Tag Archives: Kiki Camerena

Barry Seal – DEA Informant : Life & Death

Adler Berrima Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal

Barry Seal

Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal (July 16, 1939 – February 19, 1986) was a Trans World Airlines (TWA) pilot who became a major drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel. When Seal was convicted of smuggling charges, he became an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and testified in several major drug trials. He was murdered in 1986 by contract killers hired by Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellín Cartel.

——————————————————————–

The Rise & Fall of Pablo Escobar El Patron Medellin Cartel Documentary

——————————————————————–

Early life

Seal, born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the son of Mary Lou (née Delcambre) and Benjamin Kurtis Seal, a candy wholesaler. Seal began flying as a teenager. According to his flight instructor, he was a naturally gifted pilot. He earned his student pilot certificate at 16 and a private pilot’s certificate at 17.

In 1961, Seal enlisted in the Louisiana Army National Guard for six years, serving with the 20th Special Forces Group. He graduated from United States Army Airborne School but never completed United States Army Special Forces selection and training. Seal later served in the 245th Engineer Battalion with his MOS being radio telephone operator.

Early career

Barry Seal In his TWA uniform

Seal joined TWA as a flight engineer in 1964 and was soon promoted to first officer, then captain, flying a Boeing 707 on a regular Western Europe route. He was one of the youngest 707 command pilots in the TWA fleet.

Seal’s career with TWA ended in July 1972, when he was arrested for involvement in a conspiracy to smuggle a shipment of plastic explosives to Mexico using a DC-4. The case was eventually dismissed in 1974 for prosecutorial misconduct, but TWA in the meantime fired Seal, who had falsely taken medical leave to participate in the scheme.

Drug smuggling career

According to statements Seal made after becoming a DEA informant, he began smuggling small quantities of cannabis . By 1978, he had begun flying significant loads of cocaine, because pound-for-pound it was more profitable.

In December 1979, Seal was arrested in Honduras after returning from a drug smuggling trip to Ecuador. Although the Honduran police did not find any cocaine, they did find an M-1 rifle, and Seal was imprisoned until July 1980.

Undeterred by his arrest, Seal expanded his operations upon returning to the United States. He hired William Bottoms, his ex-brother-in-law, as a pilot, and from 1980 on Bottoms was the main pilot in Seal’s smuggling enterprise, while Seal oversaw planning and operations.

Seal later began working for the Medellín Cartel as a pilot and drug smuggler. He transported numerous shipments of cocaine from Colombia and Panama to the United States, and earned as much as $1,300,000 per flight.

After successful runs at his home base in Louisiana he moved operations to Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport, in Mena, Arkansas. There he bought, sold and operated many planes.

Undercover informant and operative

Seal was eventually arrested in connection with his drug smuggling activities. In a Florida federal court, he was indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. After his sentencing, Seal approached the DEA and offered to cooperate with the government as an informant.

Federal officials agreed to use him in that capacity and mentioned his cooperation during hearings in which Seal sought a reduction of his sentence. With an agreement reached, Seal began working as a federal informant in March 1984.

According to the FrontlineGodfather of Cocaine investigation, Ernst “Jake” Jacobson was Seal’s DEA handler during this period. Jacobson claims he still has the high-tech message encrypter which he gave Seal.

“We made sure all of his aircraft were equipped with the most expensive cryptic radio communications we had ever seen at that time,”

said Jacobson.

In order to mitigate his 1984 arrest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for money laundering and Quaalude smuggling, Seal agreed to testify against his former employers and associates in the drug trade, and thereby contributed to putting several of them in jail. Among those against whom Seal testified were Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands Norman Saunders and members of the Medellín Cartel. Seal also testified before the President’s Commission on Organized Crime in October 1985.

Jacobson, testifying in 1988, told a House Judiciary Committee that Seal had flown to an airstrip in Nicaragua in an airplane that had cameras installed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Seal took pictures during the Nicaragua sting operation that showed Pablo EscobarJorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez, and other members of the Medellín Cartel loading kilos of cocaine onto a C-123 transport plane. Federico Vaughan, the Sandinista Minister of the Interior, who Seal claimed was a top aide of Tomas Borge‘s, was also photographed with Sandinista soldiers helping load the plane.

Pablo Escobar

Seal was both a smuggler and a DEA informant/operative in this sting operation against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. In 1984, Seal flew from Nicaragua to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida with a shipment of cocaine that had been allegedly brokered through the Sandinista government.

This cocaine was seized by the DEA and was never received by the cartel’s distribution handlers in Florida, which in Medellín caused suspicion to fall upon Seal as the person responsible for this lost shipment.

