December 12, 2012

Former lord of Arkansas narco-republic questions drug war

 Think Progress reports that "Former President Bill Clinton and a number of other world leaders are declaring the War on Drugs a failure in a new documentary about the remarkable violence, illegal activity and mass incarceration caused by worldwide drug prohibition"

What is missing from the coverage of Clinton's change of heart is his extensive experience in the matter, as we have documented over the years in our timeline, Arkansas Connections


1979

Sharlene Wilson will testify in a 1990 federal drug probe that she began selling cocaine to Roger Clinton as early as this year. She will also tell reporters that she sold two grams of cocaine to Clinton's brother at the Little Rock nightclub Le Bistro, then witnessed Bill Clinton consume the drug. "I watched Bill Clinton lean up against a brick wall," Wilson says to the London Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in 1995. "He was so messed up that night, he slid down the wall into a garbage can and just sat there like a complete idiot." Wilson also describes gatherings at Little Rock's Coachman's Inn between 1979 and 1981, where she saw Clinton using cocaine "quite avidly" with friends. Drug prosecutor Jean Duffey will say that she has no doubt that Wilson was telling the truth.

1980s


Arkansas becomes a major center of gun-running, drugs and money laundering. The IRS warns other law enforcement agencies of the state's "enticing climate." According to Clinton biographer Roger Morris, operatives go into banks with duffel bags full of cash, which bank officers then distribute to tellers in sums under $10,000 so they don't have to report the transaction.

Sharlene Wilson, according to investigative reporter Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, flies cocaine from to a pickup point in Texas. Other drugs, she and others say, are stuffed into chickens for shipping around the country. Wilson also serves as "the lady with the snow" at "toga parties" attended, she reports, by Bill Clinton.

According to Wilson,"I lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, O.K.? And I worked at a club called Le Bistro's, and I met Roger Clinton there, Governor Bill Clinton, a couple of his state troopers that went with him wherever he went. Roger Clinton had come up to me and he had asked me could I give him some coke, you know, and asked for my one-hitter, which a one-hitter is a very small silver device,O.K., that you stick up into your nose and you just squeeze it and a snort of cocaine will go up in there.And I watched Roger hand what I had given him to Governor Clinton, and he just kind of turned around and walked off."

Investor's Business Daily would later write, "Sally Perdue, a former Miss Arkansas and Little Rock talk show host who said she had an affair with then-Gov. Clinton in 1983, told the London Sunday Telegraph that he once came over to her house with a bag full of cocaine. ''He had all the equipment laid out, like a real pro.''

In the 1990s, Genifer Flowers tells Sean Hannity's WABC talk radio show: "He smoked marijuana in my presence and and offered me the opportunity to snort cocaine if I wanted to. I wasn't into that. Bill clearly let me know that he did cocaine. And I know people that knew he did cocaine. He did tell me that when he would use a substantial amount of cocaine that his head would itch so badly that he would become self conscious at parties where he was doing this. Because all he wanted to do while people were talking to him is stand around and scratch his head. ...."


Two Arkansas state troopers will swear under oath that they have seen Clinton ''under the influence'' of drugs when he was governor. Sharlene Wilson is a bartender who ended up serving time on drug crimes and cooperating with drug investigators. She told a federal grand jury she saw Clinton and his younger brother ''snort'' cocaine together in 1979. Jack McCoy, a Democratic state representative and Clinton supporter, told the Sunday Telegraph that he could ''remember going into the governor's conference room once and it reeked of marijuana.'' Historian Roger Morris, in his book ''Partners in Power,'' quotes several law enforcement officials who say they had seen and knew of Clinton's drug use. One-time apartment manager Jane Parks claims that in 1984 she could listen through the wall as Bill and Roger Clinton, in a room adjoining hers, discussed the quality of the drugs they were taking.


According to his wife, security operative Jerry Parks delivers large sums of money from Mena airport to Vince Foster at a K-Mart parking lot. Mrs. Parks discovers this when she opens her car trunk one day and finds so much cash that she has to sit on the trunk to close it again. She asks her husband whether he is dealing drugs, and he allegedly explains that Foster paid him $1,000 for each trip he took to Mena. Parks said he didn't "know what they were doing, and he didn't care to know. He told me to forget what I'd seen.". . . .


