September 14, 1996 in Nation/World

Congressional Black Caucus Seeks Probe Of Crack Scandal

Associated Press
 

The Congressional Black Caucus wants President Clinton to order a formal inquiry into allegations that the CIA was involved with drug trafficking to the Nicaraguan Contras.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Friday a formal letter would be delivered to the White House seeking the inquiry.

CIA Director John Deutch, saying he has found no evidence of such wrongdoing, has already ordered an internal investigation. And Attorney General Janet Reno wrote Waters last Tuesday saying the Justice Department also has conducted a preliminary inquiry.

“At the present time, there is no evidence that supports the allegations made against the CIA,” Reno wrote. “It is Department of Justice policy not to comment on the specifics of ongoing matters and we consider this to be a matter presently in litigation.”

In a three-part series, “Dark Alliance,” the San Jose Mercury News detailed how a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the street gangs of South-Central Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a CIA-run guerrilla army.

The series traced the crack cocaine explosion to two Nicaraguan cocaine dealers, Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, who were civilian leaders of the Frente Democratica Nicaraguense (FDN), an anti-communist commando group formed and run by the CIA during the 1980s.

Blandon, who is now an undercover informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration, admitted in federal court recently that his biggest customer was a Los Angeles crack dealer named “Freeway” Rick Ross, who turned Blandon’s cocaine into crack and distributed it to the Crips and Blood street gangs. He told the DEA in 1995 that at the height of his business with Ross, he was providing 100 kilos of cocaine a week to the gangs.

Waters said Friday that the Black Caucus has heard nothing further from either Deutch or Reno since their letters earlier in the week. She said also that Speaker Newt Gingrich has not replied to a request that he form a special committee to hear the allegations and look at documents.

“I would like to see a special committee that will investigate the connection between the CIA and drugs in the inner cities based on the stories that have been written about it,” Waters said. “I would like to identify those involved and, if it’s documented, they should be indicted and convicted for committing a serious crime.”

She unveiled a package of proposals to the Black Caucus, which is holding its annual legislative conference. She said the caucus has sent a letter to all federal judges asking them “to be more than advocates” in the fight against drugs.

Waters said she “sent word to the White House that they ought to look into this,” and that a more formal letter requesting an investigation would be sent later in the day.

“Then I would like to see developed public policy through legislation that never again would allow the CIA to be involved in this kind of crime against the people of this nation,” she said.

Waters was asked if the alleged scheme was like the covert Reagan-era scandal known as “Iran-Contra,” which involved the covert sale of arms to Iran and use of the profits to aid the Nicaraguan Contras.

“I think it’s connected,” she said.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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