The scandal surrounding two
CIA-connected drug planes which flew from St. Petersburg-Clearwater
International Airport to South America before being busted in Mexico on
the way back with multi-ton loads of cocaine grew more serious last week..
A pilot arrested while awaiting the ill-fated landing in Mexico of the DC9
airliner carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine committed suicide by hanging himself...
with his socks, in the maximum security Altiplano prison facility
outside Mexico City.
of Marco Antonio Perez Gracia is just the latest to be blamed on
the scandal surrounding the DC9 (N900SA) airliner, as well as a Gulfstream
II (N987SA) business jet which crash-landed and broke into three pieces in
September in Mexico, spilling 4 tons of cocaine across a muddy field 25 km
Perez Gracia was in a Falcon
business jet belonging to his employer, the Government of Mexico's Water
Commission when he was arrested 18 months ago, waiting for the cargo-laden DC9 to land for "emergency
repairs" at a small rural airport in Mexico's Yucatan.
Recently assassinated on his
way to work was the Director of Civil Aviation in the Yucatan, Jose Luis
Soladana Ortiz. Earlier that same day three tortured bodies were
discovered alongside a road near the Merida airport.
Also Martin Gomez Soto, a
traffic controller at Cancun International Airport, abducted a month ago,
and now presumed dead.
Potemkin Villages: A mind-share time-share
developments last week began to poke huge holes in the hastily-constructed
story behind the two massive drug seizures, revealing a cardboard quality, a
Potemkin Village-like false front.
One example: an FAA source
confirmed to the MadCowMorningNews this week, that neither of the two
“aircraft brokers” through whose hands the drug running planes are said
to have passed (or been laundered) before their ill-fated
drug trafficking flights, had bought or sold any other planes at all
during the past year.
Buying and selling airplanes
is, by definition, what an aircraft broker does.
So an aircraft broker that
only buys planes that fly drugs begins rather quickly to look like a front for
drug traffickers, and, if he is charged with no crime, like someone being
“protected” by the very officials charged with bringing people just like him to
The Gulfstream II which
crash-landed in Mexico with four tons of cocaine was the only plane this
supposed “aircraft broker” bought or sold all year.
Blue Aircraft isn't an aircraft broker. It's a dummy front company.
The two Brazilian principals
in the company, Joao Luiz Malago and Eduardo Dias Guimaraes, the FAA source told
us, haven’t purchased or sold any planes in their own names either.
And the DC9 supposedly
“bought” by California aircraft broker George Corrales was his only aircraft
transaction of the year.
Scratch the surface of the
official story, and “there’s no ‘there’ there.”
Same old story: A Fox in the Henhouse
Gregory D. Smith, one
of two Fort Lauderdale FL charter pilots left holding the bag as the last
registered owners of the Gulfstream II business jet (Cocaine Two) busted
in Mexico with 4 tons of cocaine,
worked for the CIA and DEA as a pilot during the late 1990’s Narco
News reported last week.
Smith had, indeed, been a
CIA/DEA pilot, confirmed a long-time aviation executive at Fort Lauderdale
But flying for the DEA
wasn’t all Greg Smith was doing.
At the same time Smith was
flying luxury jets to Colombia for the CIA and DEA,
the MadCowMorningNews has learned,
he was also a partner in a company
called Hollywood Trenz, with a con man named Ed Showalter,
who was, just then, stealing millions from investors in a company for
which Smith was a director.
An ethical dilemma? Probably
Pilot Smith was
one of only three directors of Hollywood Trenz. Showalter raised
millions of dollars to build an ill-fated chain of high-tech family
entertainment centers... that never opened.
Glen and Brent Kovar at
SkyWay Aircraft never had a product either.
Showalter was allowed to defraud unsuspecting shareholders over and over
Glen and Brent Kovar, at SkyWay Aircraft, owners of the DC9, the 'other' CIA
Showalter was a
Teflon-coated con artist whose securities fraud playbook seems strikingly
similar to that of the owners of the SkyWay Aircraft DC9 caught
eighteen months ago with 5.5 tons of cocaine.
While sticking it to the
company he and Greg Smith owned, Showalter was already on probation for a felony
conviction for grand theft, which seems to show a certain lack of contrition on
his part. And he's been accused of felony fraud at least three times by
the SEC without ever gong to jail.
Exactly like Brent and Glen Kovar and their henchmen at SkyWay Aircraft—owners of
the the DC9, the ‘other’ CIA drug plane, Showalter stole millions from unsuspecting shareholders through frank,
outright, and most of all, unpunished fraud.
A Homeland Security License to Steal?
and Brent Kovar stole millions, too. The
figure $43 million has been suggested to approximate the amount this father-son
team stole from SkyWay investors, backers, and employees.
After Hollywood Trenz,
Showalter dabbled in stock fraud in two companies in California, High Park
Investment Group, Inc., and Harbor Financial Investment. Investors and
shareholders never knew what hit them, and by the time these two “entities” had
been disappeared, Showalter was ensconced in a mansion in San Clemente Ca.
A California federal judge
in 2006 guessed he made as much as $20 million.
either of the Kovars, to our knowledge, been troubled by law enforcement.
opportunity to get into financial crime and escape unscathed open
to the general public?
Does being connected to
a CIA plane come with a license to steal?
Two CIA drug planes share interlocking ownership
Like pilot Greg Smith and Hollywood Trenz, SkyWay
Aircraft was not a real business, either, in the sense of being a
company engaging in commerce and selling a product for profit.
The company didn’t have one.
