The “Zapruder Film” of the “War on Drugs”

Most people have already heard something about the assassination of Barry Seal, gunned down in cold blood in Baton Rouge Louisiana in 1986, supposedly for ratting out the head of the Medellin Cartel, Pablo Escobar.


But that’s not what happened. And it’s one place where the big lies of the war on drugs lie exposed in a way that’s understandable to almost anyone.

If Americans knew who really ordered Seal’s murder, and why, it could stop the endless war on drugs in its tracks. So here it is, from an enterprising local TV news anchor on the night after Barry Seal’s assassination.

Daniel Hopsicker

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

17 Responses

  1. pathman says:

    Hi Daniel,

    The link to the Youtube video is broken. Thanks.

  2. sorry. its fixed now, though i’m not sure what i did wrong. it feels just like being with my 2nd wife.

  3. Teresa says:

    I wanted to watch the Zapruder film of the The War on Drugs and couldnt access it. Was it pulled? Thanks

  4. Ben MacDowell says:

    Video removed by user

  5. Mike Clinton says:

    Video is up, I just watched it. 9/19/2015 8:15 am

  6. Adam says:

    I dont understand this video. We don’t know why these people died. At least I don’t.

  7. sigh. look at it this way. you’re on the best baseball team on earth.
    the second best team is getting lots of help on the side from powerful people in the league office.
    then on the same day four of your starters are murdered.
    and the league office, and every sportwriter in the country, blames…your manager?
    if that scenario doesn’t make sense to you, ask yourself what would.

  8. yes. thanks for noticing!

  9. Larry Shea says:

    For anyone who is still having trouble following the video, that Mr, Hopsicker posted above, I suggest that you do yourself a big favor and purchase a copy of “Barry and the Boys.” The difference between the movie, Mena, and the book, “Barry and the Boys” is that the book is a work of NON-FICTION, while the movie promises to be a romantic whitewash and a flight of melodramatic fancy.
    The real “Drug Super-Kingpin” during Barry Seal’s Mena Airport career, as well as being Seal’s controller, was Vice President, at the time, and former CIA Director George Herbert Walker Bush. It was he who was ultimately responsible for all four drug-related assassinations that took place the same night that he had Barry Seal snuffed.
    American Drug Lords have a long and sordid history that stretches back well-over two hundred years. Just read John L. Potash’s well-documented book, “Drugs as Weapons Against Us.” This fine work should open your eyes to the fact that these very dangerous illicit Drugs ‘R’ U.S.!
    The sale of these commodities, which are sold in U.S. dollars, helps to stabilize the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. This is required in order to keep the dollar-dominated global monetary system, which is a classic Chuck Ponzi scheme, afloat. The problem is that, even with the hundreds of billions of dollars that are laundered from illicit drug sales each year, the financial institutions can’t fill a black-hole of debt fast enough with the Fed’s worthless fiat money. Can you hear the debt-bomb ticking – $200 trillion world wide (excluding derivatives) and steadily approaching critical mass? The Federal Reserve sure can.

  10. Tom Smith says:

    I wanted to leave a comment about your book “Welcome to Terrorland”. It was a great read. I loved the last page, the heroin with Bin Laden stamped on it. I didn’t know Bin Laden was involved in the drug trade.

    You said that Atta prayed 3 times a day. Muslims pray 5 times a day but religious Jews pray 3 times. Atta’s girlfriend asked what was his necklace and he said it was Palestine. While Palestine has many meanings, it is another way to refer to Israel. The book “Solving 9-11” by Christopher Lee Bollyn makes a strong argument that the terrorists were from Isreal and that they wanted to make Arabs look like the enemy.

  11. Gary McDaniel says:

    While investigating as a private investigator in 2014 a murder involving the same organizer and principal behind the Seal murder I interviewed sources. Most everyone will agree it was a popular myth that the CIA played a role in the death of Barry Seal. The theory was explored by even the overseers of Ollie North in the Iran – Contra investigation and dismissed. The truth came to light with the arrest of the Colombian low level shooters and in the evidence developed by the prosecution at the time. Since those years the public testimony of federally protected witnesses against Cartel families has affirmed the roll of Pablo and others. Even the personal pilot of the Pablo Escobar a federally protected witness admitted to flying the same assassin in my case (State of Florida v Krishna Maharaj) from Baton Rouge after the assassination of Seal while his shooters were being arrested. The Seal family should be told the whole story and government has a responsibility to investigate the surrounding circumstances as to the execution.

    In the defense of Krishna Maharaj we identified the victim’s assassin in 2013. The perpetrator was the same principal/organizer behind the execution of Seal. Sources explained that he was hand picked by Pablo Escobar to select, finance, train and execute Barry Seal. It was the successful Moo Young assassinations that built the confidence of Pablo. He not only pulled off the murder of the Moo Young’s he was able to devise a cover up that faulted an innocent party. This person was a wealthy Colombian businessman as well as a professional assassin that had some sophistication and spoke fluent English. The Moo Young case proved he could get the job done on US soil. To his misfortune years later he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by Colombian vigilante group Los Pepes.

