Monday, November 12, 2007

Tracking the big American drug bosses

Since we've been discussing on Grits the question of who are the big American drug bosses, I wanted to point readers to this story by Mad Cow News tracking ownership of two US-owned jets that Mexican officials say were used in drug trafficking, as well as US banks (Harris Bank of Chicago and Wachovia in Miami) allegedly involved in laundering drug money for the Sinaloa cartel.

The planes were owned by a Florida company, reports MCN's Daniel Hopsicker, which received a sizable unexplained investment from US military contractor Titan Corp. Indeed, one of the "
DC9 airliner was also used, without reimbursement, during the first-time Senatorial campaign of Florida Republican Senator Mel Martinez, who until recently was President George W Bush’s handpicked chairman of the national Republican Party."

When I first posed the question of whether there existed any big American drug bosses, I'd forgotten about the nexus of credible allegations surrounding the CIA using drug money to finance the Contras in Nicaragua and other covert counterinsurgency operations in
Latin America in the 1980s, but my eyebrows raised when these Mad Cow News reports astonishingly connected these planes to associates of billionarire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, one of the key extra-legal players in the arms to Iran, cash to the Contras arrangement that made Oliver North a national figure. (Khashoggi remains a fugitive from justice.) Talk about a blast from the past! Readers above a certain age will recall that the CIA used money from illegal arms sales and allegedly Latin American drug running to finance covert ops in Central America during the second term of the Reagan presidency.

These connections aren't being raised in the MSM, and it's possible there's smoke that won't lead to fire in Mad Cow News' ongoing expose'. For example, Hopsicker makes much of the fact that Panamanian General Manuel Noriega's attorney represents one of the involved parties, but it's a big stretch to say two criminals are connected because they had the same defense lawyer - at least, unless the same person pays the bills in both cases.

To me, though, the alleged involvement of some US banks seems like a near-inevitability given how much money is involved in the illegal drug trade. And connections by people involved in past US-government covert operations that
allegedly involved drug money to the modern Sinaloa cartel raises pretty serious questions to me about whether there really are big American drug lords protected by corrupt law enforcement in the manner of their counterparts in Mexican cartels.

I still don't know if Mexican-style drug lords exist in the United States or who they are, but I can tell you this for certain: The way to find out is to follow the money.

UPDATE: See related primary documents forwarded by Mr. Hopsicker at my request, published in past Mad Cow News stories:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Follow the money...but let the drug pushers keep it. Right, Scott?