The Real American Desperadoes

Few events have exposed the secrets of America’s phony drug war like the 1986 assassination of the man the U.S. government called the biggest drug smuggler in American history, Barry Seal.

Barry Seal was assassinated on a "Night of the Long Knives" that decimated the top ranks of the Medellin Cartel. One of the seminal events in America’s phony ‘drug war, ’ that fateful night in February of 1986 remains a part of America’s Secret History.

Yet the official story— the Big Lie that Jorge Ochoa, head of the Medellin Cartel, ordered Seal’s death, has been churned out ad nauseum by the CIA's so-called Mighty Wurlitzer and its circus-full of media organ-grinders.

While flacking for one of the CIA’s Big Lies has never been a bad career move, a recent book about the drug war reportedly being made into an HBO miniseries and a major movie from Paramount starring Mark Wahlberg takes this ‘art form’— dissembling for dollars—to a new low, made possible only by assiduously ignoring known facts while simultaneously hoping your readers won’t notice.

“American Desperado,” an as-told-to book about the drug war by Evan Wright about supposed Medellin cartel transportation boss Jon Roberts, repeats the big lie that the Medellin Cartel was responsible for the assassination of Barry Seal.

Nothing borrowed, nothing gained

Wright was only too happy to borrow, without attribution,  as we recounted two weeks ago,  my discovery of Barry Seal’s CIA recruitment while a member of the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol, where he met both Lee Harvey Oswald and Kennedy assassination factotum David Ferrie.

He was also happy to borrow—again without attribution—my discovery of the now-famous nightclub picture taken in Mexico City in 1963 showing Seal sitting next to a man who would later become George W. Bush's head of the CIA, Porter Goss.

His “borrowings” are convincing evidence of his familiarity with my work. 

So when Wright suddenly develops either scruples,  or more likely, cold feet, and neglects to borrow copious evidence in “Barry & ‘the boys’” about the assassination of Barry Seal, and instead repeats the canard (read: Big Lie) that Seal was murdered by the Medellin Cartel, it is safe to assume the mistake is not one of ignorance, but design.

Let’s hear how he retells the story, supposedly in the words of admitted sociopath and all-around scumbag Jon Roberts.

Meet the Forrest Gump of the Drug War

 “What I’m going to tell you will blow your mind,” Roberts begins.

“What happened is, in April 1983 the DEA busted Barry (Seal) at Fort Lauderdale Airport when he tried to fly in a load of counterfeit Quaaludes. Once they got Barry on the Quaalude charge they forced him to set up Pablo Escobar.”

This is flat-out wrong, but let it pass…

Incredibly, Robert’s places himself on the plane on the way to the famous sting in Nicaragua, which would surely be news to either Seal or Emile Camp, who really were there. Both of them are now dead.

“The time I flew with him to Nicaragua, I told him I was uptight. Barry laughed and said, don’t worry,  Jon. We're working for Vice President Bush,” Robert’s continues.  “Barry set up Pablo because that’s what they told him to do, probably to work off his Quaalude charges. For that Barry would have to be killed.”

Roberts next claim is to have been involved in Seal’s assassination. He was apparently everywhere. He is the Forrest Gump of the drug war.

“Max (Mermelstein) ran to me with a shoebox with $250,000 and begged me to hire a hitman. Of course its never that easy.”

Jon and Max fly to Baton Rouge, where while driving around they spot Seal, who is living in a halfway house, and Robert’s gets the bright idea to run him over and be done with it. 

“Maybe we can do something here Max,” says Roberts.

“But he’s under federal protection!” exclaims Max, apparently forgetting about the shoebox with $250,000 he’s already given Roberts to have Seal rubbed out.

Roberts, ever the hard-headed realist, replies, “So was Kennedy you asshole.”

“What are we doing?” Max exclaims again.

“Shut up,” replies Roberts. “We’re running him over.”

For his part, Max is now done exclaiming. Perhaps he somehow realized that no matter what he said, Robert’s would never give him any good lines.

He screams “No!” and locks his hand on the wheel. 

“Max won. I slowed down, and Barry got to live another day,” says Roberts, finishing  his (fairy) tale.

A blowhard blows. No one says a word.

