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May 1, 1975
dka, Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 FEATums "INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL: A HIGH-PRIORITY P by Sheldon B. Vance. Department of State Bulletin, January 27, 1975. LATIN AMERICA': MAJOR SOURCE OF HARD DRUGS FOR U.S. The New York Times, April 21 - 24, 1975. The attached articles are for your background information and are prim- arily intended to supplewent case officer knowledge regarding international production of and traffic in hard drugs and the efforts of the U.S. and other governments to curb both production and traffic. The address by Ambassador Vance is a general view of anti-narcotics actions taken by the U.S. Government in cooperation with other governments in major narcotics producing/trafficking areas, and also U.S. participation in international efforts to combat narcotics activities. The series of four New York Times articles, each with a related supplem- entary article, points out how and why Latin America has become the chief source of drugs for the U.S. market. Some of the reasons are: increase in the popularity of cocaine; decline in the availability of French produced heroin, with subsequent increase in the demand for Mexican heroin; huge profits derived from smuggling; and the cooperation of local corrupt officials in smuggling efforts. The series also includes information on the operations of drug rings within the U.S. and the key role played by women in Latin American drug trafficking. The third article in the series is devoted to the activities of the Argentine drug king, Armando Nicolai, and the last covers anti-narcotics activities of the U.S. Government, with some coverage of the role of CIA. This issuance contains articles from domestic and foreign publications selected for field operational use. Recipients are cautioned that most of this material is copyrighted. For repub- lication in areas where copyright infringement may cause prob- lems payment of copyright fees not to exceed $50.00 is authorized per previous instructions. The attachment is unclassified when detached. 1 May 1975 CON FIpeNTIA1 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 (b)(3) Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 International Narcotics Control: A High-Priority Program Address by Sheldon B. Vance Alcohol. and drug problems are genuine concerns Of anyone with management re- sponsibilities, and in this sense my personal invOlvernent is not new. However, my inter- est has been more immediate and full time since early this year when Secretary Kissin- ger named me his Senior Adviser on Nar- cotics Matters. The Federal international narcotics con- trol program is a combined effort of several U.S. agencies, operating within the frame- work of the Cabinet Committee on Interna- tional Narcotics Control, which is chaired by Secretary of State Kissinger. I also serve as the Executive Director of the Cabinet Com- mittee and therefore direct or coordinate, un- der the President's and Secretary's control, what our Federal Government is attempting to do abroad in this field, whether in the en- forcement, treatment, or prevention areas. My remarks today will not address alcohol abuse, not because we believe alcohol a lesser or insignificant problem�we definitely do not�but because our international narcotics control program does not extend to alcohol. The Cabinet Committee was, in fact, formed largely in response to the tragic victimization of American youth by heroin traffickers in the late 1960's and early 1970's. As you know, the same period also saw a sharp rise in the abuse of other drugs over which we seek tighter controls, including marihuana, hash- ish, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, ' Made before the North American Congress on Al- cohol and Drug Problems at San Francisco, Calif., on Dec. 17. Ambassador Vance is Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State and Coordinator for Interna- tional Narcotics Matters. tranquilizers, and LSD and other hallucino- gens. Poly-drug abuse, the mixing or alter- nating consumption of different drugs, also emerged as a problem requiring special at- tention. The American drug scene is not confined to our borders. It extends to our military forces and other Americans residing abroad, as well as to tourists. As of September 30 of this year, 1,289 U.S. citizens were languish- ing in foreign prisons on narcotics charges, principally in Mexico, Germany, Spain, and Canada. The 1,289 compares with the figure of 242 in September of 1969. However hard we fight the problem of drug abuse at home, we cannot move signifi- cantly to solve it unless we succeed in win- ning and maintaining comprehensive and ef- fective cooperation of foreign governments. Some of the key drugs of abuse originate in foreign countries. There is a legitimate need for opium as a source for codeine and other medicinal compounds, but illicit opium� from which heroin can be processed�has been produced in such countries as Turkey (prior to its ban), Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and neighboring Mexico. Opium is also being produced legally in India and Turkey for export and in Iran and a number of other countries for domestic medical and research utilization. Some idea of the dimensions of our prob- lem can be gained when we consider that the world's annual legal production of opium is close to 1,500 tons and illegal production is estimated kit 1,200 tons. Similarly, the co- caine used in the United States is of foreign origin, produced as the coca plant princi- Department of State Bulletin January 27, 1975 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 � pally in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Colom- bia transforms more coca paste into cocaine than other countries. Cannabis, from which we get marihuana and hashish, is both im- ported and grown in the United States; the biggest supplier of the U.S. market is Mex- ico, followed by Jamaica. We have had our problems with U.S.-man- ufactured amphetamines, barbiturates, and other mind-beading drugs. We are attempt- ing to deal with the U.S. sources through do- mestic measures, but for the foreign sub- stances we must look to other governments for cooperation. Frequently, it has been a case of persuading them that the problem is not just ours but is also theirs. We have been increasingly successful in these efforts since mid-1971, when stopping the flow of narcotics to the United States� with emphasis on heroin and cocaine�be came one of our principal foreign policy ob- jectives. At that time, the Department of State was assigned the primary responsibil- ity for developing an intensified interna- tional narcotics control effort and for man- aging the expenditures under the program. To encourage cooperation from other gov- ernments and to assist them and internation- al organizations to strengthen their antidrug capabilities, we have provided an annual average of $22 million in grant assistance over the past three years. Our request for international control funds for the current fiscal year is $42.5 million. Our bilateral programs emphasize cooperative law enforce- ment and exchange of intelligence. The ma- jor categories of grant assistance are train- ing programs and equipment for foreign en- forcement personnel and financial assistance for crop substitution and related agricul- tural projects. We are also exploring useful cooperative ventures in the fields of drug abuse education, treatment, and prevention. During the past two months, I visited many of the countries in Latin America, the Near East, and Asia to examine our pro- grams and look for ways to strengthen them. I can report that all of these governments expressed a sincere willingness to help stamp out illicit production and trafficking. But these governments also face serious internal problems. The opium poppy, for example, usually flourishes in the more isolated areas where central government control is weak or nonexistent. In many areas it is the only cash crop of unbelievably poor tribesmen, and it also provides their only medication and relief from serious disease and hardship. On my trip I saw something of the poppy- growing areas in Afghanistan in Badakshan and Nangarhar Provinces and of the Bunei. and Swabi poppy-producing areas of Pak,- istan's Northwest Frontier Province when t drove from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Pesh4- war, Pakistan, through the Kabul Gorge and Khyber Pass and then went on to Islamabad by Pakistani Government helicopter. I also helicoptered over the northern mountains of Thailand, where the Meo hill tribes grow opium like the tribesmen in the neighborini mountains of Burma and Laos in what iS called the Golden Triangle. The experience vividly demonstrated to mp the conditions which make it very diffict4 for these governments�despite a genuine desire to stamp out illegal opium�to control production effectively any time soon. We and producing countries cannot expect to see 4 high degree of success in our cooperative en- forcement efforts until significant adjust- ments are made in the social attitudes and economic conditions in the opium-growing areas. Western Hemisphere Control Programs Mexico�Today, the number-one prioriti, country in our international narcotics conr trot efforts is Mexico. The Mexican opiurn crop and heroin laboratories are the current source of more than half of the heroin on oui. streets. The so-called Mexican brown heroin has not only moved into our largest cities but is also spreading to some of the sma110 cities throughout our country. When Presi dent Ford met with President Echeverria in October, narcotics control was very high on their agenda and they agreed that an even more intensified joint effort is needed. The Mexican Government under President pproved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 I Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Echeverria has assigned high priority to its antidrug campaign and has directed Attor- ney General Pedro Ojeda PauHada to coor- dinate its eradication and control efforts. We are helping them by providing air- craft, mainly helicopters, to assist in the eradication of opium poppy cultivation in the western mountains. This cultivation is il- legal in Mexico, and there is no question of the Mexican .Government offering income substitution to the farmer. There is also a crash program to strengthen antismuggling controls on both sides of the border. Our crooks smuggle guns and appliances into Mexico, in coordination wjth their crooks Who supply ours with heroin and marihuana. U.S.-Mexican cooperative measures are pay- ing off, but much remains to be done before illicit trafficking can be reduced in a major way. For fiscal year 1975, about $10 million, or almost one-quarter, of our international nar- cotics control funds are being allocated to the Mexican program. Our Mexican neighbors are spending much more. My colleague John Bartels, Administrator of the Drug Enforce- ment Administration (DEA), and I meet three or four times a year with our friend Pedro Ojeda Paullada, either in Mexico City or Washington, in order to coordinate our respective efforts. Cobombia�A country with extensive coast- lines and huge land areas, Colombia is the major transit point for illegal shipments of cocaine entering the U.S. market. The Co- lombian Government has launched a great effort to eliminate the criminal element, to combat drug trafficking, and to crack down on the laboratories processing coca base smuggled in from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. The United States is moving for- ward with an assistance program tailored to help the new Colombian Government thrust. We are furnishing such enforcement items as jeeps, motorcycles, radios, and laboratory equipment. We are also providing antinar- cotics technical training for the Judicial Po- lice, the National Police, and Customs. Jamaica�This Caribbean island has emerged as a major supplier of marihuana to the United States, surpassed only by Mex- ico. Moreover, there is evidence that Jamaica is a transit point for the smuggling of co- caine and heroin to our country from South America. Within the past year, the Jamaican Government has undertaken major steps to curb illicit drug activities. In response to ur- gent requests for assistance from the Jamai- can Government, U.S. technical assistance and equipment was extended to a Jamaican task force set up to intercept boats and air- craft engaged in narcotics smuggling, to dis- rupt trafficking rings, and to destroy commer- cial marihuana cultivation. Well over 000,000 pounds of commercially grown marihuana have been destroyed thus far. U.S. support consists of loaning of helicopters and trans- fers of communications equipment and in- vestigative-enforcement aids together with training and technical assistance. The Situation in Turkey Torkey�In 1971, with the realization that a substantial amount of opium legally pro- duced in Turkey was being diverted to illicit narcotics trafficking, the Turkish Govern- ment concluded that a total ban on poppy growing would be the most effective way to stop the leakage. However, the Turkish Gov- ernment which assumed office in January 1974 reconsidered the ban, amid great in- ternal political debate, and on July 1 re- scinded it on the grounds that what is grown in Turkey is a sovereign decision of the Turks. In high-level dialogue between our two governments we have made clear our very deep concern at the possibility of a renewed massive flow of heroin from Turkish opium to the United States. We stressed our hope they would adopt effective