CIA drug trafficking: Wikis


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Various sources allege the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been involved in several drug trafficking operations. The CIA is accused of working with groups which it knew were involved in drug trafficking, so that these groups would provide them with useful intelligence and material support[1][2].


CIA and Kuomintang (KMT) opium smuggling operations

In order to provide covert funds for the Kuomintang (KMT) forces loyal to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, who were fighting the Chinese communists under Mao, the CIA helped the KMT smuggle opium from China and Burma to Bangkok, Thailand by providing airplanes owned by one of their front businesses, Air America.[3][4]

Vietnam / Laos / Cambodia

The Central Intelligence Agency was involved in smuggling opium produced in Western Vietnam and Eastern Cambodia to heroin producers in the United States. Agents of the U.S. Government used drug production and trafficking operations to fund covert military activities in Vietnam[5][6][7]. Large amounts of this heroin were sold to U.S. soldiers in Vietnam[8]

The CIA worked in concert with the Corsican crime families, and Laotian drug lords, who assisted the CIA in their fight against communists. One of the CIA's primary contacts was Hmong leader Vang Pao, who was attempting to gain complete control of the local opium trade, and was using the income from this to fight against Laotian and Vietnamese communist forces[9][10].

Soviet Afghanistan

The CIA supported various Afghan drug lords, such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who were fighting against the Soviets[11].

Historian Alfred W. McCoy stated that:[12]

"In most cases, the CIA's role involved various forms of complicity, tolerance or studied ignorance about the trade, not any direct culpability in the actual trafficking ... [t]he CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug-lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection. In sum, the CIA's role in the Southeast Asian heroin trade involved indirect complicity rather than direct culpability."

Iran Contra Affair

Released on April 13, 1989, the Kerry Committee report concluded that members of the U.S. State Department "who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking...and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers."

In 1996 Gary Webb wrote a series of articles published in the San Jose Mercury News, which investigated Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras who had smuggled cocaine into the U.S. which was then distributed as crack cocaine into Los Angeles and funneled profits to the Contras. The CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by the Contra personnel and directly aided drug dealers to raise money for the Contras.

In 1996 CIA Director John M. Deutch went to Los Angeles to attempt to refute the allegations raised by the Gary Webb articles, and was famously confronted by former LAPD officer Michael Ruppert, who testified that he had witnessed it occurring.[13]

Venezuelan National Guard Affair

The CIA - in spite of objections from the Drug Enforcement Administration, allowed at least one ton of nearly pure cocaine to be shipped into Miami International Airport. The CIA claimed to have done this as a way of gathering information about Colombian drug cartels. But the cocaine ended up being sold on the street[14].

In November 1996 a Miami jury indicted former Venezuelan anti-narcotics chief and longtime CIA asset, General Ramon Guillen Davila, who was smuggling many tons of cocaine into the United States from a Venezuelan warehouse owned by the CIA. In his trial defense, Guillen claimed that all of his drug smuggling operations were approved by the CIA[15].


In the mid 1980s, the CIA created a unit in Haiti, whose purported purpose was anti-drug activity, but was in reality "used as an instrument of political terror", and was heavily involved in drug trafficking. The members of the unit were known to torture Aristide supporters, and threatened to kill the local head of the DEA. According to one U.S. official, the unit was trafficking drugs and never produced any useful drug intelligence[16].


The U.S. military invasion of Panama in 1989 destroyed large amounts of civilian infrastructure, and took many lives, but failed to capture Manuel Noriega

In 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S. which, in exchange, allowed him to continue his drug trafficking activities, which they had known about since the 1960s.[17][18] When the DEA tried to indict Noriega in 1971, the CIA prevented them from doing so.[17] The CIA, which was then directed by future president George Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America.[17] However, when CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA's activities in Latin America, and the CIA's connections with Noriega became a public relations "liability" for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of allowing his drug operations to proceed unchecked.[17] Operation Just Cause, whose ostensible purpose was to capture Noriega, killed numerous Panamanian civilians, but failed to capture Noriega, who found asylum in the Papal Nuncio, and later surrendered to U.S. authorities in Miami, where he was sentenced to 45 years in prison.[17]

