MIKE LEVINE AND SOME BACKGROUND AND IMPORTANCE OF THE ISSUES:
FIRST TIME DRUG WAR CALLED A FRAUD BY DEA INSIDER
New York Times Bestseller “Deep Cover” was a fly-on-the-wall, inside story of a multinational 15 ton undercover cocaine deal, that relied on Mexican Military aid to smuggle the drugs into the United States. It was written to expose the hidden connection between the Mexican Drug Cartels, the Mexican Government and the US Government that came out into the open during the covert operation.
What was even more important to those of us taking part in the operation was the exposed evidence linking specific individuals and elements of our government with those responsible for the torture murder of DEA agent Enrique Kiki Camarena that screamed for mainstream media coverage and a congressional investigation. On its publication the book was so censored that it was voted by Bill Moyers Project Censored as one of “the ten most censored by mainstream media.” (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5GSyVoJMqc).
The hoped for media coverage never occurred and as well all know, if the media doesn’t make it real Congress is blind to it. Now, with the release of one of those responsible for the murder, perhaps that coverage and that investigation might actually happen. Your help is needed.
The following is a synopsized time-line rendition of what was exposed in “Deep Cover” followed by precise quotes from the book itself:
1. Operation Trifecta, a 15 ton undercover cocaine smuggling operation depended
on Mexican military logistics support in smuggling the drugs through Mexico into
the US. Mike Levine is assigned by DEA Headquarters as the lead undercover agent posing as a half Sicilian-Puerto Rican American Mafioso.
2. The deep cover negotiations progress to a deal with the Mexican military, which necessitated the okay of the incoming President of Mexico, Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The transactions were captured on hidden video.
Representing the Mexican Government was Pablo Giron a Salinas de Gortari protection agent and Mexican Army Colonel Jaime Carranza (in uniform). Some of the video is posted on YouTube. (see:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPAVXNFsic4).
Colonel Carranza is the grandson of ex Mexican president Venustiano Carranza. By the time this meeting goes down we have Carranza identified seven ways from Sunday as the real deal. Giron we have identified as a former DFS agent (Mexican CIA) and a lead member of the incoming president of Mexico’s protection unit..
3. With hidden camera rolling and a topographical map of Mexico laid out on a table, Carranza and I picked out the landing field where the first ton of cocaine would land and be aided, protected and refeuled by the Mexican military on its way to the US.
4. As Carranza studied the map he pointed out a specific area and said “this is
where we are training the Contras.”
5. Giron said(also on camera): “de Gortari is watching this transaction and that
if it goes through, he would promise my Mafia a wide open gateway from Mexico
into the US.”
6. This video was sent via overnight courier to AG Edwin Meece in Washington DC.
7. Undercover agents then go to Bolivia and review a half dozen jungle cocaine labs, taking samples from each. Approximately 30,000 kilos are observed ready to be loaded onto aircraft. The UC team then went to Mexico and observed Mexican troops under the command of Carranza and two other ranking Mexican military officials who were subsequently indicted, clearing a landing field for our drug plane due to land coming from Bolivia with the first if 15 tons. Fee to be paid in cash to Carranza: $1 million per ton.
8. As described in the book, The case suddenly and “mysteriously” starts to come
apart. We , the undercover team, learn that US Attorney General Meece had warned the AG of Mexico about arrests that were about to come down, literally blowing our cover. The AG of Mexico was one of our targets.
9. The warning came a little too late and the undercover team is able to arrest the Mexicans as well as the Bolivian sources of the drugs including the head of Bolivia’s national drug cartel “La Corporacion,” charging them with conspiracy.
10. As is detailed in the book, The Mexican government immediately claims that the DEA/Customs undercover team was dealing with imposters. DEA Mexico Country Attache Ed Heath and the US Ambassador Max Pilliod, incredibly, make statements to the press supporting the bogus claim… Pilliod, tries to make a joke of it, he tells the world press that “the US sting operation was stung” by imposters. Heath indicates the Carranza had been retired from the military since 1970 and had nothing to do with them.
11. Both DEA Attaché Heath and AmbassadorPilliod will actually testify for the defense. When in history have you ever heard of a US Ambassador and the top DEA agent in Mexico testifying for the DEFENSE of Bolivian Cartel leaders and corrupt Mexican government and military officials???
12. Over the next year during preparations for trial, our own investigation would reveal that not only did Heath know Carranza, but that he had had dinner with him and another high level Mexican government official to discuss “oversight of the control of prescription drugs in Mexico.”