Edmond Jacoby’s report in the July 17, 1984 issue of the Washington Times linked officials in the Sandinista government to the Medellín cartel and discussed Seal’s mission to Nicaragua. The public disclosures jeopardized Seal’s life and quickly brought an end to the sting operation designed to capture the cartel’s leaders.

Questioned about the identity of the source, Jacobson replied, “I heard that the leak came from an aide in the White House”. He stated that Iran–Contra figure Oliver North had attended two meetings about the sting operation and had motivation to release the information. UPI reported: “By linking the Sandinistas with drug traffic … aid to the rebels accused of human rights violations might seem more palatable”.

Subcommittee chairman William J. Hughes strongly suggested that North was the source of the leak, but Representative Bill McCollum said,

“…we don’t know who leaked this. No one has been able to tell us”.

 Citing testimony of DEA Administrator John C. Lawn, the report of the Kerry Committee released in December 1988 pinned the leak on North stating he “decided to play politics with the issue”. In an interview with Frontline, North said he was told by his superiors on the National Security Council to brief Senator Paula Hawkins about the operation, but he denied leaking the report.

Hawkins told Frontline that neither she nor her staff leaked the information after the briefing.Jacoby later denied that North was the source of his story and attributed it to a deceased staff member for Representative Dan Daniel.

The Wall Street Journal also printed the story, contributing to media coverage that indirectly exposed Seal’s involvement in the operation. The articles also exposed the Colombian cartel leaders and Nicaraguan Interior Minister who had been photographed moving cocaine onto Seal’s aircraft. Despite these pressures, Seal went ahead and testified with the pictures taken during the trip showing Sandinista officials in Nicaragua brokering a cocaine deal with members of Colombia’s Medellín Cartel.

Murder

Seal was sentenced to work in public service at the Salvation Army facility on Airline Highway (U.S. 61), in Baton Rouge, as a modification by the judge to Seal’s original plea deal. On February 19, 1986, Seal was shot to death in front of the site. His murder abruptly brought the DEA’s investigation to an end.

 Barry Seal | American Dope

Colombian assassins sent by the Medellín Cartel were apprehended while trying to leave Louisiana, soon after Seal’s murder. Authorities thus concluded Seal’s murderers were hired by Ochoa. The killers were indicted by a state grand jury on March 27, 1986.

In May 1987, Luis Carlos Quintero-Cruz, Miguel Vélez (died in custody 2015) and Bernardo Antonio Vásquez were convicted of first degree murder in Seal’s death, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Barry Seal’s Grave

Louisiana Attorney General William Guste wrote to United States Attorney General Edwin Meese criticizing the government’s failure to protect Seal as a witness. At Guste’s request, Meese launched an investigation to determine whether or not attorneys in Louisiana, Miami, and Washington had mishandled the case, and to determine whether or not Seal should have been forced into protective custody. Government attorneys stated that Seal placed himself in danger by refusing to move his family and enter a witness protection program.

In 1991, cartel member Max Mermelstein testified that he had been instructed in December 1984 either to kidnap Seal and return him to Colombia, or to murder him. The reward to kidnap Seal was $1 million, and the reward to kill him was $500,000.

Personal life

Deborah DuBois his third wife and children

Seal married three times; the first to Barbara Dodson from 1963 to 1971 and to Lynn Ross from 1971 to 1972 – ended in divorce. His marriage to Deborah DuBois, in 1973, ended with his death in 1986. Seal had 6 children, 2 from his first wife, one child from a relationship he had in between marriages and three more with Debbie. 

Media depictions

Films

  • Seal is portrayed by Dennis Hopper in the docudrama Doublecrossed (1991), which prominently features Seal’s co-pilot and collaborator Emile Camp[27][28] (portrayed by G. W. Bailey), although some of the Camp plotlines stand in for actual events involving William Roger Reeves, who met Seal in jail and introduced him to the Medellín Cartel.
  • Seal is portrayed by Michael Paré in the American crime drama film The Infiltrator (2016), in two brief, historically inaccurate scenes that exercise dramatic license to depict the film’s title character, Robert Mazur, as a passenger in a car being driven by Seal who is killed in a motorcycle drive-by shooting.
  • Seal is portrayed by Tom Cruise in the crime drama-comedy film American Made (2017), loosely based on Seal’s life, produced by Imagine Entertainment. Little of the film is historically accurate; most of the plot, such as the assassination of Seal’s brother-in-law, were invented for purposes of the film.

Television

  • Seal is portrayed by theater director Thaddeus Phillips in the 2013 TV series Alias El Mexicano.
  • Seal is portrayed by Dylan Bruno in Season 1, Episode 4, of the Netflix series Narcos (2015).