Instead, they boasted
a nearly worthless patent that a court last month—citing criminal intent—ruled
belonged to another company, Satellite Access Systems.
Glenn Kovar and his son,
Brent Kovar, who ran SkyWay as Chairman and President, respectively, earlier ran
Satellite Access Systems (SAS). The scam was amazingly similar to SkyWay, with
the same result: investors losing millions of dollars.
With no apparent fear of
legal consequence, Bernie Kovar, and his father, Glen Kovar, who often
boasted of working for the CIA, blithely stole $40 million from shareholders
in SkyWay Aircraft in St. Petersburg, FL.
The Kovars were notorious
scamsters who had “busted out” (stripped of value) and bankrupted several public
companies before getting to SkyWay.
They appear to have
something like "official
If it was thee
or me, we'd be in jail.
As we will see in our
next story, the are so brazen and unconcerned that they've even admitted
under oath that their aviation venture SkyWay Aircraft was a fraud.
They've said so themselves.
The San Diego Connection, Again
they had "help" from their "friends" at San
Diego defense giant Titan Corp.
San Diego is on the other side of the country from Miami, where SkyWay
was brought to life.
Yet Titan made a big early investment ($70,000) in a company without enough
money on its balance sheets to pay for paper clips.
SkyWay also got money from
Argyll Equities. Argyll became SkyWay's second
leading shareholder. Another one of Argyll’s clients—they only had three—was Jose
Serrano Segovia, a Mexican industrialist accused in published reports of
involvement in drug trafficking, and of passing on Argyll’s
investment in his company as a loan to a major Chilean drug trafficker with whom
Serrano was in business.
Argyll, with offices in Austin and
La Jolla, seems well on the way towards becoming the first investment bank offering specialty financing
to drug traffickers, which "might could" be a pretty sweet market
"No law to keep it from happening"
The Tampa Tribune
reported several weeks ago that St. Petersburg-Clearwater
International Airport is a focus of an international investigation into the
purchase of airplanes by a Mexican drug cartel.
Now, from FOX News, of all
places, we learn the fact that Mexican drug lords have been buying jets at the
local airport has greatly disturbed some residents of St. Petersburg, Florida.
“You want to know what's
going in and what's going out and when you're not keeping track, anything
can happen,” reproved Tamara Jackson in an interview with the local FOX
Another angry local
resident, sounding outraged at the clear implications of the story, told FOX, “They
screen every passenger, but they don't screen smugglers who want to buy entire
Local residents showed
surprising sophistication about the legal loopholes necessary to ensure the
smooth distribution network possible in the U.S.
“Private plane brokers rent
space at the public airport, and sell jets for profit. Mexican police say
members of the Sinaloa drug cartel showed up with money and made off with jets,”
stated the FOX report.
The Loophole of the Century Award to...
“The airport director said
it's not his job to scrutinize his tenants. The FAA said it's not their job
either. Homeland Security also does not police who buys and sells private jets
at our public airports. Neither does the Transportation Security Agency.”
“They make you take your
jacket off, they make you take your belt off. They make you take almost
everything off, yet we can have a major drug dealer right in our own back yard,”
fumed Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni.
“And there is no law
to stop this from happening.”
Missing from the FOX report
was any awareness that the fact that “there is no law to stop this from
happening” may not be entirely an accident. Somebody (or something) really
powerful wants it that way.
week’s revelations provide further proof of CIA and DEA involvement, not just
with the planes, but with at least one of the pilots as well.
While fleeing the U.S. for
sunnier climes with, ironically, less heat, Fort Lauderdale pilot Clyde
O’Connor, was recently busted in Canada on weapons charges. Freed in Canada
after paying a fine, O’Connor made for the Azores.
He recently sold his
personal plane there, the MadCowMorningNews has learned. Current whereabouts:
Hanging with Mark Foley at the Lying Low Hotel
One place to look, we
suggest, would be wherever they whisked Republican Congressman Mark Foley away
to the moment the page scandal began to break last year.
Private lodgings. The Lying
O’Connor and his fellow Fort
Lauderdale pilot Greg Smith, of course, first gained notoriety as the last
registered owners of the Gulfstream II business jet which crash-landed in Mexico
two months ago laden with four tons of cocaine.
Now lying in three pieces in
a field 25 km outside the Yucatan capital of Merida, the Gulfstream (N987SA) was
previously reported to have been used to fly CIA rendition flights to Guantanamo
The Yucatan is fast-becoming
the drug route of choice that it was during the heyday of drug trafficking in
the 1980’s, when it was known as the “Trampoline.”
The region’s location
roughly halfway between Colombia and the United States made it ideal as a place
for twin-engine private planes to land and refuel before “bouncing” back into
the air for the last leg of the journey to Florida.
The Sound of 50 Gay Republican Senators...
Twice during the past 18 months Mexican officials have stumbled upon one of
America’s big dark secrets, when two American planes with confirmed connections
to the CIA were busted there, carrying between four and five-and-a-half tons of
What people with (at least
implied) connections to American intelligence were caught doing is, to the War
on Drugs, what Abu Ghraib was to the War in Iraq.
The story reminds us that two million people in this country are
apparently in jail for
dealing small amounts of what American covert operatives feel comfortable
bringing in by the ton.
It is disheartening and
despicable. And it reeks of hypocrisy.
American drug policy is
like a men's room-full of Republican Senators, all running their hand
suggestively back and forth beneath the bathroom stalls at once, while
assuming that Republican "wide stance" that Senator Craig talked about.
“So, um, do you, ah... come