1980

Bill Clinton loses re-election as governor. He will win two years later. Larry Nichols will tell the George Putman Show in 1998 that he had met with Clinton and Jackson Stephen's brother Witt and that Witt had told Clinton that the Stephens were ready to back him for another run at the governorship but that he had to "dry out on the white stuff."

There are reports that following his loss, Clinton ended up in the hospital for a drug overdose. Journalist R. Emmett Tyrrell later asked emergency room workers at the University of Arkansas Medical Center if they could confirm the incident. He didn't get a flat ''no'' from the hospital staff. One nurse said, ''I can't talk about that.'' Another said she feared for her life if she spoke of the matter. Newsmax will report: "Dr. Sam Houston, a respected Little Rock physician and once a doctor for Hillary's cantankerous father, Hugh Rodham, says it is well known in Little Rock medical circles that Clinton was brought to a Little Rock hospital for emergency treatment for an apparent cocaine overdose. According to Houston, who told us he spoke to someone intimately familiar with the details of what happened that night, Clinton arrived at the hospital with the aid of a state trooper. Hillary Clinton had been notified by phone and had instructed the hospital staff that Clinton's personal physician would be arriving soon. When Mrs. Clinton arrived, she told both of the resident physicians on duty that night that they would never practice medicine in the United States if word leaked out about Clinton's drug problem. Reportedly, she pinned one of the doctors up against the wall, both hands pressed against his shoulders, as she gave her dire warning."


Major drug trafficker Barry Seal, under pressure from the Louisiana cops, relocates his operations to Mena, Arkansas. Seal is importing as much as 1,000 pounds of cociane a month from Colombia according to Arkansas law enforcement officials. He will claim to have made more than $50 million out of his operations. As an informant, Seal testified that in 1980-81, before moving his operation to Arkansas, he made approximately 60 trips to Central America and brought back 18,000 kilograms. In 1996 the Progressive Review will report: "The London Telegraph has obtained some of the first depositions in ex-CIA contract flyer Terry Reed's suit against Clinton's ex-security chief - and now a high- paid FEMA director - Buddy Young. According to the Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, "Larry Patterson, an Arkansas state trooper, testified under oath that there were 'large quantities of drugs being flown into the Mena airport, large quantities of money, large quantities of guns.' The subject was discussed repeatedly in Clinton's presence by state troopers working on his security detail, he alleged. Patterson said the governor 'had very little comment to make; he was just listening to what was being said.'"

Roger Morris & Sally Denton, Penthouse Magzine - Seal's legacy includes more than 2,000 newly discovered documents that now verify and quantify much of what previously had been only suspicion, conjecture, and legend. The documents confirm that from 1981 to his brutal death in 1986, Barry Seal carried on one of the most lucrative, extensive, and brazen operations in the history of the international drug trade, and that he did it with the evident complicity, if not collusion, of elements of the United States government, apparently with the acquiescence of Ronald Reagan's administration, impunity from any subsequent exposure by George Bush's administration, and under the usually acute political nose of then Arkansas governor Bill Clinton. . .

Mena state police investigator Russell Welch will later describe the airport, pointing to one hanger he says is owned by a man who "doesn't exist in history back past a safe house in Baltimore in 1972." Another is owned by someone who "smuggled heroin through Laos back in the seventies." Still another is "owned by a guy who just went bankrupt. So what's he do? Flies to Europe for more money." Welch points to a half dozen Fokker aircraft parked on an apron, noting that "the DEA's been tracking those planes back and forth to Columbia for a while now."


1982

A DEA report uncovered by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard will cite an informant claiming that a key Arkansas figure and backer of Clinton "smuggles cocaine from Colombia, South America, inside race horses to Hot Springs."

The London Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Prichard writes, "Basil Abbott, a convicted drug pilot, says that he flew a Cessna 210 full of cocaine into Marianna, in eastern Arkansas, in the spring of 1982. The aircraft was welcomed by an Arkansas State Trooper in a marked police car. 'Arkansas was a very good place to load and unload' he said."