Inside the Colombian Cartels

Other drug stories

See: Kiki Camarena – The Brutal Torture & Death of a Narc

See : Gangster Warlords – Amado Carrillo Fuentes – Lord of the Skies

Kiki Camarena – The Brutal Torture & Death of a Narc

My autobiography : A Belfast Child is out soon , see below for details:

Enrique S. “Kiki” Camarena Salazar (July 26, 1947 – February 9, 1985) was a Mexican-born American undercover agent for the United StatesDrug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who was abducted on February 7, 1985, and then tortured and murdered, while on assignment in Mexico.

Enrique Camarena Salazar

Enrique-camarena1.jpg

Nickname(s)“Kike” (also spelled Quique) (Spanish),[ “Kiki” (English)
BornJuly 26, 1947
MexicaliMexico
DiedFebruary 9, 1985 (aged 37)
GuadalajaraJalisco, Mexico
Allegiance United States
Service/
branch
 United States Marine Corps(1973–1975)
 Drug Enforcement Administration(1975–1985)
Calexico Police Department 1975
Years of
service
1973–1975 (U.S. Marine Corps)
RankSenior Police Officer II (Calexico Police Dept.)Special Agent (ICNTF)Special Agent (DEA)

Whats my thoughts ?

I’ve been reading a lot about Mexican gangs/ cartels recently and their sheer brutality and total disregard for the sanctity of human life has left me sickened and appalled in equal measures. Among the countless acts of indiscriminate and at times very personal , repulsive murders the case of Kiki Camarena struck a chord deep in my soul and I felt physically sick when I researched and learnt more about his abduction, torture and eventual death.

Coincidentally the Netflix Narcos: Mexico series has been screening and watching it I was able to align the story line/s with the brutal real life characters I have been reading about and those involved in Kiki’s savage murder. The shows depiction of his kidnap and torture was nowhere near as brutal as the real event and it is right that Kiki should be remembered as a hero who give his life in what I sometime feel is the pointless War on Drugs.

Like it or not the demand and market for the supply and distribution of drugs is a fact of modern life and thats never going to change. In my humble opinion we should legalise all drugs and remove the drug lords/gangs from the equation. At the end of the day if a consenting adult wishes to get stoned on weed or high on coke thats his/her choice and providing they aren’t breaking the law or hurting anyone (but themselves) then who’s business is it?

Amen!


Narcos: Mexico | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

Early life and education

From 1973 to 1975, Camarena served in the United States Marine Corps. After his military service he became a police officer in his hometown. Camarena was also a Special Agent on the original Imperial County Narcotic Task Force (ICNTF) while working in Calexico, California.

Image result for Kiki Camarena young
Kiki Camarena

Camarena first joined the DEA, at their Calexico, California office. In 1977, Camarena moved to the agency’s Fresno office, and in 1981, he was assigned to their Guadalajara office in Mexico.

Abduction and murder

In 1984, acting on information from Camarena, 450 Mexican soldiers backed by helicopters destroyed a 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) marijuana plantation in Allende (Chihuahua) with an estimated annual production of $8 billion known as “Rancho Búfalo”.

Camarena, who had been identified as the source of the leak, was abducted in broad daylight on February 8, 1985, by corrupt police officers working for drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. Camarena was tortured at Gallardo’s ranch over a 30-hour period, then murdered.

The Guadalajara Cartel

His skull, jaw, nose, cheekbones and windpipe were crushed, his ribs were broken, and a hole was drilled into his head with a power drill. He had been injected with amphetamines and other drugs, most likely to ensure that he remained conscious while being tortured.[

 

Links to: 1. The Camarena torture tapes

Links to: 2. The Camarena torture tapes

Link to: Camarena Autopsy Report

Camarena’s body was found in a rural area outside the small town of La Angostura, in the state of Michoacán, on March 5, 1985.

Image result for Camarena's body

Investigation

Seal of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.svg

Camarena’s torture and murder prompted a swift reaction from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and launched Operation Leyenda, the largest DEA homicide investigation ever undertaken.

A special unit was dispatched to coordinate the investigation in Mexico, where government officials were implicated—including Manuel Ibarra Herrera, past director of Mexican Federal Judicial Police, and Miguel Aldana Ibarra, the former director of Interpol in Mexico.

Investigators soon identified Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and his two close associates, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo and Rafael Caro Quintero, as the primary suspects in the kidnapping.

Félix Gallardo

Under pressure from the U.S. government, Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid quickly apprehended Fonseca and Caro but Félix Gallardo still enjoyed political protection.

