Larry C. Allen, the Bluegrass Conspiracy, and Jerry Lequire: the CIA connection

A wildly popular thread on the Lexington, Kentucky Topix forum filled with facts, theories, and inevitably fiction, titled “The Bluegrass Conspiracy” (a reference to Sally Denton’s book The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs and Murder) contained a short, obscure statement from an anonymous author referencing a “huge London, KY connection” in regards to the notorious drug ring which included characters Drew Thornton, former governor John Y. Brown Jr., Harold Vance of the DEA, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Marion “Butch” Campbell, and former Lexington Police Department investigators Johnny Bizzack  and Bill Canan. I became convinced that London, Kentucky connection was Larry C. Allen, an attorney dubbed “Lyin’ Larry,” and posted a reply statement to that effect on December 20, 2018.

Unfortunately, Topix, the oft-maligned forum style website was erased from internet history that very same day, just a few hours or less after my simple statement. Probably a coincidence, but one can’t help but wonder, especially when you’ve considered the possibility the website itself was an intelligence operation, a honey pot enticing citizens from all walks of life to give up information on their neighbor, community, and even themselves that could prove useful to law enforcement, information to which law enforcement normally wouldn’t be privy.

I still believe Larry C. Allen may be the key to understanding how there was such a terrible breakdown of justice in southeast Kentucky, particularly Laurel and Knox Counties. I’ve been tracking him ever since his name surfaced in a March 15, 1986 news article when researching other characters in Sally Denton’s “Bluegrass Conspiracy.”

Larry C. Allen was connected to Marion “Butch” Campbell, KSP Commissioner and Bluegrass Conspiracy character. Fascinatingly, he was also connected to drug kingpin from Maryville, Tennessee, Jerry Allen Lequire.

(Don’t forget that Bonnie Sue Anders’ brother was best friends with Glenda and Dorman Lickliter; Glenda served on the jury that convicted Delmar Partin of a murder he did not commit, a case prosecuted by Commonwealth Attorney Tom Handy.)

The fact Larry Allen and Tom Handy were both from London, Kentucky, and both took their bar exam together, made it a very good possibility they knew each other; maybe they even attended the same law school:

What’s compelling is the CIA connection to the Bluegrass Conspiracy story and the Jerry Allen Lequire tale, and the fact Larry C. Allen’s name seems to be the only other common connection between the two criminal enterprises besides the CIA.*

Richard Biggs, author of Species of Insanity: The Story of Drug Kingpin Jerry Allen Lequire, writes on his blog:

After Jerry’s near fatal mishap with his airplane after taking off from the Madisonville, TN airport, he was left without a plane and wanted by the police. He traveled to Atlanta to stay with a friend and called a lawyer acquaintance in Kentucky named Larry Allen. I’ve mentioned previously that his nickname was “lying Larry.” Allen knew a lot of people who could get things done and Jerry needed to purchase an airplane quickly. Allen agreed to meet with him in Atlanta. A day later, they made the arrangements. Allen said he knew a man in south Florida who could purchase anything Jerry needed if money wasn’t an issue. Jerry assured him it wasn’t. So, they agreed to meet in Kentucky. When Jerry arrived, Allen had arranged for a prostitute to give him a good time. Her name was Karla Espinal. And the man who would purchase the airplane for Jerry was Hank Maierhoffer. This meeting was a major turning point in Jerry’s life. Karla Espinal became the main person responsible for Jerry getting a 60 year prison sentence and Maierhoffer was a CIA agent.

A “huge London, KY connection.”

William “Tosh” Plumlee, a “former deep-cover military and CIA asset from 1956 to 1987” (Drugging America, Rodney Stich) told FBI agents in Cincinnati that in July 1958, “under the authority of a government cover agent, Larry Allen of Miami, Plumlee arranged to fly munitions to the Castro forces in Cuba.” Stich expounds on this in Defrauding America:

"In [the] FBI report, it was stated that...On or about July 5 he [Plumlee] flew a DC-3 airplane from Miami International Airport to an abandoned military airport on Marathon Island in the Florida Keys, where the plane was loaded with arms and ammunition and flew to Cuba, and was paid $900 by Allen."

Do you know who else used Marathon Island to smuggle narcotics into the country? Larry Allen’s drug kingpin friend, Jerry Allen Lequire. And in a previous post, I  talked about Octavio Pino, a Cuban national who was trafficking drugs from Columbia into the United States, who mysteriously ended up in London, Kentucky, of all places.

Jerry Lequire apparently doesn’t reveal to author Biggs who told him about the Marathon landing spot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same Larry C. Allen.

But… according the newspaper article above, the Larry Allen of London, Kentucky would have been just a little too young, maybe about 10 years, to have been involved in the 1958 scheme with Tosh Plumlee.

Unless, as an undercover CIA agent, Larry Allen’s age was subject to change.

