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As First Published in the August, 1999 issue of FTW.

Part Two

CIA - Drugs and Campaign Fundraising

I guess I would jokingly call him the ringleader. His name is John R. McLaughlin. He is 44 years old. In 1977 he became a Pennsylvania Highway Patrolman and quickly distinguished himself as an investigator. In 1992, because of his tenacious investigative style, leadership and ability to produce results, he joined the staff of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office (OAG/BNI) as a narcotics investigator. Joe, whose nickname is "Sparky", has been, and remarkably still is, what we in LAPD would have called a "hard charger." He is one of those guys (like I used to be) who would always work the overtime if it came to taking a bad guy off the street, who, when others would say, "Come on man, you've earned the paycheck, take it easy," would say - "No, I think there's just one more thing I gotta do first." "Sparky" is one of those cops who, if we had ten thousand of them in the right places, would actually put an end to serious organized crime and when the last bad guy was arrested, turn in his badge and gun, walk away from a job he loved and look for another career. That is the kind of thing honorable men do. That is what "Sparky" McLaughlin is.

On October 20, 1995 John McLaughlin and his team of investigators knew that the Dominican drug gangs were dominant in and around Philadelphia where they were concentrating their enforcement efforts. He certainly knew that Dominicans controlled the flow of heroin and cocaine onto Philadelphia streets. Being a guy who always liked to go to the top, "Sparky" had a habit of digging when tantalizing leads came his way.  So, on October 20, 1995, when he and his crew, which came to include fellow investigators Charles Micewski, Dennis J. McKeefery and Edward Eggles, interrogated Dominican national drug suspects and found campaign literature leading to the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the presidential campaign of Jose Francisco Pena-Gomez, they were intrigued. By October 23, 1995 an IG Regional Director had gotten involved and an Intelligence Analyst for the State made a call to the CIA to discuss what they had found. Apparently the CIA was interested.

According to records and affidavits filed as part of a 1998 civil suit filed by "Sparky" and his colleagues against employees of the CIA, the State Department and the State of Pennsylvania, CIA Agent David Lawrence was interested enough to travel to the BNI offices that day to discuss the case and find out what information "Sparky" had turned up. Hindsight being 20/20 I'll bet "Sparky" now rues the day that first contact with CIA was ever made.

While the bureaucrats, or the "suits", as they are known, did what they do, "Sparky" and Co. did what they do. Sparky quickly developed informants inside the (PRD) and by November 13, 1995 had learned that if the PRD candidate, Jose Francisco Pena-Gomez, won the upcoming presidential election in May, 1996 that "narcotics would flow much easier into the U.S." from Dominican and PRD sources. On December 7th (another bad omen for "Sparky" & Co.) the CIA contacted BNI intelligence analysts and advised that the CIA station in the Dominican Republic was very interested and that the CIA would send a field representative to BNI's office on Dec. 11th. CIA Agent Victoria Naylor advised BNI that she would henceforth only talk over a secure phone.

On December 11th 1995 Naylor visited BNI and opened up a liaison on the case with McLaughlin's superiors. Meanwhile, McLaughlin Company were digging deeper into the leadership of the PRD and starting to make large seizures of heroin, cocaine and cash. McLaughlin, now working with regional DEA officials, penetrated the PRD leadership leading to Worcester, Massachusetts and back into the heart of Dominican power in the New York City area. By January 17th of 1996, just five months before the Dominican Presidential election and ten and a half months before the U.S. presidential election, McLaughlin's investigation was attracting notice in many quarters.

On January 17, 1996 the CIA advised BNI that it was sending an official from the Caribbean desk to brief BNI on the Dominican Revolutionary Party. The CIA did a background check on everyone who would attend. The CIA also provided a confidential memorandum for the CIA Chief of Station Larry Leightly, which read in part that Pena and the PRD were widely seen as the U.S. Embassy's candidates of choice in the 1994 elections. Over time it was revealed by the CIA, through various memoranda and conversations that Pena, even though he was both an avowed Marxist and a major drug trafficker, enjoyed the support of both Bill Clinton's State Department and Bill Clinton's Central Intelligence Agency. The Leightly memo also explained that Assistant Secretary of State Alex Watson was "in Santo Domingo on 11 December 1994 and had a lengthy meeting with Pena." Although Pena-Gomez has a long history of Marxist and anti-American activism "Pena-Gomez and the [PRD] are considered main stream in the political spectrum. He and his ideology pose no specific problems for U.S. foreign policy."

Meanwhile, back on the streets, "Sparky" was still doing police work. He was cultivating two undercover informants, one of whom was able to report on activities at the highest levels of the PRD. By January 23, "Sparky's" informants were relaying information that the mainstream candidate favored by the Clinton White House was demanding huge cash payoffs, condoning and supporting drug smuggling but warning party members not to get caught with drugs before the election. Party leaders also relayed a promise that if Pena-Gomez won the election he would "greatly facilitate the flow of drugs into the US" and the flow of money into PRD pockets.

By March 25, "Sparky's" main informant had worked his way into the national PRD leadership in New York City, the same turf where Joe Occhipinti had been bludgeoned six years earlier. From just one informant McLaughlin had been able to document a single stream (out of many streams) of drug money into Pena's coffers totaling more than $2 million. Federal investiagtions were raging everywhere and even the Treasury Department's FINCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) was tracking the dollar volume of drug money involved.


