-Caveat Lector-

an excerpt from:
The Great Heroin Coup - Drugs, Intelligence, & International Fascism
Henrik Kruger
Jerry Meldon, Translator
South End Press©1980
Box 68 Astor Station
Boston, MA 02123
ISBN 0-89608-0319-5
240pps - one edition - out-of-print
Orginally published in Danish
Smukke Serge og Heroien
Bogan 1976


Never had Richard Nixon's White House staff been so preoccupied with
narcotics matters as in the summer of 1971. They were obsessed with two
projects: a new White House intelligence and enforcement unit as envisioned
by the Huston Plan, and a comprehensive narcotics control apparatus,
similarly under direct presidential control. The two idees fixes converged in
a conspiratorial and political-criminal network of hitherto unimagined

That summer the White House set up the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse
Prevention alongside the Special Investigation Unit, otherwise known as the
Plumbers. Several of the Plumbers also worked on narcotics affairs. The
groups' key figures included:

Egil Krogh (chief Plumber)—who followed John Erlichman (for whose law firm he
had worked part time) to the White House in 1968 within months of his
graduation from the University of Washington Law School. He was named deputy
assistant to the president for law enforcement, and within three years found
himself in charge both of Nixon's narcotics and law enforcement campaign, and
of the "Plumbers squad. His single-minded ambition surfaced in a declaration
to the noted psychiatrist and narcotics expert, Dr. Daniel S. Freedman, when
the latter refused to support one of Krogh's programs: "Well, don't worry.
Anyone who opposes us we'll destroy. As a matter of fact, anyone who doesn't
support us, well destroy."[1] Krogh would wind up in jail for the break-in at
the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis Fielding.

Walter Minnick (temporary Plumber)—a young graduate of Harvard Business
School and former agent of the CIA, who joined Krogh's narcotics staff in
spring 1971 and later helped draft the reorganization plan that created the

John Caulfield (Plumber)—a former agent of the New York City Police
Department's Bureau of Special Services (BOSS), which specialized in
narcotics and "monitoring the activities of terrorist organizations." In the
1960 presidential campaign he had been assigned to protect candidate Nixon in
New York City. That and his close relationship with Nixon's personal
secretary, Rose Mary Woods (of eighteen and one-half minute tape gap fame),
gained him a foot in the door of the White House.[2]

Myles Ambrose—the former Customs Commissioner, who was named head of the
narcotics campaign's domestic strike force. He would later leave government
service in disgrace.

G. Gordon Liddy (Plumber) -a former FBI agent whose narcotics intelligence
job at the Treasury Department had been terminated, only weeks prior to his
recruitment by the White House, for his outspoken lobbying against
gun-control legislation. Eventually, he would get six-to-twenty for his role
in the break-in at the Watergate complex and one-to-three for the job at
Fielding's office.

Howard Hunt (Plumber)—a former CIA agent closely connected to the
agency-trained Cuban exiles, many of whom had emerged from Santo
Trafficante's Cuban narcotics Mafia. Hunt was employed as a special advisor
on narcotics problems in Southeast Asia. In November 1973 Judge John Sirica
would sentence him to two-and-a-half to eight years — reduced from an initial
thirty-five — for the Watergate break-in.

Lucien Conein—a CIA agent, Ed Lansdale's right-hand man in Vietnam, and an
expert on Southeast Asian narcotics centers and the Corsican Mafia. He was
brought into the White House by his old buddy Hunt.

David Young—a young lawyer who put up a sign outside his office, "Mr. Young,
Plumber," when apprised that he would be plugging leaks and that the trade
had run in his family. He came to Krogh's staff from Henry Kissinger's
National Security Council.

It was a strange mix of novices and experienced agents with the most
intriguing pasts.

