Some of you may remember the crack cocaine epidemic bequeathed to the city of Los Angeles during the 1980s by the Central Intelligence Agency, exposed by Gary Webb in his series, Dark Alliance. You can read more about this fascinating story here.
The same thing was happening on the other side of the United States, in St. Louis and Detroit, thanks to organized crime centered in and around London, KY. The CIA was monopolizing on addiction and using the proceeds to fund covert wars in places like Cuba, Nicaragua, and southeast Asia. Little did Gary Webb realize, the coal conspirators he wrote about in eastern Kentucky in his “Coal Connection” articles, would ultimately fuel the same drug epidemic in Detroit and St. Louis that he found in Los Angeles, and wrote about in “Dark Alliance.” The Kentucky alliance still involved coal conspiracies, but now different contraband: instead of stolen bulldozers and strippers, it was pot, cocaine, quaaludes, and weapons.
Octavio Pino was a Cuban national who had relocated from Miami to southeast Kentucky when he was arrested by the feds along with 12 others for drug trafficking in the early ’80s. The October 10, 1982 issue of the Corbin Times Tribune states, “The 13 were arrested…during simultaneous drug raids in Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and California. The FBI charges that Pino set up a bogus coal company in London as a front for the drug operation.”
A February 13, 1983 article printed in the Corbin Times Tribune illustrates the impact this criminal outfit had on the streets of Detroit:
Records of the [front] company did not reflect any coal-related business, the FBI said. A Detroit television station sent an investigative news team to London shortly thereafter because the London based operation was believed to be a major supplier of cocaine to the Detroit area, according to the news director of the station.
Then there is this 1983 excerpt from Vance Mills’ FBI file stating, “captioned suspects are significant traffickers with impact of southeastern Kentucky area as well as the area of St. Louis, Missouri.”
The CIA aspect of these alliances make this tale so sick, so twisted, most Americans are unwilling to believe their government could take part in something so heinous. Gary Webb’s “Coal Connection” had morphed into the Bluegrass State’s own twisted “Dark Alliance,” except instead of decimating the streets of Los Angeles, these rats from the Commonwealth infected St. Louis and Detroit with their poison, not to mention east Tennessee and southwest Virginia.
When I asked my confidential source (mentioned earlier) if Jimmy Renfro was CIA, he paused for a moment then said, “Well, knowing Jimmy….” letting his voice trail off. He then divulged his own work as a contractor for the CIA. I find his non-committal answer concerning Jimmy Renfro a good reason to believe Renfro was a CIA asset, but that is just a very educated guess.
Could Octavio Pino also have been a CIA asset? I often find myself wandering back to David Beiter’s WORMSCAN files and marvel at his ability to log an incredible amount of information concerning Kentucky corruption into one easily searchable place, found here. David Beiter was clearly fearless. He deserves much credit for the WORMSCAN files compilation.
One of his logs reads as follows:
871100, "The Contra-Drug Connection", The Christic Institute, 1324 North Capitol Street, NW, Wash DC 20002. (202)797-8106. $2. 12p. Extensive documentation associates several of Oliver North's team with large-scale drug trafficking to finance covert wars in Cuba, Southeast Asia, and Central America, for over two decades.
Pino was a Cuban national intimately involved in the smuggling of narcotics from Columbia to the United States, something which he had already been busted for in the early 1970s. It is a legitimate question to ask if Pino’s activities (and Mills’ and Renfro’s) were being backed by the CIA at the time.
A March 20, 1983 Times-Tribune article states:
“Fifteen people originally were charged in the FBI breakup of an alleged interstate drug [ring] operating out of London in 1981 and 1982. Gill, senior resident agent in the London FBI office, said the investigation of the drug ring began in September 1981 on an informant’s tip. After an initial investigation at the London-Corbin airport, Gill said they realized the investigation ‘would be a sensitive matter in the community.‘”
Just like Barry Seal and Drew Thornton’s ties to the CIA, the FBI states Vance Mills and his pilot (most likely referring to Johnny Martin) “appear to have access to otherwise confidential information through the various airports that he frequents…” and a Corbin Times Tribune article from September of 1982 states, “‘Pino and other Cubans were flying in and out of the London, Ky., airport to and from distant locations on odd and erratic schedules using high performance aircraft.’ The document said those flights were conducted without clearance by the Federal Aviation Administration.”
Classic CIA. Inslaw’s Promis software. These fellows had advance knowledge of law enforcement operations occurring at any given airport. These are not your run-of-the-mill drug traffickers. They had intelligence available to them only law enforcement could provide.
What if I told you this same criminal ring would eventually be tied to another software program containing all locations of all pharmaceutical shipments from manufacturer, to shipper, to warehouse, to end user, all in real- time? Are you finally starting to understand the truth of who has been in control of your law enforcement and courts for over forty years or more? Do you recognize those persons responsible for the scourge of drug-fueled misery hoisted upon your kids and community?
The following excerpt is from my own personal journal detailing an encounter that happened to me at the Shell gas station on Cumberland Avenue in Middlesboro back in the winter of 2014. While the area intrigued me, I had not yet started this blog, or any research into the topics mentioned in it. I was comparatively new to the area, only having lived here a couple of years. The conversation was interesting enough I wrote it down. I had no idea how glad I would be later that I did:
A man comes in to pay for his gas. He is wearing a flight jacket that says "P38 ICE PLANE LOST SQUADRON" and I say, "Oh, are you one of the ice plane guys?" He smiled and said, no, he got the jacket off a good friend, (redacted). Then he mentioned he was a pilot and that he flew search and rescue for the Air Corps, and was also in the military. He said he was so young when he went to get in the military he had to get his father's permission. His dad said, " You can go if you want to, but don't call me to come get you out." When he got out of the service, he said, "They wanted me to go into the CIA." Of course I said, "What did you say?" He just smiled and didn't answer. So I finally said, "You can't tell me, can you?" He just smiled again. When he was telling me about his flying experience he said he could fly anything but a jet.
This encounter bolsters my belief the CIA has been widely active in southeast Kentucky for decades, most likely because of the efficacy of which they operate thanks to corrupt law enforcement, courts, business leaders, and a largely drug-addicted and therefore apathy-induced populace.