Robert’s is not yet done with Seal, who he has earlier referred to as “his employee.”  This would no doubt have come as a surprise to, not just Seal, but also to real Mob bosses, like Salvatore Reale, who coordinated moving the cocaine Seal flew into Mena Arkansas up to New York for distribution.  

Talk about convenient. Through the simple expedient of never mentioning the word “Mena” in his book—which even the Wall Street Journal called “the scandal behind the Iran Contra scandal”— Wright avoids having to call out his writing partner Roberts on the error.

In a book about the cocaine epidemic of the 1980's, Wright doesn't mention Mena. That is some kind of new world record for dishonest reporting.

Roberts says,  “I had unfinished business with Barry Seal. Fabito slipped into Miami to emphasize how important it was to kill him.”

“When Rafa (Cardona, a Medellin lieutenant)  brought hit men from Colombia into the US to kill him, I told them they could find Barry driving his Eldorado on Airport Road between the Waffle House and the Salvation Army. I had Rafa draw them a map.”

“People say that a search of his briefcase turned up a piece of paper with George Bush’s direct phone number on it. A lot of good it did Barry.”

"It's the little things that trip you up."

“The most baffling part of Seal’s story is simply that after serving as an instrument of American clandestine policies, the case against him for Quaalude smuggling pressed ahead, with the results that Seal was ordered to live in a Baton Rouge halfway house for drug addicts, with scant police or federal protection,” says Roberts.

Proving that Robert’s has no idea what he’s talking about is a simple matter: In 1985, any real cartel insider would have been only too aware that Seal’s trial in Baton Rouge had nothing whatever to do with his Quaalude conviction in Miami.

In fact, Seal’s ‘beef’ with Vice President George Bush was because Seal believed his deal with Bush to clear up the Quaalude bust precluded other charges—like those in Baton Rouge—being filed against him.

That Roberts knows nothing about all this says more about author Wright—who accepts his tall tale as the truth—that it does about Roberts, a self-admitted sociopath.

Barry Seal was not murdered by the Medellin Cartel. A few simple facts—which we were lucky enough to rescue from the media hole to which they had been consigned—prove  it.

The official story—that Jorge Ochoa, head of the Medellin Cartel, ordered Seal’s death is a Big Lie which has been churned out ad nauseum by the CIA's so-called Mighty Wurlitzer, its media organ-grinders.

Just another organ-grinder

Who killed Barry Seal?

Just ten days before he died, in a typical display of the fearlessness for which he was justly famous, Barry Seal threatened to expose the gunrunning and drug smuggling that flourished in Mena Arkansas, according to his Baton Rouge attorney, who witnessed the phone call.

The man he threatened was the Vice President of the United States, George Bush.

Then, on the night Barry Seal was slain, at least three other top lieutenants of the Medellin Cartel were murdered, in coordinated hits across three continents.

On the night after Seal was assassinated, a local Baton Rouge TV newscast (see the accompanying video)reported the following:

“MetroNews has uncovered some new information in the assassination of Barry Seal. Reporter Dana Kaye has the story:

"MetroNews has learned there were a total of four drug-related killings the same day Barry Seal was gunned down here in Baton Rouge.”

“All of them seem to have been related to the same drug ring operated out of Colombia.”

“MetroNews reported last night that a lieutenant in the Medellin cartel named Pablo Carrera was shot and killed in Colombia the same night Barry Seal was gunned down in Baton Rouge by a professional hit squad. Carrera was identified as the number two man in the Colombian drug organization run by Jorge Ochoa.”

“Metro News has now learned that two other Ochoa associates were shot to death at the same time, including Pablo Ochilla, the brother-in-law of Jorge Ochoa, executed in Colombia, as well as an Ochoa associate, a woman identified only as  ‘Barbara,’ who was killed in Miami.”

Divide and conquer 101

The brother-in-law of Jorge Ochoa, the number two man in the Medellin Cartel, and  ‘Barbara’, at the time Barry Seal’s paramour in Miami, living in a home he owned in Plantation, Florida, and Barry Seal…all died in a coordinated hit ordered by…the Medellin Cartel?

A drug cartel doesn't whack its top lieutenants… but another drug cartel might.

We were told by a reliable source, but were unable to verify, that as many as 30 cartel soldiers were also murdered that same evening.