IRS agent William Duncan and an Arkansas State Police investigator take their evidence concerning drug trafficking in Mena to US Attorney Asa Hutchinson. They ask for 20 witnesses to be subpoenaed before the grand jury. Hutchinson chooses only three. According to reporter Mara Leveritt, "The three appeared before the grand jury, but afterwards, two of them also expressed surprise at how their questioning was handled. One, a secretary at Rich Mountain Aviation, had given Duncan sworn statements about money laundering at the company, transcripts of which Duncan had provided to Hutchinson. But when the woman left the jury room, she complained that Hutchinson had asked her nothing about the crime or the sworn statements she'd given to Duncan. As Duncan later testified, 'She basically said that she was allowed to give her name, address, position, and not much else.' The other angry witness was a banker who had, in Duncan's words, 'provided a significant amount of evidence relating to the money-laundering operation.' According to Duncan, he, too, emerged from the jury room complaining 'that he was not allowed to provide the evidence that he wanted to provide to the grand jury.'"

Roger Morris & Sally Denton, Penthouse Magzine - According to l.R.S. criminal investigator Duncan, secretaries at the Mena Airport told him that when Seal flew into Mena, I'there would be stacks of cash to be taken to the bank and laundered." One secretary told him that she was ordered to obtain numerous cashier's checks, each in an amount just under $10,000, at various banks in Mena and surrounding communities, to avoid filing the federal Currency Transaction Reports required for all bank transactions that exceed that limit. Bank tellers testified before a federal grand jury that in November 1982, a Mena airport employee carried a suitcase containing more than $70,000 into a bank. "The bank officer went down the teller lines handing out the stacks of $1,000 bills and got the cashier's checks." Law-enforcement sources confirmed that hundreds of thousands of dollars were laundered from 1981 to 1983 just in a few small banks near Mena, and that millions more from Seal's operation were laundered elsewhere in Arkansas and the nation.

Bill Clinton wins back the governorship.


1983

According to a later account in the Tampa Tribune, planes flying drugs into Mena in coolers marked "medical supplies." are met by several people close to then-Governor Bill Clinton.

1984

Hot Springs police record Roger Clinton during a cocaine transaction. Roger says, "Got to get some for my brother. He's got a nose like a vacuum cleaner." Roger is arrested while working at menial jobs for Arkansas "bond daddy" Dan Lasater.

Barry Seal estimates that he has earned between $60 and $100 million smuggling cocaine into the US, but with the feds closing in on him, Barry Seal flies from Mena to Washington in his private Lear Jet to meet with two members of Vice President George Bush's drug task force. Following the meeting, Seal rolls over for the DEA, becoming an informant. He collects information on leaders of the Medellin cartel while still dealing in drugs himself. The deal will be kept secret from investigators working in Louisiana and Arkansas. According to reporter Mara Leveritt, "By Seal's own account, his gross income in the year and a half after he became an informant - while he was based at Mena and while Asa Hutchinson was the federal prosecutor in Fort Smith, 82 miles away - was three-quarters of a million dollars. Seal reported that $575,000 of that income had been derived from a single cocaine shipment, which the DEA had allowed him to keep. Pressed further, he testified that, since going to work for the DEA, he had imported 1,500 pounds of cocaine into the U.S. Supposed informant Seal will fly repeatedly to Colombia, Guatemala, and Panama, where he meets with Jorge Ochoa, Fabio Ochoa, Pablo Escobar, and Carlos Lehder - leaders of the cartel that at the time controlled an estimated 80 percent of the cocaine entering the United States."


Clinton bodyguard, state trooper LD Brown, applies for a CIA opening. Clinton gives him help on his application essay including making it more Reaganesque on the topic of the Nicaragua. According to Brown, he meets a CIA recruiter in Dallas whom he later identities as former member of Vice President Bush's staff. On the recruiter's instruction, he meets with notorious drug dealer Barry Seal in a Little Rock restaurant. Joins Seal in flight to Honduras with a purported shipment of M16s and a return load of duffel bags. Brown gets $2,500 in small bills for the flight. Brown, concerned about the mission, consults with Clinton who says, "Oh, you can handle it, don't sweat it." On second flight, Brown finds cocaine in a duffel bag and again he seeks Clinton's counsel. Clinton says to the conservative Brown, "Your buddy, Bush, knows about it" and of the cocaine, "that's Lasater's deal."

1985

Roger Clinton pleads guilty to cocaine distribution but cops a plea on more serious charges with a promise to cooperate. He will serve a short prison term.

