-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


In early 1973 the Department of Health, Education and Welfare estimated the
number of U.S. heroin addicts at 600,000. By the end of that year, Dr. Robert
Egebjerg, director of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Health Administration,
placed the number at 300,000. And in June 1974 DEA international operations
chief John T. Cusack, testifying before the House Committee on International
Narcotics Control, said that the addict population was down to 200,000.[1]

This giant cover-up hid the fact that Nixon's heroin war was no more than
window-dressing. On 7 October 1974, six weeks after Nixon's resignation, the
head of the White House Special Action Office on Drug Abuse Prevention, Dr.
Robert Dupont, was pressured to release a secret report that the number of
addicts had in fact risen, reaching even into formerly untouched middle class

On 27 April 1976 President Gerald Ford said in a message to Congress: "By
mid-1973 many were convinced that we had turned the corner on the drug
problem. Unfortunately, while we had won an important victory, we had not won
the war on drugs. By 1975 it was clear that drug use was increasing, that the
gains of prior years were being lost, that in human terms narcotics had
became a national tragedy. Today, drug abuse constitutes a clear and present
danger to the health and the future of our Nation."

In February 1977 the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control
reported that the addict population totalled some 800,000. And in 1978 New
York City's special narcotics prosecutor, Sterling Johnson, spoke of a heroin
epidemic worse than that of the late sixties and early seventies.[3] But the
cover-up hadn't stopped in 1974.

>From 1975 until the end of 1978 the DEA consistently maintained that between
80 and 90 percent of the heroin consumed in the U.S. was Mexican. However,
the claim doesn't stand up against the following facts: 1) 80 percent of the
world's heroin -exactly the figure exported from Marseilles until 1972 -was,
at least until late 1976, produced from opium harvested in the Golden
Triangle and distributed via Bangkok, Singapore, and Hong Kong;[4] 2) the
number of arrests of couriers en route from Southeast Asia increased steadily
after 1973;[5] 3) reports from New York and other big cities testified to the
arrival of large shipments of white heroin from Southeast Asia; 4) the
market's supply of heroin did not dwindle despite aerial destruction of an
estimated 60 percent of Mexico's poppy fields in early 1976;[6] 5) an
effective tidal wave of Golden Triangle heroin began flooding Europe in 1973,
while many couriers en route to the U.S. and Canada were nabbed by European
police; 6) the DEA was aware of Santo Trafficante's dealings in Southeast
Asia, as well as the later Mafia summit in Palermo where large sums of money
were set aside for investment in the Golden Triangle; 7) it was easy to
verify the narcotics flow from Mexico, since the border was subject to close
surveillance, but to conclude that most of the heroin on the U.S. market
originated in Mexico was a stretch of logic.

Even the DEA had to admit the tenuousness of its claims. On 24 February 1976,
the DEA's John Cusack admitted that his agency's estimate that only 8 percent
of U.S. heroin came from Southeast Asia was surprising, considering the
region's prolific opium production. He added:

"We are also concerned about our detection during 1975 of substantial
quantities of white no. 4 heroin moving directly from Bangkok to the United
States. In December, for example, forty-six kilograms of heroin were seized
in Bangkok, concealed in the household effects shipment of a returning U.S.
serviceman. Follow-up investigation in the development of an extensive
conspiracy prosecution has identified twelve additional shipments entering
the United States since 1974."

Twelve such shipments meant 552 kilos, or more than the entire 470 kilos
confiscated in the U.S. in 1975 -and from only one of many Southeast Asian
smuggling networks. Cusack went even further: "It appears almost certain that
the bulk of the white heroin found during 1975 in the inner-city areas of our
eastern cities has been Asian no. 4 smuggled from Bangkok."[7]

Why then did the DEA continue to overstate Mexico's role and minimize
Southeast Asia-even after the publication, in 1972, of Alfred McCoy's The
Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia? Perhaps to justify the great
expenditure in support of right wing military and police forces in Latin
America. (The later boom in Colombian cocaine would also provide
justification.) Southeast Asia was downplayed so as not to jeopardize
relations with America's loyal, if corrupt, allies — most of all Thailand,
Taiwan, and the latter's overseas agents. They were allowed to profit from
opium and heroin in relative peace.