Seal’s assassination occurred as the U.S. switched horses from backing the Medellin Cartel to protecting their arch-rivals: the Cali Cartel.

Wright repeats the DEA canard that 80% of the cocaine entering the U.S. was coming from the Medellin Cartel. But when the Medellin Cartel had been decimated, and Pablo Escobar killed, cocaine didn’t  become more difficult to find, and its price remained stable.

According to prominent Miami attorney Richard Sharpstein, who defended Miguel Velez, one of the three Colombian shooters who went on trial for Seal's murder, all three of the men told their attorneys that once they reached the U.S. their actions had been directed by a U.S. military officer, who they learned was Lt. Colonel Oliver North.

Oliver North, American Drug Lord

"All three Colombians who went on trial always said they were being directed, after they got into this country, on what to do and where to go by an ‘anonymous gringo,' a US military officer, who they very quickly figured out was Oliver North," Sharpstein told me.

We should all thank Evan Wright. His highly selective use of known facts reveals more than it should about the true beneficiaries of the phony drug war: the American Drug  Lords.

A sad fact of American life is that 5o years from now you can pretty must rest assured  someone will still be out there flogging—and making a buck—touting probably the biggest of the CIA’s Big Lies, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. If we weren’t paying for it, their persistence would almost be admirable.

The three men convicted of killing Barry Seal are still in prison in Homer, Louisiana.

All three men are from Cali, Colombia.


Daniel Hopsicker

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

25 Responses

  1. p murray says:

    It seems pretty obvious who was behind the assasination of Barry Seal. These guys are professional hit men for the government. What isn't so obvious is why the private number for Bush was left behind. Surely there was sufficient cause to search the body to avoid any embarassing questions yet this was not done. Could this have been a deliberate oversight by some internal faction?

  2. ted rubinstein says:

    my inderstanding is it was found later in his car trunk

  3. ted rubinstein says:

    sorry, understanding

  4. exactly. its not a detail that anyone whose name might have been disclosed in it–like the jon roberts Bubba Gump character–would have forgotten. the guy’s a fraud. not because he wasn’t a player. but because he’s a LIAR.

  5. Linda Minor says:

    And he selectively "borrowed" and used information from Daniel Hopsicker's book, while leaving out the most important facts.

  6. Mike says:

    Speaking of Nicaragua…I just came from Ometepe. While I was there it seemed pretty benign and happened across some details given nonchalantly at the time – things that might be worth looking into.
    1) first off the tiny island was recently completing work on an airstrip which i can't imagine is really necessary
    2) an old white guy was allegedly arrested holding young haitians hostage
    3) a self described former human trafficker runs a hostel on the island
    4) is home to at least one retired cia couple
    5) stayed with a guy that claims to have taught chilean forces how to ski in a weird, he owns a one room hostel.
    I'm not an investigative journalist or anything and am just now looking for any follow up articles on the raid that allegedly turned up haitian kidnap victims, but anyway…ometepe, looking back on it, seems like a fairly good place to run some nefarious stuff from…

  7. Which was kind of my point. While I’m more than a little upset that this bullshit book is being made into an HBO mini-series and Paramount picture while I languish in (perhaps undeserved) obscurity, I’m totally pissed off over the fact that the author KNEW he was repeating the big lie about Seal’s assassination… and did it anyway.

  8. California Granny says:

    Does anyone recall the book, "Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA"?  It covers many of the topics contained in "American Deseprado," including the assassination of Barry Seal and the numerous goings in Arkansas, including Mena, the covert training of Latin American soldiers/operatives on U.S. soil, airdrops of suitcases full of money and more. Lots of supporting players, including Bill and Hill's old pal, Webb  Hubbel. A fascinating read if you can find a copy, it's out of print.

  9. I would say that "Mad Cow-Daniel Hopsicker's" obscurity is….very undeserved.  I always thought this was a remarkeable, penetrating, expedient….reliable source of the real news…in which, the IGNORANCE OF THESE FACTS, costs this country so much.
    Daniel, "…if they steal your reporting and muff up the truth…" don't let it bother you…it just means "the power control group needed to confuse and neutralize" everything you did so well.
    You are an unsung hero to many….and an identifiable superstar of reporting in my mind….and you have legions of fans (many of whom, carry DEA DOJ FBI IRS badges.
    They love you….but cannot express themselves?…due to bureacratic fear?
    Don't stop…don't get discouraged….it took about 20 years for Austin, Texas, blues singer Toni Price to ever be considered and reviewed by the music industry oligarchs (I had a hand in reminding them about "quality").

