("Quid coniuratio est?")
THE PHONY WAR
An Interview with DEA Veteran Celerino Castillo
-+- Planeloads of Cocaine -+-
- If you had to go back and estimate, could you give some kind of a
ballpark figure of how much drugs, I guess in this case it means
cocaine pretty much, how much cocaine, crack cocaine and other
kinds of cocaine, came into the United States as a result of
- We had thousands of kilos that came in. We had surveillance set
up up there. We saw the planes coming in. We had reports where
they came in, they dropped it off at Hangars 4 and 5; yet, we
were not allowed to touch it.
- Could you just estimate, if at all possible, what percentage that
might have been of the total drug-trafficking flow into the
- Maybe one percent -- and that's a lot. One percent is a lot.
Now, you're asking me about monies? Millions of dollars...
We have a guy who was an honorary ambassador to Panama, who flew
four-and-a-half million dollars from Ilopango into Panama. This
was reported to the DEA Washington...
- Later on, toward the end of his term in office, George Bush came
along and pardoned quite a number of the top figures in this, and
I guess that had the effect of shutting down most of what was
left of the official investigation.
What do you think of George Bush pardoning these people?
- George Bush was trying to save himself, and pardoning these
people who were known traffickers was a slap in the face to us,
the DEA agents who were out there putting our lives on the line,
going undercover in Third World countries.
- And you've done undercover operations in Central America
- That's correct. So the fact that we could have another branch of
our government heavily involved in narcotics trafficking was just
devastating to me. And a lot of people go into the government and
spend twenty years and then retire; it didn't take me twenty
years to figure out that my own government was heavily involved
in narcotics trafficking, and putting our lives on the line.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we lost five agents in Peru. We
cannot work with Third World countries that are heavily involved
in narcotics trafficking.
We had documented reports on Third World countries. For example,
Guatemala. Guatemala is heavily involved in narcotics
trafficking. The Cerezo government was heavily involved, sleeping
with the cartels. Yet, it was a democracy, and the U.S.
government did not want to do anything about it.
I went undercover on a Congressman down there. He was going to
sell me 200 kilos of cocaine. When they came down to arrest them,
I was told by the U.S. embassy not to arrest him, because we were
not there to embarrass the Guatemalan government, but we were
there to help it.
The same thing happened in El Salvador. All the weapons that were
being seized by the guerrillas were being sold to the cartels.
So, we spent $1.5 million a day in El Salvador for the past
10 years, and they couldn't win the war.
- Well, let's sum up now. We have a few minutes left. Do you think
that Oliver North is qualified to be a United States Senator?
- No. He is a convicted felon. He lied to Congress, he is a chronic
liar. He lies to everybody. A lot of people feel that he can be
forgiven for what he did, but what I don't think they realize is
the fact that he cannot justify the narcotics trafficking that
his organization conducted in the 1980s. And he cannot guarantee
to me the fact that nobody, or none of those drugs that were
being smuggled into the U.S., that people died of, was not Contra
cocaine. So, he's got to take responsibility for what is
happening on our streets today, the cocaine epidemic that we
We have more cocaine on the U.S. streets now than we did ten
years ago; yet, we spend billions of dollars in Third World
countries trying to combat this trafficking.
But Oliver North should be in jail, and not be running for the
- Would you think that the Virginia voters ought to have the right
to see Oliver North's DEA file?
- Absolutely. It's there. Whether the DEA wants to continue the
conspiracy to cover it up is a different story...
- You tried to tell your story inside the federal agencies for
quite a number of years, we've seen, with very limited results,
and then you turned to your book, Powderburns.
What made you decide to get into writing books?
- I was sick to my stomach when I saw Oliver North up there.
Everybody looked up to him as a hero, "Oliver North for
President", and so forth.
I had to tell my story...
I can live with myself now. North has to hide. What conscience
does he or his family have, that they know that his organization
is responsible for a lot of deaths in the U.S.? For the epidemic
cocaine addiction that we have? What does his family think about
- Well, I understand you're going out on the stump in Virginia now,
in the closing days of the election campaign?
- Yes, that's correct. I've always made the assumption that I'm
going to go out there and try. I'll never quit. I'll go out
there, tell them what I know. If people want to listen to me, I'm
there. If they don't, it's their prerogative. It's a free
country. If they want to elect an official who is a documented
trafficker and a convicted felon, then that's their prerogative.
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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."