From Tampa to Timbuktu…The American Drug lords in the news

geffon2uyThe American owner of record of the DC9 airliner  from St Petersburg busted in Mexico carrying an astonishing 5.5 tons of cocaine was the subject of a drug trafficking investigation back in 1995, we have learned.

According to a DEA report on the DC9 sent to Venezuela’s National Anti-Drug Office,  Frederic Geffon was investigated by US Customs in Tampa, Florida in 1995, after being identified as an aircraft-broker-dealer working with drug traffickers.

Frederic J. GEFFON DOB: 08.02.1948, home address 10316 Paradise Blvd, Treasure Island, Florida, was the subject of an investigation by US Customs in Tampa, Florida in 1995,” stated a DEA report on the highly-publicized DC9 incident in the Yucatan to Luis Correa, the Director of Venezuela’s National Anti-Drug Office.“GEFFON was identified in 1995 as an aircraft-broker-dealer working with drug traffickers."

Despite the fact that he was no stranger to Federal law enforcement, Geffon was never charged with any crime.  Similar government action—or inaction—occurred with respect to a second figure in the ill-fated DC9 drug move, this time in Mexico.

After being taken into custody, the pilot of the DC9, Carmelo Vasquez Guerra, was—inexplicably and with no explanation—quietly released by Mexican authorities.

When it comes to this particular drug trafficking organization, DTO for short, both nation's apparently have an official policy amounting to “Catch and Release.”

Something fishy this way comes

roguecsThe powerful American-led global cartel exposed when a DC9 from St Petersburg Florida was busted in Mexico in April of 2006 carrying an astonishing 5.5 tons of cocaine has been making news from Tampa to Timbuktu.

Since losing the DC9 and its 5.5-ton cargo, The Organization has been responsible for:

Precipitating, according to UN officials, a violent coup in the West African nation of Guinea Bissau, called Africa’s first narco-state.

A Boeing 727 airliner discovered burning the middle of the Sahara, torched after delivering 10 tons of cocaine onto an improvised runway of dirt and hardened sand.

And an official from the Dept. of Homeland Security in Timbuktu, who raised the alarm earlier this year with a claim that Al Qaeda was behind the recent surge of drug trafficking through Africa.

The drug plane cited as proof (SEE PICTURE ABOVE) that Al Qaeda was moving into African drug trafficking was flown by the same pilot, Carmelo Vasquez Guerra, who flew the DC9 from St Petersburg busted with 5.5 tons of cocaine.

He was caught flying a business jet carrying a half-ton of pure cocaine in the West African nation of Guinea Bissau.

And once again, he was released.

Jeb Bush, Republican "Jihadi"

JebBush_SuprisedVasquez Guerra’s flight into Guinea Bissau in the drug plane pictured above was the "proof" an anonymous U.S. Dept of Homeland Security official told reporters, of Al Qaeda's drug trafficking progress through West Africa.

However, it is clear that unless Al Qaeda operatives have taken to playing shuffleboard in Florida retirement communities and hanging out with Republican “jihadis” Jeb Bush and Mel Martinez– both of whom backed, and were backed,  by the company which owned the DC9 busted in Mexico, flown by the same pilot who flew the West African drug flight pictured above–that the anonymous DHS official was making claims that were without a shred of truth.

The claims were, in other words, pro-active disinformation.

What they were perhaps designed to conceal is an operation revealed by this recent event (about which we will soon hear more):

An airplane from a secretive USAF Special Forces Command recently crashed in the Sahara, bearing a paint job very like that boasted by the DC9 from St. Petersburg which was busted in Mexico with 5.5. tons of cocaine.

It pays to be friends with Vicente Fox

amigosOwning a plane busted with 5.5 tons of cocaine hasn't resulted in any criminal sanctions for Geffon.

Corroborating allegations of selective prosecution were DEA affidavits filed in Mexico to support a request for  extradition to the U.S. of key personnel from the Mexican currency exchange,Casa de Cambio Puebla, whose top executive, Pedro Alatorre Damy, has been fingered by American law enforcement as a key financier to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Jose Ramon Gutierrez de Velasco, one of the major partners in the Casa de Cambio Puebla exchanges, is the former mayor of Vera Cruz and a close political associate of former Mexican President Vicente Fox.  His family has been rallying to prevent his extradition to the U.S. 

His father, Carlos Augusto Gutierrez de Velasco Oliver, sent a letter to President Felipe Calderón claiming his son is the victim of selective prosecution.  U.S. authorities have avoided investigating the Americans who sold the planes to the Sinaloa Cartel, he wrote.

The U.S. admitted in court documents that the American airplane owners knew they were selling planes to  Mexican drug cartels, said Carlos Gutierrez de Velasco in an interview with Mexico City newspaper Proceso. 

The buyers are in trouble with the law. The sellers aren't

"The Wachovia Brotherhood"

crooked cityThe willing participation of America’s 4th largest bank in laundering billions of dollars of drug money has revived interest in a case with a number of troubling and so-far unanswered questions.

 When Wachovia Bank paid a $160 million dollar fine last month in a plea deal with federal authorities who had uncovered the bank’s decade-long history of laundering billions of dollars of drug money for Mexican drug cartels, it shone a spotlight on the enduring presence of what may be the world’s most powerful drug cartel.

Big chunks of the drug money laundered by Wachovia was used to buy a fleet of American planes.

At least nine planes came from two St Petersburg aircraft brokers,including the DC9 from St Petersburg Fl caught in Mexico carrying an astonishing 5.5 tons of cocaine in April of 2006.

That plane was supplied by Frederic Geffon, through his still-murky partnership with family fraudsters Brent and Glen Kovar’s Skyway Aircraft.

Curiously, the other St Pete aircraft broker supplying planes to drug cartels, a man named Larry Peters, operates a company which is also called Skyway Aircraft. Although he disavows any connection between his Skyway and Brent Kovar’s, it is such a bizarre a “coincidence” that it has even raised eyebrows in law enforcement in Florida.

In fact, the St Petersburg group appears to possess an apparent inexhaustible supply of “get out of jail free” cards.

"The Shuffleboard Cartel"

raytheonSt Petersburg FL is a retirement community on Florida’s Gulf Coast, better-known as the shuffleboard capital of the world than as a haven for the American Drug Lords.

Nonetheless, a haven it is—and has been— since the 1980’s, when notorious Iran Contra cocaine smuggler Barry Seal wheeled drugs through a “secure” airport entry point described by his long-time money man as looking like the opening to a giant tent.

This is a perfect description, we later discovered, for TheRaytheon Corporation’s general aviation terminal at Tampa International Airport.

Anyone who believes that there are no American Drug Lords, or an American-led drug cartel, needs to be able to answer a few simple questions. Like:

Why isn’t Frederic Geffon in jail?

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Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.

1 Response

  1. September 21, 2016

    […] Geffon had been investigated for drug trafficking ten years earlier. The DEA had not filed charges. In aviation circles there was widespread suspicion Geffon escaped doing time by flipping and going to work as an informant for the DEA. […]