13. At another dinner attended by Heath and Carranza during May, 1987, at around the same time Carranza was making the fifteen ton cocaine deal with our undercover team, Carranza had appeared with Colonel Mario Acosta Chapparo (associate of Angel Feliz Gallardo subsequently charged with the murder of DEA agent Camarena). The purpose of this meeting was pretty sensitive to allow a man you will later call an imposter to attend: It was to discuss “discreet methods of communications between Heath and Mexican Military Intelligence., with the aim of getting the military more involved in the fight against drugs.” (p.846 Deep Cover) (This at the same time Carranza, the alleged imposter,was making a deal with me for Mexican military aid in smuggling fifteen tons of cocaine into the US…. ) WTF, where is mainstream media?
13. The real kicker came when we learned that that Chaparro, the man who had introduced Heath to Carranza was also meeting with ANGEL FELIX GALLARDO, (partner of CARO QUINTERO), both arrested for orchestrating the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena.. Quoted directly from Deep Cover, p. 878:
“On April 12, 1989, Mexican police arrested Miguel Felix-Gallardo, believed to be the man who ordered Kiki Camarena’s murder. Gallardo, coincidentally, had been seen with General Chaparro, on May 13, 1987, the same month of his (Chaparro’s) meeting with Heath and Carranza. Coinciding with Chaparro’s arrest were the arrests of six “senior law-enforcement personnel accused of providing him with protection and intelligence.”82 Ed Heath was subsequently quoted in the press, lauding the Mexican government for its “cooperation” in the drug war.83”
Excerpt From: Levine, Michael. “Deep Cover.” Michael Levine, 1990. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.
Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/deep-cover/id622659812?mt=11
Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/deep-cover/id622659812?mt=11
Lawyer: Other Suspect in DEA Killing May Go Free
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN Associated Press
MEXICO CITY August 10, 2013 (AP)
Defense attorneys believe freedom is imminent for a second member of the trio of Mexican drug kingpins responsible for the 1985 slaying of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, one of the capo’s attorneys said Saturday. In the U.S., outrage grew over this week’s surprise decision to overturn Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero’s conviction in the notorious killing.
Caro Quintero walked free Friday after a federal court overturned his 40-year sentence in agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena’s kidnapping, torture and murder. The three-judge appeals court in the western state of Jalisco ordered Caro Quintero’s immediate release on procedural grounds after 28 years behind bars, saying he should have originally been prosecuted in state instead of federal court.
Also imprisoned in the Camarena case are Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, two of the founding fathers of modern Mexican drug trafficking, whose cartel based in the northwestern state of Sinaloa later split into some of Mexico’s largest drug organizations.
Fonseca Carrillo’s attorney, Jose Luis Guizar, said his team had filed an appeal based on the same procedural grounds used by Caro Quintero, and expected him to be freed within 15 days by a different court in Jalisco.
“The appeal is about to be resolved. We believe that the judges will stick to the law,” Guizar said. “Fonseca Carrillo should already be on the street. He should be at home. At its base, the issue is the same as Rafael’s. ”
He said he had not spoken to Felix Gallardo’s attorneys about their expectations for that case. Mexican officials did not respond to calls seeking comment Saturday.
Camarena’s murder escalated tensions between Mexico and the U.S. to perhaps their highest level in recent decades, with the Reagan administration nearly closing the border to exert pressure on a government with deep ties to the drug lords whose cartel operated with near impunity throughout Mexico.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Friday that it found the Mexican court’s decision to free Caro Quintero “deeply troubling,” but former DEA agents said they were pessimistic that the Obama administration would bring similar pressure to bear.
Nearly 20 years after the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S.-Mexico trade exceeds $1 billion a day. The two countries have worked closely against drug cartels over the last seven years, with the U.S. sending billions in equipment and training in exchange for wide access to Mexican law-enforcement agencies and intelligence.
The U.S. said little last year after Mexican federal police opened fire on a U.S. embassy vehicle, wounding two CIA officers in one of the most serious attacks on U.S. personnel since the Camarena slaying. Twelve police officers were detained in the case but there is no public evidence that the U.S. or Mexico pursued suspicions that the shooting was a deliberate attack by corrupt police working on behalf of organized crime.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of complaints about it but do we have a Department of Justice that’s going to stand up for this right now? I don’t think so,” said Edward Heath, who ran the DEA’s Mexico office during the Camarena killing. “Everybody’s happy, businesswise. Trade is fine, everybody is content.”