  10. Frank Di Bello says:

    I requested "Welcome to Terrorland' from my local library and they bought a copy. I read it two or three times. A year later I recomended it to a friend and when he went to the same library to take it out the book  it no longer existed. I looked into the missing book and the library had no record that they ever had the book. I felt a shiver.
    Keep up the good work. you are my favorite auther.

  11. Thanks Frank. Your story gives me kind of a shiver too. I should not have been surprised to be “Gary Webb-ed” (if only in a minor key version befitting my much-lesser public impact), but I was… I think its only human to nourish the hope that you’ll be the one to break through.
    But it was naive. Just ask Pete Brewton, or Robert Parry, or… the list goes on. Still, we do what we can, no?

  12. Thomas S. Bean says:

    Secret censorship of Daniel's book?  Would not surprise me.  Quite a few books lanquish on the shelves…with a very bad "check out" record showing little or no interest….Yet…a book like "Terrorland" or "Barry and the Boys" is….was…very hard to find in the hands of the public library's?
    Just shows…just how expedient and accurate and dangerous Daniel's reporting is and was…as the earth turns on it's axis everyday…the sound of one hand clapping?

  13. Thomas S. Bean says:

    People who wander aimlessly….are not necessarily lost.
    Sometimes the goal is not as much fun as the journey towards that goal.
    "…you don't always get what you want to, but you might find someday, ya got what you need…" Rolling Stones.

  14. Thomas S. Bean says:

    I read that book, Granny….and recommend it as a fairly honest review of a censored-ignored storyline.
    With a dubious corporate media………to compare "real investigative reporting" to….you notice the contrast better….and end up appreciating someone like Daniel and his free archive (something that kept me more entertained then the hundreds of volumes of books on my shelves).
    I like finding gold nuggets.

  15. Thomas S. Bean says:

    I believe that Gary Webb was murdered.
    Not right away…..first the "Into the Buzzsaw" treatment….then, later…after time goes by, no one will notice "two gun shot wounds" on a supposed suicide victim?
    Count yourself lucky…not to be "suicided with two bullet wounds"….just ignored by a media owned by the same cabal Daniel uncovered.
    I think…the cabal…likes Daniel's reporting and found it so refreshing and amusing (quite a few black ops are compartmentalized)…that….any "murder contract" to silence the story…was like killing the goose laying entertaining golden eggs.
    Daniel….you only got "cluster sued" and ignored…..not tortured with directed energy weapons in your home, and not chipped with an RFID mind control chip (like me, and former FBI agent-whistleblower, Geral Sosbee).
    So….you (Daniel) really came out rather well (all frustrations, are relative…no?).
    Daniel has….very, very, very….loyal fans crossing the line into "groupies for a journalist?".  Why not?

  16. Tony Ryals says:

    I can appreciate your desire not to have your own original writing lifted without due credit and even more so when the author or plagiarizer is then purposefully rewriting those ideas to fit his and his sponsors' own agendas.This brings me to another similar incident.Weren't you the one who coined the term 'Cocaine One',in the first place in reference to the DC-9 belonging to the Skyway Communications penny stock fraud and Titan Corp,, that Michele Leonhart's DEA now wishes to pin on Hugo Chavez ? If not who did ? You are the first source I ever saw for the name Cocaine One mentioned and you, nor anyone else,ever mentioned at the time the plane was busted in Ciudad Del Carmen,Campeche,Mexico in April of 2006,that Hugo Chavez had anything to do with it but everyone agreed that Skyway Communications of the Kovar father and son as well as Michael Farkas and Titan Corp that seems to have a lot of DEA connections lately, including to and with Michele Leonhart,were VERY much connected to 'Cocaine One'.When and how did Hugo Chavez get into the story and does that mean if it were true,that Chavez was a CIA and Titan Corp 'man' all along and while pretending to have a 'liberal bleeding heart' he was part of Titan Corp's operations in Florida and a friend to Makram Chams and a proponent of CIA-Titan Corp,(and Israeli), torture at Abu Graib,etc.? Somehow I don't think so……
    Note below how the Telegraph of London uses the term Cocaine One without providing a source as to who named it Cocaine One and their whole 'story' revolves around the U.S.DEA and Michele Leonhart propaganda-lie that Hugo Chavez is somehow involved with it and thus Titan Corp and Skyway Communications scum are thus somehow absolved !