controls. A spe- cial U.N. team held discussions on this sub- ject in Turkey on the invitation of the Turk- ish Government, which has stated publicly many times that it will not allow its resump- tion of poppy cultivation to injure other peo- ples. In mid-September, the Turkish Govern- ment issued a statement that it would adopt Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 VON a method of harvesting the poppies called the poppy straw process, which involves the col- lection by the Turkish Government of the whole poppy pod rather than opium gum. This was the procedure recommended by the U.N. experts. Traditionally, the opium gum was taken by the farmers through lancing the pod in the field, and it was a portion of this gum that was illegally bought by the traffickers. � s Last month I talked with senior Turkish Government officials and with police officials. The word has moved all the way down the chain to the poppy farmer that opium gum production is definitely prohibited, and the enforcement mechanism is moving into place. Turkey and the U.N. narcotics organization are cooperating fully in this effort, and all will be watching closely to endeavor to pre- vent and to head off diversions into the illicit traffic. Joint Efforts in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia�The Golden Triangle area, where Burma, Laos, and Thailand come together, is the largest source of illicit opium in the world, with an estimated annual pro- duction of GOO-700 tons. Most of this produc- tion is consumed by opium or heroin smokers in Southeast Asia. Since 1970, when heroin processed from opium in Golden Triangle re- fineries began to become widely available to U.S. troops in Viet-Nam, we have been con- cerned that heroin from this source would increasingly reach the United States, espe- cially as the ban on opium production in Tur- key and disruption efforts along the way dried up the traditional Middle Eastern- European route to the United States. For the past three years, therefore, we have made Southeast Asia a major object of our international control efforts. We have de- voted a significant share of our suppression efforts and resources to our cooperative pro- grams in Thailand, Laos, Viet-Nam, the Phil- ippines, and Hong Kong. The biggest concen- tration has been in Thailand, which serves as the major transit area for Burmese-origin opium. A recent series of agreements for U.S. assistance to Thailand include helicop ters, communications equipment, vehicle, and training programs. Important steps were also taken on the income-substitution side including the approval of an aerial survey of northern Thailand, where opium is grown bV the hill tribes. In Burma, the government has stepped up its antinarcotics efforts. For fiscal year 1975, Southeast Asia will account for over $10 million of our international nar- cotics control funds. While our joint suppression efforts are making some headway in Southeast Asia, we should not view the situation there through rose-colored glasses. Anti narcotics efforts ih Southeast Asia run up against several unique problems. Burma and Thailand are threat ened by insurgent groups which control or harass large areas of the opium-growing re- gions. The governments have limited re sources and few trained personnel available for narcotics control. In addition, the lack of internal security hampers police action and intelligence operations against traffickersi. The Government of Burma, for example, does not have effective administrative control over a significant portion of the area where most Asian poppies are grown. The topography of the Golden Triangle area is mountainous, wild, and uncontrolla ble. When one smuggling route is uncovered and plugged by police and customs teams, the traffickers can easily detour to alternate routes and modes of transportation. We need only look at the difficulties that our own trained and well-equipped law enforcement agencies have in blocking narcotics traffiC across our clearly defined peaceful border with Mexico to gain a better appreciation of the difficulties in Southeast Asia. Moreover, use of opium has been tolerated in the area, and opium has been regarded as a legitimate commodity of commerce for cent turies under both colonial and indigenou governments. For the hill tribes, opium is still the principal source of medicinal relief for endemic diseases and is also the most lu- crative crop to sell or barter for basic neces- sities. We are actively seeking alternative crops and other sources of income for these Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 peoples, in close cooperation with similar ef- forts by the U.N. narcotics organizations; but progress will be slow, as a way of life of primitive and remote peoples must be mod- ified. And so the situation in Southeast Asia is complex and long term. Multilateral Approaches Concurrently with our bilateral action pro- grams, we have given full support to the multilateral or international efforts in the fight against illicit narcotics production and trafficking. For example, the United States was a lead- ing proponent of the establishment of the United Nations Fund for Drug. Abuse Con- trol. To date, we have contributed $10 million of the $1'3.5 million made available to the Fund by all countries. In Thailand, the Fund is assisting in a comprehensive program de- signed to develop alternate economic oppor- tunities for those who grow opium; the Fund has a similar project in Lebanon for the de- velopment of alternatives to cannabis pro- duction. Within the past year, the Fund has financed a World Health Organization world- wide study of the epidemiology of drug de- pendence which we hope will contribute to- ward clarifying the nature of the problem we seek to solve. It is also financing treatment and rehabilitation activities for drug addicts in Thailand, fellowships and consultancies in rehabilitation in various countries, and semi- nars on community rehabilitation programs in Eu rope. The U.S. Government has also taken a leading role in formulating two major pieces of international narcotics legislation. The first relates to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. I am happy to report that the U.S.-sponsored amending protocol, which would considerably strengthen controls over illicit production and trafficking, has been ratified by 32 of the 40 countries necessary for its coming into force. The United States was one of the first countries to ratify the protocol, on November 1, 1972. The second major area of international legislation pertains to the Convention on Psy- chotropic Substances, which would provide international control over LSD and other hallucinogens, the amphetamines, barbitu- rates, and tranquilizers. The administration submitted the convention to the Senate in mid-1971 with a request for its ratification. We are now waiting for congressional ap- proval of the proposed enabling domestic legislation that would pave the way for rati- fication of this essential international treaty. U.S. approval of the Psychotropie Conven- tion would strengthen our hand in obtaining cdoperation from other governments in con- trolling the classic narcotic substances. The approach to a successful antidrug pro- gram cannot, of course, relate to supply alone. Nor is an attack on the demand side alone the answer. Only through a combined effort can the job be done. Thus the initial objective of our international program has been to reduce availabilities of illicit supplies so that addicts will be driven into treatment and others will be deterred from experimen- tation. We are also examining ways to foster international cooperation in the fields of treatment and prevention to augment aware- ness that drug abuse is not exclusively an American problem but one that seriously af- fects developing countries just as it plagues the affluent. We also hope to demonstrate our progress in treatment and prevention and to learn from other countries the methods that they have found effective. As many of you know, we have several co- operative treatment and research projects with a number of concerned governments throughout the world. For example, with the Government of Mexico through Dr. Guido Ifelsasso's organization, the Mexican Center for Drug Dependency Research, we have pro- vided some assistance to the Mexican epide- miological study and we are jointly studying heroin use along our common border. I think we can point with pride to our role over the past three years toward a tightening of international controls. Worldwide seizures and arrests of traffickers have become more Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 and more significant as other countries have joined in the battle. And there has been a move in the direction of more effective con- trols through treaty obligations. However, the job is far from done. It should be ap- parent to us all that abundant supplies of narcotics�both in storage and under cultiva- tion�quickly respond to illicit high profits. Our task, then, is to further strengthen the international control mechanism to reduce illicit trafficking. On October 18, John Bartels, the Admin- istrator of DEA, Dr. Robert DuPont, Direc- tor of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention, and I met with President Ford to review the U.S. drug abuse pro- grams. The President stated that he had per- sonally seen examples of the human devasta- tion caused by drug abuse and said he wanted every appropriate step taken to further the U.S. Government's drug abuse program both at home and abroad. On the international front, the President specifically directed that all American Ambassadors be made aware of the prime importance he attaches to our ef- forts to reduce the flow of illicit drugs to the United States and requested that each Am- bassador review the activities of his mission in support of the drug program. Thus, drug control continues to be a high- priority foreign policy issue. In cooperation with our missions abroad and the govern- ments to which they are accredited, we shall carry on with our efforts against the scourge of drug abuse. Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 a Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 In the last two years, Latin America has become the major source of hard drugs entering the United States. Much of it is being supplied by rings con- trolled by businessmen and professionals who have grown so politically and economically powerful that they can operate with virtual immunity from ar- rest and prosecution. Latin America now supplies all of the cocaine sold in the United States, where the de- mand for the drug has risen so sharply that the price of coca leaves, from which co- caine is extracted, has soared 1,500 per cent since 1973 in some Latin countries � from $4 to $60 a bale. In addition, Mexico has now replaced France as the main supplier of heroin to the United States, increasing its share of the illegal heroin market from 20 to 60 per cent in the last five years. The increasing market for drugs from Latin America, which is centered in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, is sup- plied by traffickers who can buy protection by bribing poor- ly paid police officers, judges and other officials. In some cases, corrupt policemen and public officials in Latin Ameri- ca have gone into the profitable drug traffic themselves. New Networks Formed The shift of the drug flow from Europe to Latin America also has brought into power new criminal networks in New York and other cities in the United States that are dominat- ed by Colombians, Cubans and Mexicans. The Federal Drug Enforce- ment Administration has ident- ified about 250 Latin Americans as controlling the rings that supply cocaine and heroin to the United States market. Some of them are so influential p0- NEW YORK TIMES 21 April 1975 Latins Now Leaders Of Hard-Drug Trade Operators of Rings Supplying U.S. Virtually Immune From Prosecution By NICHOLAS GAGE litically that they are consid- ered "untouchable" in their na- tive countries. Typical of the situation is the case of Luis Rivadeneira of Ecuador, who was arrested there last Dec. 16 with two kilos (4.4 pounds) of cocaine paste in his possession. Soon after his arrest, according to authorities, Adm..Alfredo Pove- da Burbano, Ecuador's Minister of Government, who directs all law-enforcement agencies in the country, called the police and ordered them to change the evidence against Mr. Ri- vadeneira so that the charges against him would have to be dismissed. "Admiral Poveda explained his order by saying that Ri- vadeneira was a close relative of a friend of his�another ad- miral," said a police captain. The police complied. If drug traffickers can't use political influence to stop in- vestigations against them, they can often successfully bribe police officers or judges. Traffickers have so much available cash, for example, that in Colombia judges some- times compete to try major narcotics cases because of the potential payoffs involved. Eduardo Davila, reputed to be a major cocaine trafficker from the city of Santa Marta, was arrested late last year on charges of murdering a police- man. According to the Colom- bian national police, three judges have already tried to get his case. Traffickers often find the po- lice even easier to corrupt than judges because throughout Lat- in America they are so badly paid. Police salaries range from about $60 a month in Bolivia to $250 a month in Argentina. In Mexico, some high police officials are known to have become millionaires by taking bribes. When some police offi- cers are transferred from one district to another, they sell to their successors the list of narcotics traffickers who paid them on a regular basis. The New York Times has conducted a two-month in- .vestigation in eight Latin American countries to ex- plore how the drug traffic works there, how narcotics reach the main market in New York, who the major dealers are and what the United States and Latin American nations are doing about the problem. This is the first in a series of four articles and supplemental re- ports on that investigation. Extortion Is Practiced Some Latin American police- men who won't take bribes are not averse to arresting drug traffickers and then extorting money from them�a practice called volteo, which means "rolling." Last year a United States citizen was arrested trying to buy two kilos of cocaine for $7,000 from Maj. Oscar Zebal- los of a Bolivian narcotics unit who was posing as a trafficker. Major Zeballos seized the mon- ey, keeping $5,000 for himself and letting two younger offi- cers split the rest. His mistake was not sharing the money with the informant who had originally put him on to the North American. The irate informant told the officer's superiors and Major Zeballos was quietly dismissed from the police force, losing all his ben- efits. The astronomical profits of the drug trade sometimes prove so tempting to some underpaid Latin American policemen that !they go into the business them- selves. Last year, for example, a DC-3 flying from Peru to Co- lombia had mechanical trouble and was forced to land on a military base in Colombia. There were five people inside. The head of the group identified himself as Lieut. Benhur Bena- vides of the Colombian nar- cotics unit of F-2�the detective division of the national police. Nevertheless, the commander of the military compound had the plane searched and inside he fpoausnted. 