MEXICO CITY August 10, 2013 (AP)
President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in December, has been restricting U.S. access as part of a broader shift in Mexican law-enforcement strategy from taking down cartel chiefs to reducing daily violence, particularly extortion, kidnapping and homicide. That shift has raised doubts in Washington about Mexico’s ongoing commitment to fighting drug trafficking, doubts that grew stronger Saturday after Caro Quintero marked his second full day as a free man, with no public sign of his whereabouts.
The U.S. alleged as recently as June that Caro Quintero continued to run an extensive drug ring from behind bars, working with the Sinaloa cartel to move drugs and launder the proceeds through a string of front businesses.
Congressman Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat who closely follows Mexican politics, said Pena Nieto’s government appeared to have been caught off guard by the decision to free Caro Quintero, but the capo’s liberation was nonetheless a blow to relations with Washington.
“We’ve been asking Mexico to follow the rule of law and I don’t know if this exactly the rule of law that they’re following,” he said. “There should have been some sort of heads up notice that this was going to happen.
“I hope this is not a foreshadowing of what might be coming in from this administration,” Cuellar said. “I don’t think so but the appearance doesn’t look very good right now for U.S.-Mexico relations.”
Alejandro Hope, a security analyst and former member of Mexico’s domestic intelligence service, said he had met Friday with members of the Mexico’s Interior Department, which oversees most law-enforcement issues.
“They claimed to have been surprised, to have been blindsided by the judicial decision,” he said.
Either way, Caro Quintero’s release pales in importance next to the detention last month of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, head of the ruthless Zetas cartel, Hope said.
The arrest of the man known as Z-40 was publicly praised by President Barack Obama as a sign of Mexico’s seriousness about fighting drug cartels.
“Caro Quintero is the past,” Hope said. “Z-40 was the clear and present danger.”
The Wednesday ruling for Caro Quintero remained secret for two days, the Department of Justice said, with the U.S. learning about it Friday morning about the same time as the news media, hours after Caro Quintero left prison.
“The retired agents that I have spoken to are extremely upset,” said Joe Gutensohn, president of the U.S. Association of Former Federal Narcotics Agents. “They consider this just another slap in the face for our efforts to stem the drug trade in Mexico.”
Mexico’s attorney-general said the Jalisco court had “completely ignored” Supreme Court precedent in dismissing the case instead of referring it back to the state courts. Attorney-General Jesus Murillo Karam said he would get involved in the case but offered no specifics.
Mark Stevenson, Adriana Gomez Licon and Olga R. Rodriguez contributed.
Michael Weissenstein on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mweissenstein
Release of drug lord linked to murder of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena angers ex-DEA officials
By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times
Posted: 08/10/2013 12:11:47 AM MDT
Enrique “Kiki” Camarena
Lawyer: Another suspect in killing of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena may go free
1999: Slain DEA agent is remembered
2006: How an agent died: DEA veteran details Camarena’s last days
Mexico drug kingpin Caro Quintero ordered released
Drug lords Ernesto “Don Neto” Fonseca and Rafael Caro Quintero sentenced in death of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena
Friday’s surprising release of an alleged Mexican drug kingpin linked to the 1985 kidnapping, torture and killing of U.S. federal agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena angered former Drug Enforcement Administration officials who knew the slain agent.
A Mexican judge ordered the release of Rafael Caro-Quintero, who had served 28 years of a 40-year sentence in the brutal death of Camarena, 37.
The Reporter: Diana Washington Valdez
The release drew immediate outrage from Camarena’s colleagues and associates and raised concern from the DEA, which promised to continue to work to have Caro-Quintero face charges in the U.S.
“The U.S. government should request his extradition. It’s a travesty of justice that Rafael Caro-Quintero, 58, is being released at this time under the pretext that he should not have been tried in a Mexican federal court because he was not a diplomat or consular officer,” said Phil Jordan, former director of the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center. “DEA agents are attached to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico and answer directly to the U.S. ambassador, and therefore they have consular protection.”
James Kuykendall, former DEA agent and a colleague of Camarena’s, agreed with Jordan. “Caro-Quintero was released at 2 a.m. (Friday),” said Kuykendall, author of a book about Camarena’s murder “¿O Plata O Plomo? (Silver or Lead?). “I am saddened by the actions of this so-called tribunal. ‘Kiki’ was recognized as a diplomat by the Mexican government and was a member of the consulate family in Guadalajara.
The comments made to justify the ruling are obviously just that, a justification,”
said Kuykendall, who was the DEA’s field agent in charge in Guadalajara when Camarena was abducted, “This is a sad day for justice.”