Hunt and Liddy were located in Room 16 of the Executive Office Building,
headquarters for the Plumbers group's secret narcotics missions and other,
crooked operations on behalf of the Committee to Re-Elect the President
(CREEP). The Plumbers' first assignment was the break-in at the office of
Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist.[3] For the break-in dirty work, Hunt enlisted
Bernard Barker, Eugenio Rolando Martinez and Felipe de Diego, three of his
Cuban friends who had been involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion. Martinez and
de Diego also took part in the CIA's follow-up Operation 40, and the
ubiquitous Martinez was in on Trafficante-masterminded boat raids on Cuba.[4]

By the summer of 1971 the White House Death Squad was well on its way. Hunt
sought out Barker in Miami for what Hunt called "a new national security
organization above the CIA and FBI." Barker would assemble a force of 120
CIA-trained exiles for Operation Diamond, which, under cover of narcotics
enforcement, would kidnap or assassinate political enemies. Barker signed

In the fall of 1971 Hunt asked another of his Cuban friends, Bay of Pigs
veteran Manuel Artime, to set up "hit teams" for the liquidation of narcotics
dealers. As later revealed, Artime's primary target was to have been the
Panamanian strongman, General Omar Torrijos.[6]

Krogh and his staff, meanwhile, tightened their grip on narcotics control.
After the BNDD takeover of customs' international jurisdiction, Krogh pushed
Bureau chief John Ingersoll for results to feed Congress and the press. In
September 1971 Krogh was named to direct the newly formed Cabinet Committee
on International Narcotics Control. In collaboration with the State
Department, BNDD, CIA and Henry Kissinger's office, the committee coordinated
the international struggle against narcotics. State Department narcotics
advisor Nelson Gross, chosen to supervise the joint actions, was later
sentenced to two years for attempted bribery and income tax evasion.[7]

Egil Krogh was less than satisfied with existing narcotics efforts,
especially those of the CIA, whose intelligence reports, according to
Ingersoll, were decisive for the work of the BNDD. Krogh wanted the White
House instead to handle the BNDD's intelligence work. Nixon's staff would
then decide which drug traffickers to pursue. Krogh's dissatisfaction was
expressed to Hunt, who immediately proposed an Office of National Narcotics
Intelligence (ONNI) where all narcotics intelligence reports would be
analyzed and follow-up actions decided.[8]

Hunt told Krogh he could enlist for the office experienced CIA figures,
starting with Lucien Conein at its head.[9] Nixon, however, chose William C.
Sullivan instead. Once second to J. Edgar Hoover in the FBI, Sullivan had
managed Division Five, which investigated espionage, sabotage, and
subversion.[10] He also directed Operation Cointelpro, the bureau's vendetta
against dissident political and cultural groups (such as the Black Panthers),
and had been Nixon's choice to direct the Huston Plan's elaborate
surveillance of U.S. citizens.[11]

Hunt, nevertheless, found a niche for his friend. Conein was assigned to the
BNDD as a "strategic intelligence officer," and came to control overseas
narcotics intelligence, originally the domain of ONNI,[12] while Sullivan
concentrated on domestic affairs.[13]

The White House now controlled narcotics intelligence at home and abroad. But
that still wasn't enough. Nixon's staff also sought to control enforcement
itself, and that required effective strike forces. In January 1972 the White
House set up the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) according to a
plan conceived by Gordon Liddy. It became the domestic strike force under
Myles Ambrose — whose government career ended with news of his pleasure trip
to the ranch of a Texan indicted for narcotics and gun-running.[14] ODALE
soon became notorious for its record of illegal raids, no-knock entries into
private homes, and beatings of innocent people.[15] Some called it the
American Gestapo.

Overseas, as well, the White House was dissatisfied with the BNDD's
enforcement powers. Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider, a member of the National
Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, noted in a record of his
conversations with BNDD officials: "There was some talk about establishing
hit squads (assassination teams), as they are said to have in a South
American country. It was stated that with 150 key assassinations, the entire
heroin refining operation can be thrown into chaos. 'Officials' say it is
known exactly who is involved in these operations but can't prove it."