Rafael Caro Quintero
Narco History, El Padrino’s Rise and Fall

Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo

The United States government pursued a lengthy investigation of Camarena’s murder. Due to the difficulty of extraditing Mexican citizens, the DEA went as far as to detain two suspects, Humberto Álvarez Machaín, the physician who allegedly prolonged Camarena’s life so the torture could continue, and Javier Vásquez Velasco; both were taken by bounty hunters into the United States.

Despite vigorous protests from the Mexican government, Álvarez was brought to trial in Los Angeles in 1992. After presentation of the government’s case, the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict, and charges were dropped. Álvarez subsequently initiated a civil suit against the U.S. government, charging that his arrest had breached the U.S.–Mexico extradition treaty.

The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that Álvarez was not entitled to relief. The four other defendants, Vásquez Velasco, Juan Ramón Matta-Ballesteros, Juan José Bernabé Ramírez, and Rubén Zuno Arce (a brother-in-law of former President Luis Echeverría), were tried and found guilty of Camarena’s kidnapping.[

Zuno had known ties to corrupt Mexican officials, and Mexican officials were implicated in covering up the murder.[ 

Mexican police had destroyed evidence on Camarena’s body

In October 2013, two former federal agents and a self-proclaimed ex-CIA contractor told an American television network that CIA operatives were involved in Camarena’s kidnapping and murder, because he was a threat to the agency’s drug operations in Mexico. According to the three men, the CIA was collaborating with drug traffickers moving cocaine and marijuana to the United States, and using its share of the profits to finance Nicaraguan Contra rebels attempting to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.

A CIA spokesman responded that:

“it’s ridiculous to suggest that the CIA had anything to do with the murder of a U.S. federal agent or the escape of his killer”.[

Legacy

Image result for kiki camarena time

In November 1988, TIME magazine featured Camarena on the cover. Camarena received numerous awards while with the DEA, and he posthumously received the Administrator’s Award of Honor, the highest award given by the organization.

In Fresno, the DEA hosts a yearly golf tournament named after him. A school, a library and a street in his home town of Calexico, California, are named after him. The nationwide annual Red Ribbon Week, which teaches school children and youths to avoid drug use, was established in his memory.

Image result for Camarena's wife Mika

In 2004, the Enrique S. Camarena Foundation was established in Camarena’s memory. Camarena’s wife Mika and son Enrique Jr. serve on the all-volunteer Board of Directors together with former DEA agents, law enforcement personnel, family and friends of Camarena’s, and others who share their commitment to alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention. As part of their ongoing Drug Awareness program, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks awards an annual Enrique Camarena Award at local, state and national levels to a member of law enforcement who carries out anti-drugs work.

In 2004, the Calexico Police Department erected a memorial dedicated to Camarena. The memorial is located in the halls of the department, where Camarena served.

Several books have been written on the subject. Camarena is the subject of the book O Plata o Plomo? The abduction and murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena (2005), by retired DEA Resident Agent in Charge James H. Kuykendall.[

Roberto Saviano‘s non-fiction book Zero Zero Zero (2015) deals in part with Camarena’s undercover work and his eventual fate.

Personal life

Image result for kiki camarena family photos

Camarena was married to Mika and they had three sons.[

Media depictions

Drug Wars: The Camarena Story (1990) is a U.S television mini-series about Camarena, starring Treat Williams and Steven Bauer,

The History Channel documentary Heroes Under Fire: Righteous Vendetta (2005) chronicles the events and features interviews with family members, DEA agents, and others involved in the investigation.

Netflix drama Narcos

In the Netflix drama Narcos, Camarena’s death and its aftermath are recapped in news footage in the first season episode “The Men of Always”. In the spin-off series Narcos: Mexico, Camarena is played by American actor Michael Peña.


Guy before you leave please take the time to read extracts from my forthcoming autobiography A Belfast Child , which tells the amazing story of my life growing up in the Loyalist heartlands of West Belfast during the worst years of the Troubles and my 25 year search for my missing catholic mother.

Follow me on Twitter : @bfchild66

101_0160.JPG

See : The Loyalist Mod – Death of a fella Mod and a Catholic Friend

See : Belfast Child Autobiography



Desperados

by Shannon Elaine

Main source : Wikipedia

Image result for Enrique S. "Kiki" Camarena Salazar pictures

Mika Camarena with Kiki’s Bronze Bust

Top 10 Notorious Real Life Narcos

Who’s who in ‘Narcos: Mexico’?

Characters of the new series 'Narcos: México.'

See: True story behind Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico