("Quid coniuratio est?")
THE PHONY WAR
An Interview with DEA Veteran Celerino Castillo
-+- Assassination Threat -+-
- And I understand that then the DEA actually investigated you,
that is, they sent some people to check up on what you were
- That's correct. The pressure was on, "the hammer dropped", as
they say. They came down gunning for me.
When Kiki Camarena got killed in 1985, the administrator for the
DEA came out with a memo stating that no DEA agent is to travel
by himself in a foreign country; yet, that did not apply to me,
because I was one of two agents to cover four countries in Latin
America, which were Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
- Two agents for four countries? That was called the "war on
- That's correct. That was called the "war on drugs in Central
America", and I was being forced to travel by land, mind you,
through guerrilla territory.
- "By land" means in a car, on a country road, where guerrillas are
- That's correct. It's a three to four hour drive.
- Did you have an armed escort?
- No, sir, I drove by myself, and most of the time my only back-up
was my informant, who travelled with me. And of course, the DEA
manual states that you cannot be with an informant by yourself;
yet, DEA refused to give out any back-up agents. That's what
happened to Kiki Camarena. Kiki had to work by himself. [CN --
Kiki Camarena was a DEA agent slain in the line of duty in Mexico
We had Victor Cortez meeting with an informant in a restaurant,
he gets grabbed. Why? Because there was nobody to back him up.
And while our lives were being put on the line out there,
carelessly, by the DEA, the DEA refused to do anything about it.
- So the resources are totally inadequate.
- Totally inadequate, and unsafe.
- Worse than that, though, it sounds like somebody was trying to
get you bumped off, or would have been glad to see you bumped
- That was at the very end of my career, where there was an OPR
investigator, Tony Ricevuto. We have a Guatemalan colonel who
puts a contract on me [i.e., offers to pay money in return for
the murder of Castillo], who's going to assassinate me. We had
tape recordings on him, on how he's going to assassinate me in El
Salvador and blame it on the guerrillas. And Tony Ricevuto, a
senior inspector, goes into Guatemala and speaks to the U.S.
ambassador there, requesting a U.S. visa for this colonel so that
he can testify before the BCCI [Bank of Credit and Commerce
International] investigation in Miami.
In other words, telling them that it's o.k. that he's going to
assassinate me, but they want him to testify in a trial in Miami!
That's when I knew that I was going to get hurt sooner or later.
- This would have fit into a kind of general liquidation of all
sorts of people in 1986, 1987, 1988, who were very knowledgeable
about different sides of Iran-Contra. You can think of Olof
Palme, you can think of people in Germany...
- There were people being taken out [i.e., murdered].
- Eyewitnesses were disappearing, they were dropping left and right
in those years. [CN -- They're "dropping left and right" in these
years also, e.g. see "The Clinton Body Count" by Linda Thompson.]
- That's correct, and I was one of them who was going to be taken
out by the DEA, because they could not justify the fact that this
individual was going to assassinate me. There was a case out of
Houston, Texas, that was conducting the investigation; yet, my
own people at DEA wanted to get him to the U.S. to testify. It
was more important to them that he testify before the BCCI
investigation, than my security.
Mind you, while I was down in Central America, during my career
with the DEA, I kept a daily journal of everything.
Case file numbers, individuals I talked to, people who called me
to tell me to close the files, everything that the DEA had
conducted illegally, condoning murders that the DEA knew about,
down in Central America, killings and assassinations of Columbian
traffickers; the massacre of them. I have passports to prove my
allegations, and this was done with the knowledge of the DEA.
- To the bottom line: The net result of everything you sent in to
DEA headquarters in Washington, was what?
- Was suppressed, I guess the word is... To this day, they continue
to cover up the fact that there was a lot of intelligence
involving the CIA, involving Oliver North's Contra operation.
I have pictures, I have photos, I have documents. I have
everything that can justify what I'm saying. It's just that
people refuse to acknowledge the fact that this was going on.
There was a cover-up being conducted by the DEA on orders from
the White House.
- Now, if you had to formulate charges against Oliver North, what
would you charge him with?
- First of all, the violation of the Federal Narcotics Law, which
states, in general, the fact that if you have knowledge that
narcotics trafficking is being conducted, and you don't do
anything about it, you can go to jail for that.
- Now, Oliver North says he's "the most investigated man on the
planet". He says, well, this is all done to death. We've been
over this terrain a million times. Nothing has ever been found.
Do you think that the investigations up to now have been adequate
on precisely this key topic?
- No, sir, not at all. To start off with, it was inadequate
investigation. "The most investigated man on the planet" -- they
should have contacted the agents in Salvador, the people who
actually conducted the investigation on the Contras...
- Have you found, I guess you've mentioned this now in the course
of our talk, but corroboration: have you found other people,
other sources, who also can document what you saw?
- I want to go back a little bit. In September of 1986, we had an
individual who was an American, who was Oliver North's right-hand
man down in El Salvador. He was a civilian. He worked out of
Ilopango Hangars 4 and 5. He was a documented narcotics
trafficker, all the way from Panama. We call him, in the book,
"Brasher", and we hit his house. I built up a unit there, and
they hit the house. At his residence, we found what was a Contra
supply operation. We found U.S. military munitions, heavy guns,
cases of explosives, C4.
- In a private home of a friend of Ollie North?
- Yes, in a private home. Cases of grenades, sniper rifles,
uniforms, military equipment; and it was all U.S. military issue,
brand new, some of it.
Before I hit his house, I went to the U.S. ambassador, who denied
the fact that ["Brasher"] worked for the U.S. embassy; I went to
the U.S. Military Group commander, who denied that ["Brasher"]
worked for them. I went to the CIA, who denied. All three of
those people told me that ["Brasher"] was working for the Oliver
North Contra operation.
At the residence, all his vehicles had license plates for the
U.S. embassy. We found radios belonging to the U.S. embassy. We
found weapons belonging to the U.S. embassy. Yet, this individual
was a documented narcotics trafficker working for the Oliver
North Contra operation.
[...to be continued...]
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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt.
Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et
pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9
"Justice" = "Just us" = "History is written by the assassins."