("Quid coniuratio est?")
THE PHONY WAR
An Interview with DEA Veteran Celerino Castillo
- Tell me just briefly: what kinds of planes were these, where were
they coming from, where were they going?
- The cable that we received from Costa Rica in April of 1986 came
in from the country attache', Bobby Nieves, like I stated before,
and was for us to check Hangars 4 and 5, that they had very
reliable information pertaining to the trafficking from around
Central and South America into those two hangars.
It turned out that of those two hangars, one was run by the CIA,
and the other one was run by Felix Rodriguez,
[CN -- This man, Felix Rodriguez, also shows up in connection
with activities surrounding Terry Reed and the Mena Airport
operation. Rodriguez is also reportedly the man who killed
who ran the Contra operation at Ilopango.
- These, then, were not jets that you would see at an American
airfield, but these were smaller planes?
- Yes, smaller planes, like Caravans, Pipers, Cessnas. They were
coming in without being inspected by the Customs officials, or
As it turned out, the informant who did the flight plans actually
gave us copies of all the flight plans of all these Contra
pilots, and when we ran checks on the names of all these pilots,
they were all documented in DEA files as narco-traffickers. Yet
they were being hired by the CIA, Felix Rodriguez, and everybody
else, who were trying to obtain U.S. visas for them to go to the
U.S. -- even though they were documented traffickers.
- So, these planes would then fly north. Could they make it all the
way to Miami?
- They would go to Miami, they would go to Texas. They were going
to California; anywhere that they were able.
For example, a Contra pilot was arrested in late '85 in south
Texas with five-and-a-half million dollars cash. It was Contra
money. You know, you carry credentials from the President of El
Salvador, from the Chief of Staffs in El Salvador, the Chief of
the Air Force and so forth; they were all very well protected,
and every single pilot talked about how they had permission to
run narcotics, because they were working for the Oliver North
-+- The Rodriguez Dossier -+-
- Now, you've mentioned Felix Rodriguez, Max Gomez. I happen to
have read his autobiography, and he's somebody who participated
in the Bay of Pigs invasion back in the early 1960s, and it's
speculated that George Bush was involved in that.
[CN -- According to Brigadier General (retired) Russell S.
Bowen (The Immaculate Deception), "The truth is that Bush
has been a top CIA agent since before the 1961 invasion of
Cuba, working with Felix Rodriguez and other anti-Castro
Certainly, Felix Rodriguez has been with George Bush for a very,
very long time, and what you can see in that book is, he's got a
signed photograph from George Bush telling him what a great
patriot he is.
Would you agree with that judgement on Felix Rodriguez/Max Gomez?
- No, sir. If you go back to the Vietnam War, we have intelligence
where the CIA and those individuals were heavily involved in
trafficking heroin into the U.S. in bodybags and so forth.
So, Felix Rodriguez was documented, in our DEA files, as a
trafficker. He was a retired CIA agent, and they brought all
these people who were heavily involved. If you go back, most of
these Bay of Pigs operatives were all documented traffickers, who
all served time for narcotics trafficking, for gun-running. They
were all criminals; yet, they were being hired by the Oliver
North Contra operation to run the illegal narcotics trafficking
out of Ilopango [Airport].
- Now, Felix Rodriguez has a DEA file.
- That's correct, sir. I myself documented him involved in
trafficking with the Contras, and so forth.
- Does Oliver North have a DEA file?
- That's correct, sir. As a matter of fact, there's a 1991 file on
Oliver North for smuggling weapons from the U.S. into the
Philippines with known narcotics traffickers, and I'm talking
about a 1991 case. I'm not going back to the Contra issue.
- This is after the television appearance, after the great 1987
- That's correct, sir. Absolutely.
- Can you make a Freedom of Information Act request, to get hold of
Oliver North's DEA file?
- I tried that already, and they cited the privacy act. I asked for
my own files, that I wrote on the Contras and different
individuals, and these requests were denied.
- So, I can imagine that there would be a lot of voters around
Virginia and elsewhere who would like to have a look at Oliver
North's DEA file again, with an incident from 1991?
- That's correct. One of the questions I've always been asked is,
Why can't the White House get that?
Somebody else has to answer that. I don't know. It's there. They
just need to get that. That file is out of the Washington office
here in Washington, D.C.
- That certainly makes you think twice.
Now, did you ever see Felix Rodriguez running around Ilopango?
- Yes, sir. I saw him running around Ilopango. I used to see him
around the U.S. Embassy, having lunch with the ambassador and
others. Col. Steele from the U.S. Military Group [was] down
there. I saw him everywhere.
-+- Coverup -+-
- And how about Oliver North? Did you ever see him there?
- I saw Oliver North in Guatemala, not in Salvador.
- And what were the circumstances where you saw Oliver North?
- Well, that's when I met George Bush, on Jan. 14, 1986...
- Could you just give us an idea of what kinds of people were
telling you about these activities, and what they were telling
- Well, go back to Ilopango. We had an informant who had worked
there, at Ilopango, for many years. He had given reliable
information to the Consulate General there, Robert Chavez, at the
U.S. Embassy, and some cocaine had been seized before. So, this
guy was very reliable. He had been reporting all this activity on
We had another informant who was also placed to work at Ilopango,
Salvador, and Guatemala, who was a documented informer going back
to 1981, who gave us a lot of the intelligence that we had on
this Contra operation.
- Let's now turn to what you did with the information that you got,
and how you reported it. I understand from your book that one of
the first people you tried to tell about this was the U.S.
ambassador to Salvador, Edwin Corr.
- That's correct. Once we obtained a lot of the intelligence and we
started writing reports, we went to the U.S. ambassador, we went
to the CIA Chief of Station, Jack McCavett, in Salvador, and Col.
Steele, who was a U.S. Military Group commander.
There was an individual, an American, who lived in El Salvador,
who was a civilian, and as it turns out, he was working for the
Oliver North Contra operation. And when we received all this
information, we reported it. I personally reported it to my boss,
first of all, Bob Stia, who kept forewarning me about my
reporting on the Contras because it was going to come back and
hurt us in Guatemala.
- Did he suggest it was going to be bad for your career?
- It was going to be bad for my career and his career, and he had a
couple of years left to retire, and not to make any waves. I told
him that if I actually found any evidence, that I would continue
to report the allegations that the Contras were involved in
I went to the U.S. ambassador, Edwin Corr. He told me right off
that it was a White House covert operation run by Col. Oliver
North, and for me to stay away from it.
[...to be continued...]
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