Two weeks after the
exclusively reported suspicious connections between the owners of the two
American-registered planes busted with multi-ton loads of cocaine during the
past 18 months on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, the Mexican Attorney General
confirmed that both planes were used by the same smuggling operation.
In coordinated raids Thursday
on Casa de Cambio Puebla SA, a country-wide network of currency
exchanges, many located at airports, squads of heavily-armed Mexican Federal
Police took more than 70 people into custody, targeting a ring they said used
laundered money to buy airplanes to smuggle drugs, Mexico's Attorney General's
Office said in a news release.
Nabbed in the raid was
Pedro Alfonso Alatorre Damy, identified by authorities as the major
money launderer for Mexico’s Pacific Cartel, sometimes called the
Sinaloa Cartel, as well as the New Federation, run
by fugitive Mexican kingpin Juan “Shorty” Guzman.
Both the DC9 airliner
(N900SA) busted with 5.5 tons of cocaine 18 months ago and the Gulfstream II
(N987SA) business jet which crash-landed with 4 tons of cocaine had been
purchased by Alatorre with laundered drug money from his
“Cambio de Pueblo” currency exchanges, said a statement Friday from
Mexico’s Attorney General Office.
Alatorre, alias El Piri,
was arrested moments after attempting to wire $2.7 million into an account at
Harris Bank in Chicago, apparently to buy more planes. In addition to
that account, 23 accounts at the Wachovia Bank of Miami containing $11
million were frozen by U. S. authorities.
partner in the Casa de Cambio of Puebla exchanges, according to several
Mexican newspapers, is Jose Ramon Gutierrez de Velasco, former mayor of
Vera Cruz and close political associate of former Mexican President
Meet the "Usual Suspects"
unanswered by the
raids in Mexico is whether anyone will suffer any consequences on the American
of the border. The DEA's operative assumption may be that the
Sinaloa Cartel was buying its jets on Ebay. Perhaps the cartel is distributing it
retail as well, using vendors who sell usually oranges at freeway onramps.
Otherwise, with no arrests of
the question of where the hell are the American drug lords may arise yet again, though
not, of course, in major American newspapers.
what can already be discerned
about the evolving cast of characters indicates another reunion of the
They've almost all been here
Representing Casa de Cambio
in Miami, for example, is famed “white powder”
attorney Frank Rubino, a former Secret Service
agent who once protected Richard M. Nixon in Key Biscayne, Fl., then later the lawyer
for Medellin kingpin Carlos
Lehder. Most recently he has been the chief lawyer for Panamanian strongman Manuel
"At least $ 11 million of
Noriega's fortune came from U.S. intelligence agencies," Rubino stated during the
trial. “He dealt directly with the CIA, the NSA (National Security Agency) and
Maybe he's negotiating a book
deal for ol' Pineapple Face, set to come out after Bush Junior leaves office. In
the face of such massive corruption, that may be small compensation.
But then small compensation is
better than none.
"On hangers, no starch, check for spots."
Bank in Chicago, to which Alatorre was wiring funds when he was arrested, has
been here before, too.
According to a February 06, 2001 Associated Press report,
the bank “has been named by congressional investigators as being among some of
the top U.S. financial institutions helping drug dealers and organized crime
launder as much as US $500-billion a year, mostly through links with 4,000
offshore rogue banks."
A Senate subcommittee chaired
by Senator Carl Levin, who headed a year-long money laundering probe, accused Harris Bank of
being a 'significant gateway' for laundered money through correspondent
accounts, or relationships with banks operating in tax havens outside the United
The bank had been linked to a paper company involved in financial fraud called “Hanover Bank of
Antigua,” run by PR man with no banking experience whose sole banking credential
appeared to be his service as a public relations advisor to former Irish prime
minister Charles Haughey.
Da planes! Da planes!
Then there are the
American-registered drug-running airplanes, with their manifold
connections to U.S. political leaders and intelligence agencies, as
a continuing series of reports in the
MadCowMorningNews have shown.
