Raul "Cocaine Daddy" Castro

Brian Ross reports on an alleged connection between acting Cuban President Raul Castro and a cocaine smuggling in the ‘90s.

Federal prosecutors in Miami were prepared to indict Raul Castro as the head of a major cocaine smuggling conspiracy in 1993, but the Clinton Administration Justice Department overruled them,  current and former Justice Department officials tell ABC News.

Overruled huh? Heh…that sounds like the Clinton Administration I know. 

The officials say Castro, as Cuban Defense Minister, permitted Colombian drug lords to pay for the use of Cuban waters and airstrips as staging grounds for smuggling runs into the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s.

“It was a major investigation involving numerous witnesses that was killed at the highest levels in Washington,” said a former Justice Department official with direct knowledge of the case.

How high? Did Clinton kill it himself?

“There were numerous national security and intelligence issues that would have made the case difficult,” said Tom Cash, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Miami.

And that’s the most interesting part of this whole story. Unfortunately, we’ll never ever know about any of these “issues”. Too bad.

Convicted Colombian drug boss Carlos Lehder of the Medellin cartel testified in a 1991 federal trial that he met twice in Havana with Raul Castro to arrange safe passage for cocaine flights over Cuban airspace.

The draft indictment, as described by a former Justice Department official who saw it, listed Raul Castro as the leader of a conspiracy involved in smuggling seven and a half tons of cocaine into the United States over a 10-year period. At least a dozen other Cubans were also to be indicted.

In 1989, a top Cuban General, Arnoldo Ochoa, was convicted by a Cuban court and ordered executed with three other military officers for their roles in drug smuggling.

Cuban waters continue to be used by drug smugglers, according to federal law enforcement officials.

“The smugglers know that the U.S. Coast Guard can’t go after them in Cuban waters,” one official said.

A commenter on Ross’ site concurs:

Mr. Ross,

This was a well-known secret among the fly-for-hire community of pilots in the Caribbean. I know because I flew all over the Caribbean.

Posted by: Jose Amoros | Aug 14, 2006 11:44:08 AM

Uh, and what were you doing flying all over the Caribbean Mr. Amoros? In the “transport” business, I suppose.

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