Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 2 Num. 63

("Quid coniuratio est?")

An Interview with DEA Veteran Celerino Castillo

The following is an interview with Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) veteran agent Celerino Castillo, first published in The New Federalist, October 24, 1994.

Before beginning, by way of a preface, let me state a few things.

Officer Jack McLamb (retired) of the Phoenix Police Department, in a speech given to his fellow police officers, had this to say:

...there's been much research, much research, and much documentation to the fact -- and I say fact, fellow police officers (We've got some female police officers here too. Thank you for coming.), -- but I'm telling you, I want you to hear this, I'm talking about fact that we can prove, we've got the evidence -- an evidentiary foundation that would stack as high as I am, the evidence, I've seen it -- that the U.S. government, certain factions of the U.S. government, have been involved in importing the majority of drugs in the United States since the '60s. Since 1960....

We have, folks, in the United States, a phony war on drugs.

Then there's former DEA agent Mike Levine, author of Deep Cover and The Big White Lie, speaking at Northern Illinois University in 1991:

The drug war's a sham. I threw my life to the winds believing in the war against drugs. If I died, I believed I was dying for a just cause....

I realized the reality of what I was doing never quite matched what the public was seeing. DEA was designed to put itself out of business but that doesn't happen. The opposite happens. It's always, "We need more."

...It's all a show... The drug war is the laughing stock of South America.

My guess is that there is a moment of truth that comes to our soldiers in the "War Against Drugs"; a moment when they realize it's all a crock. It seems that most choose to lay low and hang onto their jobs when that moment of decision arrives. A few, though, have got something that you could call "honor". When their moment of truth arrives, they are unable to rationalize themselves into a "go along to get along" lifestyle.

But this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper. A thousand little compromises, a thousand little rationalizations, and we have got a world of trouble. Thank God that not all of our soldiers in this "War Against Drugs" have turned out to have the souls of petty bourgeois shopkeepers. Thank God there have been some great souls among them.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

[September 27, 1994]

I'd like to go immediately to the very interesting book that you've put together [Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War]. On page 132 of that book, you describe a kind of cameo appearance by Vice President George Bush. I believe this was in Guatemala City in January of 1986, and that would have been shortly after the inauguration of the new Guatemalan President Cerezo. I'd just like to acquaint our viewers with that conversation, the events that led up to it, that followed it, and revolved around it, because this seems to sum up the heart of the matter.

Basically, what happened there, was that at that time, Jan. 14, 1986, to be exact, George Bush was in Guatemala City. At the same time that George Bush was there, I also saw Calero, head of the Contras, and Oliver North. And I met George Bush at the cocktail party at the ambassador's residence, and basically, what he was doing, was walking around, shaking hands with everybody. And he came up to me, and asked me what my job description was as DEA agent. And I told him that I conducted international narcotics investigations on traffickers down in Central America. I also advised him that I was the agent in charge of reporting for El Salvador, and I forewarned him that there were some funny things going on at Ilopango Airport, with the Contras. He shook my hand, he smiled, and he just walked away from me, without saying another word. From that moment, I knew he knew something about the Contras.

That's what you write: "He simply smiled and walked away, seeking another hand to shake. After that exchange, I knew that he knew."
That's correct.
What did George Bush know, and when did he know it?
Before my arrival in Guatemala, we had received intelligence that the Contras were heavily involved in narcotics trafficking. Basically, I was forewarned by the country attache' in Guatemala, Bob Stia, upon my arrival, that there was a covert operation being conducted by the White House, and run by Oliver North at Ilopango in El Salvador.
So this was your official superior in the DEA?
That's correct.
And the first thing he did when you arrived in the country was to tell you: Look, this is now the scene of a covert operation with Oliver North, and they're running drugs. [CN -- See, kiddies? Run drugs, and you too can grow up to be a U.S. Senator.]
That's correct, and since we had obtained intelligence already about the Contras being heavily involved in narcotics trafficking, he advised me to stay away from it and not to get involved in the investigation, because that would mean that if I started reporting that information to Washington, I would be kicked out of El Salvador and Guatemala very quickly.

-+- The Ilopango Connection -+-

Now, when you say the "Contras," does that mean all the Contras? Were there groups that were more into it, that were less into it? Was there Calero, were there others in that group? Was it a universal thing, that all the Contras were into drugs?
It was a universal thing. The DEA refused to accept that answer, but we had intelligence gathered from all parts of Central and South America in regard to the narcotics trafficking going on. We had cables from the country attache', Bobby Nieves in Costa Rica, advising us to look into Hangars 4 and 5 at Ilopango. And of course, Hangars 4 and 5 were bought and paid for by the U.S. government -- the CIA and the National Security Council.
Ilopango Airport: What is that? Is that a large commercial airport?
No. Ilopango Airport is the military airport with civilian small planes that arrive at Ilopango. And it's a military base, but most international pilots who fly small planes get to arrive at Ilopango.
Tell us what the atmosphere was at Ilopango in the middle of this Contra dirty war, 1985, '86, '87.
We had major narcotics trafficking going through Ilopango from Costa Rica, which is further south. We had obtained a lot of intelligence. We had an informant placed at Ilopango who actually did the flight plans for the Contra pilots, and everybody spoke freely about the loads that they carried, the monies that they took to the Bahamas and to Panama for laundering.

All this was reported to the U.S. Embassy, to the CIA, to Washington, DEA headquarters; and nobody wanted to do anything about it.

[ be continued...]

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9

Brian Francis Redman "The Big C"

"Justice" = "Just us" = "History is written by the assassins."