According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, on June 4, 1985, the diary of Arkansas State police lieutenant Russell Welch says that an agent from the DEA "informed me in strictest confidence that it was believed, within his department, that [major drug transporter] Barry Seal is flying weapons to Central and South America. In return he is allowed to smuggle what he wanted back into the United States".


1986

Journalist Evans-Pritchard will describe the Arkansas of this period as a "major point for the transshipment of drugs" and "perilously close to becoming a 'narco-republic' -- a sort of mini-Columbia within the borders of the United States." There is "an epidemic of cocaine, contaminating the political establishment from top to bottom," with parties "at which cocaine would be served like hors d'oeuvres and sex was rampant." Clinton attends some of these events.

On January 17, the U. S. Attorney for the Western District drops a money laundering and narcotics-conspiracy charges against associates of drug smuggler Barry Seal over the protests of investigators Russell Welch of the state police and Bill Duncan of the Internal Revenue.

In a letter to U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese the Louisiana attorney general wrote, Barry Seal "smuggled between $3 billion and $5 billion of drugs into the U.S."

Seal is scheduled to testify at the trial of Jorge Ochoa Vasques. But on February 19, shortly before the trial is to begin, Seal is murdered in Baton Rouge gangland style by three Colombian hitmen armed with machine guns who attack while he seated behind the wheel of his white Cadillac in Baton Rouge, La. The Colombians, connected with the Medellin drug cartel, are tried and convicted. Upon hearing of Seal's murder, one DEA agent says, "There was a contract out on him, and everyone knew it. He was to have been a crucial witness in the biggest case in DEA history."

According to the London Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Prichard, "Seal was probably the biggest importer of cocaine in American history. Between 1980 and his assassination in 1986, his team of pilots smuggled in 36 metric tons of cocaine, 104 tons of marijuana and three tons of heroin, according to a close associate of Seal. The sums of money involved were staggering. At his death, Seal left a number of operational bank accounts. One of them, at the Cayman Islands branch of the Fuji Bank, currently has an interest-earning balance of $1,645,433,000. "

Roger Morris & Sally Denton, Penthouse Magzine Seal himself spent considerable sums to land, base, maintain, and specially equip or refit his aircraft for smuggling. According to personal and business records, he had extensive associations at Mena and in Little Rock, and was in nearly constant telephone contact with Mena when he was not there himself. Phone records indicate Seal made repeated calls to Mena the day before his murder. This was long after Seal, according to his own testimony, was working as an $800,000-a-year informant for the federal government.

Roger Morris & Sally Denton, Penthouse Magzine - Arkansas state trooper Larry Patterson [would later testify] under oath, according to The London Sunday Telegraph, that he and other officers "discussed repeatedly in Clinton's presence" the "large quantities of drugs being flown into the Mena airport, large quantities of money, large quantities of guns," indicating that Clinton may have known much more about Seal's activities than he has admitted.

1987


Two boys, Kevin Ives and Don Henry, are killed in Saline County and left on a railroad track to be run over by a train The medical examiner will initially rule the deaths accidental, saying that the boys were unconscious and in a deep sleep due to marijuana. The finding will be punctured by dogged investigators whose efforts are repeatedly blocked by law enforcement officials. Ultimately, the bodies will be exhumed and another autopsy will be performed, which finds that Henry had been stabbed in the back and Ives beaten with a rifle butt. Although no one will ever be charged, the trail will lead into the penumbra of the Dixie Mafia and the Arkansas political machine. Some believe the boys died because they accidentally intercepted a drug drop, but other information obtained by the Progressive Review suggests the drop may have dispensed not drugs but cash, gold and platinum -- part of a series of sorties through which those working with US intelligence were being reimbursed. According to one version, the boys were blamed in order to cover up the theft of the drop by persons within the Dixie Mafia and Arkansas political machine. Ives mother will later charge that high state and federal officials participated in a coverup: "I firmly believe my son and Don Henry were killed because they witnessed a drug drop by an airplane connected to the Mena drug smuggling routes."

Prosecutor Jean Duffey will later tell talk show host in answer to whether law enforcement people were involved in the train death murders: "I believe the law enforcement agents were connected to some very high political people because they have never been brought to justice and I don't think they ever will be. I think they are protected to avoid exposing the connection...There have been several murders of potential witnesses. Anyone who could have solved this murder many years ago has been systematically eliminated."