    The relevant fact is that on October 16, 1986 the Father & Son Moo Young’s were murdered at the Miami Beach DuPont hotel. Sources spoke about them being money launderers for the “Cartel families” and accused of stealing from Pablo Escobar. The success that day allowed them to be trusted with the Barry Seal assassination. One can only speculate, had the Miami Police department and State attorney office done a competent investigation and not rushed to judgment the Seal murder might not have happened and Maharaj would never been charged. It is clear to writer that the same sources and evidence proving the innocence of the defendant Krishna Maharaj provides a road map to three unsolved Miami murders and execution of Seal. If Dade County prosecutors acted on the available evidence the wrongful conviction of Maharaj would be proven and the “unsolved murders” would be solved and the identity of the perpetrators would add to the collection of evidence in the Barry Seal murder. Because the prosecution chooses to disregard an ethical obligation to seek justice, Maharaj will die in prison. At this stage the prosecution can make the defense evidence of innocence “admissible” by developing the foreign declaration by US fugitives that tell the story of the Seal and Moo Young deaths. They are the only ones that can grant immunity to the conspirators identified. The Seal family is not the only family in the dark as to the death of a loved one.

    Gary McDaniel
    Private Investigator

  12. M Teeters says:

    I can’t’ understand why the commander in chief has a need to know designation from the CIA. I’m pretty sure that that is the case. How can he make prudent decisions without all available information. If you read the book Area 51 An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, you will see what a power play that was going on between the CIA and the Air Force. They had a black budget back in the 50’s that was a hundred dollars over budget. With no official over sight.
    I understand that the development of nukes, had to be classified, along with the aircraft that was so important. These programs ran a muck with no oversight ; Kennedy wanted transparency, and to end war, develop education, and social programs to help to stop racism. The government would have none of that.

  13. David Burns says:

    It is pretty widely accepted that the Barry Seal death story is shaky at best. The whole thing didn’t add up. DEA agents were prohibited from attending his funeral. The remarks made by private investigator Gary McDaniel in reference to the Maharaj case, in which the police failed to conduct a thorough investigation are very similar to the murder of a close friend of mine in Miami in 1982. That case was never closed. Mr. McDaniel assisted me in a civil case which I worked on in Key West. Unfortunately, the perpetrator in that case passed away before we could bring him to justice. I’d like to get in touch with Gary, if possible, to learn if he ever had any information on the murder of my friend, RICKY MERRILL. I can be reached at or (305) 304-5990

  14. Hi David, I remember speaking with you years ago! I will pass your note along to the last email address I have for Gary McDaniel, who taught me that every drug cartel needs four things to be successful: Production. Transportation. Distribution. And, most importantly, PROTECTION.

  15. Hi Gary,
    Good to hear from you! While I learned a lot from you, I must respectfully disagree. For a number of reasons. Here’s just one: Consider the local Baton Rouge TV news clip from the night after Seal’s assassination reporting that, in addition to Seal, the Medellin Cartel’s two top cartel lieutenants (and a woman working for Seal in Miami) were murdered the same night. What other drug cartel can you point to which has crippled itself by murdering three of its top executives in one night? It is ridiculously illogical, beggars belief, and is the Big Lie that permits the phony war on drugs to grind endlessly on, creating misery for the many, while making (a lot of) money for the few, the American Drug Lords who rule the global drug trade.

  16. Gary McDaniel says:


    Glad to share the source information developed as to the death of Seal when contacted. Keep in mind Ollie North leaked the Seal/Luis Arce Gomez (Bolivan Col) smuggling pictures early, exposing Seal as an informant, giving the Cartel Families and Pablo Escobar early notice. These dates adn facts are relevant:    

    Febuary 19, 1986 – Adler Berriman (Barry) Seal Murder 

    October 5, 1986: CIA Transport Plane Shot Down in Nicaragua; Story Reveals Illegal Contra-Arms Program – Hasenfus states that Felix Rodriguez aka Max Gomez (see congressional testimonay) of the CIA was his contact.  The trail lead to General Secord (Mr. Air America – Viet Nam years) and Col. Ollie North.  

    October 16, 1986 – Miami DuPont murder of father Moo Youngs.    

    May 27, 1987: CIA Operative Testifies, Turns Questioning into Anti-Soviet Diatribe –Felix Rodriguez before the Iran-Contra committee (see May 5, 1987). Rodriguez, a Cuban exile and former 

    14 November 2014: Kris Maharaj media story as to the 1986 killings of business associates Derrick and Duane Moo Young in a Miami hotel room. Henry Cuervo, a former US Drug Enforcement Administration Agent, told a court on Thursday that ex-hitman Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez had confessed to him that Escobar arranged the hit on the Moo Youngs. In the phone call, Cuervo said that Velásquez wanted to clear his conscience and had asked Cuervo to testify on his behalf. He also submitted an affidavit from Velásquez — a cartel assassin known as "Popeye" who was recently released from prison in Colombia, where he is reviled as one of the country's most infamous killers.

    Since the Seal assasination many witnesses responsible for the downfall of the cartel families inlcuding money launderer Max Mermelstein arrested in 1985 and credited for a road map of Cartel activities. Followed by the personal pilot of Pablo Escobar  Roberto Striendinger who admitted flying the principal organizer from Baton Rouge following the Seal murder, as the Columbian shooters were being arrested.    

    Persons interviewed include the Seal boat Cpt Ellis McKenzie of Honduras, confidants and pilots of Ollie North.  The avaiilable evidence establishes Seal was assasinated at the request of Cartel Families.  Persons involved include those arrested adn convicted under the supervision of a deceased Columbian businessman/asssasin who was also responsible for the Miami Moo Young murders.   

    I stand by the statement – a succesful drug enterprise requires, Production. Transportation. Distribution. And, most importantly, PROTECTION.  Unfortunately, governments have contributed greatly to the success of drug traffickers, such as Barry Seal, Michael Palmer and others.