“Operation Mother Goose” was a CIA scheme “dealing with joint military selection, recruitment, and training of qualified enlisted men with security ratings. These people were educated and trained in basic covert and undercover activities. After training they were released from active military duty to enroll in colleges and universities…while under CIA supervision they infiltrated student movements…student activities…and other political areas.” (Drugging America, Stich.)

Is it possible Larry Allen was packed off to Kentucky for such a purpose? Could there be a connection between Larry Allen and former Commonwealth Attorney Tom Handy besides the coincidence they both passed the bar exam at the same time?

Not long ago, on a whim, I called 411 looking for Allen’s phone number. I was shocked to receive a valid number in response. I’ve called it many times with never any answer, never an answering machine. But when I searched the number on the internet, would you believe it came back listed as a secondary number for Holly Bay Campground, located right next door to the former marina of the same name owned by Tom Handy discussed in this previous blog post?


Holly Bay is misspelled “Holly Day,” but the address is accurately Holly Bay Campground. Holly Bay Campground and Holly Bay Marina are connected by a trail that runs between the two. Anecdotal stories tell of mysterious packages being dropped into Laurel Lake by low flying aircraft throughout the years.

If indeed Larry C. Allen made Thomas V. Handy’s acquaintance back in the late 60s or early 70s, it would have been one of southeast Kentucky’s darkest days in history. 

2 thoughts on “Larry C. Allen, the Bluegrass Conspiracy, and Jerry Lequire: the CIA connection”

  1. Author’s note: there was one last common connection between The Bluegrass Conspiracy and the Jerry Allen Lequire story: U.S. Attorney John Gill. He was a prosecutor on Rebecca Sharp’s case, who was charged with Drew Thornton in conspiring to import Columbian cocaine, and he prosecuted Jerry Allen Lequire for conspiring to blow up government facilities in a bid to win freedom from prison. Jerry Allen Lequire had, incidentally, refused the CIA’s invitation to smuggle drugs for them. It is unknown if this is the same John Gill, FBI special agent who testified in the Pino trafficking case in London, KY in 1982, or the same John Gill, special agent, who was initially over the Vance Mills/Renfro investigation. It is true U.S. attorney John Gill was a former special agent with the FBI at some point in his career.

  2. I know very little about the John F. Kennedy assassination, and even less about the conspiracy theories that have circulated ever since. What I find remarkable, is the character of Larry Allen from Tosh Plumlee’s pre-Castro/JFK assassination tales dovetails perfectly with the Larry Allen we find in London, Kentucky in 1970. From “The Real Robert ‘Tosh’ Plumlee,” a blog post from

    To the Cincinnati investigators [Plumlee] stated he was not a real pilot but had, “a student pilot permit since approximately 1955 and in 1956 prepared a forged commercial aircraft and engineer’s license and certificate using the alias William Pearson, and used these documents to obtain employment with various aviation companies in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.” (Emphasis mine) The report continues:

    “While in Miami during 1957 he made several sightseeing trips to Santa Clara and Havana, Cuba, having heard that he might make some money flying munitions to the Castro forces. He stated he made no contacts on these trips and had obtained this information from gossip and talk around the Miami area.” (Emphasis mine)

    Sometime in 1957 he met someone named Larry Allen and “it was common knowledge in the Miami area the pilots [including Larry Allen] could make good money by flying munitions to the Castro forces in Cuba.”

    “On or about the night of July 5, 1958 Plumlee flew an unloaded DC three twin-engine aircraft from Miami international Airport to one abandoned military airfield at Marathon Island in the Florida keys approximately 125 miles south of Miami. The aircraft had been obtained by [Larry] Alan and Alan accompanied him on this trip.”

    By July of 1959 the F.B.I. had tracked Plumlee to Denver where when interviewed he “furnished substantially the same information as when interviewed at Cincinnati. PLUMLEE claimed he was unable to recall dates and names. He denied all knowledge of any thefts or transportation of stolen property, other than trips to Cuba from Florida, which he made while carrying guns. He denied knowledge of any payoffs to U.S. custom officials in Florida.”

    The author of article believes,

    “In my opinion Plumlee appears to be a high school dropout and check forger who then forged his pilot’s license. When arrested he made outlandish claims about his knowledge of gun thievery and gun transportation to Cuba. Once he was confused with Sutor he began to back pedal. He suddenly remembered little. I thought it curious a 22 year old with a forged pilot’s license had the ability to fly a DC-3. I realized his flights were with Larry Allen who was probably the true pilot.”

    This makes me wonder-could Larry Allen have been the man I met at the Middlesboro gas station many years ago? I now wonder, because the man said to me, with a twinkle in his eye, “How could Oswald have killed Kennedy if I saw him in Florida just a few hours before?” At the time, I thought he was joking with me, and did not take it serious at all. Now I find this whole situation as serious as a heart attack.

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