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Barry & 'The Boys'

The story of Barry Seal is America's secret history... Based on a 3-year long investigation, Daniel Hopsicker discovered the 'secret history' the American Press was afraid to tell: Barry Seal, the most successful drug smuggler in American history, was also a lifelong CIA agent.
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 NEW!! 5.24
Hopsicker on
Dave Emory
"Tons & Tons of Coke"

also with Dave:
"Barry & 'the boys'"


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Oct 18, 2007
by Daniel Hopsicker

A pilot accused of owning the Gulfstream business jet (N987SA) which broke in two and crash-landed in the Mexican Yucatan carrying nearly 4 tons of cocaine has denied being the true owner of the drug-running airplane, the MadCowMorningNews can report exclusively.  

Greg Smith, one of two pilots in Fort Lauderdale Florida who have been accused of owning the plane, denies any connection with the plane.

“Who owned drug plane that crashed in Mexico?” asked the headline of Jay Root and Kevin Hall’s September 27, 2007 story in the McClatchy Newspapers, the first U.S. report of the incident.  

The question has been met with stony silence by U.S. authorities, and remains unanswered, marking the second time in the past 18 months an American-registered aircraft carrying a multi-ton load of cocaine has been interdicted in Mexico... with no subsequent action taken by U.S. authorities against the American owners of the drug-running aircraft.

The war on drugs is a war on some drugs.

While more than three weeks has elapsed since the American-registered airplane’s  crash-landing, there has still been no official word on indictments, arrests, or even a determination from aviation officials of who exactly owned the plane that crashed in a field 45 kilometers outside Merida International Airport shortly after dawn on September 25th

A list of questions sent last week to the FAA's media contact, Kathleen Bergin, remains unanswered.  If you'd like to assist our government in understanding it's role in serving the people, please write her (kathleen.bergin@faa.gov)  to remind her of her promise to respond. 

However a phone call to Jeannette Moran, the DEA’s Miami media contact, did produce this just-before-deadline voicemail response:

“I know you’re asking about the Gulfstream in the Yucatan, I do not know who has that case, or if it’s a DEA case, I don’t know which division it might be out of... So I really cant help you with that, and I apologize. If you need anything else give me a call.”

This encapsulates the situation perfectly. When a bank robber steals a few thousand dollars before holing up with a hostage, does the FBI take three weeks before divulging the name of the suspect?

But cases involving politically-connected American drug smugglers,  ferrying multi-ton loads of dope worth hundreds of millions of dollars, are treated as matters of the highest national security.

Meaning: don't bother to ask... 

But while U.S. officials aren’t talking, one of the two pilots at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport accused of owning the Gulfstream business jet told an aviation executive this week that the money to purchase the plane came from the owner of a jet charter business at the airport, where he sometimes works as a contract pilot.

Considered "most likely to go down"

According to the McClatchy report, Pilot Greg Smith’s signature is on the  FAA transfer of registration documents, along with that of fellow pilot Clyde O’Connor.

Both pilots refused to talk to the media. Understandably, both are feeling the pressure.  O'Connor was apprehended carrying firearms into Canada over the weekend while fleeing the U.S. for sunnier climes, in his case, the Azores.

The two men are among those considered most likely to take the fall for owning the plane when it was caught carrying 4 tons of cocaine, along with Brazilians Joao Malaga and Eduardo Dias Guimaraes, who were, according to FAA registration documents in our possession, the last registered owners of the plane.   

When news of the plane’s discovery with a multi-ton load of cocaine became public, the Brazilians immediately began asserting to reporters that they had already sold the plane to Smith and O’Connor. 

Verifying their claim has proven impossible to date.  

The Brazilian men are alleged to be aircraft brokers. But their "company," Donna Blue Aircraft, as we saw last week, is a paper entity.  And just like the supposed aircraft broker in California to whom St Petersburg Florida’s Frederic Geffon claims he sold the DC9 airliner caught with 5.5 tons of coke in the Yucatan 18 months ago, the men and their firm have no track record of purchasing and selling aircraft, which is what aircraft brokers do. 

"Not likely to have $2 million anytime soon"

An aviation executive in frequent contact with Smith—the only one who hasn't yet fled the country—agreed to contact him for us to ask about the incident and get his comment on the situation.

Asked how he was, Smith allowed that he was doing good…considering.

“I’m having my ups and down,” Smith admitted, sounding a little morose. “You probably heard, I had a bit of an accident in Mexico.” 

The executive tried to lighten the mood. “Are you good enough to loan me two million dollars? I hear you’ve come into quite a bit of money.”  

The reference is to the statement to authorities by Brazilian Joao Malaga of Donna Blue Aircraft (d/b/a), that the men had paid him $2 million in cash to purchase the Gulfstream. 

Malago’s statement was greeted with derision by insiders at the airport who know the men, neither considered anywhere near wealthy.  

“Smith’s a good pilot, and dependable, and I never thought twice about hiring him to fly a charter for me,” one aviation business manager at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport told us. 

“Except I had to be sure to always front him money for expenses, or I’d get phone calls from the backside of nowhere telling me they didn’t have enough money to gas up the plane to fly home.”

Confession is good for the soul.

"The boys' history, we learned while writing “Barry & the boys:’ The CIA, the Mob, and America’s Secret History, is our history.

When, in turn, Seal himself got in trouble, his Lear jet (N13SN) went back to its true owner: the CIA’s Paul Helliwell, called the "CIA's paymaster at the Bay of Pigs,” through a Cayman front company he controlled called Intercontinental Holding. 

Helliwell’s storied spook career, too illustrious and shady to recap here, included founding The Bank of World Commerce in the Bahamas,  where CIA and Mob money flowed into secret numbered accounts by the billions-- Lansky money, most of it -- and then out again to the International Credit Bank of Switzerland before returning to the U.S. for reinvestment.

Oh well. Imagine how Ferdinand Marcos felt

Terror flight school owner Wally Hilliard didn't get his drug-running Lear jet out of the ads in Trade-a-Plane,  either.

Hilliard's Lear was confiscated with 43 pounds of heroin onboard at the Orlando Executive Airport in July 2000,  coincidentally (or not!) the same month that Mohamed Atta arrived to attend his flight school.

We are looking at a monster from the deep.

Beneath the surface of the story of the latest American-registered drug-running airplane whose American owner is going unpunished lies corruption on such a massive scale that the only rational response appears to be a boogie board, some suntan oil, and an extra large pitcher of margaritas.













"Threats of law suits against journalists have become the hallmark of the Bush administration in a not too clever tactic used to silence independent media in the U.S.  -Wayne Madsen






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