    Ever since he swept to power on a Left-wing, "anti-imperialist" ticket, it has been one of the bitterest points of contention between Hugo Chavez and his Norteamericano foes.

    Claims that Venezuela has deliberately turned a blind eye to the trafficking of vast quantities of US-bound cocaine have been furiously denied by the country's president, who insists it is just another Washington plot to discredit him.

    Now, though, backing for the US version of events has come from an unlikely, if arguably well-informed source – an alleged Venezuelan drug lord who claims that dozens of "top level" figures in the Chavez government, including ministers, generals and judges, were on his payroll.

    Walid "The Turk" Makled, a portly Venezuelan of Syrian descent …………
    One of his planes, a DC-9 nicknamed "Cocaine One" by drug enforcement officials, had nearly six tonnes of the drug on board when it was searched by police in Mexico; the drug was stashed in 120 suitcases scattered across the 90 passenger seats, according to a separate indictment brought in New York……..

  17. Thomas S. Bean says:

    Not just a LIAR….a piss poor researcher.
    Want to tie Barry Seal to TRINITY OIL?
    …"Trinity Oil and Gas was perhaps a little different. Its purpose was perhaps a little different. It was not only designed simply to be a fraud, but also as a vehicle to launder Barry Seal's money — money that Barry Seal was earning from his narcotics

    Barry Seal, of course, has been extensively discussed in public before, but usually only in the context of narcotics. His involvement corporately, or in fraud, is really an overlooked area……"

    …"The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that on March 8, 2002, U. S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings in Lubbock, Texas, sentenced Sidney Wade Sers to 210 months in federal prison based on Sers' guilty pleas to contempt of court, obstruction of justice and money laundering charges. The criminal charges related to Sers' illegal transfer of nearly $1million, in violation of 1997 and 1998 court orders issued by U. S. District Judge Terry Means of Fort Worth. These orders were entered in a 1997 Commission enforcement action and enjoined the transfer of Sers' assets, those of Trinity Gas Corporation (Trinity) and the proceeds of any sale of Trinity stock.

    At the time of the transfers, Sers, age 57, formerly of Brownwood, Texas, was the president and chief executive officer of Trinity, a Brownwood publicly traded oil and gas exploration and development company. From January 1998 until his arrest, Sers was a fugitive hiding in Columbia…."….

  18. Yes…Daniel led the pack by himself…and coined the moniker, "Cocaine One".
    Nice focus on the planes painted to look like Homeland Security's badge.
    I'm not much of a journalist….but I appreciate Daniel's careful research before publishing.
    As for Chavez….CIA has a long habit of "running puppets" and using them as the controlled opposition.  Think Sean Pean got sucked into Chavez as some kind of Che.  He isn't. He's "Our CIA Puppet Man in Havanna" …who…obviously had a hand in moving coke.

  19. Ed11561 says:

    I just finished listening to the audio book American Desperado & was thoroughly disgusted that such a piece of shit as Jon Roberts was even allowed to live. A pure piece of shit sociopath that should have been put out of existence decades ago. I shutter to even think anyone would even be associated with this satanic asshole.
    My next question is why these other scumbags always get away with their crimes.George Bush-Oliver North are also satanic scum who should have been in jail decades ago-along with Bill &Hillary Clinton,who did all the moneylaundering & smuggling into Mena. This country is led by pure scum-thieves only interested in their own power & wealth. It disgusts me to know who is really running this country.It's full of sociopaths destroying the USA from within. I used to be a proud american-now i hate the entire corrupt government.