100 kilograms of cocaine Resisting Easy Money Despite the temptations, many policemen remain honest. "I've met cops making $60 a month who wouldn't take a nickel from anybody," said Louis Bachrach, the Drug En- forcement Administration's re- gional director for South America. Many government officials also are unmoved by any per- sonal or political considera- tions. When the Bolivian police arrested the socially prominent Maria Malky Farah with 15 kilos of cocaine in her posses- sion, the judge on the case dismissed the charges against her. But the Minister of the Interior, Juan Pereda Asbun, had both Miss Malky, whose family he knew, and the judge jailed on corruption charges. Several factors have put Latin America on the crest of the wave of profitable drug traffic. In recent years cocaine has become the most fashionable drug in the United States and Europe because it is less expen- sive than heroin, it is not physi- cally addictive and it has a reputation as a sexual stimu- lant. One indication of the drug's growing popularity is that cocaine seizures in the United States have increased 700 per cent since 1969. The huge profits to be made by transporting co- caine from Latin America to New York also make it clear why so many are willing to take the risk. In New York City a kilo of cocaine is sold on the street for between $75,- 000 and $100,000. In La Paz, Bolivia, that same kilo would cost only $4,000: in Lima, Peru, $5,000; in Quito, Ecuador, $6,000; in Bogota, Colombia, ,$7,500, and in Buenos Aires, $8,500. (North American cus- tomers are charged 15 to 30 per cent above these going rates.) French Source Weakened While cocaine has been growing in price and populari- ty, heroin from France�the traditional source�has been declining in availability be- cause of international law-en- forcement pressure on French traffickers. This has left a gap that is increasingly being filled by Mexican heroin. Mexico began producing her- oin for the United States market during World War II. "When the war dried up the supply of heroin from Europe, several New York Mafiosi� Tom Gagliano, Frank Livorsi, Joe Bonanno�went to Mexico and set up a new source of supply," said John T. Cusack, head of the Drug Enforcement Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Administration's international operations. "Until then only a few Chinese immigrants were growing poppies in Mexico." Today the Federal authorities estimate that Mexico produces 15 tons of opium base, from which heroin is made, every year. It ewes from thousands of cultivation sites situated principally in the states of Sinaloa, Durango, Sonora and Guerrero. The heroin refined from Mexican poppies is brown in color while French heroin, refined by more sophisticated methods, is white. Mexico is now employing soldiers to seek out and destroy fields of opium poppies. "So far this year we have destroyed 6,000 poppy fields and have de- tected another 2.000," said Pedro Ojeda-Paullada, Mexico's Attorney General, who is di- recting the eradication pro- gram. But so far the drive has not slowed up poppy cultivation to any noticeable degree. When one field is destroyed, the campesinos (peasant -farmers) plant again elsewhere. Last year Mexico passed a law that provided for confisca- tion of land used for cultivating opium poppies. But the campe- sinos worked around that by planting the poppies on Federal lands�often on mountainsides that are too steep for army helicopters to land on and hard to reach on foot. 'Like the Old West' In Mexico, the investigation of narcotics traffickers is just one of many responsibilities of a 340-man Federal police force. The Federales are led by 20 comandantes and enforcement apparently depends largely on the competence of individual commanders. "It's like the Old West," said Robert Eymart, the Drug En- forcement Administration's re- gional director in Mexico. "If you have a strong Marshal Dillon, you get good enforce- ment." United States officials esti- mate that there are four Mar- shal Dilions among the 20 Co- mandantes. Some of the others are said to be simply indiffer- ent, but several are thought blatantly corrupt, having be- come millionaires on a job that pays about 5500 a month. To combat such problems, Mr. Ojeda-Paullada uses select- ed cornandantes, such as Salva- dor Del Toro and Ismael Diaz Laredo, to carry out special missions. He also periodically shifts comandantes from one post to another to keep them from establishing ties with traf- fickers. Nevertheless, many traffick- ers retain their power, pro- tected not only by the po- lice, but also by public officials. Some narcotics dealers, in fact, are public officials themselves. Among the 70 major drug traf- fickers United States agents have chosen as primary targets in Mexico, is a high official in a major ministry. Attorney General Ojeda-Paul- lada has tried to fight such corruption by dismissing or reassigning corrupt officials in several provinces, promoting mandatory sentences for major drug traffickers and setting up a school to provide professional standards for the Federal po- lice. But thus far the Mexican Government's efforts have not been enough to inhibit heroin production in Mexico. Nor have they succeeded in discouraging the use of the country as a transshipment point for co- caine from South America, Crop From Andes Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows at elevations of 2,000 to 8,000 feet on the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains. Because of the large quantity of leaves required to produce cocaine�more than 300 pounds for one kilo�the leaves are processed by campesinos into "coca paste" in primitive stills close to the growing areas. These stills are no more than oil drums containing a solution of potassium carbonate, water and kerosene in which the leaves are allowed to soak. The paste, which resembles moist flour, is then shipped to laboratories throughout Lat- in America to be processed into cocaine. Processing co- caine does not require the so- phisticated chemistry needed to produce heroin. A cocaine lab- oratory can be set Up with about $1,500 worth of equip- ment. Peru and Bolivia are the only two Latin American countries where the cultivation of coca leaves is legal. In Peru, new coca planting has been forbid- den since 1964, but production of coca has increased 20 per cent a year. Last year Peru produced 20 million kilograms of coca leaf, only 4 million of which were used for such legitimate purposes as export for chemical use and for chew- ing by local Indans. When the Peruvian Govern- ment clears jungle land for farming and turns it over to the campesinos, they almost always plant coca on the land. The Government winks at this practice, however, because it allows the campesinos, who are mostly Indians, to support themselves without any train- ing or financial support. "The Peruvian Government has no unified policy on coca," said an American official in Lima. "Many ministers feel that cocaine is an American problem and not a Peruvian responsibili- ty." Crop Test in Bolivia Unlike Peru, Bolivia has been trying harder to bring coca production under control. Bo- livia is now participating in art $800,000 United States pilot project to find crops that the campesinos would be willing to grow instead of coca. Many observers are doubtful about the project's chances of suc- cess, however, pointing out that coca requires little atten- tion and provides three to four harvests a year, attributes that few other crops can offer. "I've got as much skepticism about the project as anyone," said William Stedman, the United States Ambassador to Bolivia. "But we've never tried crop substitution down here and an experimental effort should be made." A year ago Bolivia enacted broad narcotics legislation call- ing for the control of coca production, stiff prison terms for drug dealers and unified police action against major traffickers. But implementation of the law has been extremely slow and the narcotics unit has made few significant ar- rests or seizures. Col. Luis Carrasco, director of the Department of Narcotics, has attributed the lick of prog- ress to organizational prob- lems. "We want to set up an effec- tive unit and find honest, able men for it," he said. "This takes time." But other officials wonder whether the lack of progress is not related to the political influence that some major traf- Tickers are said to have in For example, when Alberto Sanchez Bello, a courier for one of Bolivia's major cocaine traffickers, Carlos Balderama, needed diplomatic papers to facilitate carrying a cocaine shipment to Canada last year, he was able to go to Edwin Tapia Frontanilla, secretary to the presidency. Mr. Sanchez was arrested in Canada and Mr. Tapia's role in the affair was exposed, forcing his dis- missal from office. The centers of the narcotics traffic in Bolivia are La Paz, the capital, sprawling across the slopes of a canyon 12,000 feet above sea level, and Santa Cruz, the country's commercial center on the eastern lowlands. Bolivian traffickers process coca paste, which they buy from the campesinos at $350 a kilo, at a handsome profit. They also export it at $1,000 a kilo to laboratory operators in Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Chiie. So much coca paste is sent from Santa Cruz to northern Paraguay and western Brazil that the area is called "the Silver Triangle" to compare it to the center of opium traffic in Laos, Cambodia and Thai- land known aS "the Golden Triangle." Until 1973, Bpivia exported most of its coca paste to Chile. "Chile has alwa s had the best cocaine chemi ts in South America," said of. Guido L6- pez of the Bo ivian national police. "It wa the Chileans in fact who first taught the Bolivian campeSinos how to make paste from coca leaves." Junta Cratks Down But the milititry junta that seized power in Chile in 1973 has acted against major traf- fickers, jailing hem, expelling them to the U ited States or forcing many o them to flee the country. Mary dealers went to northern Argentina, where they are now setting up new laboratories. But they are mov- ing cautiously because they have alien statuS and therefore are subject to exPulsion. Those remaining in Chile operate mostly around the northern city of Arica, which is near the borders of both Bolivia and Peru. The traffick- ers in Arica anparently still are entrenched enough to com- mand police protection. "When we have a case in Arica, we never tell the police what we're up ti," said a lieu- tenant in the Carabineros in Santiago. "We've been -burned too many times." Peru, the other coca-produc- ing country in Latin America, exports most of its coca paste to its northern neighbors, Ecua- dor and Colombia. In Ecuador the major cocaine rings operate out of Quito, the capital, and Guayaquil, the principal port. ECuadorian traf- fickers now send more than 100 kilograms pf cocaine a month to the Vnited States, , according to alter White, head of Drug Enforcement Ad- ministration's office in Quito. A Faltering Effort The police in Ecuador have not been considered effective against the drug traffickers. As is customary throughout the country's various police forces, officers in the iarcotics unit are transferred t other duties every four mon hs and they are never on the j41, long enough to learn how td make major drug cases. A reorganizatiqn law for the police was drafted more than a year ago that established two-year tours of duty for nar- cotics work, But the law keeps bouncing from ministry to min- istry without being imple- mented. Even when major dealers are arrested in Ecuador, they often Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 are able to avoia prosecution. "If a trafficker is a land- owner or a lawyer or an important man, many judges will dismiss the charges against him no matter what the evidence," said Col. Tarquino NOnez, director general of nar- cotics