Hunt, Liddy and others in Room 16 did not confine themselves to narcotics
campaigns and political assassinations. On behalf of CREEP they raised
campaign funds from more or less shady sources and sabotaged the campaigns of
George Wallace, Hubert Humphrey, Edmund Muskie, and George McGovern. Hunt's
CIA colleagues are among those who suspect he spiked Muskie's lemonade with
an LSDlike substance prior to the candidate's famous tearful speech.[16]

Besides Hunt's Cubans, the familiar Frank Sturgis, who had earlier taken
orders from Santo Trafficante, took on narcotics work and special assignments
for CREEP.[17] According to a 1972 FBI report, sources in Miami had claimed
Sturgis was then associated with organized crime activities. He later told an
interviewer that he had aided Hunt in a 1971 investigation of the drug
traffic reaching the U.S. from Paraguay via Panama.[18] He was in on several
actions connected with the investigation, which focussed exclusively on
Auguste Ricord's Grupo Frances.[19]

Sturgis was everywhere in the hectic spring of 1972. In May he was among the
men who assaulted Daniel Ellsberg on the steps of the Capitol. Later that
month he and Cubans including Bernard Barker arranged a Miami demonstration
in support of Nixon's decision to mine Haiphong harbor. Sturgis himself was
at the wheel of the truck leading the procession. He helped recruit agitators
to disrupt the Democratic national convention, and in the June 17 Watergate
break- in Sturgis joined CIA/ Trafficante Cubans and White House narcotics

As the noted Berkeley researcher Peter Dale Scott put it in 1973: "In my
opinion it is no coincidence that the key figures in Watergate — Liddy, Hunt,
Sturgis, Krogh, Caulfield -had been drawn from the conspiratorial world of
government narcotics enforcement, a shady realm in which operations of
organized crime, counter-revolution and government intelligence have
traditionally overlapped."[21]

In July 1973 Nixon's narcotics forces were essentially consolidated according
to Reorganization Plan Number Two worked out by former CIA agent Walter
Minnick and Egil Krogh. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was formed
out of the BNDD, ODALE, ONNI and Customs Intelligence. Four thousand
operatives, including fifty CIA agents (many of them Cubans from the ODALE
hard core), five hundred customs agents and most of the BNDD staff made the
DEA a powerful new agency.

Ingersoll of the BNDD, Ambrose of ODALE and Sullivan of ONNI all resigned as
John R. Bartels became the DEA's first director. His was no small task. Earlie
r rivalries persisted. The strange brew of agents with widely varying
backgrounds and assignments made the DEA difficult if not impossible to
steer. U.S. narcotics enforcement has a history of corruption, scandal and
exposure of agent collaboration with the criminals it has been assigned to

Still, no bureau has been as plagued by scandal as the DEA has in seven years
of existence. The exposes and charges run the gamut from trafficking in
drugs, teamwork with the Mob and protection of major traffickers, to
thievery, gunrunning, torture, and assassination of drug traffickers.[22]

When Lucien Conein became the head of the DEA's Special Operations Branch he
allegedly carried out an assassination program after setting up the DEA's
Special Operations Group (DEASOG), under cover of the B.R. Fox Company and
housed on Connecticut Avenue in Washington.[23] DEASOG's twelve members—the
Dirty Dozen —were hard-nosed and experienced Latino CIA agents transferred
over to the drug agency for the occasion. Prior to DEASOG, Conein had set up
another DEA "intelligence" operation, Deacon I, employing Cuban exile
veterans of CIA training camps, who were supervised by thirty other Cubans,
all formerly of the CIA's Clandestine Services.[24]

In response to the claim that DEASOG was a "hit team," Conein told journalist
George Crile: "That is a big ------- lie. That is bull -----However, a DEA
official had told Crile: "When you get down to it, Conein was organizing an
assassination program. He was frustrated by the big-time operators who were
just too insulated to get to." DEA officials also told Crile that "meetings
were held to decide whom to target and what method of assassination to
employ. Conein then assigned the task to three of the former CIA operatives
assigned to the Connecticut Avenue safe house."[25]

