Food For Thought
© copyrighted

The Mena Arkansas
Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Drug Connection
September 20th 1998
by columnist
David Lawrence Dewey

"Reading provides knowledge...
knowledge leads to answers."
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--------------- The following text is from a photocopy of a letter that
was originally hand-delivered to U.S. Attorney General
Edwin Meese III by Louisiana Attorney General William
J. Guste, Jr., on March 3, 1986. -------------------

Department of Justice
Attorney General 234 Loyola Building New Orleans 70122-2096
Honorable Ed Meese
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Dear Attorney General Meese:

This is to formally request that the United States Justice Department undertake a complete investigation with respect to the government's relationship and handling of informant Adler B. "Barry" Seal, who was murdered gangland style in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, February 19, 1986.

"Barry" Seal, as he was know in life, was a former TWA pilot checked out to fly 747 jets. He went into the drug smuggling business in the 1970's illegally bringing first marijuana and then cocaine into the United States -in ever increasing quantities.

When arrested in 1983 and subsequently convicted, he was probably one of the biggest drug smugglers ever brought before a court in the history of our country. By his own admission, he had flown over 100 flights each bringing in between 600 and 1200 pounds of cocaine. At a wholesale volume of an average of $50,000 a pound, he had smuggled between $3 billion and $5 billion of drugs into the United States.His smuggling brought dope to thousands whose lives have been adversely affected by it. He had brought enough cocaine into this country to give a "high" to almost one hundred million users.

And he earned between $60 million and $100 million by criminal activity.

I, for one, was shocked when I learned of his death. In October, as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Narcotics and Drug Interdiction of the President's Commission on Organized Crime, I had presided over a seminar at which Barry Seal had testified.

His purpose there was to inform the Commission and top United States officials of the methods and equipment used by drug smugglers. Present at that seminar and questioning him in closed session afterwards were: Jack Lawn, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration; William Van Raab, Commander of U.S. Customs; Admiral James Gracey, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard; Howard B. Gehring, Director of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System; Lt.General R. Dean Tice, Director of the Defense Department's Task Force on Drug Enforcement; Paul Gorman, former U.S. Army General and military commander in the Caribbean; and U.S. Congressman Glen English, D-Oklahoma.

I give this information to establish that he was a heinous criminal. At the same time, for his own purposes, he had made himself an extremely valuable witness and inforMant in the country's fight against illegal drugs. He had cooperated with the government in testifying before federal grand juries, the President's Commission and was scheduled to be a key witness in the government's case against Jorge Ochoa-Vasques, the head of one of the largest drug cartels in the world.

Barry Seal's murder suggests the need for an indepth but rapid investigation into a number of areas.

WHY WAS SUCH AN IMPORTANT WITNESS NOT GIVEN PROTECTION WHETHER HE WANTED IT OR NOT? Barry Seal refused to go into the Federal Witness Protection Program. But he could have been imprisoned in some town in America under an assumed identity. Instead he was given sentences in cases against him in Florida and in Louisiana that permitted him to live in a Halfway House in Baton Rouge and required him to report daily to the Salvation Army there. Why did the government permit this after it was made aware of the fact that Ochoa investigators had been following Seal and that these investigators were actually in court at the time his sentence was announced.

Prior to his death, Seal said that having to report to the Salvation Army everyday at the same time made him a "clay pidgeon".

He virtually predicted his assassination.

After he was sentenced to 10 years, why was Seal given a reduction of sentence under Rule 35 in Florida cases and set free prior to his completing his agreed upon task which was to testify against the Jorge Ochoa cartel?

Why did the government expose its main witness to extermination?Despite the enormity of his crimes, he actually served 3 or 4 months in jail and a month in a Halfway House. Why?

During the time that Seal was cooperating with the DEA and the Justice Department and acting as an informant, how was he supervised, regulated and controlled? Was it done according to the DEA Agents' Manual for dealing with informants?

Was Seal allowed to travel extensively in the company of potential violators without surveillance?

Was Seal allowed to work in an undercover capacity in Arkansas and Louisiana without notification to Louisiana and Arkansas officials?How were the contraband drugs he brought into the United States while cooperating with the DEA regulated and controlled?

Was Seal's drug smuggling organization allowed to remain in tact during and after the time of his cooperation with the government? If so, why?

Was he permitted to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars which he made while working for the DEA by actually smuggling drugs into the United States? How was such money accounted for?

What effort was made under the RICO Statute to recover the profits and equipment Seal had acquired from illegal smuggling?

What was the nature of the cooperation between the state and federal law enforcement agencies in Louisiana and those in Florida?

The transcript of the testimony in connection with the Rule 35 hearing before Judge Roettger in Florida has been held in camera. Now that Seal is dead, cannot this transcript be made public?

All of these questions, and others that will undoubtedly develop, cry for investigation.

And law enforcement agencies and the public have a right to know the answers.

The answers could very likely tell us how the government might better protect future valuable witnesses whether they want protection or not.

The answers might very likely tell us how the country could better deal with a heinous criminal, despite his cooperation with the government after he got caught.

I trust this request will receive a positive response.


W I L L I A M J . G U S T E J R .

Attorney General of Louisiana WJG, Jr/sl

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