Another reason: the DEA could not expose the Southeast Asia connection
without compromising the CIA. A secret 1977 House Government Operations
subcommittee report accused the CIA of helping an Asian opium ring smuggle
drugs into the United States and then lying about it to Congress. Puttaporn
Khramkhruan, a Thai national, was arrested in 1973 for smuggling fifty-nine
pounds of pure opium into the U.S. via JFK airport. Citing national security
interests, the agency had the case squelched, and Khramkhruan was sent back
home. However, the House subcommittee eventually established that he was a CIA
 operative in Thailand.[8] In fact, he was on the payroll of a CIA
proprietary using the Agency for International Development (AID) as a cover
for training the corrupt Thai border police.[9] Furthermore, Khramkhruan told
a DEA investigator that he had been an officer in the KMT army and guarded
opium mule caravans. His CIA contact was the U.S. consul in Chiang Mai,
Thailand.[10] In its report, the House Committee stated: "It was ironic that
the CIA should be given the responsibility of narcotics intelligence,
particularly since they are supporting the prime movers."[11]

In March 1977 the DEA began to speak of "major maneuvers in the international
Asian narcotics market for a share of the U.S. drug scene" and of a
"coalition between the U.S. Mafia, the Corsicans and the Chiu Chao Chinese
Triad."[12] The coalition had, in reality, existed at least since 1970 and
perhaps as early as Trafficante's 1968 journey to the East and it had
functioned effectively, shipping large amounts of heroin to the U.S., since
1972-73. The difference was that the Corsican arm of the coalition, their own
umbrella o[r]ganization having been smashed, was now essentially reduced to
some 100 men working with the U.S. Mafia and the Chinese, most of them as
chemists in Thailand's mobile heroin labs.[13]

Who has controlled the Golden Triangle opium traffic and heroin production
since the establishment of the Mafia-Chinese coalition — besides the CIA,
that is? The answer is the Kuomintang (KMT) Chinese and overseas Chiu Chao
syndicate -men such as Chang Chifu, Lo Hsing-han, Tsai Chien Cheng and older,
more familiar figures like General LiMi.[14] Still head of what's left of the
KMT forces, General Li resides in luxury outside Chiang Mai and received
official visits there from the United States as recently as late 1976.[15]

In 1976-77 a minor war was about to erupt over the control of the region's
opium traffic and mobile refineries. Potential combatants were Chu Chi-fu's
United Shan Army (of rebels against the Burmese regime) and KMT forces under
General Li. However, the opposing leaders were brought together by a senior
Thai officer and an agreement was reached on the marketing of drugs and
supply of arms to fight Communist forces in Burma's Shan states.[16] Again we
see the connection between narcotics and anti-Communist paramilitary
operations -albeit Chu Chi-fu later pulled out of the agreement, was arrested
in Thailand, and eventually extradited to Burma.

The DEA's Golden Triangle unit, SNO, made many whole and half-hearted
attempts to eradicate the narcotics plague. All failed. Production has been
great, the world's heroin market having multiplied in the seventies. SNO
won't say outright that the CIA is undermining them, nor that politics
underlies their constant failures. A SNO agent, nevertheless, came close to
doing so in this 1976 statement to Alfred McCoy:

"If they were selling shares in Golden Triangle Heroin, Inc. in five, ten and
twenty-year bonds, I would put my money on a twenty-year bond. The only thing
that would end the whole Golden Triangle business would be a communist
takeover in Thailand. If that happened, Id sell my stock."[17]

Southeast Asia was initially the sole supplier to the rapidly growing
European market. Until 1972 heroin abuse was essentially an American problem.
But since the heroin shift from Marseilles to Southeast Asia, the European
habit has rapidly worsened. In 1972 ten kilos of Golden Triangle "brown
sugar" were confiscated in Europe. By 1975 the figure was up to 227 kilos.
The country hardest hit has been West Germany, where the large U.S. troop
concentration serves as a magnet for heroin, where it is estimated that some
60-80,000 Germans use hard drugs, and where there were over 500 hard
drugrelated deaths in 1979.