On March 27, 1996 CIA Agent Dave Lawrence came to BNI and met directly with "Sparky" McLaughlin and his regional director, John Sunderhauf. According to court documents filed in McGlaughlin's civil suit "CIA Agent Lawrence stated that he wanted the memo that he gave this agency on January 31, 1996 back as BNI shouldn't have received it. CIA Agent Lawrence went on to state that he wanted the identification of the C/I [Confidential Informant] and what province he came from in the Dominican Republic, CIA Agent Lawrence was adamant about getting this information and he was agitated when BNI personnel refused his
 request. Agts. McGlaughlin and Micewski feared for the life of the informant and his family if this information was revealed because if the informant disappeared there would be no problem for the Clinton Administration. 

"CIA Agent Victoria Naylor had come to BNI between January 31st and March 27th with a third Memo from Larry Leightley that confirmed all of BNI's findings but BNI was not permitted to retain a copy. Unlike the other two memos this memo was extremely difficult to read as all the sentences ran together without punctuation, which was done on purpose as this was a highly classified document for "EYES ONLY."

That same day the plans of BNI and DEA agents to surveil Francisco Pena-Gomez personally as he arrived in New York City were thwarted by the fact that he arrived with an unexpected heavy bodyguard of NYPD detectives which made any surveillance impossible. McLaughlin and his DEA allies were told that Pena had received several sudden death threats. He was now going to be driven around on his cash pick-ups by NYPD!

Over the course of many issues FTW has documented how the CIA routinely infiltrates local police departments. FTW has written extensively about retired NYPD Detective Al Carone, who was a lifelong friend of both CIA Director Bill Casey and Mafia figures like Pauley Castellano and Vito Genovese. Carone served as a cocaine bagman during the Contra years for both George Bush and Oliver North. Later, on the night of Pena's arrival, an attempt to insert two undercover agents offering $250,000 in cash on behalf of cartel connected dealers into a PRD party meeting for Pena was mysteriously rebuffed.  That did not stop Pena, however, from collecting more than a half million dollars in drug money from other PRD leaders. The worm had begun to turn on the progress of "Sparky" McGlaughlin's once in a lifetime investigation.

It is not surprising that every PRD official present that night had a DEA NADDIS (Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Information System) number. NADDIS numbers are issued to drug trafficking and money laundering suspects when open investigations are started by DEA or the FBI.

To depart from FTW's usual methodical, chronological, painstaking case building, we will now flash forward to Coogan's Pub in the Dominican-controlled Washington Heights section of New York in September 1996. This would be two months after Pena-Gomez was narrowly defeated in run-off Dominican elections and had already announced his intentions to run again. It was less than two months before the 1996 U.S. Presidential election. It was just weeks after the Gary Webb stories broke in the San Jose Mercury News. It was also just weeks after former Assistant Secretary of Housing, Catherine Austin Fitts, then a HUD consultant revealed maps of defaulted HUD mortgages in various cities, including Los Angeles that showed a dramatic connection between CIA protected drug trafficking and patterns of ethnic cleansing. On a night in September, 1996, if you had zoomed in on a close up, from God's eye, into Coogan's Pub in Washington Heights, you would have seen PRD leaders Simon A. Diaz, PRD Executive Commission Vice President (NADDIS #3164850 - Money Launderer) and Pablo Espinal, PRD Executive Commission and Zone President (NADDIS #1289859 File # ZL-79-0017 - Money Launderer) hold a fund raiser for Vice President Al Gore who was only too happy to attend in person. Many of those attending that night had been present back in March for Pena's fundraiser. Several of them had convictions for sales of pounds of cocaine, weapons violations and the laundering of millions of dollars in drug money. FTW did not have the resources to check Federal Election Commission records to determine how much money Gore raised but several sources have indicated that it was probably several hundred thousand dollars at least.

OK readers, ask yourself one question: Is it possible that Vice President Al Gore's Secret Service detail did not know that most of the people in Coogan's Pub had NADDIS numbers and many had a history of violence? Is it possible the FBI did not know? Is it possible that DEA wouldn't tell the Secret Service? For the record, it is mandatory for the Secret Service to run background checks on everyone arranging a function with the President or the Vice President or any member of their families. They search just about every database there is.

In the United States, Federal drug agents and local law enforcement officials have also been looking closely at the party's branches and leaders throughout the Northeastern United States. The drug enforcement agency's documents identify the party's New England headquarters in Worcester, Mass., as a major drug distribution center. They say that local party officials in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, some of whom have previous drug convictions, are also involved in such activities.

Even if the drug traffickers' candidates are defeated, the rings will offer no respite, warned Mr. Velez, the Colombian businessman who is in custody here. The Colombian cartels, having established an enormously lucrative foothold in the Dominican Republic, will stop at nothing to expand it, he said, even if that means ''killing judges, lawyers, cops and reporters,'' as well as ordinary citizens who stand in their way.

          ''In whatever country they establish themselves,'' Mr. Velez said, ''the cartels get involved in politics and the economy, buying up properties and infiltrating all aspects of public and private activity. That's what's coming here, and this country isn't prepared and doesn't know how to stand up to it.

         " - It's going to be a catastrophe.''

FTW wonders what country Mr. Velez is worrying about. If the United States goes to war in Colombia it will be to weaken the power of the cartels, just like in 1989 when we invaded Panama. Only the stakes will be higher.


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