enforcement in Ecuador. "A professor was caught with three kilos of coca paste last September and the judge re- leased him only because of his position." Ecuador not only processes cocaine, it also produces opium poppies. Acres of poppies are planted every year in remote mountain fields, usually mixed with other crops such � as corn or barley. "Heroin is not a serious prob- lem in Ecuador now, but the potential is here," Mr. White said. His immediate concern, he said, is to persuade Ecuadorians to strengthen controls along their borders with Peru and Colombia. "Tons of paste come up from Peru with little interference and a lot of it moves on up to Co- lombia," he said. "If we could do something about the bor- ders, we would disrupt the co- caine traffic not only here, but also in Colombia, which sends more of the stuff to the United States than any country in South America." Federal authorities believe Colombia now has between 60 and 80 major criminal organi- zations engaged in the cocaine traffic. "Half of them are as NEW YORK TIMES 21 April 19 75 sophisticated and as disciplined as our own Mafia families," said Octavio Gonzalez, head of the Drug Enforcement Ad- ministration's office in Bogota. "They have ample capital re- sources, large organizations of from 50 to 100 people and layers of authority that effec- tively insulate their leaders from prosecution." These groups are based in Colombia's major cities�Me- dellin, the industrial capital; Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, San- ta Maria and Cartagena. They employ their own chemists to process cocaine in sophisticated laboratories outside the main cities, own fleets of planes, trucks and automobiles, and can call on scores of couriers to transport their product. Colombian drug rings send at least 300 kilograms of co- caine a mOtith to the United States, mostly to New York and Miami, according to Feder- al law-enforcement agency esti- mates. Like many Latin-American countries, Colombia has several police forces fighting the nar- cotics trade�the security police; F-2, the detective branch of the national police; and the customs police. The F-2 narco- tics unit is considered to be the most effective. But police action alone, no matter how intensive, cannot destroy the narcotics traffic in Latin America. "There are too many loopholes in our laws and not enough cooperation between countries," said Capt. Theodoro Campo Gomez, the 31-year-old commander of the F-2 narcotics unit in Colombia. "We have to change." Herreras Among Biggest Of Cocaine Organizations One of the biggest rings supplying the New York mar- ket with cocaine is the Her- rera organi7ation of Colom- bia, which has its headquar- ters in Cali, the flourishing city southwest of Bogoi "The Herreras send out an average of 40 kilograms of cocaine a month, mostly to New York and Miami," says Octavio Gonziilez, head of the Federal Drug Enforce- ment Administration office in Bogota. "At wholesale prices that adds up to a $14- million a year business." Like most Latin-American criminal groups dealing in drugs, the Herrera organiza- tion has a family as its nu- cleus�seven brothers, two sisters, cousins and in-laws. Outsiders chosen for their professional skills bring the organization's membership to a total of 92. A Daring Escape United States and Colom- bian authorities say the nom- inal head of the organization is 34-year-old Benjamin (Ne- gro) Herrera. They say it is indicative of the organiza- tion's power that the Herre- ras arranged for Beniamin's successful escape from the Federal penitentiary in Atlan- ta, where he had been sen- tenced to five !.'ears in 1970 for trying to smuggle heroin into the United States. After his escape. Benjamin returned to Colombia, which is one of a number of Latin- COSTA RICA .so .Pti?.. � CI ;it ECUADOR PERU � Lima Pacific Ocean / NICARAGUA car! bean Sea PANAMA 'A-4i '11 GUYANA VENEZUELA I SURINAM FRENCH GUIANA CHILE Santtlao BOLIVIA ,La Paz Santa Cruz BRAZIL Brasilia � AY cion URUGUAY ontevidito Atlantic Ocean rIP�PtldIMM��II.V1I�M����������IMMIIMM/f Miles 1000 The New York Times/April 21,1975 So much coaaste, which is processed into cocaine, is snipped from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to northern Para- guay and western Brazil that the area is called "The Silver Triangle," to compare it to the center of opium traffic in Southeast Asia called "The Golden Triangle." American countries that will not extradite its own citi- zens. Later, however, he made the mistake of visiting Peru. At the request of United States officials there he was arrested and expelled to the United States. He is now back in prison in Atlanta. In Benjamin's absence, leadership of the family has been taken over by his broth- er Gustavo, according to the Colombian police. Ramiro, another brother, is in charge of importing coca paste from Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Informants say the paste is often flown to the interna- tional airports at Cali and Bogota in ordinary suitcases and rushed through customs without inspection by accom- modating officials on the or- ganization's payroll. Authorities say the Herre- ras have several well- equipped laboratories in Co- lombia where, under the su- pervision of the organiza- tion's chief chemist. Carlos Alvarez, the coca paste is refined into cocaine. These laboratories are usually with- in 10 to 15 miles of 'Colom- bia's main cities �Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Barran- quilla. Last Dec. 16 the Colombian police raided a laboratory �����.'ide Cali supplying co- caine to the Herrera organi- zation that was capable of turning out 50 kilos of co- caine in one batch. Of the eight persons arrested, one was a professor of chemistry at Santiago University in Cali and another was a captain in the Cali fire brigade. The police also found a 25-ton press used for packing the cocaine into fine sheets, 700 gallons of acetone used in the chemical process and other equipment and materials val- ued at $800,000. Elaborate Courier System Although the Herreras may lose a lab once in a while, their business still expands. After Herrera laboratories Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 NEW YORK TIMES 22 April 1975 process tne paste, the fin- ished cocaine is distributed to Emilio Herrera in Barran- quilla, Carlos Herrera in Bo- gota and David Herrera in Medellin. They, in turn, ex- port it by "mules" (couriers) in small amounts of two to four kilograms each. Larger quantities are sent on com- mercial vessels through the ports of Turbo and Bue- naventura to Atlantic coast harbors in the United States. Couriers for the Herreras sometimes pose as students. They are given student visas and they are supplied with hooks that have sheets of cocaine secreted in them. The ''students" are paid from $500 to $1,000 plus expenses and are given new clothes for carrying the cocaine to New York. The authorities say false documents for these couriers are usually procured by Aura Monsalve, a cousin of the Herreras, and Francisco Mar- tinez, who also serves as a liaison to several of the group's North American buy- ers. It is unlikely that an organ- ization as large as the Her- rerases could function with- out police and political protection. Authorities say the organization's protectors include not only influential officials in the police, cus- toms and the judiciary, but also several leading members of Colombian society who have invested in the lucrative cocaine trade. Drug-Smuggling Logistics Bizarre and Often Fatal Second of four articles on why Latin America is now the major source of hard drugs entering the United States. By NICHOLAS GAGE The rainy season has ended in Chulumani, Bolivia, and on the steeply terraced mountainside, Juan Mamani is crouching in his small plot of coca plants, beginning to strip the tiny green leaves that will be his first crop of the year. He will pack the leaves into bales, called tambors, and sell the 300 pounds he harvests for $250. In Jackson Heights, Queens, drug dealers are waiting for new supplies of co- caine from South America. The 300 pounds from Juan Mamani's small plot will pro- duce one kilogram of the drug (2.2 pounds). Although he will get $250 for his crop, the kilo of cocaine will bring in at least $75,000 in the New York City retail market. The huge profit between New York and Latin Ameri- ca, which has become the major source of hard drugs entering the United States, is what makes thousands of men and women willing to take the risks involved in smuggling cocaine into the United States. The methods they use are imaginative, bizarre and sometimes fatal to the cour- iers, who have been known to soak their clothes in co- caine or to swallow drugs stuffed in a prophylactic pouch. Every conceivable contain- er has been used by couriers to secrete drugs coming in from Latin America � false- bottomed wine bottles, frames of paintings, hollow ski poles. Carmen Moreno, a member of the Alberto Bravo organization in Colom- bia, one of the leading nar- cotics rings, was captured when she was about to fly from Toronto to New York with a kilo of cocaine hidden in a hollow wooden hanger. Large quantities of cocaine �over four kilograms�are usually sent by ship or plane. Crew members on ships are recruited by the Latin-Ameri- can drug organizations to carry narcotics on their ves- sels into American ports. The drugs then may be carried ashore or dropped overboard in harbors to be picked up by scuba divers. In Colombia, major drug organizations often use pri- vate planes flown by their own pilots. A pilot will rent a plane in the United States and f:11 out a false flight plan. Then he will fly to Colombia, where the drugs are waiting. "In northeast Colombia there is a desert area called Guajira that is so flat that planes can land just about anywhere," said Octavio Gonzalez, head of the Federal Drug Enforcement Adminis- tration office in Bogota. "The area is controlled by Indians and there is little local law enforcement. "When they have a ship- ment, Colombian traffickers will pick a time and place for the landing and hire In- dians to guard the area. There will be 20 to 50 Indians armed with R-15 carbines. The plane lands, picks up the cargo, and takes off with- in 45 minutes." Large shipments of drugs� usually cocaine and marijua- na�can be moved on these flights, according to Mr. Gon- zalez. "Some of these planes are big: B-26's, B-25's, twin- engine Cessnas and, in one instance, a Lockheed Con- stellation. And then the planes return to the states and land at designated small airports, sometimes in South Carolina, Florida and Geor- gia." According to the Drug En- forcement Administration, the Colombian narcotics or- ganizations have highly so- phisticated logistical equip- ment to assist these flights, including fuel depots and elaborate ground-to-air com- munications equipment. If one of their planes does get into trouble or if the pilot discovers that authorities are tracking it, the standard pro- cedure is to throw the drugs overboard. Smaller amounts of cocaine �under four kilos�are car- ried generally by couriers, who account for the greatest part of the traffic. Many of the couriers come from Co- lombia, which sends more cocaine to the United States than any other Latin-Amer- ican country. Of the 165 co- caine couriers arrested in the United States during the sec- ond half of last year, 117 were Colombians. Latin-American drug traf- fickers find it isn't difficult to recruit their , countrymen as couriers, called "mules," because if they are caught, many judges in the United States will give them only suspended sentences and de- port them in the belief that they are not hardened crimi- nals. "When the Couriers go back home, they're walking advertisements for the re- cruiters," said John R. Bar- tels Jr., the head of the Drug i Enforcement Adl inistration. Fees Are igh Couriers, who usually earn from $500 to a $1,000 a kilo plus expenses for each trip, have used many methods to conceal drugs. One of the most ingenious is to soak their cotton clothing in a liquid solution that contains cocaine and on their arrival in the United States to put the clothes in a sOlution that releases the drug. Detection is difficult. "They start With cocaine base (the stage before pure cocaine) that they dissolve in pure alcohol," explained Eugene Castillo, A Drug En- forcement AdMinistration agent stationed in Bolivia. "Then they take, an article of clothing, soak it in the solution and let it dry." "When they get to the States they take the article, soak it in acetcine for 10 to 15 minutes, wring it out, and run the solut on through filter paper. Then they pour the solution into a flat con- tainer and let it dry. This process not only conceals the drug, it also refines the cocaine base into finished cocaine. For ever 300 grams of base they soal this way, they get 100 gr ms of co- caine. Another one the more effective method of hiding drugs also is the most dan- Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 gerous: couriers fill prophy- lactic pouches with the drug and then swallow it before crossing the border. They in- tend to regurgitate the pouches later. But in at least four instances, United States citizens who went to Latin America to buy drugs, swal- lowed the pouches and then were stricken when their di- gestive juices caused the pouches to burst. Three men�in Bolivia, Co- lombia and Panama�died as a result of this method of smuggling. A partner of the man in Bolivia also was stricken and went into con- vulsions, but his life was saved. Key City Areas Cited When the cocaine reaches the New York metropolitan area, it goes to major distri- bution rings centered in