In the summer of 1977, we might note, the administration of Jimmy Carter
rejected a proposal by a consortium of rebel army leaders in northern Burma
that the U.S. spend $36 million over a sixyear period to purchase and destroy
the Southeast Asia opium crop.[18]

Among the official explanations was the alleged policy of the United States
to deal only with recognized local governments — a policy which in its time
had found a number of exceptions, like the overseas Kuomintang Chinese.[19]

pps. 171-176


1. 1. Frank and G. Richardson: "Epidemic," Penthouse, September 1977.

2. Ibid. In light of recent years' revelations of CIA mind control
experimentation with LSD, it's worth noting the enormous spread of the
hallucinogen in 1971-72. Behind it was the cover organization, Brotherhood of
Love, whose backers, like Gulf Oil heir William Mellon Hitchcock, exploited
and manipulated self-styled LSD prophets like Timothy Leary. The Brotherhood
was directly connected to the Robert Vesco-controlled Fiduciary Trust Company
of the Bahamas. LSD proceeds were laundered through the usual Syndicate banks
in Geneva. See Der Spiegel, No. 39, 1974.

3. B. Herbert: "The Fleetwood Kids," Penthouse, August 1978.

4. A. McCoy: "The New Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia," Oui, December

5. F. Robertson: Triangle of Death (Routledge and Keagan Paul, 1977).

6. Politiken, 27 March 1976.

7. Drug Enforcement, Spring 1976.

8. J. Anderson and L. Whitten, Boston Globe, 3 October 1977.

9. J. Hougan: Spooks (William Morrow, 1978).

10. J. Burgess: "The Thailand Connection," Counterspy, Vol. 2, No. 4, 1976.

11. Anderson and Whitten, op. cit.

12. San Francisco Examiner, 9 December 1977; Robertson, op. cit.

13. Robertson, op. cit.

14. Lo Hsing-han and his supporters at one time aided the Burmese government
in its fight against Communist insurgents in northwest Burma. However, when
the government asked him to disband his organization in 1973, Lo Hsing-han
refused and signed a pact with the rebels. The Burmese army eventually pushed
him and his army into Thailand where he was arrested and extradited back to
Burma. In the fall of 1977 he lost his final appeal to Burma's highest court
to quash a death penalty for treason. (New York Times, 7 November 1977).

15. McCoy, op. cit.

16. Far Eastern Economic Review, 15 April 1977.

17. McCoy, op. cit.

18. New York Times, 13 July 1977.

19. According to High Times magazine (April 1980), the Shan States rebels
have long been subsidized by Taiwan intelligence. Moreover, the article goes
on, intelligence sources in Burma have suggested that the DEA, in an
aboutface attempt to weld together a local force against right wing opium
armies, has approached Burmese Communist guerillas — who, having been
abandoned by the current, less revolution-minded Peking regime, had
themselves taken steps toward moving in on the opium trade.


The exaggeration of Mexico's and the downplaying of Southeast Asia's roles as
suppliers of heroin to the United States does not mean that Mexico was
unimportant. But the DE A and the U.S. press compound the distortion by
constantly asserting that the production and smuggling of heroin in Mexico is
strictly a Mexican business. No U.S. Mafia is supposedly involved, other than
customers on the other side of the border. Heroin shipments are allegedly
controlled by seven large Mexican families: the Herreras, the Maciaces, the
Romeros, the Favelas, the Sicilia-Falcons, the Valenzuelas, and the
Aviles-Quinteros. [1] Let's take a look at one of them.

Alberto Sicilia-Falcon, leader of the Sicilia-Falcons, is not a Mexican at
all; he was born in Matanzas, Cuba. He and his family left the island
immediately after Castro's takeover to become part of Miami's Cuban exile
milieu. After the Bay of Pigs invasion he was trained by the CIA at Fort
Jackson for Operation 40.[2] From there his trail is faint for several years.
However, according to Mexican police, he was in Chile helping the CIA to
undermine the government of Salvadore Allende.

In mid-1973 he turned up in Mexico, where in record time he established a
gigantic heroin and marijuana ring. According to DEA director Peter
Bensinger, in 1975 the ring numbered more than 1600, including film stars and
international businessmen. Sicilia-Falcon himself resided in villas in
Tijuana and San Diego. Heroin was transported to San Diego from a warehouse
in Culiacan, marijuana from a processing plant in Mexicali to a U.S.
distribution center in Coronado Kays.

