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Conspiracy Theories: Is The CIA Peddling Drugs?

The CIA orchestrates the production, traffic and sales of drugs, in order to obtain covert funding and oppress ethnic minorities in the US.

Persistent rumours about the CIA’s role in illegal drug traffic in various parts of the world came to a head with the accusation about the Iran-Contra affair that surfaced in a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News in 1996. These alleged that CIA operatives had trafficked thousands of kilos of cocaine into California for conversion into crack and then used the proceeds the Nicaraguan Contra insurrection.

What the Theorists say:

The CIA’s involvement in drug trafficking began with its wartime alliance with the Mafia and continued with CIA-trained Chinese paramilitaries failed to to invade China and took up residence in the Burmese jungle where they started growing opium and producing heroin. During the Vietnam War, other CIA-funded paramilitaries started doing the same thing in countries like Thailand and Laos. Conspiracy theorists claim, for example, the CIA used ‘Air America’, its undercover airline dedicated to ship supplies to anti-Communist allies in the region, to help ferry drugs to various shipping points.

Florida-based, CIA-linked Mafiosi were brought in to traffic the drugs to America. The CIA used the massive profits as covert funding and the drugs were dumped into ethnic minority communities to help keep them quiescant and downtrodden.

The pattern was repeated in the late 1970s and 1980s in Central America. When Socialist rebels finally kicked the long established, US-backed Somoza regime from Nicaragua, the CIA formed a paramilitary force called the Contras to wage a brutal terrorist insurgency.

When Congress specifically outlawed US funding for these Nicaraguan mercenaries, the CIA needed to find another way of paying for the whole operation. This paved the way for Contra drug smugglers to carry cocaine into the US on flights arranged by the CIA to help guarantee a smooth passage of goods. To open up a new market for cocaine (at that point a low-volume, high-cost narcotic), the CIA groomed drug dealers in crack cocaine production and hooked them up with street gangs.

The Official Story?

The 1996 newspaper allegations stung the Agency into launching a wide-ranging investigation that found none of the named principals to have links with the CIA or to know anything about the Contras’ drug-trafficking operations. Perhaps some junior field operatives knew about one or two shady characters on the Contra side, but in the interest of fighting Communism they had to turn a blind eye.

Should you be paranoid?

More paranoid than not. Even if the CIA never intended to support drug trafficking in any of its operation zones, it still begs this question: What happens when you train up a group of criminals into an organised militia, arm them to the teeth and then drop them in the middle of a lawless wilderness with an ecology ideal for growing drug crops, only to then tell them to figure out a way of funding themselves in the long term?

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