CIA dealt crack in BLACK Los Angeles in early 90s
Comrades in Arms
During the late 1980s and the early 1990s the CIA was the biggest drug kingpin in the United States. Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Oliver North were involved in getting arms to the Nicaraguan Contras and they did it through the sell of cocaine to American citizens. Crack affected many people but my adopted family was devastated. In 1992, my 45-year-old brother decided that he was going to try crack one more time after a 15-month stint in prison. He went to a crack dealer’s house and tried to get some on credit. The story goes that the dealer refused to sell him any drugs and my brother—6’2” 215lbs of muscle—begin to threaten him and destroy his house. No one is sure what happened next. We know that the crack dealer was in a wheelchair and that his mother was present. Someone got a gun and shot my brother in his heart. He reportedly sat down on a couch and asked “What did you shoot me for?” He died the next day.
Two of my other siblings’ lives were also devastated by crack cocaine. My sister became a hooker for crack, and another brother is nowhere to be found because of his crack habit. In 1990, I wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times detailing my dealings with my crack addicted brother and my discovery about how to deal with addiction in the family.
Crack was a plague that spread through African American neighborhoods like wildfire. We now know that this plague started in South Los Angeles with a dealer by the name of “Freeway” Ricky Ross. Ross became the major player in the drug scene of the late 80s and early 90s. He was known as “The Wal-Mart of Crack”. He refined the cooking process for crack and sold it cheap. He recruited street gangs from every area as his vendors. The violence that ensued spread to every US city and even rural towns as Crack became the drug of choice.
The question that many African Americans asked at the time was where could a street hustler get so much cocaine? It turns out that his main source was Danilo Blandon, a drug dealer who had ties with the Contras, the CIA and the Reagan and Bush administrations. Blandon and agents involved with the Contras have since testified that the CIA knew that the Contras were being supported by drug money. The CIA flew drugs into the United States and that those drugs were delivered to Freeway Ricky Ross on consignment by Danilo Blandon.
All of this was detailed in articles by Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News. Webb’s article garnered praised from his colleagues, but caused him to become paranoid. One of the reasons was that the Mercury News eventually backed away from Webb’s story and ruined his career as a journalist. Eventually Webb was shown to be correct. Gary Webb died of an apparent suicide in 2004.
So how did the vicious cycle work for families like mine? The CIA and Blandon sold the drugs to Ross. Ross cooked the crack and distributed it on the street. Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan and those who followed him began to ratchet up the drug war. Crack was on TV every night telling people how powerful and cheap it was. According to “American Drug War: The Last White Hope” a documentary that discusses these issues in detail, the news blitz was one of the best marketing campaigns for any drug ever. It was as if Madison Ave. had developed it themselves.
Drug laws were changed so that sentences were three times longer if you had crack than they were for those who had powder cocaine. Now, many non-violent black and brown people were thrown in prison for years. While more affluent white people who used powder cocaine were given light sentences. America needed more prisons, so enter private prison companies.
My brother spent several months here with me getting help. He eventually decided to leave and go back to Texas. For a while, he was sober and working as a truck driver. However, his past caught up to him when he went back to Texas and he was arrested for breaking and entering and stealing a remote control from his ex-wife's house. He was sent to prison for 15 months. He told me after he got out that he had seen such horrible atrocities that he would never be the same. I believe that what ever haunted him caused him to go to that crack house that night. I believe that he went there to commit suicide. Domestic problems devastated black and brown neighborhoods, but the cocaine wars decimated many Latin American countries.
American Marines were used to help train countries like Guatemala and Mexico how to keep drugs from crossing their border. I personally met Marines in Guatemala who were training Guatemalan soldiers to take part in the drug war. Countries like Columbia, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico have been devastated by our need for illicit drugs and especially cocaine.
In the end, what happened to the men who started this plague? Ricky Ross was imprisoned for life. He was recently released after serving almost 20 years because of a change in the drug laws. Danilo Blandon, who supplied Ross with his cocaine, did not spend much time in jail. He spent 24 months in jail but that was released because of time served. He is now an employee of the Drug Enforcement Agency making about $42,000 a year. Oliver North was made the scapegoat for Iran-Contra. He is now considered a right-wing hero and has his own TV show on Fox. George H. W. Bush became President and fought the first Gulf War. Ronald Reagan just did not remember what happened. It was found later that he probably suffered from Alzheimer's while he was president. He is considered a Republican idol. His name is invoked like some Greek god.
The truth is that the American government sold drugs in our neighborhoods. It then used the excuse of a drug plague to arrest thousands of minorities and warehouse them in prisons across the country. If you think it can not happen again, consider Afghanistan. Before we went to Afghanistan there was little or no poppy production under the Taliban. Poppies are used in the production of heroin. Now, poppies are the largest cash crop in Afghanistan and heroin is again a scourge on American streets. All you have to do is walk around Skid Row Los Angeles and look at the balloons on the ground.