In late 1973 one of Sicilia-Falcon's truckers was stopped on his way back to
Mexico. The truck was loaded with arms bound for Nicaragua. According to a
later report of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, one illegal
weapons dealer in Brownsville, Texas alone supplied Sicilia-Falcon with 12
million rounds of ammunition in 1974.

The guns-for-drugs traffic proceeded unhindered until early 1975, when the
government of then President Luis Echeverria discovered that Sicilia-Falcon's
weapons shipments went to groups in Mexico. "External forces are attempting
to destabilize our country," said Echeverria in a 1975 speech, in obvious
reference to his neighbor to the north.

Then the Mexicans began an intense surveillance of SiciliaFalcon, who, they
learned, often met and conversed by telephone with a mystery man in
Guernavaca, some ninety kilometers south of Mexico City. When a lemonade
bottle bearing the man's fingerprints was sent to the FBI, the bureau
informed Mexican authorities that the man was Sam Giancana, the Chicago Mafia
capo, heroin trafficker, and CIA collaborator. The Mexicans agreed to a
French extradition request for Giancana, but when his Paris-bound plane
stopped over in Houston, Giancana was whisked away by U.S. agents. Soon
thereafter he was found murdered in his Chicago mansion. Mexican interior
ministry officials claimed the CIA had done all it could to prevent the
mobster's extradition.

On 2 July 1975 Sicilia-Falcon was arrested. Under rough interrogation he
claimed to be an agent of the CIA, and that his drug ring had been set up on
orders from and with the support of the agency. Part of his profits were to
go towards the purchase of weapons and ammunition for distribution throughout
Central America for the destabilization of "undesirable" governments. If
true, U.S. heroin addicts were again footing the bill for clandestine
paramilitary operations and antiCommunist terror campaigns. And
Sicilia-Falcon and his Syndicate associates were not short of funds. In his
possession police found two Swiss bank books to the tune of $260 million.

Still, the strange testimony of Alberto Sicilia-Falcon did not end with his
confession. His family's heroin and arms shipments continued and, on 26 April
1976, he and three of his lieutenants escaped from Lecumberri prison through
an electrically lit, 100-yard long tunnel dug from outside. They were
recaptured three days later, at which time Sicilia-Falcon, fearing for his
life at the hands of the CIA, requested transfer to another prison and
additional security.[3]

Echeverria and Sicilia-Falcon each were right about the destabilization
program. FBI documents released later disclosed that between 1970 and 1976
the FBI served as a secret link between the U.S.  embassy in Mexico City and
the U.S. Border Patrol in California and Texas, "in order to help
destabilize" the government of President Echeverria. J. Edgar Hoover had
believed that Echeverria had surrounded himself with "old Communists and
Communist Party sympathizers.[4] A memo from
Hoover to the U.S. legal attache praises "the detonation of strategic and
effective bombs in Mexico City" and "the wave of night machine-gunnings to
divide subversive leaders."[5]

Besides Echeverria's progressive attitude, another reason for U.S. hostility
towards his government was the Mexican president's refusal to approve World
Bank and International Monetary Fund plans for the exploitation of Mexico's
newly discovered oil reserves. The first order of business of his successor
Jose Lopez Portillo in 1976 was approval of the same plans. And the newspaper
El Sol de Mexico wrote shortly after the latter's inauguration that year:
"The new government is not interested in publicity regarding the
Sicilia-Falcon case. It will quietly extradite him to the U.S. as soon as the
new extradition agreement between the two countries comes into effect."

In the Sicilia-Falcon case the DEA and CIA struggled bitterly against one
another. It was symptomatic of a split within the DEA's own ranks, a split
rooted in the effective control of its narcotics intelligence division by
transplanted agents of the CIA.

Since the DEA's emergence many of its agents have resigned in disgust with
its modus operandi. Long-standing conflicts between the CIA and BNDD and
between the BNDD and Customs did not evaporate when all the narcotics agents
were pooled in the DEA. Moreover, the CIA seems still to be guided by
political interests incompatible with drug enforcement.