areas with large Latin populations, such as Jackson Heights in Queens, the South Bronx, Washington Heights and Union City, N. J., according to Arthur Grubert, head of the Drug Enforcement Ad- ministration's intelligence unit in New York. "Union City is known as Cocaine City in some quarters," he said. The growth of the cocaine market in New York has created important rings to supply it. These rings are dominated by Colombians and Cubans, Mr. Grubert said. Many of the rings are closely bound through family relationships, and disputes are generally settled by dis- cussion, he said. Violence is used to maintain discipline, he said, but not as often as in Mafia groups. "Latin criminal groups maintain much closer ties to the main organizations back home than American Mafia groups do with their Sicilian counterparts," Mr. Grubert said. Mafia groups in New York have not become active in the cocaine traffic, Federal officials believe, because they do not have well-estab- lished relations with sup- pliers in South America. New York cocaine dealers are doing a booming busi- ness, which has not been affected by the economic re- cession since many of their customers are from affluent circles where snorting co- caine has become increasing- ly popular. Ounce Sells for $1,000 When the New York rings receive the cocaine, they sell it to wholesalers in kilo lots, and they, in turn, market it in ounce portions. Mr. Grubert said that their "stores" are often Latin bars and restaurants throughout the city. An ounce of high quality cocaine (more than 95 per Approved for Release: 2 cent pure) sells at these "stores" at between $1,000 and $1,500. The retailers who buy the ounce then cut the cocaine three or four times and sell the diluted Cocaine for $50 a gram. Their gross for one ounce thus ranges between $4,200 and $5,600. Arrests of Latin traffick- ers in New York has dis- closed that many of them had entered the United States on forged passports and that most of them had police rec- ords back home as petty thieves. The rings that handle co- caine distribution in the city include scores of members. Last October, for example, Federal agents and the New York police arrested 150 per- sons that they said were part of just one ring, the Alberto Bravo organization. The Bravo grotto :as said to have imported 1`00 pounds of cocaine in 1974 alone. Important figures in tl,e group, according to narcotics agents, included Mario Rodri- guez of Forest Hills, Queens, in whose apartment the po- lice said they found nine pounds of cocaine, and Do- mingo Fernandez of Jackson Heights, now a fugitive. But, the organization's leader, Alberto Bravo, ,re- mains at large in Medellin, Colombia. His chief lieuten- ant in charge of maintaining smuggling operations to New York, Bernardo Roldan, also remains free in Medellin. They have been indicted in New York on conspiracy charges, but Colombi., will not extra- dite its citizens to the United States. To keep its vast New York network adequately supplied. authorities say the Bravo or- ganization shipped cocaine to it through a variety of routes, including Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Mi- ami. One shipment was first flown to Munich and then to New York, where it was said to have been delivered to Mario Rodriguez. The authorities contend that New York distributors for South American traffickers are not restricted to Latins. For years, one of the biggest drug traffickers in Bolivia, Jaime Hergueta, sent almost all of the cocaine he processed to James A. Aus- tin, who operated out of Manhattan and the Bronx, according to narcotics offi- cials here. Mr. Austin, who the police say accumulated four apart- ments. three Mercedes Benz automobiles and a 67-foot yacht during his alleged asso- ciation with Mr. Hergueta, was arrested on narcotics charges last Dec. 16 at Ken- nedy Airport as he stepped off a plane from Peru. He still awaits trial. New York gets all of its Approved for Release: 020/08/17 CO2563675 cocaine, but less than 20 per cent of its heroin, from Latin America, according to Federal agents. Mexican her- oin in New York has sur- faced primarily in Greenwich Village, where it is said to be running 17 per cent pure compared to about seven per cent for French heroin. But outside New York, Fed- eral agents say Mexican her- oin dominates the market, taking an 80 per cent share in Chicago, a 70 per cent share in Houston, a 60 per cent share in Los Angeles and a 50 per cent share in Denver. Los Angeles Is the source city for Tost of the Mexican heroin sold in the United States, according to Abraham L. Azzam, the Drug Enforce- ment Administration's deputy regional director in Califor- nia. Dealers from other cities go to Los Angeles to pick up their supplies from whole- salers there who deal directly with Mexican traffickers, he said. Unlike the French heroin traffickers, who prefer to send drugs in big lots, the Mexican suppliers use the "human wave" approach. They send a multitude of couriers carrying small amounts on the theory that if some are apprehended, the majority will get through. "The biggest seizure of French heroin we ever had was 412 kilos," said John T. Cusack, head of international operations for the Drug En- forcement Administration. "But our biggest seizure of Mexican heroin was only eight kilos." If a Mexican drug traf- ficker wants to send a heroin shipment of more than three kilos to the United States, he will usually have it driven across the border in a special "load" car or flown over in a private airplane. At checkpoints on the Mex- -ican border, United States Customs agents use COM- puters into which they feed the license number of any suspicious car that passes through. If any information is recorded about the car, it scores a "hit" on the com- puter and is pulled aside and searched. Drug traffickers will often send an empty car across the border to see if it scores a "hit." If it is passed through, they will bring it back and load it up with heroin. Border Vigilance Difficult Because the border be- tween Mexico and the United States is both big (2,000 miles) and busy (25 million crossings last year) it is vir- tually impossible to police it thoroughly. This has tempted some United States residents to buy cocaine in Latin America and try to smuggle it to the United StatPs 2020/08/17 CO2563675 through Mexico. Those who are apprehend- ed carrying narcotics in Mex- ico, however, run the risk of serving at least five years in a Mexican prison. As of last February, there were 509 United States citi- zens in Mexican jails, 420 of them there on narcotics charges. Of these 420, some 123 were women. Conversations with some of them in a Mexican prison showed that they generally believed they would soon be deported by the Mexican government in response to pressure from the United States Government. "They seem to be convinced that they'll be allowed to go home if they just push their Congressmen a little harder," said Peter J. Peter- son, the United States Consul General in Mexico City. "They often fabricate complaints and it makes it difficult for us to handle legitimate grievances." Asked about the Americans in prison, Pedro Ojecla-Pau- Hada, Mexico's Attorney Gen- eral, said, "I can tell you categorically that Mexico will not deport anyone until he completes his sentence. We are totally committed to the law and any person bringing drugs into Mexico faces five to 15 years in our prisons." Although most of the oth- er Latin-American countries have equally stiff drug laws, recruiters of "mules" in the United States assure them that the Latin-American countries don't enforce those laws. The fact is, only Co- lombia consistently deports North American drug viola- tors and it holds them about a year first. Latin-American drug traf- fickers like to recruit "mules" from among the most innocent and honest-ap- pearing United States res. idents they can find. Two grandmothers frorni California, Jeanne McMi-i chael, 61 years old, and Eliz- abeth Lankton, 52, were in, trigued when they were ap- proached by a woman they knew who offered them free vacations to South America plus $6,000 each for bringing back cocaine. The two grandmothers successfully carried cocaine back from Colombia and Bo- livia. But on March 24, 1974. they were arrested going through customs in Mexico' City and subsequently con- victed of carrying six kilo- grams of cocaine in false-bot- tomed suitcases. The women have been in custody tor more than a year now, but they have not been sentenced yet. Because of the mandatory drug laws in Mexico, they are certain to spend at least five years in a Mexican jail. Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 � No Antiwoman Job Bias In the Narcotics Trade It a, .%-.. � 14.0. Lima Pacific Ocean Illicit CocaineTraffic 1. Growers ; Processors and Exporters 'Cr Shippers 404e,5; � GUYANA "In I SURINAM VENEZUELA\ z Arica CHILE Santis BOLIVIA ,FRENCH GUIANA BRAZIL Brasilia � 1...-PARAGUAY ft � � Asuncion Rio de Janeiro Atlantic (Man t,�,--URUGUAY Montevideo 0"'"..1�47=11, 0 Map indicates where illicit cocaine The New York Times/April 7.1.1975 originates and moves in Latin Amerca. Women have a prominent place in Latin America's illic- it drug traffic, filling every role from "mule" (courier) to head of a criminal organiza- tion. A short, stocky, middle- aged woman of Chilean de- scent who owns three wig shops in Buenos Aires is con- sidered by American officials to be one of the major sources of narcotics brought into the United States. Yolanda Sarmiento, who is 46 years old, has a long history of narcotics involve- ment. "She's one of the sharpest dealers anywhere," said Rhyn C. Tryal, head of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration's office in Buenos Aires, On April 15, 1970, the New York police raided a West Side apartment alleged- ly used by Mrs. Sarmiento and seized 72 kilograms of heroin and 47 kilograms of cocaine with a wholesale value of $3.5-million. A few days later, the po- lice arrested Mrs. Sarmiento along with her lover, Emilio Diaz Gonzalez, who is a na- tive of Spain, and two other men outside a New Jersey motel. Federal agents say they were traveling by car from Miami to claim the nar- cotics that had been stashed in the apartment. Escapes City Jail Mrs, Sarrniento's hail was set at S100,000. She posted the bail and then fled the United States, leaving Mr. Diaz and his associates in custody in New York. Several months later, on Jan. 24, 1971, Mr. Diaz es- caped from the Federal House of Detention in Man- hattan. Investigators in New York believe that Mrs. Sar- miento had helped plan and finance his escape. The pair were next seen in Buenos Aires where Mr. Diaz was seriously wounded in a gunfight with the Argen- tine police on Dec, 2, 1972. He escaped and his wherea- bouts are unknown, but Mrs. Sarmiento was apprehended. The United States tried to have her expelled from Ar- gentina to New York to stand trial. But the Argentine courts ruled that since her children were born in Argen- tina, Mrs. Sarmiento was en- titled to the rights of an Argentine citizen and so could not be xpelled. Unlike Ma ia wives who avoid involv ment in their husbands' rac cets. Latin wo- men often wdrk closely with their men in) the narcotics traffic. When two brothers, Juan and Roberto Hernandez, were imprisoned in Mexico for drug smuggling in 1970, their wives Continued their work. On Oct. 17, 1974, the Mexi- can federal police investi- gatede their a tivities in the La Mesa Stat Penitentiary in Tijuana an1 discovered evidence showing that the Hernandezes had continued to run their drug ring even behind bars. Also busy in the traffic from her cell was Roberto's wIe Helen, who had been apprehended ear- lier. [ A month 'later, Mexican authorities rrested Juan's wife Patrici in a Tijuana motel as she was delivering a kilo of heroin to a customer from the United States. They found in her possession fami- ly records documenting ex- tensive reaklestate holdings and a balancte in Hernandez bank accounts of about $20- million. She, also was con- victed. But the risks for women in the narclotics trade are not always Confined to law- enforcement agents. Consider the harsh fate of Ruth Goda- mez of Chile, who was a dealer in cocaine with her lover, Selim Valenzada. Unit- ed States narcotics agents had made Miss Godamez a major target and placed her under suveillance. Mr. Valenzada saw Miss God amez speaking to someone whom he thought was a narCotics agent and decided thati she had become an informer. He shot her five times 'in the stomach, but she surVived the wounds. Later Mnl Valenzada was expelled from Chile to the United States, where he had been under indictment on a narcotics charge. As he was led to detention, he asked narcotics agents, "Was she talking or did I waste the bullets?" No one answered his question. Miss GOdamez did not "turn"�beCome an inform- ant � bl.it after several months in jail, Mr. Valenzada has decid d to cooperate with the gOvernment. 