According to Mexico City’s Reforma newspaper, a Mexican judge in Jalisco state granted Caro-Quintero an “amparo,” which is similar to a writ of habeas corpus, and overturned his conviction of masterminding Camarena’s slaying. The judge ordered his release on grounds that he should have been tried by a state court and not by a federal court.
Jordan said that Caro-Quintero will become a “significant, prominent player in the drug business in Mexico but he cannot replace Chapo Guzman (the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel).”
In a statement Friday, U.S. officials said, “The Drug Enforcement Administration was deeply troubled to learn of the decision by a Mexican court to release infamous drug trafficker Rafael Caro-Quintero from a Mexican prison. Caro-Quintero had been serving a 40 year prison sentence in connection with the kidnapping, torture and murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in February 1985. Caro-Quintero was the mastermind and organizer of this atrocious act.
We are reminded every day of the ultimate sacrifice paid by Special Agent Camarena and DEA will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure Caro-Quintero faces charges in the United States for the crimes he committed.”
Caro-Quintero served 28 years of a 40-year sentence, and the Mexican court ruled that he will not have to serve any more time in prison on drug-related charges.
Camarena, who was a DEA special agent based in Guadalajara, was investigating the massive Rancho Bufalo marijuana-growing operation in 1984 in the state of Chihuahua before he was kidnapped and killed, officials said.
Jordan said the raid on the ranch, which was near Jimenez, Chihuahua, resulted in losses of millions of dollars for the Caro-Quintero organization.
“I saw Kiki in Guadalajara nine months before his death,” Jordan said. “I mentioned to him then that we were being followed by four men packing .45 caliber pistols. Almost nonchalantly, Kiki said they were DFS (Federal Security Directorate intelligence) officers who were reporting our movements to the drug cartel. I rode with him in his pickup truck, the same one he was kidnapped from.
“Kiki was a hell of an agent, and seemed unafraid,” Jordan said. “Nine months later, I was the DEA special agent in charge for Dallas helping to investigate his murder.”
Jordan said the doctor who was accused of keeping Camarena awake with drugs during the agent’s torture session after the kidnapping “was brought across the U.S. border through El Paso.” The Mexican doctor was acquitted because the U.S. court determined that he had been transported forcibly across the border through irregular means, something which elicited strong protests from the Mexican government.
Among other things that U.S. officials said were done to torture Camarena was drilling a hole in his head with a screwdriver, Kuykendall said the United States managed to obtain an audiotape recording of the torture session.
U.S. officials have identified Caro-Quintero as a drug kingpin with ties to Juárez cartel members, including Jesus “Azul” Ezparragoza, who formerly worked with the late Juárez drug baron Amado Carrillo Fuentes before moving over to work with Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel.
The DEA on its website (dea.gov) still lists Caro-Quintero as one of its most wanted fugitives in the kidnapping and murder of a federal agent, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, aiding and abetting, and accessory after the fact. The DEA said he is also wanted for alleged possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, murder, and continuing criminal enterprise.
In June, the U.S. Treasury Department designated relatives and other associates of Caro-Quintero as targets under the Kingpin Act, freezing their assets and banning anyone from doing business with them.
Pending charges in the United States indicate that it’s possible for the U.S. to petition his extradition.
“Caro-Quintero was the masterminded behind the kidnapping and murder of (DEA Special Agent) Enrique Camarena in 1985,” according to the U.S. treasury department’s website, treasury.gov. “Caro-Quintero is also wanted in the Central District of California on criminal charges related to the kidnapping and murder of Camarena as well as drug trafficking.”
Caro-Quintero “is a significant Mexican narcotics trafficker who began his criminal career in the late 1970s when he and others, including (Esparragoza) formed the Guadalajara drug cartel and amassed an illicit fortune,” U.S. treasury officials said.
Camarena, a former U.S. Marine, and his reconnaissance pilot, Alfredo Zavala, were abducted on Feb. 7, 1985. Their bodies were discovered March 5, 1985, in clandestine graves.
The agent’s death inspired the national Red Ribbon Week campaign that seeks to reduce drug abuse and violence. The DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center at Fort Bliss was dedicated in Camarena’s memory.
His slaying led to tensions in the U.S.-Mexico diplomatic relationship, as DEA officials complained then that Mexico was foot-dragging the investigation.
No one at the Enrique Camarena Foundation in California was available Friday for comment.
Rafael Caro-Quintero’s brother, Miguel Caro-Quintero, leader of the former Sonora cartel, was extradited to the United States in 2009 and sentenced in 2010 to 17 years in prison for various drug-trafficking charges.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@elpasotimes.