A 1975 Narcotics Control Action Plan for Mexico, drafted by the DEA, CIA and
State Department, opened the way for new appropriations for fighting
narcotics in Mexico through INC. Thirty helicopters as well as other aircraft
and computer terminals were brought in, and extensive training programs were
initiated. The notorious Operation Condor began in January 1976 with an army
of DEA-trained Mexican narcotics agents and their U.S. supervisors, mobilized
to fight the drug traffic in the countryside. Reports of the operation reveal
that U.S. taxpayers' money has in fact been used for political extermination;
that DEA helicopters are used by private landowners to attack peasant
revolutionaries with rockets, small-arms fire and napalm;[6] that large
groups of farmers and independent narcotics dealers have been murdered or
tortured while the major narcotics families have been protected.[7]

House subcommittee investigators went to Mexico in 1975 to determine how
organized internal corruption and payoff rings within the DEA had made
possible the monopoly of Mexican heroin by a few powerful crime families.
According to writer Ron Rosenbaum: "Some critics of DE A go even further than
the subcommittee investigators and charge the protection of heroin profiteers
is not caused by internal corruption but is, in fact, the true function of
the agency under the present narcotics laws."[8]

DEA-supervised killing and torture had not stopped as of 1978, when the
Mexican Bar Association documented eighteen forms of torture applied by
Mexican narcotics agents. Prisoners and Mexican agents alike affirmed that
DEA agents not only knew of the torture, but at times were also present at
the interrogations.[9]

pps. 177-180


1. D. Rosen: "The Mexican Connection," Penthouse, February 1977.

2. "Die gefahrlichen Geschafte des Alberto Sicilia," Der Spiegel, No.
20,1977. Much of the following story comes from this account.

3. Ibid.

4. High Times, August 1978.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. C. Pyes: "Legal Murders," Village Voice, 4 June 1979.
8. R.Rosenbaum: "The Decline and Fall of Nixon's Drug Czar," New Times, 5
September 1975.
9. Pyes, op. cit.


In August 1976 Lucien Conein's chum Mitch WerBell III (whose B.R. Fox Company
had shared a Washington office with Conein's DE A Special Operations Group)
was brought before a Miami federal court on charges of conspiracy to smuggle
50,000 pounds of marijuana a month from Colombia to the United States. He and
several coconspirators had allegedly hatched the plot in the summer of 1975,
just when Alberto Sicilia-Falcon was arrested in Mexico. Multi-ton marijuana
loads were to have been flown from Colombia to an isolated ranch in the
Florida Everglades near the cowtown of Okeechobee.[1]

The star prosecution witness was one of WerBell's close associates, the
convicted cocaine and marijuana smuggler Kenneth Gordon Burnstine. However,
weeks before his scheduled court appearance he died in the mysterious crash
of his P-51 Mustang at an air show. Most of the vital tape recordings and
films of meetings between Burnstine, WerBell, and other defendants were no
longer producible in court.

WerBell's defense was that his role in the plot had been as an undercover
agent for Conein. Both Conein and Egil Krogh were to have been witnesses on
his behalf. But Krogh testified that he didn't know WerBell had worked for
the DEA's Special Operations Branch, and Conein wasn't called at all. Another
defense witness was the soldier of fortune Gerry Hemming, whose private army
of Cuban exiles and Americans, the International Penetration Force, appears,
from Hemming's description of its missions, to have played an active role in
Operation 40. During the trial, Hemming would stay late into the night in
WerBell's hotel room.[2]

WerBell was found innocent and released, just like the Thai opium smuggler/
CIA agent Puttaporn Khramkhruan before him in 1973. He went home to Georgia
to pursue his weapons business and law enforcement training camp. According
to writer Hank Messick, in 1978 he was involved in far Right politics with
the likes of Major General John K. Singlaub (who had been relieved of his
command in Korea after outspoken criticism of President Carter) and members
of the American Security Council[3]— the key U.S. link to the far Right's
international umbrella organization, the World Anti-Communist League (WACL).
As reported recently in the New York Times, the beneficiaries of his
antiterrorist training have included members of the far Right, anti-Semitic
U.S. Labor Party.[4]

WerBell owns eight companies, most of them dealing in firearms used by law
enforcement and intelligence units. One of the firms, Studies in the
Operational Negation of Insurgents and Counter-Subversion (SIONICS),
specializes in the production- of M10 and M11 silenced machine pistols. The
latter two weapons, designed by Gordon Ingram and WerBell, are about the
ultimate weapons for terror and extermination. Their sales agent was
WerBell's Military Armament Corporation.[5]