Nine persons reportedly having information on the Ives-Henry murders will end up dead themselves. Keith McKaskle will express fear for his life because of the "railroad track thing" and tell his parents good-bye before his murder. An inmated will report being offered $4,000 to kill McKaskle. A suspect in the Ives-Henry murders will die in what initially is thought to have been a robbery but turns out to have been a set-up. Boonie Bearden vanishes without a trace. It is rumored he knows exactly what had happened at the tracks. James Milam is found decapitated; nonetheless, the state medical examiner, Fahmy Malak - who also called the Ives-Henry deaths accidental -- will declare the death to be of natural causes. Jeff Rhodes will be shot, burned, and have his hands and feet partially sawed off.


1988

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations issues a report that describes the seriousness of the Barry Seal disaster. That report says, "Law enforcement officials were furious that their undercover operation was revealed and agents' lives jeopardized because one individual in the U.S. government - Lt. Col. Oliver North- decided to play politics with the issue . . . Associates of Seal, who operated aircraft service businesses at the Mena, Arkansas airport, were also targets of grand jury probes into narcotics trafficking. Despite the availability of evidence sufficient for an indictment on money laundering charges and over the strong protests of state and federal law enforcement officials, the cases were dropped."

1990


Sharlene Wilson tells a US grand jury investigating drugs in Arkansas that she provided cocaine to Clinton during his first term and that once the governor was so high he fell into a garbage can. The federal drug investigation is shut down within days of her testimony. Wilson flees, terrified of the state prosecuting attorney -- her former lover, and Clinton ally, Dan Harmon. She will be eventually arrested by Harmon himself and sent up for 31 years on a minor drug charge.

Drug distributor Dan Lasater is pardoned by Governor Clinton after serving just six months in jail and four in a halfway house on minor charges. One law enforcement official will describe the investigation into Lasater's operations as "either a high dive or extremely unprofessional. Take your pick."

Jean Duffey, the head of a newly created drug task force, starts investigating between the train deaths and drugs. She is told by her prosecuting attorney boss, "You are not to use the drug task force to investigate public officials." Duffey will later tell the Wall Street Journal, "We had witnesses telling us about low-flying aircraft and informants testifying about drug pick-ups."

1991 

Arkansas State Police investigator Russell Welch, who has been working with IRS investigator Bill Duncan on drug running and money laundering at Mena, develops pneumonia-like symptoms. The Washington Weekly later described the incident: "On the weekend of September 21, 1991, Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch met with IRS Investigator Bill Duncan to write a report on their investigation of Mena drug smuggling and money laundering and send it to Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh.. Returning to Mena on Sunday, Welch told his wife that he didn't feel too well. He thought he had gotten the flu . . . In Fort Smith a team of doctors were waiting. Dr. Calleton had called them twice while Welch was in transport and they had been in contact with the CDC. Later the doctor would tell Welch's wife that he was on the edge of death. He would not have made it through the night had he not been in the hospital. He was having fever seizures by now. A couple of days after Welch had been admitted to St. Edwards Mercy Hospital, his doctor was wheeling him to one of the labs for testing when she asked him if he was doing anything at work that was particularly dangerous. He told her that he had been a cop for about 15 years and that danger was probably inherent with the job description. She told Welch that they believed he had anthrax. She said the anthrax was the military kind that is used as an agent of biological warfare and that it was induced. Somebody had deliberately infected him. She added that they had many more tests to run but they had already started treating him for anthrax."

While in Washington, D.C., where he holds a permit to carry a gun, IRS agent Bill Duncan is arrested for weapons possession (his service revolver), roughed up and handcuffed to a pipe in the basement of a DC police station. After the incident he is taken off of the Mena investigation. Later, when he was asked to falsify testimony for a federal grand jury, he refuses and is fired on the spot.

State Attorney General Winston Bryant and Arkansas Rep. Bill Alexander send two boxes of Mena files to special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh. Bryant says the boxes contain "credible evidence of gunrunning, illegal drug smuggling, money laundering and the governmental coverup and possibly a criminal conspiracy in connection with the Mena Airport." Seventeen months later, Walsh writes Bryant a letter saying, without explanation, that he had closed his investigation. Says Alexander later, "The feds dropped the ball and covered it up. I have never seen a whitewash job like this case."

Dan Harmon becomes the new prosecuting attorney in the district responsible for the train deaths investigation.

