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http://www.sjmercury.com/drugs/postscript.htm [Welcome to Mercury Center] [Postscript] [Dark Alliance] Frames: [ Enable | Disable ] Affidavit: Cops knew of drug ring Document sheds light on Contra-cocaine link Published: Oct. 3, 1996 BY GARY WEBB AND PAMELA KRAMER Mercury News Staff Writer LOS ANGELES -- During the early 1980s, federal and local [Other stories] narcotics agents knew that a massive drug ring operated by Nicaraguan Contra rebels was selling large amounts of Black cocaine ''mainly to blacks living in the South-Central Los leaders call Angeles area,'' according to a search-warrant affidavit for obtained by the Mercury News. class-action lawsuit The Oct. 23, 1986, affidavit identifies former Nicaraguan Published: government official Danilo Blandon as ''the Sept. 30, highest-ranking member of this organization'' and 1996 describes a sprawling drug operation involving more than 100 Nicaraguan Contra sympathizers. Previously published The affidavit of Thomas Gordon, a former Los Angeles postscript County sheriff's narcotics detective, is the first stories independent corroboration that the Contra army -- the Last Nicaraguan Democratic Force -- was dealing cocaine to updated: gangs in Los Angeles' black neighborhoods. Known by its Oct. 3, 1996 Spanish initials, the FDN was an anti-communist commando group formed and run by the CIA during the 1980s. Gary Webb radio and TV Gordon's sworn statement says that both the Drug appearances Enforcement Administration and the FBI had informants Last inside the Blandon drug ring for several years before updated: sheriff's deputies raided it Oct. 27, 1986. Gordon's Oct. 2, 1996 affidavit is based on police interviews with those informants and one of the DEA agents who was investigating The original Blandon. series Published: Twice during the past year, Ron Spear, Los Angeles County Aug 18-20, Sheriff's Department spokesman, told the Mercury News that 1996 his department had no records of the 1986 raids and specifically denied having a copy of Gordon's [document link] search-warrant affidavit -- even after two pages of it Warrant and surfaced during the March 1996 cocaine trafficking trial affidavit to of legendary Los Angeles ''crack'' cocaine dealer search ''Freeway'' Rick Ross. businesses and The Mercury News obtained the entire search warrant residences affidavit this week. of Oscar Danilo Wednesday, Sheriff Sherman Block's office did not respond Blandon to written questions about the raid, the warrant, records of what was found and what happened to those records and [Photo link] evidence. Photo of the search A recent Mercury News series revealed how Blandon's warrant operation, which sold thousands of kilos of cocaine to black Los Angeles drug dealers such as Ross, created the first mass market for cocaine in the United States during the early 1980s and helped fuel a crack explosion that is still reverberating through black communities. Several investigations into U.S. government knowledge of, and possible involvement with, the Nicaraguan drug ring are under way. Both the CIA and the Justice Department have denied government involvement. Call to CIA headquarters But according to a legal motion filed in a 1990 case [document link] involving a deputy who helped execute the search warrants, Motion one of the suspects in the raid identified himself as a regarding CIA agent and asked police to call CIA headquarters in government's Virginia to confirm his identity. The motion, filed by Los request for Angeles defense attorney Harland W. Braun on behalf of restraining Deputy Daniel Garner, said the narcotics detectives order allowed the man to make the call but then carted away numerous documents purportedly linking the U.S. government [document link] to cocaine trafficking and money-laundering efforts on Government's behalf of the Contras. motion to exclude The motion said CIA agents appeared at the sheriff's evidence department within 48 hours of the raid and removed the relating to seized files from the evidence room. But Braun said the CIA and detectives secretly copied 10 pages before the documents Contras were spirited away. Braun attempted to introduce them in the 1990 criminal trial to force the federal government to back off the case. Braun was hit with a gag order, the documents were put under seal and Garner was convicted of corruption charges. Internal sheriff's department records of the raid ''mysteriously disappeared'' around the same time the seized files were taken, Braun's motion said. That claim was buttressed in an interview this week by an officer involved in the raid, and earlier by an attorney for one of the defendants. Ex-cop fingered The officer, who would not allow himself to be identified, said the alleged CIA agent was Ronald J. Lister, a former Laguna Beach police detective who worked with Blandon in the drug ring. The 1986 search-warrant affidavit identifies Lister's home in Laguna Beach as one of the places searched. It says Lister was involved in transporting drug money to Miami and was Blandon's partner in a security company. The company, according to a former employee, was doing work at a Salvadoran military air base in the early 1980s. Lister pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking in 1991. A 1986 FBI report obtained from the National Archives last [document link] year said Lister claimed his security business was ''CIA FBI Teletype approved.'' regarding conversation Since at least 1983, Gordon's affidavit said, both Blandon with Roland and Lister were under DEA investigation. Other court Lister's records say Blandon turned up in DEA investigative files real estate as early as 1981. Blandon now works for the DEA as an agent undercover informant. At Ross' trial in March, Blandon -- the Nicaraguan government's director of wholesale markets under the U.S.-supported dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza -- testified that he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles branch of the FDN, and that he sold cocaine to raise funds for that army. Detective Gordon's 1986 search-warrant affidavit, which was approved by Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Glenette Blackwell, mirrors much of Blandon's sworn testimony last March. ''Informant #2 stated to your affiant that Blandon is a 'Contra' sympathizer and a founder of the ... (FDN), an organization that assists the Contra movement with arms and money,'' Gordon's affidavit states. ''The money and arms generated by the organization come through sales of cocaine. Informant #2 provided some 100 names of persons involved with the distribution of cocaine. All of these persons are either Nicaraguan and/or sympathizers to the Contra movement.'' The affidavit names Lister; Blandon's father, Julio; his wife, Chepita; banker Orlando Murillo; and another man as ''being directly involved with cocaine distribution.'' 'Up to 20 kilos a week' The affidavit also said Blandon was delivering ''up to 20 kilos a week'' to a Nicaraguan cocaine dealer named Ivan Arguellas ''who in turn sells mainly to blacks living in the South-Central Los Angeles area.'' It said Blandon ''uses a beer bar at Central Avenue and Adams Street in Los Angeles to distribute as much as 10 kilos of cocaine per week.'' Arguellas was described as being ''confined to a wheelchair as the result of being shot (in) a drug-related incident.'' During an interview with the Mercury News last year, former Los Angeles crack king Ross said one of his first cocaine sources was ''a guy named Ivan, who was in a wheelchair.'' Gordon, like six of the seven other narcotics detectives who staged the Blandon raids, was later indicted on federal corruption charges in the early 1990s. After two trials, including one in which he defended himself, Gordon was convicted of one count of tax evasion. He could not be reached for comment. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Go to: Home | Dark Alliance: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- [Coldwell Banker] | Mercury Center Home | Index | Feedback | NewsLibrary | 1996 Mercury Center. The information you receive on-line from Mercury Center is protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing, retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material.

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