Together with the anti-Castro Cuban arms dealers Anselmo Alliegro and the
mercenary Gerry Hemming, WerBell founded the Parabellum Corporation in 1971
in Miami.[6] Parabellum. was licensed to sell arms in Latin America. It was
also the firm from which Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis planned to obtain
weapons for Cuban exiles who were going to (but eventually did not) disrupt
the 1972 Miami conventions.[7]

In 1974 WerBell -according to a motion filed by his own lawyer when WerBell,
his son and his company Defense Services, Inc. were charged with illicit
weapons sales-was involved in a "conspiracy among the CIA, Robert Vesco, and
various corporations to finance clandestine guerilla activities in Latin
America."[8] Vesco wanted to purchase WerBell's stock of 2000 silenced M10
machine pistols. When WerBell failed to secure an export license, he devised
a plan to smuggle the weapons to Vesco. The two later negotiated the
construction of a factory in Costa Rica which would be licensed to fabricate
the pistols.[9]

Intriguingly, in that same period someone was negotiating with a U.S. firm
for rights to fabricate, in Mexico, fully automatic weapons for clandestine
guerilla actions in Latin America. That someone was Mexico's Cuban exile
heroin czar, Alberto Sicilia-Falcon,[10] and among the weapons he was
inspecting was the Ingram M10, 9 mm Parabellum.[11]

Although the M10 and M11 could be acquired legally only with the special permi
ssion of U.S. officials, large numbers of silenced M10s turned up in the
hands of European fascist terrorists in 1976-77. when Pierluigi Concutelli, a
leader of the Italian terrorist group Ordine Nuovo, was arrested in Rome in
February 1977, police found in his apartment the silenced M10 which he had
used to murder the Rome magistrate Vittorio Occorsio. [12] 0ccorsio had been
shot down on the streets of Rome in July 1976 after announcing he would
expose the close collaboration between Fascist terror groups and the

However, it was among Spanish terrorists in particular that WerBell's machine
pistols appeared in quantity.[14] Most notably, a sizable consignment of
M10s, sent to Spain under license from U.S. authorities, had been purchased
by Spanish intelligence agency DGS,[15] which has allegedly coordinated the
actions of Fascist terrorists.[16]

The fugitive IOS billionaire Vesco employed a large contingent of Cuban
exiles in his Costa Rica sanctuary.[17] Moreover, his weapons negotiations
coincided with the efforts of the fanatic anti--Castro Cuban leader Orlando
Bosch to assemble Cuban exile groups into an army of terror, CORU, that would
later carry out assassina-tions and other dirty work for several Latin
American regimes. During Bosch's 1974-75 drive, a wave of murder struck
Miami's Cuban exile haven. Most victims had been opposed to Bosch. With the
obstacles to his plan removed, CORU was established in June 1976.[18]

While Vesco and WerBell were hatching their weapons deal Bosch's base of
operation just happened to be Vesco's kingdom of Costa Rica -and Mafia heroin
boss Santo Trafficante, Jr. was also reportedly there between January 1974
and the summer of 1975. Journalist Jim Hougan speculates in his book Spooks
that the three might have joined forces in a CIA conspiracy to escalate
anti-Communist terror in Latin America.[19]

In 1973 some of the details began to surface in a series of scandals linking
these individuals. DEA undercover agent Frank Peroff charged Vesco with
financing extensive heroin smuggling. For his initiative Peroff was fired
summarily and his life was threatened. Before the Senate Investigations
Subcommittee could probe deeply the case was squelched through the
intervention of the White House. The Oval Office had already helped Vesco- a
friend of the Nixon family -in his run-in with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, which had sought his prosecution for the trail of swindle he had
left in the world of international finance. Midway through the subcommittee
investigation of the heroin charges, the DEA announced the disappearance of
its Vesco file.[20]

One year later, as the subcommittee investigated WerBell's weapons deal with
Vesco, it learned that Vesco had once employed government narcotics agents.
In 1972 two bugging specialists from the BNDD flew from Los Angeles to New
Jersey to sweep Vesco's home and office of surveillance devices. According to
the subcommittee, the sweeping tour had been arranged by an admitted friend
of Vesco's who was also involved in supplying the fugitive with 2000 machine
guns and helping him esta[b]lish a factory for the weapons in Costa Rica.[21]
Guess who.

