PR Newswire
Former DEA Agent Confirms U.S. Government Knowledge of Cocaine Distribution for Contras

Activists Gregory, Madison and SCLC President Arrested at DEA


St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 23, 1996

Cynthia Tucker
San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 21, 1996

Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 21, 1996

Reuter, Sept. 18, 1996

Knight Ridder, Sept. 13, 1996

CIA Drug Link Known For Years

CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade

A 1991 interview with Alfred McCoy

POWDERBURNS: Cocaine, Contras And The Drug War
By Celerino Castillo III
and Dave Harmon (Review)

By John Veit (Shadow #35)

Kingpin Linked To Cia, Drug Trade

By John Veit
(High Times, July, 1995)

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WASHINGTON D.C., September. 23 -- The following statement is being issued by Leslie Communications:

A former narcotics agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration said today that he could document evidence that his agency knew of the shipments of cocaine flown from Central America to the United States. Celerino Castillo III confirmed the charges of a three-part series published by the San Jose Mercury News written by Gary Webb, which said that during the 1980's the Central Intelligence Agency backed Contras who were involved in selling crack cocaine to L.A. street gangs to get money for their military.

Civil Rights activists Dick Gregory, Joe Madison, Mark Thompson, Dr. John Newman and Rev. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, appeared with former DEA agent Castillo at a press conference at the JW Marriott Hotel. They demanded that the DEA immediately release the Castillo records.

Castillo said that he began recording narcotics trafficking in 1986, while investigating these activities at Ilo Pango, a U.S. air base in El Salvador. He said he logged the amounts of cocaine, the identification numbers of the air planes, informant numbers, and even the names of the pilots who were involved in the shipments. Castillo said he sent those reports to the DEA headquarters in Washington but no action was taken. This morning, he provided DEA case details including document file numbers to the media.

"It's really sad that they are trying to hide this from the American people," Castillo said. "These are the people who are alleged to be fighting the war on drugs."

Castillo, Gregory, Madison, Rev. Lowery, Thompson and Professor Newman later went to DEA headquarters this afternoon and requested a meeting with Chief Administrator Constantine but were told "his schedule was full." Castillo's request for a copy of his own files was denied.

Four of them then knelt down while Rev. Lowery lead a prayer vigil. "In the name of all the people destroyed by drugs, we don't want to believe that our government would engage in activities that are detrimental to the American people," Lowery said. The group then formed a human chain, holding a yellow police crime tape as a symbol of their cause. Four of them including Gregory, Madison, Thompson and Rev. Lowery, were arrested by federal authorities, charged with "impeding public traffic." and taken to Alexandria for processing and incarceration.

Following the arrests Dick Gregory vowed to conduct a hunger fast until the truth of the charges made by former DEA agent Castillo are made public. Gregory said, "The San Jose Mercury News articles by Webb can be read by anyone on the Internet at"

According to the Los Angeles Times (Sat. 9/21), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), released a letter from House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) stating that the House Intelligence Committee is reviewing the charges raised by the San Jose Mercury News concerning the alleged drug pipeline from Colombian drug cartels to black neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

SOURCE Leslie Communications
CONTACT: Cynthia Leslie of Leslie Communications

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