6pproved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 NEW YORK TIMES 23 April 1975 Argentine Filled Key Role In Latins' Drugs Network Third of four articles on why Latin America is now; the major source of hard drugs entering the United�States.i By NICHOLAS GAGE , The one man in South Amer- ica whom drug enforcement officials say they would most like to see behind bars is Ar- mando H. Nicolai, a 46-year-old . Argentine who has been under indictment on narcotics con- spiracy charges in New York since 1971. "Nicolai is the only man down here with the reputation, contacts and know-how to reor- ganize the South American Connection," said Frank Mac- olini, the Federal Drug En- forcement Administration's deputy regional director for South America. Until 1972, 35 per cent of all the French heroin smuggled into the United States every year was sent through the Latin-American networks of European fugitives, most of them French Corsicans. At its peak, the French Con- nection controlled much of the heroin supply for 'the United States, but it lost its hold on all its market except New York. Even in the city, the French traffickers fared poorly .for a long spell, but authorities re- port that French heroin is plen- tiful on the streets again. [Page 531 The South American Connec- tion, in its. pov.re,rful. days. was composed primarily of two ma- jor groups of Corsican traffick- ers. One organization, based in Paraguay, was led by Auguste Joseph Ricord, a 64-year-old Itoiralized Argentine citizen served as an nen:. of 0 Gestapo in Frassce during I'ic ld War r. The other was ded by Lucien Sarti, the 'tive murderer of a Belgian eman, who arrived in 4uth America in 1966, when 4 was 29, to look into the nar- atics trade. Mr. Nicolai was an portant member of the Sarti anization. Beginning in 1972, a barrage extraditions, shootouts and zures broke up the lucrative uth American Connection, i1st of the leading principals, luding Mr. Ricord, were ex- led to the United States, % ere they were convicted of rcotics violations and impris- ed. Others fled to their na- e Europe. Authorities say t only major figure who man- d to avoid their net was ando Nicolai. Ir. Sarti and Mr. Nicolai t when the Corsican and associates began courting n ive contrabandistas�South ericans who made a living b smuggling various goods a oss borders for the black rket. r. Nicolai had already be- c le a legend among the con- t bandistas. Part of his fame s due no doubt to his physi- c size and strength, for in a.,.. ountry where great height is; uncommon, Mr. Nicolai is 6 eet 3 inches tall and weighs 1 over 230 pounds. n one instance, in 1962, en he and a group of asso- c tes were arrested by the p0- Ii Mr. Nicolai broke his h dcuffs with his bare hands a beat up seven policemen Ile his cohorts escaped. "Af- t that, every contrabandista inebtrgentina looked up to him," sa!flhithyn C. Tryal, the head of the Drug Enforcement Admin- istration's district office in Buenos Aires. Mr. Nicolai has an aristo- cratic appearance that hints of his Italian heritage. His strong profile, with an arched nose, suggests an ancient Roman bust, and his hair, worn fairly long, is dyed reddish brown. He walks with a decided stoop. Mr. Nicolai was attracted by the huge profits to be made by smuggling hard drugs, and, thanks to his natural leadership ability, he soon rose to a posi- tion in the organization equal to that of Mr. Sarti. He did not, however, share the almost fanatic Spartan dis- cipline of Mr. Sarti and his French Corsican associates, some of whom formed a group called the "Pietra Forte" (hard rock), a Mafia-like organization that specialized in extortion and bank robbery in addition to heroin dealing. Mr. Macolini of the Federal drug agency said that the group, whose members includ- ed Francois Rossi, Benzo Rogai and Francois Chiappe, prac- ticed giving one another shock treatments to train themselves to withstand torture if they were seized and questioned by the police. Mr. Sarti himself was admiringly referred to by his cronies as "Iron Head." Informants say that Mr. Ni- colai regarded these activities of the Pietra Forte with some amusement. He considered him- self merely a "businessman" in the smuggling business and had no taste for robbing banks or exchanging shock treatments. As a contrabandista, Mr. Ni- colai had accumulated a large number of contacts and asso- ciates throughout Latin Ameri- ca who were in a position to ease his passage across bor- ders and through customs. Informants say that after he got into the heroin trade he used. the enormous amounts of money he was making to extend his influence within the government, judiciary and the police in half a dozen Latin- American countries. He moved his headquarters from Buenos Aires to Montevi- deo, Uruguay, where he lived In luxurious style, entertaining influential politicians at his apartment near the presidential palace and overseeing his fleet of automobiles and private planes, staffed by his own pi- lots. Informants maintain that Mr. Nicolai's contacts were so good that he would fly to France himself to pick up shipments of heroin and carry them in suitcases to South America say, he would be allowed add, he would be allowed through customs without hav- ing his bags examined. Mr. Nicola' was doing very well in the heroin-smuggling business when, on July 8, 1971, a young man from Panama named Rafael Richard, was ar- rested at John F. Kennedy Air- port in New York after it was discovered that his suitcases contained 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of heroin. Mr. Richard had refused to open his suitcases, maintaining that he had diplomatic immu- nity because his father was Panama's Ambassador to Tai- wan. But the inspector opened them anyway and when Mr. Richard was taken into cus- tody, he agreed to cooperate with the authorities. Mr. Richard said he had made five earlier smuggling trips to the United States and another to Brazil and Argentina, most of them with his uncle, Guiller- mo Gonzalez, or in one case with his aunt, Nelva Jurado de Gonzalez. In Buenos Aires, he said, his aunt gave a pack- age to a man named Armando, who gave her money in return. Two other informants subse- quently said that Guillermo Gonzalez was closely linked with Armando Nicolai, and that the association between them dated back 10 years when Mr. Gonzdlez was an air controller in Panama and would clear planes for Mr. Nicolai that con- tained contraband. As a result of this informa- tion, Mr. Nicolai was indicted in New York for conspiracy in connection with the heroin Mr. Richard attempted to smuggle into the United States. Mr. Richard and Mr. Gonzalez were convicted and sent to prison. A Prime Target After the Richard arrest, Mr. Nicolai became a prime target of United States narcotics agents posted in South Ameri- ca. When informants leaked the information that something big was brewing in the Sarti- Nicolai group, United States narcotics agents got permission from Uruguyan officials to put a tap on Mr. Nicolai's tele- phone. In early 1972, Lucien Sarti traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, In the company of a friend named Jean-Paul Angeletti and House!) Cararnian, a Buenos Aires businessman who had been introduced to the heroin traffic a few years earlier. Traveling with the men were Mr. Sarti's. common-law wife and Mr. Angeletti's girlfriend. All were using false identities. Informants say the group went to Bolivia to buy a 6,000- acre plantation on which to grow their own coca leaves so that they could branch out into cocaine. They carried with them $380,000 in a case, which they had with them when they were arrested at their hotel. The police had been called by an astute bellhop who remem- bered Mr. Sarti from a previous visit and who noticed that on this trip he had registered un- der a different name. Armando Nicolai's lawyer in Buenos Aires, Mario COnterno, promptly turned up in La Paz and attempted without success to obtain their release. Next to arrive, however, was Helena Ferreira. Miss Ferreira had flown to La Paz from her native Brazil, where she had been living for a time with Mr. Sarti. Pre- tending to be his sister, she persuaded the Bolivian officials to release Mr. Sarti and all his associates except Mr. Cara- mian. But when they left La Paz, informants say, they no longer had the $380,000 that had been in their possession when they arrived. The group traveled first to Peru, where they were picked up by Mr. Sartes pilot, Julio Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Lujan who flew them to Mexi- co. Miss Ferreira, however, was not with them; she had been arrested in Peru and detained co a currency charge. The ar- rest may have saved her life. When Mr. Sarti arrived in Mexico, he telephoned Arman- do Nicolai in Montevideo. The narcotics agents who were tap- ping Mr. Nicolai's phone heard Mr. Sarti (whom they had not yet identified) tell him that he must come at once to Mexico City. Mr. Sarti wanted him to meet with two Frau:lob Corsi- cans who were suppliers of heroin and some representa- tives from Mafia families in New York who were presume- ably to be the buyers. There was going to be conference to set up future sales, Mr. Sarti indicated, as well as to settle a deal for 70 kilograms of heroin that he had already on hand. "Nicolai made reservations half a dozen times for Mexico, but each time he held off," recalled Mr. Macolini, the narcotics agent heading the in- vestigation of Mr. Nicolai. "He drove us crazy." Although he could not put his finger on what was wrong, Mr. Nicolai apparently sensed that there was danger afoot and he was reluctant to join Mr. Sarti in Mexico City. It was just one example of Mr. Nicolai's sixth sense for danger that authorities say has made him the only survivor of the South American Connection. Lucien Sarti and his asso- dates were all using aliases' during their stay in Mexico City and in their telephone conversations with Mr. Nicolai. The eavesdropping narcotics agents were desperately trying to find out their real identities. The Agents Move In The break came when, in the course of a conversation with Mr. Nicolai, Mr. Sarti men- tioned his own daughter's name. Veronica. The name was telegraphed to Washington, where Jerry Strickler was then heading the Federal drug agency's Latin American desk. Mr. Strickler was known for his computer- like memory and soon he was able to identify Lucien Sarti simply from his daughter's first name. After repeated telephone calls to Mr. Nicolai, saying that the Frenchmen were now in Mexico City and waiting for him, Mr. Sarti gave up and decided to go ahead with the meeting without him. At that point the police decided to move against the principals. On April 27, 1972, the Mexi- can police approached Lucien Sarti as he was getting into an automobile with his wife and young daughter. Mr. Sarti, who probably realized he would be identified as the fugitive under sentence of death for killing a policeman in Belgium. pulled out a Colt Cobra and opened fire. The police shot him dead. Immediately the police moved in on the hotel room of Mr. Sarti's companion, Jean-Paul Angeletti. They expected anoth- er shootout, but when they entered the room Mr. Angeletti was in bed with his mistress, Georgette Viazzi, and his Colt Cobra wae out or reach on the night table. : After the death of Lucien Sarti, all of his associates in Mexico were deported. Mr. An- geletti and Mr. Sarti's wife, Liliana Rolls` Viallet,. were sent back to France. VVIthin the next several months rhea of the European-born traffickers in- volved in the South American Connection were arrested or deported and the Sarti and Ricord organizations had col- lapsed. Armando Nicolai alone had survived the purge, but shortly after, he faced a new threat. The Drug Enforcement Admi- nistration had organized "Oper- ation Springboard," which was designed to persuade Latin American countries to expel to the United States traffickers who were not natives of the country if they were under indictment in the United States. Mr. Nicolai realized that he was no longer safe in Uruguay and so he returned to his native Argentina. Authorities there say he made some efforts toward reorganizing the drug traffic from Buenos Aires. But they add that he knew he was a prime target of the police and that the knowledge evidently was working on his nerves. In February, 1973, during a state of siege in Argentina be- fore Juan Peron had returned to power, the police picked him up in a general round-up. They say he was so rattled that he shouted to the arresting officers, "I give up! Don't kill me!" Elements of the Argentine police were said to be so eager to get Mr. Nicolai out of their country that they arranged to hold him incommu- nicado until the Federal drug agents arranged for a plane to come and take him to the United States. But once again Mr. Nicolai second-guessed them. He had made arrangements with his family and friends that he would call them every couple of hours. If they did not bear from him, they were to assume he had been arrested. Within two hours of his ar- rest, Mr. Nicolai's lawyer, Ma- rio Concern�, had contacted the police, saying that a writ of habeas corpus was on its way and demanding that his client be produced. Within four hours the writ arrived�not from a local court. but from the Supreme Court of Argentina. The police rea- lized that they would never be able to spirit away Mr. Nicolai to the United States On May 25, Mr. Nicolai was released in a general amnesty. By this time, some Argentine Approved for Release: police officers were so frus- trated at not being able to act against Mr. Nicolai that they ap- proached United States agents with an offer: If the United States consented, they would have him killed. The offer was rejected, "We didn't want him that bad," said the United States official to whom the offer was made. Mr. Nicolai is now maintain- ing a very low profile in Buenos Aires, conscientiously living the life of a middle-class merchant In leather goods. He lives in a modest apartment in Barrio Once, the old Jewish section of Buenos Aires, with his wife Angela and two sons, Er- nesto, 20, and Angel, 12. According to Mr. Conterno, an aristocratic, handsome, well- spoken lawyer, reports of such involvement in the heroin trade are "fantasies." He said that Mr. Nicolai has categorically denied any involvement in the drug charges against him in the