That was not the last heard of Robert Vesco in connection with drugs. In the
summer of 1977 police uncovered the smuggling of large quantities of heroin
and cocaine to Rhode Island. In one of the involved ships they discovered a
ledger in which it was written: "to Vesco/6 million/he picked up w. shrimper
(Lansky)/'Curier' beat UP. "[22]

Several things point to Vesco involvement in the long-standing partnership of
the CIA, the Lansky/Trafficante syndicate and the Cuban exiles, in a
drugs-for-gans-for-terror deal to step up armed suppression and
anti-communism in Latin America. Journalist Hougan ventures that the
conspirators might have used such go-betweens and couriers as the beautiful
Patricia Richardson Martinson. According to her ex-husband, the former army
intelligence agent William Spector, Ms. Martinson had very close
relationships with almost everyone of importance in the drug business: Yussef
Beidas, the Lebanese founder and managing director of INTRA Bank, known as
one of the major financiers of the heroin traffic; Paul Louis Weiller, a
French financier similarly alleged to be behind the narcotics trade; Eduardo
Baroudi, a big-time heroin and gun smuggler suspected of having arranged
Beidas' mysterious death in Switzerland; Christian "Beau Serge" David; Conrad
Bouchard, a top heroin trafficker heavily involved in Frank Peroffs Vesco
heroin allegations; and Marcel Boucan, the skipper of the Caprice du Temps,
which was seized in 1972 with 425 kilos of pure heroin.[23]

Yet another likely intermediary among the apparent conspirators is the CIA
contract agent/arms dealer/art dealer Fernand Legros. In 1971 the CIA helped
get Vesco released from Saint-Antoine prison in Geneva, where he had been
arrested in the Bernard Cornfeld/Investors Overseas Service case. Legros was
in that same prison and spoke with Vesco. In January 1973 the two were
reunited in Nassau.[24]

Legros was seen in the company of Beidas in Geneva and Rio de Janeiro. His
closest friend was the convicted heroin trafficker Andre Labay, a close
associate of Haiti's Duvalier dynasty. In Geneva Legros also met frequently
with Evelyne Hirsch, the wife of the im-prisoned bankroller Andre Hirsch,
whose South American heroin contact had been Christian David. Just as the
U.S. put the screws on the Paraguayan government for the extradition of
Auguste Ricord, Legros was in Paraguay to close out a weapons deal with
President Stroessner. Later, when Legros was placed in protective confinement
in Brazil, newspapers speculated on his involvement in the David Mob's
narcotics deals.

Recent years' investigations into the CIA/organized crime connection have
resulted in an epidemic of sudden deaths. In the CIA/DEA/ Vesco/ Syndicate
scheme alone one can mention Kenny Burn-stine; WerBell associate Colonel
Robert F. Bayard, who was shot down in an Atlanta parking lot in July
1975;[25] another WerBell associate and codefendant in his marijuana case,
John Nardi, who was shot in Cleveland;[26] and Vesco's security chief Bobby
Hall, who was shot to death in his Los Angeles home in July 1976.

After the Senate Investigations Subcommittee's attempted probe into the Vesco
heroin case was sabotaged from the highest quarters, committee chairman Henry
Jackson asked: "Did the U.S. govern-ment wish to keep Vesco out of this
country for some reason? Did he have some special information which he could
supply to explain, inpart, the national nightmare we have just lived through?
" One Senate investigator offered an answer: "More than any single person,
Vesco has information which, if he talked, would make Watergate look like a



1. T. Dunkin: "The Great Pot Plot," Soldier of Fortune, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1977.

2. Ibid. According to an interview with Hemming published in the April 1976
issue of Argosy magazine, Hemming settled in Florida after contacting the
CIA to tell the agency all he knew about Castro's operations. There he founded
Interpen, which specialized in training anti-Castro Cuban exiles in special
camps in Florida for long-range guerilla warfare against the Castro regime.
Thus began a long and friendly advisory relationship not only with the CIA,
but with the Mob, the Hughes empire and other wealthy and influential
Americans as well. About the financing of Interpen, Hemming said, "There were
dribs and drabs from people connected with organized crime, some from the
right wing, and even from some quite liberal sources." Hemming also said: "In
1961, some Mob people wanted my group to do a couple of jobs in Canada" —
emphasis added — (against a ship with machinery for Cuba). . . "John Roselli
I knew — but I didn't know who he was" . . . and about CIA/ Cuban terror in
Latin America: "All this was a kind of Operation Phoenix for Latin America.
There's a guy I know in Miami who worked on this more than once. Evidently
he's now had a falling out with some Cubans involved in narcotics. He's a
close friend of Bebe Rebozo, and Rebozo's interested in protecting him."
Interpen reportedly disbanded in 1964.

