little detention. [...] And then, of course, when the DC9 landed in Ciudad del Carmen, it was met by a Falcon business jet belonging to the Mexican Government, flown in by two pilots from the Mexican Federal Government’s Water Commission. [...] Later, the paper trail from the DC9 led Mexican investigators to the discovery that the plane had been purchased using drug money from a Mexican currency exchange which had extremely close ties to former Mexican President Vicente Fox."