Frank Sinatra, Pablo Escobar… and Meyer Lansky

sinatra

“Two kilos of heroin for a little walking around money”

A  ‘friend’ on Facebook found a link I posted there to a DailyMail story about Frank Sinatra’s purported ties to Pablo Escobar, (Frank Sinatra was ‘a better cocaine dealer than singer)based on interviews with dead Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s son where he claims singer Frank Sinatra was among his dad’s business partners, to be “absurd.”

BarryCovertooIt was, he claimed, anti-GOP propaganda, based apparently (its unclear) on Sinatra’s close friendship with Ronald Reagan, and (reportedly) very close relationship with First Lady Nancy Reagan.

For his (and your) edification, here’s a snippet from an interview with MYLES AMBROSE, the DEA’s first Administrator (under Richard Nixon), from Barry & the boys.”

FROM BARRY & THE BOYS:

Harper-Rick-107-copy-590x800Richmond Harper, a gentleman rancher in Texas and an associate of Carlos Marcello front man Herman Beebe, also had “very deep ties right into the (Nixon) White House,” according to CIA pilot/drug smuggler Barry Seal, in a letter to a U.S. Judge. 

It was through Richmond Harper’s’ Eagle Pass Texas ranch that Oswald’s friend in Dallas, oilman and CIA asset George DeMohrenschilt had entered Mexico en route on “a walking tour” of Central America that led him to be in Guatemala for the launch of “The Bay of Pigs invasion.

After DeMohrenschildt’s sudden death by shotgun on the eve of his testimony to the House Select Committee on Assassinations—which his wife strenuously said was not a suicide—his personal address book was located, containing an entry reading: “Bush, George H.W. (Poppy) 1412 W. Ohio see also Zapata Petroleum Midland.”

Harper was especially close to Myles Ambrose, the head of US Customs. Ambrose became the Special Consultant to the President on Narcotics, and who was there at the birth and became the first head of what’s been called “Nixon’s demon spawn,” the DEA, in 1973.

 

First head of the ‘demon spawn’

AMBROSE

Myles Ambrose, according to former Customs officials who were disgusted at having had to work under him, would visit Harper and go hunting with him on his ranch on the border.

He was a guest at what must have been the wedding of the year down in Eagle Pass, the nuptials of Richmond Harper’s daughter, an event her proud Daddy commemorated with the slaughtering of 600 steers.

“We tried to warn him [Ambrose],” stated one Customs official at the time. “Tell him that this guy [Harper] is bad. He wouldn’t listen.”

 

“Just a tad defensive, Myles was”

mylers-aWhen we finally reached Myles Ambrose for his version of events, and his recollections of Barry Seal, he was perhaps understandably defensive.

“During my interview with him, I felt Myles Ambrose’s displeasure at some of my questions, which, in fairness, may have sounded slightly more suspicious than someone who had been a Special Consultant on Narcotics to President Nixon is used to fielding.

“Whatever the reason, Ambrose became a bit over-eager to share his thoughts on the involvement in the drug trade by folks on the other side of the aisle.

 

“Two kilos of heroin for a little walking around money”

download“I was with Treasury back in the late Fifties, when Bobby Kennedy was running the Kefauver Committee Hearings on Organized Crime,” Ambrose said.

“I know for a fact that there was a yellow sheet (investigative report) on a meeting in Havana where Meyer Lansky gave two kilos of heroin to Frank Sinatra to bring back to the States so he (Sinatra) would have a little ‘walking-around’ money.”

LanskyCuba“But because Sinatra was helping Kennedy get elected, his brother removed all reference to this from the Committee’s report.”

After he was discovered hobnobbing with indicted dope-and-gunrunner Richmond Harper at Harper’s Texas ranch, Myles Ambrose resigned in disgrace in 1973.

Years later, Nixon aide Chuck Colson told Senator Lowell Weicker two pieces of information about Ambrose, the first head of the DEA, that has characterized that Agency ever since:

1. “Ambrose set up the CIA in the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

2. Ambrose had cordial relations with certain Mafia figures.”

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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.