Harmon's drug investigator Jean Duffey is discredited, threatened and ultimately has to flee Arkansas.

The day Clinton announces his candidacy for the White House, Meredith Oakley sizes him up in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: "His word is dirt. Not a statesman is he, but a common, run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen politician. A mere opportunist. A man whose word is fallow ground not because it is unwanted but because it is barren, bereft of the clean-smelling goodness that nurtures wholesome things. Those of us who cling to the precepts of another age, a time in which a man's word was his bond, and, morally, bailing out was not an option, cannot join the madding crowd in celebrating what is for some Bill Clinton's finest hour. We cannot rejoice in treachery. The bleaters who care more for celebrity than veracity are basking in a false and empty light. They trumpet the basest form of political expediency, for they revel amid the debris of a broken promise. Clinton will never accept that assessment of his actions or his following. He subscribes to the credo that the anointed must rule the empire, and he has anointed himself. In his ambition-blinded eyes, one released from a promise has not broken any promise. He ignores the fact that he granted his own pardon."


1993

Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker comes to Washington to see his old boss sworn in, leaving his state under the control of the president pro tem of the senate, Little Rock dentist Jerry Jewell. Jewell uses his power as acting governor to issue a number of pardons, one of them for a convicted drug dealer, Tommy McIntosh. According to the Washington Times, many in the state "say it was a political payoff, offered in exchange for dirty tricks Mr. McIntosh played on Clinton political opponents during the presidential campaign, or as a payoff for stopping his attacks on Mr. Clinton." It seems that the elder McIntosh had worked for Clinton in his last state campaign and, according to McIntosh in a 1991 lawsuit, had agreed not only to pay him $25,000 but to help him market his recipe for sweet potato pie and to pardon his son.


ROGER MORRIS & SALLY DENTON, PENTHOUSE - Prominent backers of Clinton's over the same years . . . have themselves been subjects of extensive investigative and surveillance files by the D.E.A. or the F.B.I. similar to those relating to [Barry] Seal, including allegations of illegal drug activity . . .

"This may be the first president in history with such close buddies who have NADDIS numbers," says one concerned law-enforcement official, referring to the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Intelligence System numbers assigned those under protracted investigation for possible drug crimes.


1994


The White House hosts a major drug dealer at its Christmas party. Jorge Cabrera -- who gave $20,000 to the DNC -- is also photographed with Al Gore at a Miami fund-raiser, a fact the Clinton administration initially attempts to conceal by arguing that a publicity shot with the Veep is covered by the Privacy Act. Cabrera was indicted in 1983 by a federal grand jury -- on racketing and drug charges -- and again in 1988, when he was accused of managing a continuing narcotics operation. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges and served 54 months on prison. After his visit to the White House he will be sentenced to 19 years on prison for transporting 6,000 pounds of cocaine into the US. The Secret Service says letting him come to the WH was okay because he posed no threat to the president.

Roger Morris and Sally Denton write a well-documented account of drug and Contra operations in Arkansas during the '80s. The Washington Post's Outlook section wants to run it, offers their highest price ever for a story, but is overruled by higher-ups. Reports Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the London Telgraph, "The article was typeset and scheduled to run in today's edition of The Washington Post. It had the enthusiastic backing of the editors and staff of the Sunday Outlook section, where it was to appear after eleven weeks of soul-searching and debate. Lawyers had gone through the text line by line. Supporting documents had been examined with meticulous care. The artwork and illustrations had been completed. The contract with the authors had been signed. Leonard Downie, the executive editor of the newspaper, had given his final assent. But on Thursday morning the piece was cancelled. It had been delayed before - so often, in fact, that its non-appearance was becoming the talk of Washington - but this time the authors were convinced that the story was doomed and would never make it into the pages of what is arguably the world"s most powerful political newspaper." Morris and Denton withdraw the story, which is later published by Penthouse Magazine after being rejected by Vanity Fair, one of whose editors told the pair, "We don't do substantive stories."