DEASOG shared its Washington office with an old friend and colleague of Hunt
and Conein's from OSS China, the weapons dealing soldier of fortune and
specialist in assassination, Mitch WerBell III.26 WerBell told Crile he had
been a business partner of Conein's as late as 1974, and that he and Conein
had worked together on providing the DEA with assassination devices.[27]
Among WerBell's other associates were Frank Sturgis, Cuban exile leaders, and
Robert Vesco, who, like WerBell himself, has been charged with bankrolling
narcotics smuggling.[28] Carlos Hernandez Rumbaut, the bodyguard of Vesco's
close friend and business partner, former Costa Rican President Pepe
Figueres, is a former Conein agent who fled the country to avoid imprisonment
on a drug conviction.[29] He has reportedly reentered the U.S. twice with a
U.S. diplomatic passport.[30]

Assassination, it can be argued, became a modus operandi under Richard Nixon.
The CIA carried out assassination and extermination campaigns in Vietnam,
Guatemala, Argentina, and Brazil[31]—aided in Latin America by the local
Death Squads. The White House appears to have-sponsored a secret
assassination program under cover of drug enforcement. It was continued by
the DEA, which seemingly overlapped with the CIA in political rather than
drug enforcement.

Until 1974 the training of torturers and members of Latin American death
squads came under the auspices of the CIA and USAID's Office of Public
Safety. Some 100,000 Brazilian policemen, for example, were trained and 523 of
 them were chosen for courses in the U.S.A.[32] They were trained at the
International Police Academy in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. and at a secret
CIA center in the same city on R Street, under cover of International Police
Services, Inc. When school was out the prize pupils returned home to work,
beside CIA advisors, as functionaries or torturers in such effective
repression apparatuses as Sao Paulo's Operacao Bandeirantes.[33] Many would
moonlight with the Death Squads.

After Tupamaros guerillas kidnapped and killed U.S. police advisor Dan
Mitrione in Uruguay, Washington's schools for foreign police came into the
limelight and Congress cut off their funding.[34] Nonetheless, the training
program and direct assistance and supervision continued. A 1976 investigation
authorized by Senator James Abourezk revealed that the U.S. torture academies
had not in fact been completely closed down. According to Jack Anderson,
Abourezk found such a school had been in operation since 1974 in Los Fresnos,
Texas at the site of a former "bomb school." Another journalist, William
Hoffman, later confirmed the existence of a school for torture in Los
Fresnos, which had since moved to Georgia, where it was known as the Law
Enforcement Training Center.[35] Interestingly, Conein's friend WerBell runs
his own large training center in Georgia, The Farm. It's used for, among
other things, the training of law enforcement officers.[36]

Much of the old police support apparatus was simply transferred to AID's
International Narcotics Control program (INC), which really spelled DEA. In 19
74 the DEA had some 400 agents in Latin America, or roughly the number of
advisors recalled from the OPS program. INC's budget for technical equipment
abroad, meanwhile, jumped from $2.2 million in 1973 to $12.5 million in 1974.

The politics of the new drug effort were exposed when, in 1974, the man
behind Argentina's death squad (the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance), Social
Minister Lopez Rega, appeared on TV with U.S. Ambassador Robert C. Hill to
publicize the two nations' antinarcotics collaboration with the words:
"Guerillas are the main users of drugs in Argentina. Therefore, the anti-drug
campaign will automatically be an anti-guerilla campaign as well."[31]

It's striking how close the various extermination and repression campaigns
have been to the narcotics traffic. The Meo Army deployed by the CIA in Laos
smuggled large quantities of opium. Lopez Rega and his Argentine AAA henchmen
were eventually exposed as keys to a cocaine ring.[38] One of the chief AAA
hatchet men, Francois Chiappe, was a lieutenant in the Ricord/David heroin
network.[39] Paraguay's most ruthless high-ranking officers were exposed as
heroin profiteers. Christian David took part in extermination campaigns in
Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Operacao Bandeirantes' chief, Sergio Fleury,
and several of his colleagues pocketed large protection payoffs.[40] Fleury's
number two man in the Sao Paulo Death Squad, Ademar Augusto, de Oliveira,
alias Fininho, fled to Paraguay after he was charged with murder. There,
under the name Irineu. Bruno da Silva, he worked for the Ricord gang.[41]
When David's successor, the Brazilian narcotics dealer Milton Concalves
Thiago, alias Cabecao (The Brain), was arrested in 1975, it was learned that
he had been paying off the entire Rio de Janeiro Death Squad, which included
four narcotics police lieutenants .42 And finally as we go to press we learn
that the dictator, Pinochet, assumed control of Chile's cocaine trade, then
turned it over to his secret police, DINA, which shared the profits with its
Cuban exile henchmen.[43]

The political violence set in motion by the White House narcotics offices ran
smoothly. But what of actual drug enforcement? From its inception it focussed
on dismantling the French narcotics network. When that was done, America
would be free of the heroin plague, or so said Nixon and his staff. Reports
of increasing amounts of heroin from Southeast Asia and Mexico were obscured
by the great public relations campaign on the struggle against the Corsicans.

The Turkey/ Marseilles/ U.S. heroin pipeline was indeed shut down, and the
French Corsican Mafia was almost totally decimated. But major new suppliers
in Southeast Asia and South America were left untouched — despite warnings
and reports — and despite the many CIA "experts" on the Latin American drug
scene. Not only were most major heroin suppliers in the two regions left
alone, they were protected. And they were aided by the arrest of small-time

At home the story was nearly the same. ODALE and DEA nabbed only minor
distributors and sidewalk pushers.

pps. 159-169


1. L. Lurie: The Impeachment of Richard Nixon (Berkeley, 1973).

2. J.A. Lukas: Nightmare (Viking, 1976).

3. It is interesting to speculate whether Ellsberg's knowledge of top-secret
operations in Vietnam touched on narcotics. His supervisors in Southeast Asia
had been General Lansdale and Lieutenant Colonel Conein. Ellsberg and Conein
were apparently quite close in Vietnam. Conein reportedly saved Ellsberg's
life when the latter got romantically involved with the mistress of an
Corsican Mafia capo. The gangster threatened to kill Ellsberg. Conein, in
turn, told the gangster it would lead to his own funeral and war between the
CIA and the Corsicans -see J. Hougan: Spooks (William Morrow, 1978).

4. See chapter fifteen.

5.1977 CBS interview of Bernard Barker; see also G. Crile III in the Washingto
n Post, 13 June 1976.

6. J. Marshall: "The White House Death Squad," Inquiry, 5 March 1979.

7. E.J. Epstein: Agency of Fear (Putnam, 1977).

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. D. Wise and T.B. Ross: The Invisible Government (Random House, 1964).

11. S. Blumenthal: "How the FBI Tried to Destroy the Black Panthers," in Gover
nment by Gunplay, S. Blumenthal and H. Yazijian, eds. (New American Library,

12. H. Messick: -Of Grass and Snow (Prentice-Hall, 1979).

13. A 1971 New York investigation revealed that 47 percent of the city's
300,000 addicts were Black, 27 percent Hispanic and only 15 percent White-see
C. Lamour and M.R. Lamberti: Les Grandes Maneuvres de l'0pium (Editions du
Seuil, 1972); i.e., there were some 150,000 Black addicts in New York City
alone. Still, Nixon named as director of ONNI, William C. Sullivan. The man
who had planned and executed Operation Cointelpro would now battle the forces
doping the potentially troublesome elements of the Ghetto. Ironically,
Malcolm X and the Panthers, prime Cointelpro targets, had been the only ones
to make significant headway against ghetto drug addiction.

14. T. Meldal-Johnsen and V. Young: The Interpol Connection (Dial, 1979).

15. Epstein, op. cit.

16. M. Copeland: Beyond Cloak and Dagger (Pinnacle Books, 1974).

17. H. Kohn: "Strange Bedfellows," Rolling Stone, 20 May 1976.

18. True, August 1974.

19. In his book Cygne (Grasset, 1976), intelligence agent Luis Gonzales-Mata
describes being assigned a special task by CIA agent "Robert Berg." He was to
convince the Paraguayan dictator Stroessner that Ricord was behind a planned
coup attempt against him financed with heroin from Red China. Stroessner was
in a bind, since he very well knew that the source of the heroin was not Red
China but his bosom buddies in Taiwan.