United States. When it was pointed out that Rafael Richard and other con- victed drug traffickers have named Mr. Nicolai as the source of their drugs, Mr. Conterno said, "When a man is facing 20 years in jail and you give him a guitar and tell him that if he sings well be !night get out earlier, you'd be surprised how many arias he'll make up." He contended that the "per- secution" of Mr. Nicolai by United States aigents is "a water-closet scandal. It's like Watergate and it 'stinks." Underworld in ormers sug- gest, however, th t Mr. Nicolai, is considering tw very tempt- ing deals. After Lucien Sarti was shot in Mexico City, his pilot, Julio Lujan was said tp have flown back to Uruguay with a cache of 90 kilos of heroin that Mr. Sarti had on hand. Mr. Luiri is now serving a prison term and Mr. Nicolai Would like to think of a way to sell that heroin, the police Said. In addition, Mr' Sarti is said to have hidden another 100 kilos of heroin in everal places and Mr. Nicoiai is trying to find it. Meanwhile, boIli American and Latin American narcotics agents are eagerly trying t.7 find something�anything�on which they can convict Mr. Nicolai in Argent na. They be- lieve his freedorri constitutes the biggest threat that the South American Connection might once agairi be revived. French Connection Connection Stiys Dominant in Market Here The French Connection has lost its hold on the heroin market in most of the coun- try, but it still dominates in New York. , After a long dry spell, Fed- eral authorities here say that French heroin is plenti- ful again in the city, as dem- onstrated by the fact that it's averaging close to seven per cent pure on the street. up from four per cent a year ago. "It's a buyers' market again," said John Fallon, the Federal airug . E.efsrcement Administrielorri regional di- rector here. Until 1971 heroin processed In France was flowing into the United States at the rate of 10 tons a year and bags sold on the street were run- Ping as much as 15 per cent pure. But in the next year the French heroin suppliers began !uttering a series of devas- ating reversals. A Global Assault First the South American toute, which was handling 35 per cent of all French heroin shipments to the Unit- ed States, was demolished With the arrests of the major trench - Corsican traffickers In Latin America. Then United States narcot- ics agents began intercept- ing huge shipments of heroin being sent directly to North 2020/08/17 CO2563675 American cities, including pne totaling 442 kilos (908 pounds). Back in Fratie, the police, acting under 'international pressure, started convicting major trafficketis, identifying laboratories an4 making big seizures of bot finished he- roin being shipped out of the country anc opium base from Turkey being shipped Into France to be processed. , The law-enforcement pres- sure was enhanced by Turk- ey's decision in 1972 to pro- hibit further daltivation of poppies. All these factors forced French suppliers to cut back sharply on the amount of heroin they sent to the Unit- ed States. "They decided to concert- trate on their main market, the East Coast from Rich- mond to New York, and leave the rest of the country to the Mexican," said John T. Cusack, the Grug Enforce- ment Administration's chief of international operations. But the harassed French suppliers could I not provide enough heroin even for their narrowed market, and local wholesalers wete forced to cut their supp y so much that by 1973 wha,t was sold on the street Was only two per cent pure. � Unsatisfied with the heroin available. Mr. Cusack said, Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 many addicts here switched to methadone, ,went into treatment centers or slowly detoxified themselves be- cause the heroin they were buying was increasingly di- luted. "As a result, the num- ber of heroin addicts on our streets declined considera- bly," he said. In the last year, however, authorities believe the French traffickers have reor- ganized and have found new ways-of sending heroin here. One methiad, according to Federal agents, involves sending shipments to the Midwest, where they're less likely to be intercepted, ana .having them forwarded East from there. The reorganization of the traffickers in France and the decrease in customers here have made heroin more avail- able again, authorities say, and that, in turn, has resulted in the higher purity of what is sold on the street. The degree of purity is seen as a measure of availability. Some narcotics specialists believe the increased availa- bility is due to the release of heroin stockpiles compiled by the traffickers three years ago when Turkey announced its ban on further cultivation of opium poppies. The traffickers stockpiled the heroin, the theory goes, in anticipation of soaring pri- ces once the ban was felt in the illegal drug market, and they released the stock- piles when Turkey an- nounced last year that it would resume cultivation of poppies. A New Worry Mr. Cusack and Arthur Grubert the chief of intel- ligence in the Drug Enforce- ment Administration's office in New York, do not believe that significant stockpiles ever existed. "If the French had that much heroin available, they would have broadened their market again, but they haven't," Mr. Cusack said. But officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration are very concerned that the French traffickers will start to do big business again once the 'poppy crops in Turkey are harvested. Mr. Cusack pointed out that Turkey first said it would al- low 70,000 farmers to culti- vate opium poppies, but it has now quietly increased that number to 103,000. "If each farmer holds back just one kilo for the illegal drug market, that's 100 tons of opium," he said. "That can bury us." active drug traffickers in Co- lombia for narcotics violations in this country, but under ex- isting international agreements they cannot be extradited from Colombia or prosecuted at home. So these dealers continue in business, supplying much of the cocaine sold in New York and other major-cities. The lack of adequate extradi- tion agreements and treaties with Latin American nations to allow the prosecution of major drug traffickers hi their own countries has been a major stumbling block in the efforts of United States agents to stem the rising flow of narcotics from Latin America. Many law enforcement offi- cials involved in those efforts are critical of the State Depart- ment for not pushing to achieve such agreements and treaties. What is missing from the United States effort in Latin America, they say, is the kind of concerted drive the United States Government made at its highest levels a few years ago to persuade France to go all out against what had then been the major narcotics traffic into this country. The heioin traffic from France was seriously disrupted, they remember, after France responded to such pressure by expanding its own narcotics enforcement units, establishing close investigative cooperation' with United States agencies and agreeing to prosecute French traffickers on evidence' gathered in the United States. "We started off strong with Latin America, too," said one official, who, like others, re- quested anonimity because of his professional relationship with State Department. "But with all the Watergate prob- lems, Washington's interest faded and we lost the momen- tum. We haven't .got it back yet." A number of agencies are involved in the United States NEW YORK TIMES 24 April 1975 Lack of Treaties Hinders U.S. Effort to Curb Drugs Last of four articles on why Latin America is now the major � source' of hard drugs enteri,ng the United States. By NICHOLAS GAGE narcotics effort in Latin Amen- ed more than half df the 200 ca, but the most active arethe Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Central In- telligence Agency and the Agency for International Devel- opment. Individual agents work under the supervision of the United States ambassador in the country in which they are posted. The over-all narcotics effort, however, is directed from Washington by the Cabinet Committee of International Narcotics Control, which is headed by the Secretary of State and which has among its members the Attorney Gen- eral and the Secretaries of Agriculture and Defense. , But officials from several Iparticipating agencies believe ;that Secretary of State Kissin- ger has little interest in the narcotics effort and that, as a result, many American diplo- mats in Latin America haven't devoted themselves. whole- heartedly to it either. Kissinger Is Defended A State Department spokes- man denied such allegations. "Obviously he's been busy with other problems," he said of Secretary Kissinger. "But if he didn't have 4 strong interest in narcotics control, he wouldn't remain as chairman a the cabinet committee." Evidence of the Secretary's concern with the narcotics problem, the spokesman said, is the strong support Mr. Kis- singer has given the com- mittee's executive director, Ambassador Sheldon Vance, a career diplomat who coordi- nates United States narcotics control efforts throughout' the world. The United States declared narcotics control a "major" foreign policy goal four years ago, but some diplomats to South America concede they have not yet given it that kind of attention. "I must admit I haven't regis- tered our concern about narco- tics sufficiently with the top people here," said one ambas- sador. "We've had so many little crises." Another diplomat said. "We could jeopardize our relations by pushing too hard on narco- tics. These countries don't have a drug problem themselves. There's no mutual Interest to work vith." Wlife- some narcotics officials have been grumbling about lack of support from the State De- partment. the most active and visible of the agencies fighting narcotics abroad�the Drug En- forcement Administration�has come under its own share of criticism, much of it from the Senate Permanent Subcommit- tee on Investigations headed by Senator Henry M. Jackson. 'Ineffectiveness' Is Explored The subcommittee is now conducting an investigation of the agency and will hold hear- ings later this spring. But a spokesman for Senator Jackson said that the subcommittee has collected information showing that the agency' has been "inef- fective" on several fronts in Latin America and that its agents have been involved in situations that threaten to em- barrass the United States. "No one person from the subcommittee has come down here to see what we're doing," countered Louis Bachrach. the Drug Enforcement Administra- tion regional director for South America. The spokesmaneifor Senator Jackson said the subcommittee may send investigators to South America later, but that it was now concentrating on studying the agency's files. Mr. Bachrach and his staff maintain that the agency's achievements in South America have been significant. Since the Drug Enforcement Administra- tion was formed in July, 1973, he said, cooperative efforts with the police in South Ameri- ca have resulted in the destruc- tion of 73 cocaine laboratories, the arrest of 457 important traffickers and the seizure of more than 1,300 kilograms of cocaine and cocaine base. Furthermore, Mr. Bachrach said, agents in his region should be credited for wiping out the South American Con- nection, the rings headed by Corsican gangsters that former- ly handled 35 per cent of all the French heroin entering the United States. The South American Connec- tion collapsed after a series of arrests, extraditions and ex- pulsions of the maior Corsican traffickers operating in Latin America. Cocaine Gains Cited Another achievement cited by Mr. Bachrach was the dis- ruption of cocaine production jn Chile. Shipments of cocaine to the United States from Chile have now been reduced from more than 200 kilos a month to less than ten, he said. Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 The important advance in fighting narcotics in Chile came after the military coup against President Salvador Allende, Mr. Bachrach .said. The junta that overthrew him agreed to expel 19 Chilean traffickers to the United States, where they faced narcotics charges, even though they were Chilean citizens. Most of the other traffickers, fearing similar action against them, fled the country, he said. he said. Chilean officials cite several factors for taking such unusual action against the traffickers.' "We don't want to wind up with a big drug problem like the United States has." said Lieut. Col. Luis Fountaine, head' of the narcotics unit of the Chilean Carabineros. "We want to nip it in the bud." "There is evidence that sup- porters of Allende have been involved in narcotics," Colonel Fountaine added. When pressed to discuss such evidence, he said that he hadn't seen it himself, hut that the junta's intelligence agency was gin pos- session of it. Unit Is Eliminated Despite its energetic prosecu- tion of narcotics traffickers, the Chilean junta did not hesi- tate to eliminate the Customs Investigative Agency, by all ac- counts the most effective police unit fighting narcotics in Chile. It is believed that the junta did so because the unit had been identified closely with President Allende. The head of the unit was Luis Sanguinetti. a friend of President Allende's. He and his top aasistants were arrested immediately after the coup and his body was later found in the hold of a ship taking politi- cal prisoners to an island pri- son. The junta said that Mr. San- guinetti committed suicide by lumping head first into the hold. His two assistants were shot while allegedly trying to escape from detention, and two others were killed in a shootout with the police. Another accomplishment which Mr. Bachrach cited in response to criticism of his agency is the removal of 57 fugitive Latin American drug traffickers to the United States through a campaign called "Operation Springboard." The operation was conceived as a means of getting around the refusal of almost all Latin countries to extradite their own nationals. Since existing trea- ties do not allow for evidence collected in the United States to be used against traffickers in their native countries, drue enforcement agents in Latin America decided to coax traf- fickers to third countries and to try to persuade authorities there to expel them to the United States. The Drug Enforcement Admi- nistration calls "Operation Springboard" a success. But a number of the expelled traf- fickers have appealed their con- victions in Federal courts. maintaining that their rights. under due process were violat- ed because they were kid- napped. The Federal Court of Appeals has upheld the contention of one defendant, Francisco Tos- canino, an alleged associate of Lucien Sarti and Auguste Joseph Ricord of the South American Connection. Mr. Tos- canino said his rights were violated because he was tor- tured by the police in Brazil, the country that expelled him. The Government now is ap- pealing the Toscanino decision to the Supreme Court. It has been upheld thus far on all other appeals by defendants extradited from Latin America and later convicted of daug violations here. Mr. Bachrach said that if Mr. Toscanino was tortured in Brazil; it was done without the knowledge of his agents. "Our men are instructed to get the'message to local police that tcrture is not professional or productive and cases in which torture is used will not stand up in the States," he said. "We have a vested inter- est in discouraging torture." Building Some Bridges Although they cannot make arrests in Latin America, Fed- eral narcotics agents there de- velop cases and turn them over to the local police. When the police then go to make arrests on the cases, the agents accom- pany them. "Too many things happen to fool up the case when wc don't," said an agent in Ecuador. The task of drug enforcement agents is complicated by the fact that many countries have more than one police force� sometimes three or four � working on narcotics, and the various police units are some- times fervent rivals. To keep on good terms with the different police groups, drug enforcement agents from the United States try to distri- bute the cases they develop to all the various local notice units. Rut the potential hazards of police rivalry within [stir. American countries were illus- trated in March when Unititgl States narcotics agents heard that a 23,000-pound cache of marijuana was hidden in a spot IRO miles south of Bogota. Two drug enforcement agents told the Colombian custatec poare about the marijuana and accompanied them in a private plane to the spot. Unknown to the agents. however, the Colombian security nolice also had been informed of the same cache of marijuana and were' already there. When -the plane arrived with the United States agents ir kt, shooting broke out, with each police groun thinking the other was the traffickers. Although no one was killed, newspapers in Colombia la- beled the incident a "Keystone Kop raid" and back in Wash- ington, Senator Jackson termed it "greatly disturbing." Mr. Bartels, the Drug En- forcement Administrator, thought his men performed well under the circumstances. "Al- though under attack neither of them fired their guns," he said. "And they got 23,000 pounds of marijuana." 'Buy and Bust'.. The drug enforcement agents in Latin America also are criti- cized by Senator Jackson and others for allegedly relying ex- cessively on the "buy and bust" method of getting indictments. In such cases, an agent works under eover to buy drugs and when the sale is glade, the local police arrest the seller. the undercover "buyer" some- how managing to escape. The buy - and - bust method could prove politically embar- rassing to the United States. an aide to Senator Jackson said, if the agent is exposed or shot during an arrest Or what would happen, he asked if the agent shot a national in his own country. Agents in Latin America maintain that they don't rely on the buy-and-bust method freauently, hut have developed other technioues that allow them to keep a low profile. In eight of the 12 Drug Fn- forcement Administration offi- ces in South America. "special action units" patterned on simi- lar groups maintained by the Central Intelligence Agents. have been established. The aeents in these units hire local investigators, some of them police officers, to con- duct suraieillance. observe ar. rests and perform other func- tions that the United states agents cannot do without risk- ing exposure. Some of the special units are said to he quite effective. In Bueros Aires, for example. when terrorists began kidnap- ning diplorriats. the United States ambassador asked the head of the narcotics agency's special action unit to set tin a security company to provide nrotection for high officials in the embassy. The Drug Enforcement Admi istration also has been criti- ,ized he members of the Jack- son committee for failing to reoperate with the Central In- tellieenee Agency in develoning a unified attack against narcot- ics traffickers. Mr. ri,rtels acknowledged that differences between the two agencies did develop at one time over the handling at informants, pproved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 !They [the C.I A.] were so protective of the'r informants, we couldn't make cases with what they gave us," he said'. "But in the last year we've settled our differences." The C.I.A. was asked to join the campaign against narcoticS by President Nixan in 1971; but apparently ts agents in South America have never tak- en fully to the idea. One of the reasons given for the C.I.A.'s discontent it that while ager.c missions in South America ha ,e been given extra 'funds for narcotics work, they have not received addi- tional men, except in Argen- tina. Some drug enforcement agents said that he C.I.A. has helped them on several levels in South Ameriea, providing them with intelligence reports on the narcotics traffic in each country and on political power. structures, "If we want to oax a fugitive trafficker to a third country to expel him to the States, one narcotics agant explained, "they can tell us if he's got enough pull in that country to beat us there." Effort Is hripaired The drug agency's effort was impaired earlier 1 this \'ear, however, when it ackaowledged that it had hired 5a former C.I.A. agents. The disclosure upset many South American officials, who maintained that it would be imposible to tell narcotics agents from spies. As a result, Mr. Bartels said, the agency has 'fond resistance in tryine to open four neva offices in South America�two in Colombia and two in Brazil �which were considered nea cessary for adeqjaate coverage of the continent. Mr. Bartels said that none of the former C.I.A. agents now with the agency is serving aS a drug enfoscemsnt agent in South America. , In an attempt to reassure South American officials, Mr. Sartels said he i tended to in- vite Latin narco ics agents tO come to the United States and work with his own men here. "We want them to see that'. we're not C.I.A. and that we don't mean narcotics camera- tion to be a 'one-way street,", he said. Intelligence Area Lags . Ironically, the brug Enforce, !nent � Administration effort in South America paobably needs improvement mott in an area that is the strength of the C.I.A. � intelligence gathering and coordination. For example, in the agency's regional head- Quarters in Caracas. only one staff member handles intel- ligence duties for all of South America. "We've had three more people svaiting tri go down for months, hut the C.I.A. furor has held us back," Mr. Barters said. � Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675 Narcotic Agent Living a Boyhood Dream In addition to enforcement efforts, American agencies in, Latin America are trying to fight narcotics through a vane-' ty of training and assistance programs. Over the last three years, the United States has provided an average of S22-mil- lion annually in grant assis- tance for fighting narcotics. The largest chunk of assis tance for narcotics control In Latin America�$12-million last year�has gone to Mexico re- flecting the high priority give, it-, Washington to diminishitre, the flow of Mexican heron to, the United Stataes. In South America. many of the narcotic's assistance pro; grams are tieing implemented by the Agency for International. Development. The agency oper- ates training classes for narcot- ics and customs police and arranges for material assistance� such as communications equip- ment, vehicles and weapons. Picking the Priority Still, the assistance programs and the enforcement efforts have not appreciably stemmed the flow of drugs to the United States. The hest way to stop the drug traffic, enforcement offi- cials believe, is to go after the major traffickers in their own countries. They point out that the co- caine traffic' in Chile and the heroin traffic in France were disrupted when major traffick- ers in those countries were either expelled or prosecuted. even when the e\ idence was gathered elsewhere. "As long as traffickers feel safe in their own countries," said Frank Macolini, the Drug Enforcement Administration's deputy regional director for. South America, "they're going to keep sending drugs to ours. From the time he was a young boy, the son of the local constable in the sleepy Texas town of Palacios, George Frangullie "always wanted to be a cop." Now, at 37 years old, he is the special agent in charge of the Federal Drug Enforce- ment Administration office in Santiago, Chile, and an iniportant component in the United States narcotics effort in Latin America. Mr. Frangullie is a man who clearly enjoys his work. But there have been prob- lems. He had an assistant, Charles Cecil, until eight months ago when 'Mr. Cecil and his wife were shot at while driving home from g movie. Mr. Cecil was trans- ferred to Colombia and now Mr. Frangullie must break in a new man. In addition, he must cope with the frustrations every Federal narcotics agent faces in Latin America. He has to maintain a low profile, stay on good terms with operatives from rival police forces and let local authori- ties make cases he has de- veloped. Nevertheless, Mr. Frangullie delights in trying to get around these prob- lems. "There are two ways to work as a cop." he says. "You can use traditional meth- ods or you can try to come up with new ideas." Transforms Situation Mr. Frangullie's skill in de- veloping new ideas has helped to transform the drug situation in Chile in the two years he has been posted there. Today most of the traffickers in Chile have either been expelled or have fled the country as a result of one of Mr. Frangullie's untraditional methods. Latin - American countries generally will not extradite their own nationals who have been indicted on drug viola- tions in the United States. 'But after the overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende in JIM, Mr. Fran- gullie found the situation there more "flexible." He discovered a loophole In the law through which he has so far threaded 19 major Chilean drug traffickers. As he tells it, "A friend of mine came to my office with the official gazette and showed me an article about a new law that had gone into ef- fect. It said that any person �alien or Chilean�who threatens the security of the state, can be expelled from Ihe country. "At 4 the next morning, it hit me that we could use that law to. expel major Chilean traffickers to the United States where they were under indictment. I had a meeting with the Minister of the In- terior and pointed out to him that profits from cocaine could be used ny radical groups to buy arms and am- munition. The minister said 'Go' and we chartered a Boe- ing 707 to take nine traffick- ers to New York." Mr. Frangullie and the six Chilean police officials who accompanied the traffickers found the ride an eventful one. Mr. Frangullie knew that most of ti* cases against these men had been devel- oped years before by Thomas Duggan, an experienced Fed- eral agent in New York who had since given up all hope of seeing them brought to justice. Mr. Frangullie arranged to have Mr. Duggan at the air- port in New York so he could see his face when the Chileans were brought off the plane. Most Traffickers Curbed Since then 10 more traf- fickers have been expelled to the United States from Chile under the same law and most of the remaining traffickers under indictment are believed to have fled the country in fear of meet- ing the same fate. The hard line taken against traffickers by the ruling jun- ta has made Mr. Frangullie's iob easier. "But I made good cases under Allende," he says. "I've received good cooperation ever since I got here." Mr. Frangullie spent two years in college before leav- ing to join the Houston police force. He found a tour of duty in the narcotics division so stimulating that he joined United States .Customs In 1964. Four years later he switched to the Federal Bu- reau of Narcotics and Danger- ous Drugs, which became the Drug Enforcement Admin- istration in 1973, the same year he was sent to Chile. His wife, Anita, whom he met in a Texas drugstore, has found it difficult raising two children�a boy of 11 and a girl of 6�in a foreign country. So Mr. Frangullie has asked for a stateside assignment at the end of the year. But as he talks about moving, it's clear he doesn't look forward to it. Approved for Release: 2020/08/17 CO2563675