  20. Tony Ryals says:

    Thomas Bean,that was a good angle re Barry Seal and penny stocks that simultaneously allow and are perfect for money laundering because the U.S.SEC purposefully colludes with the money launderers that include not only Beltway connected wingnuts to the CIA to the Mossadd,etc.,even including Arabian Wingnuts such as Sheik Mohmed Al Rashid bin Maktoum who received over 20% of the NASDAQ ownership as a consolation prize for not being allowed to control our US.Dubai ports controversy only the elites learned from the Dubai Ports security handover controversy and they didn't even bother to mention it as Barack Obama's Bernie Madoff connected SEC Chair, Mary Schapiro, and W Bush's and Obama's present IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman profited as members of FINRA in selling NASDAQ to him as a reward for allowing Dubai to send money to Mohamed Atta in Venice,Florida in my opinion!
    In regards to Skyway Communications that Daniel Hopsicker covered quite well,it was the Titan Corp   torturors of Abu Graibe,etc., who named their own 'company' Titan Corp as a major legal owner of shares in that shell penny stock fraud, Skyway Communications,  with nothing but worthless shares to sell that  in turn bought the DC 9 that Daniel Hopsicker coined Cocaine One – and NOT Hugo Chavez ! And again the Telegraph of London shows clearly that it has 'lifted' or perhaps outright plagiarized Hopsicker's own unique term for that Titan Corp-Skyway Communications owned plane  from articles that NEVER mention Hugo Chavez – and for a reason – because he was never a part of the story until the DEA's own Titan Corp pimp, Michele Leonhart, who as Hopsicker stated previously,'employed' Titan Corp's own airplanes herself rather that relying own those already provided to her as a perk of her office also began to pin the DC 9 all own Chavez while conveniently forgetting that it was her own pals at San Diego or Florida Titan Corp who are A LOT more guilty for that DC 9 or Cocaine One that Hugo Chavez is ! So I think both Titan as well as Michele Leonhart deserve a lot more attention and scorn than Hugo Chavez as far as that DC 9 or 'Cocaine One' that was captured in Ciudad Del Carmen, Campeche,Mexico in April 2006 don't you ? Perhaps you could get Chavez on another rap or somehow as a very minor player in the Cocaine One incident.However again thanks for providing that stock fraud angle or fact to the Barry Seal case.My whole entry into both 9/11as well as the world of international drug trafficking that Daniel Hopsicker focuses upon began with being ripped off in a James Dale Davidson and Israeli Grin brothers,, penny stock fraud called Endovasc that was really an illegal 'pump and dump' whose shares the SEC never audited so no one other than insiders to the fraud knew how many shares they 'dumped' or sold.Endovasc  along with Genemax were the first post 9/11 penny stock scams, out of many to follow,that would lyingly claim they were not an illegal pump and dump scam at all ,but instead, their shares has been mysteriously 'naked shorted' by what Geico billionaire son Patrick Byrne of claims is a ,(ha ha),'Sith Lord ! I may be wrong but I think stock fraud is even bigger international criminal 'business' than drug trafficking and that drug traffickers among other traffickers such as arms,oil,etc., traffickers, are laundering a lot of money through shell companies whose shares are, (purposefully), unaudited and uncounted by the U.S.SEC, which is what allowed them to begin to so brazenly lie about their shares being 'naked shorted' in the first place ! Matt Taibbi, of Rolling Stones and Russia english tabloid infamy, is also aiding and abetting the 'naked short selling' lie of Patrick Byrne and NTU and Agora Inc founder ,James Dale Davidson, as well.Max Keiser and Al Jazeera that he did 'news' videos for were among the biggect promotors of the U.S.penny stock 'naked short selling lie'.Now what interest could Arabian elites have in 'naked shorting' of U.S. penny stocks even if it were occuring and why ?And how do they say 'naked short selling' in Arabic !?

  1. May 3, 2013

    […]             Another must-read is the “Real American Desperados” by Daniel Hopsicker (6/4/12). […]

  2. May 18, 2013

    […] Another must-read is the “Real American Desperados” by Daniel Hopsicker (6/4/12). […]

  3. August 3, 2013

    […]             Another must-read is the “Real American Desperados” by Daniel Hopsicker (6/4/12). […]

  4. October 22, 2015

    […] this, he resembles fellow ‘Gen Q’ writer Evan Wright, whose “American Desperado,” an as-told-to book about supposed Medellin cartel transportation boss Jon Roberts, repeats the big […]