The American Spectator magazine publishes an article by L.D. Brown, a former member of Clinton's Arkansas State Police security detail, in which he describes participating in two secret flights from Mena in 1984, during which M-16 rifles were traded to Nicaraguan Contra rebels in exchange for cocaine. Brown also claims that Clinton knew of the activity.Writes Mara Leveritt in the Arkansas Times: "That announcement spurred Fort Smith lawyer Asa Hutchinson, chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, to request yet another congressional inquiry into long-standing allegations of money-laundering at Mena. Hutchinson was the U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas when investigators first presented evidence supporting those allegations. In an argument disputed by police investigators, Hutchinson claims he left office before the evidence was well established. Since he harbors political ambitions, he has an interest in clearing his name."

State trooper Russell Welch, who investigated Mena, is forced into early retirement.


Convicted cocaine distributor Dan Lasater testifies before Congress. The New York Times, among others, does not cover the story even though Lasater is close to Clinton and paid off Roger Clinton's debt to the drug cartel. Lasater also raised race horses and was a track buddy of Virginia Kelly, through whom he met her son Bill. When Lasater started a bonding company, Bill Clinton recommended to him highway commissioner Patsy Thomasson, who would become vice president of the Lasater firm and have power of attorney while he was in jail. Thomasson would eventually become director of White House Management and Administration, responsible for drug testing among other things. While with Lasater, Thomasson hired Clinton's half-brother as a limo driver. Roger was also employed as a stable hand at Lasater's Florida farm. In his trial, and in testimony before the Senate Whitewater committee, Lasater admits to being free with coke, including ashtrays full of it on his corporate jet. He also admits to having given coke to employees and to minors. But he takes umbrage at being called a drug dealer since he didn't charge for the stuff.

According to some witnesses, Lasater also had a back door pass to the governor's mansion. One state trooper reported taking Clinton to Lasater's office regularly and waiting forty-five minutes or an hour for him to come out.


The CIA admits to having operated out of Mena but denies involvement with drug trafficking and other illegal activities. Writes the Wall Street Journal's Micah Morrison, "Three days after the 1996 presidential election, the CIA issued a brief report saying it had engaged in 'authorized and lawful activities' at the airfield, including 'routine aviation-related services' and a secret 'joint-training operation with another federal agency.' The agency said it was not 'associated with money laundering, narcotics trafficking, arms smuggling, or other illegal activities' at Mena."


1997


LD Brown, a former Arkansas state trooper who worked on Clinton's security details, claims he was approached on a bus in England and offered $100,000 and a job to change his Whitewater testimony. A second offer was allegedly made in Little Rock.


In a 1997 story, Don Van Natta Jr. of the NY Times reports, "Jorge Cabrera, a drug smuggler who has emerged as one of the most notorious supporters of President Clinton's re-election campaign, was asked for a campaign contribution in the unlikely locale of a hotel in Havana by a prominent Democratic fund-raiser, congressional investigators have learned. . . On his return to the United States several days after that meeting, in November 1995, Cabrera wrote a check for $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee from an account that included the proceeds from smuggling cocaine from Colombia to the United States, said the investigators, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Within two weeks of the contribution, Cabrera met Gore at the dinner in Miami. Ten days later, Cabrera attended a Christmas reception at the White House hosted by Hillary Rodham Clinton. At the events, Gore and Mrs. Clinton posed for photographs with Cabrera, who has two felony convictions dating from the 1980s and is now in a prison here on a drug-smuggling conviction. . .

"A Cuban-born American, Cabrera was arrested two times on serious drug charges in the 1980s. Both times he pleaded guilty to nondrug felony charges. In 1983, he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for conspiring to bribe a grand jury witness and served 42 months in prison. In 1988, he pleaded guilty to filing a false income-tax return and served one year in prison. After his brief brush with presidential politics, Cabrera was arrested in January 1996 inside a cigar warehouse near here in Dade County, where more than 500 pounds of cocaine had been hidden. He and several accomplices were charged with having smuggled 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States through the Keys. . . In January, Cabrera received an invitation to Clinton's inauguration."


1998


Jorge Cabrera -- the drug dealer who gave enough to the Democrats to have his picture take with both Hillary Clinton and Al Gore -- is back in the news as a businessman pleads guilty to laundering $3.5 million for Cabrera between 1986 and 1996


Arkansas Highway Police seize $3.1 million in cash from four suitcases in a tractor-trailer rig's sleeper section. The driver is charged with money laundering among other things. The seizure is the fourth largest in American history and nearly fifty times more than all the illegal money seized by Arkansas highway police in a typical year.



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