6 Responses

  1. Linda Minor says:

    http://quixoticjoust.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-great-heroin-coup-chapter-seventeen.html

    ***

    Time Out for a Little Texas History 
    Note from Editor: This Texas rancher who hosted Myles Ambrose at his ranch was none other than Richmond Chase Harper of Eagle Pass, a town on the Mexican border. Those historians and reporters not familiar with Texas history can be forgiven for skipping over this little tidbit without even a mention of the man's name, but Texans like me, who have worked for years to understand and dig up all the real dirt in this state, cannot overlook the importance of this man and what he represents.
    Much of the story has been unknown until a recent book was published by Richmond's son, Rick Harper, ostensibly a biography of the first Mexican-American Texas Ranger, written in a whimsical style that might throw academics away from the scent of meat hidden within the tale. Rick reveals that Richmond's father, Ocie S. Harper, had moved to Tampico, Mexico, between 1908 and 1911, a decade or so before he purchased the Azulejo Ranch in Coahuila, Mexico, about 75 miles south of Eagle Pass.

    The Harper ranch was, intriguingly, located in the same general area in which the Maverick County patron, County Judge Robert E.  Bibb, was born in 1905 to Thomas Bibb and his Mexican-born wife Maria. Thomas (Tomas) worked as an inspector for the U.S. Immigration Service, and his son would grow up to become the chief administrative officer for Maverick County. Judge Bibb's son, Robert Jr. (born 1930), would die of cirrhosis of the liver in 1971, two years after the judge's own death. Robert Sr.'s youngest brother, William, would become the father of Mary Evelyn Bibb, beauty queen and later the wife of Jack R. Worthington.

     Richmond Harper, born in 1923, married the daughter of Bruce Holsomback, mayor of Crystal City, allegedly hand-picked by John Nance Garner. The Holsombacks had the inaugural in Washington, D.C. of FDR and his Texas-born vice president, John Nance (Cactus Jack) Garner, in 1933 . Bruce had grown up at 416 N. Getty Street in Uvalde, and was said to have been the best friend of Tully Garner, the Congressman's son. Tully's father was appointed to Congress in 1896 to replace a deceased member of the House, and the family lived mostly in Washington, D.C., even though they still claimed Uvalde as home. Garner had quickly gerrymandered a new district to help him get reelected at the end of that term and went on to become Speaker of the House until he resigned when chosen by Franklin Roosevelt as his vice president. Garner no doubt expected FDR to quit after two terms to allow him to become his successor, but that did not happen, and Garner never forgave him for it.

    In the 1920 census, Tully, single, was shown to be living, at both the Timberlake Hotel with his parents and on N. High Street, living with Mexican-born Manuel Santos while working as an abstracter. In 1930, having been married at least nine years, Tully lived with his wife and daughter in a modest white frame house, next door to his father's imposing brick residence, while employed as president of his father's bank, First State Bank.

    One of his banking partners was Thomas Howard McNelly–brother of Leander McNelly, the famous Texas Ranger, and of Rose McNelly Black, Richmond Harper's grandmother. Rose McNelly Black's daughter Mary, who married Orceneth Samuel "Osie" Harper, was Harper's mother. Osie and his brother Paul Harper ran the Eagle Hardware Co. in Eagle Pass, exporters of guns and other hardware into Mexico since 1914, according to passport records in 1918.

    ***

  2. It's always a good time to learn a little Texas history!

  3. BTW…How do you pronounce "Orcenth" in "Orcenth Samuel 'Osie' Harper? 

     And is there a diminutive (nickname) that goee with Orcenth? "Osie?"

    Were me, I'd have gone for "Orc."

  4. notjonathon says:

    This might be a little more Texas history, but some bells went off in my own head reading the above, along with the reference to Zapata. The family of an elememtary and junior high school friend of mine, named Al Maher, also had a ranch in south Texas, at the town of Falfurrias. Al's father, "Big" John Maher (and he was a large man), was one of the men who bought Zapata from GHW Bush. Al went on to become a fairly prominent radical activist, so prominent that it would not be hard to suspect him as an <i>agent provocateur</i>. He also may have had Oswald links.

    Poking around, I found reference to him <a href="http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.jp/2013_05_01_archive.html">here</a&gt;. I wouldn't be surprised if you are familiar with the site.

    The friendship evaporated sometime between junior high and high school as we found different circles to move in. Al's own history ended in tragedy. Mine will likely end not with a bang but a whimper.

  5. Isabel says:

    My grandfather was Hite Harper, Richmonds brother. This article is very interesting to me, it is no secret that my ancestors were involved in several conspiracies and were outlaws of sorts, but there have been many false reports and speculations caused by people who were afraid secret information would come out, information my uncle knew. I have heard nothing but good things about my uncle Richmond and his children have nothing but love for him. My uncle Rick is a great writer and great company, im glad his book is mentioned.