20. C. Bernstein and B. Woodward: All the President's Men (Warner Books,

21. P.D. Scott: "From Dallas to Watergate," Ramparts, November 1973.

22. U.S. Justice Department DeFeo Report, 1975; the list of DEA abuses has
recently been expanded to include a computerized information system covering
570,000 names (a number which may be compared with the 8000 federal drug
arrests each year)-see E. Rasen: "High-Tech Fascism," Penthouse, March 1980.

23. Hougan, op. cit.

24. Ibid.

25. Crile, op. cit.

26. Another OSS China hand, Clark McGregor, replaced John Mitchell as the
head of CREEP.

27. Crile, op. cit.

28. T. Dunkin: "The Great Pot Plot," Soldier of Fortune, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1977;
L.H. Whittemore: Peroff (Ballantine, 1975).

29. Hougan, op. cit.

30. Crile, op. cit.

31. Cuban exiles took part in an extermination campaign in Guatemala between
1968 and 1971. According to Amnesty International, 30,000 people were
murdered there between 1962 and 1971, most of them in the last three years.
Similarly, anti-Castro Cubans had their hand in the Argentine AAA's murder
campaign believed to have claimed 10,000 lives. In Brazil the Sao Paulo Death
Squad alone is estimated to have assassinated 2000 between 1968 and 1972,
while many others perished in the torture chambers.

32. Skeptic, January/ February 1977.

33. A.J. Langguth: Hidden Terrors (Pantheon, 1978). 34. Ibid.

35. Gallery, May 1978.

36. Dunkin, op. cit. Among other antiterrorism trainees at WerBell's camp in
Powder Springs have been several members of U.S. presidential candidate
Lyndon Larouche's U.S. Labor Party. The Marxist turned extreme rightist and
anti-Semitic U.S. Labor Party has voluntarily sent the FBI and local police
forces "intelligence" reports on left wing movements, and regularly exchanges
information with one Roy Frankhouser, the self-proclaimed Grand Dragon of the
Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania and active member of the American Nazi Party —
see the New York Times, 7 October 1979.

37. P.Lernoux: "Corrupting Colombia," Inquiry, 30 September 1979. In July
1978, DEA chief Peter Bensinger strongly recommended that Colombian
authorities militarize the Guajira Peninsula, home of the marijuana/cocaine
traffic. Two months later, newly elected (and current) President Julio Cesar
Turbay issued a security statute empowering the military to arrest any
Colombian deemed subversive, without recourse to habeas corpus or other
constitutional guarantees. In April 1980, the Colombian Army was about to
abandon its U.S.-financed multi-million dollar drug war, its failure
connected, no doubt, to an estimated $110 million in protection money
distributed annually by the smugglers (New York Times, 3 April 1980).
Meanwhile, the military has assumed the dominant position in what was one of
Latin America's few remaining democracies. U.S. military aid to Colombia —
where, according to Amnesty International's April 1980 report, military
personnel torture political prisoners in thirty-three locations throughout
the country, resorting to fifty identifiable techniques -totalled $155
million between 1946 and 1975; 6200 Colombian military personnel were trained
by the U.S. in the same period (N. Chomsky and E.S. Herman: The Washington
Connection and Third World Fascism, South End Press, 1979). U.S. military aid
for 1979 was $12.7 million, the highest amount in Latin America.

38. Latin America, 19 December 1975.

39. L'Aurore, 31 May 1976; Liberation, 19 July 1976.

40. Le Nouvel Observateur, 21 May 1973; A. Lopez: L'Escadron de la Mort (Caste
rman, 1973); H. Bicudo: Meu Depoimento sobre o Esquadrao da Morte (1976).

41. Le Nouvel Observateur, 21 May 1973. 42. Diario, de Noticias, 7 May 1975.
43. See the foreword, footnote 52.

Aloha, He'Ping,
Om, Shalom, Salaam.
Em Hotep, Peace Be,
Omnia Bona Bonis,
All My Relations.
Adieu, Adios, Aloha.
Roads End

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