Other operations

In the 1990s, the CIA and DEA were involved in a drug smuggling operation with Lebanese and Syrian drug traffickers, which used Pan Am aircraft to smuggle opium out of Frankfurt, Germany[19]

See also


  1. ^ Coletta Youngers, Eileen Rosin, ed (2005). Drugs and democracy in Latin America: the impact of U.S. policy. Lynne Rienner Publishers. pp. 206. ISBN 9781588262547. 
  2. ^ Rodney Stich (2007). Drugging America: A Trojan Horse. Silverpeak Enterprises. pp. 433–434. ISBN 9780932438119. 
  3. ^ Cockburn, Alexander; Jeffrey St. Clair (1998). "9". Whiteout, the CIA, drugs and the press. New York: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-258-5. 
  4. ^ Blum, William. "The CIA and Drugs: Just say "Why not?"". Third World Traveller. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia
  6. ^ Alfred W. McCoy, "A Correspondence with the CIA, New York Review of Books 19:4 (21 September 1972).
  7. ^ "The Secret Team, Part IV: Visiting Vietnam", John Bacher, Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1988, page 10
  8. ^ Rodney Stich (2008). Defrauding America, Volume 1. Silverpeak Enterprises. pp. 381–384. ISBN 9780932438331. 
  9. ^ Joseph J. Trento (2005). The Secret History of the CIA. Carroll & Graf Publishers. pp. 345–347. ISBN 9780786715008. 
  10. ^ Douglas Valentine (2004). The strength of the wolf: the secret history of America's war on drugs. Verso. pp. 419–420. ISBN 9781859845684. 
  11. ^ 9 November 1991 interview with Alfred McCoy, by Paul DeRienzo
  12. ^ p. 385 of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by McCoy, with Cathleen B. Read and Leonard P. Adams II, 2003, ISBN 1-55652-483-8
  13. ^ "Crack the CIA" , winner of the 2003 Sundance Online Film Festival
  14. ^ New York Times Service, "Venezuelan general who led CIA program indicted," Dallas Morning News (26 November 1996) p. 6A.
  15. ^ Russ Kick, ed (2001). You are being lied to: the disinformation guide to media distortion, historical whitewashes and cultural myths. The Disinformation Company. pp. 132. ISBN 9780966410075. 
  16. ^ Russ Kick, ed (2001). You are being lied to: the disinformation guide to media distortion, historical whitewashes and cultural myths. The Disinformation Company. pp. 133. ISBN 9780966410075. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Cockburn, Alexander; Jeffrey St. Clair (1998). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press. New York: Verso. pp. 287–290. ISBN 1859842585. 
  18. ^ Buckley, Kevin (1991). Panama: The Whole Story. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0671727949. 
  19. ^ Rodney Stich (2008). Defrauding America, Volume 2. Silverpeak Enterprises. pp. 9–11. ISBN 9780932438195. 

Further reading

  • Dale-Scott, Peter; Marshall, Jonathan (1998). Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21449-8. 
  • Dale-Scott, Peter (2003). "11, "Opium, the China Lobby, and the CIA"". Drugs, oil, and war: the United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780742525221. 
  • McCoy, Alfred W. (2003). The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Central America, Columbia. Lawrence Hill & Co.. ISBN 1-55652-483-8. 
  • Webb, Gary (1999). Dark Alliance: CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Seven Stories Press,U.S.. ISBN 1-888363-93-2. 
  • Ruppert, Michael (2004). Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. New Society Publishers. ISBN 0-86571-540-8. 
  • Kruger, Henrik. (1980). The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence, and International Fascism.. South End Press. ISBN 0-89608-031-5. 
  • Levine, Michael (1993). The Big White Lie: The Deep Cover Operation That Exposed the CIA Sabotage of the Drug War.. Thunder's Mouth Pr. ISBN 978-1560250845. 
  • Gritz, James (1991). A nation betrayed. Center for action. ISBN 0962223808. 
  • Kwitny, Jonathan (1988). The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA. Touchstone Books. ISBN 978-0671666378. 

External links

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