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

4. New York Times, 7 October 1979. According to the magazine Soldier of
Fortune (January 1980), WerBell established Cobray International, Inc., an
antiterrorist school primarily for business executives, in Georgia in 1979.
Its acting president, Col. Barney Cochran (USAF retired), served as "deputy
commander for the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force EUROPE " in
1970-74, and has also been chief of the Unconventional Warfare Branch and
special assistant for counterinsurgency and special activities organization
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the latter post he was responsible for
development of "hardware" for Global Special Operations and unconventional
warfare. The school's chief marksmanship instructor, Bert Waldron, holds the
record for sniper killings in Vietnam — 113.

5. J. Hougan: Spooks (William Morrow, 1978).

6. Ibid.; see also Gerry Hemming's interview in Argosy, April 1976.

7. Argosy, op. cit.

8. Documents of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia,
Atlanta Division, in criminal case no. CR 74-471 A (cited in Hougan, op. cit.)

9. Hougan, op. cit.

10. "Die gefahrlichen Geschafte des Alberto Sicilia," Der Spiegel, No.

11. U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Government Operations, Illicit Traffic
 in Weapons and Drugs Across the United States-Mexican Border, Hearings,- 95th
 Cong., 1st Session (1977).

12. Time, 2 February 1977; F. Laurent: L'Orchestre Noir (Stock, 1978).

13. Time, op. cit.

14. Cambio 16, 20 February 1977. 15. Laurent, op. cit.

16. P. Chairoff: Dossier B ... comme Barbouzes (Alain Moreau, 1975); L.
Gonzalez-Mata: Cygne (Grasset, 1976).

17. Hougan, op. cit.

18. According to the November 1977 issue of the Dominican Republic Task Force
Newsletter (cited in the January-February 1978 NACLA Report), the Bonao,
Dominican Republic site of the CORU founding was a club for executives of the
Falconbridge Nickel Company, which is controlled by the Keck family of
Houston, Texas. There is, however, some confusion about the date, which the
same source indicated was June 1975. Counterspy, Vol. 3, No. 2 listed the
date as June 1974. The summer 1976 date, however, is that used by Bernard
Cassen in Le Monde Diplomatique of February 1977, by an anonymous contributor
to the Nation of 19 March 1977, and by Blake Fleetwood in New Times of 13 May
1977. Bosch, incidentally, like Vesco and WerBell, was associated with
narcotics, insofar as his daughter and son-in-law were arrested in 1977 for
smuggling cocaine.

19. Hougan, op. cit. Vesco had his own contact in the Lansky Syndicate — Dino
Cellini, with whom he had met secretly at Rome's Fiumicino Airport in 1972.

20. L.H. Whittemore: Peroff (Ballantine, 1975).

21. Ibid.

22. Messick, op. cit.; Boston Globe, 30 September 1977. 23. Hougan, op. cit.

24. R. Peyrefitte: La Vie Extraordinaire de Fernand Legros (Albin Michel,

25. Dunkin, op. cit. 26. Messick, op. cit. 27. Whittemore, op. cit. Somewhere
among Robert Vesco's memorabilia floats the strange affair of the Brotherhood
of Love. Through it thousands of potential activists were stoned for years on
LSD, and enormous profits from the sales of tablets were reinvested through
the Investors Overseas Servicecontrolled Fiduciary Trust Company (Der
Spiegel, No. 39, 1974). In the same connection, it is interesting to note
that when, in the fall of 1978, Italian police investigated the American
Ronald Stark's close involvement with Italian terrorists, they discovered he
had been heavily involved in the Brotherhood of Love until 1971, and had run
one of its LSD labs in California. In his terrorist period Stark was closely
in touch with the U.S. embassy in London, which had opened a letter to him
with "Dear Ron" (Panorama, 31 October 1978).
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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