The DC9 airliner, dubbed Cocaine One
because it was painted to be indistinguishable from official U.S. Government
planes from the Dept. of Homeland Security, belonged to a company which received
an unexplained investment from
San Diego defense contractor Titan Corp.,
to cite one example among many.
The DC9 airliner was also used,
without reimbursement, during the first-time
Senatorial campaign of Florida Republican Senator Mel Martinez, who until
recently was President George W Bush’s handpicked chairman of the national
The Gulfstream II business
jet, which some immediately dubbed Cocaine Two, was named
in a European EU
Commission investigation as one of the CIA planes involved in extraordinary
renditions. Even if it didn't, evidence indicating it was a U.S.
Government plane is its at-least several flights through highly-restricted airspace
to the highly-secure U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay,
Mexico on at least two previous occasions, though no record of dates of
departure or destination could be found. This fits Mexican journalists' reports of being
denied routine access to airport logs in Cancun to show the plane's previous flights.
The EU investigation
reportedly logged 794 flights by the Gulfstream
between November 17, 2001 and
December 25, 2005.
It flew in the United
States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Czech Republic, Iceland and
Ireland, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Jamaica, Virgin
Islands, Guadeloupe Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Aruba, Santo
Tomás, the Bahamas, Santa Lucia, Hawaii, Bermuda and Cancún.
2" clearly got
during this time period, the plane was owned, at least on paper, by a New
York company owned by a Russian immigrant with reported ties to
top-level Russian Mobsters, according to the New York Post, as well as a
George W. Bush Ranger
who personally bought over $1 million of billboard ads for Bush during his 2000
Presidential election bid, which was a
fact that the plane has had an impressive list politically well-connected recent owners is, no doubt, merely
coincidental with the recent discovery of 4 tons of cocaine in the passenger
Otherwise someone would have been charged
with a crime by now. And all that is heard officially, in regards to this
matter, is a deathly silence.
Waterboarding the Water pilots?
sequence of events began when a DC9 was busted by Mexican soldiers after landing
under suspicious circumstances at a rural airport in Campeche after a flight
from Venezuela on April 10, 2006. According to Mexican officials, the
flight originated in Colombia.
Two pilots of Mexico’s
National Water Commission (Conagua)
Fernando Poot Perez and
Marco Aurelio Perez de Gracia,
were arrested during the seizure of more than five
tons of cocaine after loitering around the tiny rural airport trying to look
inconspicuous in their Falcon business jet while awaiting the arrival of the
The investigation which followed revealed a network of
money-laundering for the cartel headed by Joaquín El Chapo Guzman,
the Mexican Attorney General's statement said.
Then, six weeks ago, on Sept
24th, a Gulfstream II was caught after
a late-night flight from the Medellin International Airport in Rio Negro. After
the plane was denied permission to land at the Cancun Airport, it circled over
the Yucatan peninsula until just after dawn, then crash-landed, breaking into
thre pieces, in a field outside the Yucatan capital of Merida.
No one was apparently injured
in the crash, and the crew and passengers were gone by the time Mexican military
helicopters arrived on the scene.
El Chapo: Mexico's Pablo Escobar?
arrest of his top money
launderer is the second blow to the organization headed by Joaquin "El
Chapo" Guzman in a week. In our next story we will discuss the astonishing
changes underway in the Mexican drug trafficking hierarchy.
Outgoing DEA administrator
Karen Tandy crowed that, for hapless drug traffickers, it was a "perfect
By this she means to
indicate that Mexico's major recent seizures point to a corner being turned in
the decades-long drug war.
In truth, it is
a perfect storm, one which offers an excellent opportunity to blow away some
cobwebs from the picture of the Drug War which federal officials have been
painting all these years to an increasingly-skeptical American public.
In coming days the
MadCowMorningNews will release the results of our
investigation into the people responsible for these two drug smuggling
American-registered aircraft, who are members of a network which we will trace
all the way back to Barry Seal, in an unbroken succession of
officially-sanctioned American Drug Lords, who snort with derision at the
concept of Equal Justice Under Law.
In all modesty, some of what
we've discovered should have long been obvious to even the meanest of
Lucky for us, we've
got a mean intelligence.