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The Bonita Store restaurant. Outside this restaurant, eight miles from the Mexican border, Danilo Blandon was taped by the DEA bragging about the thousands of kilos of cocaine he'd sold to the black gangs of Los Angeles since 1981. Mercury News photo by Gary Webb 11K JPEG
The bunker outside of Nicaragua that Norwin Meneses was storing cocaine in when Nicaraguan police arrested him in 1991. Nicaraguan police photo
Evidence photo of 100 kilos of cocaine that the Drug Enforcement Agency and Oscar Danilo Blandon tried to sell "Freeway" Rick Ross in his arrest. DEA photo15K JPEG
"Freeway" Rick Ross, now in prison in San Diego, created a mass market for crack in inner-city Los Angeles and elsewhere, thanks to the connections of his cocaine suppliers -- a group of men connected to a CIA-run guerrilla army. Mercury News photo by Patrick Tehan 4K JPEG
A few years before Rick Ross got involved with cocaine, he wielded a racquet for his high school tennis team. A college scholarship fizzled when it was learned that he couldn't read. Photo from Dorsey High School yearbook 8K JPEG
1323 Oddstad Blvd., Pacifica, Calif. DEA operative Danilo Blandon testified that when he was running drugs for the Nicaraguan Contras, he picked up kilos of cocaine at Norwin Meneses' home on Oddstad Blvd. in Pacifica. Mercury News photo by Jason M. Grow 11K JPEG
8 Bellevue St., Daly City, Calif. In 1981, DEA agent Sandra Smith followed two Los Angeles drug dealers to this Daly City home and discovered the cocaine pipeline used by the Contra army. Mercury News photo by Jason M. Grow 10K JPEG
The man the Nicaraguans call the King of Drugs -- Norwin Meneses -- is a millionaire businessman, an ex-Freedom Fighter and, according to one federal source, a long-time CIA operative. Mercury News photo by Gary Webb 9K JPEG
Rialto house. In 1986, drug agents raided Danilo Blandon's house, which overlooks a Rialto country club, but came away empty-handed. Blandon moved and sold the residence to a Los Angeles narcotics officer, who was later convicted on cocaine charges. Mercury News photo by Gary Webb 8K JPEG
Evidence photo of Rick Ross' truck at time of capture. Trying to escape a DEA trap into which he had been lured by Danilo Blandon, Ross crashed his truck into a hedgerow after a brief chase in National City, Calif. DEA photo13K JPEG
The political chief of the CIA's Contra forces, Adolfo Calero, third from left, and cocaine smuggler Norwin Meneses, right, during a 1984 meeting of an anti-communist group in San Francisco. The other men are local FDN supporters. 14K JPEG
BLANDON: These people have been working with me 10 years.
B: I've sold them about 2,000 or 4,000. I don't know. I don't remember how many.
BLANDON: These ... these are the black people.
B: Yeah. They control LA. These are the people that control L.A.
A: I don't like niggers.
B: Well ...
A: They pay cash though?
B: Yeah, they pay cash.
BLANDON: All the time, just with them. I don't deal with anybody else, just with them ...
ARMAN: Is it really dry right now or something? ... Or they're still buying?
B: They buy all the time. They buy, all the time.
ARMAN: And they don't care how good it looks. That's what's terrible. I got the best-looking stuff and they don't want good stuff.
BLANDON: Yeah, they don't care.
FENSTER: So you were running his Los Angeles operation, isn't that correct?
BLANDON: Yes. Now remember, we were running, just ... whatever we were running in L.A., it goes ... the profit was going to the Contra revolution. I don't know ...
F: I'm glad you reminded me of that.
FENSTER: He (Meneses) said, "Hey, I'm selling drugs and I want you to help me" ...
F: ...in so many words. Is that right?
B: To raise the money for the Contra revolution.
TRANSLATOR: "There is a saying that the ends justify the means."
BLANDON: And that's what Mr. Bermudez told us in Honduras. OK? So we started raising money for the Contra revolution.
FENSTER: When you met with Mr. Bermudez, did you meet also with members of the United States government?
BLANDON: No sir.
F: He was already working for the United States government when you met him, isn't that correct?
JUDGE: Let me sustain the objection at this point.
Cocaine 1980, Proceedings of the Interamerican Seminar on Coca and Cocaine, edited by Raul Jeri, Lima, Peru, 1980. (Collection of studies by North and South American cocaine experts, containing the first reports of cocaine smoking.)
Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy, U.S. Sentencing Commission, Washington, D.C. May 1995. (Study recommending equal prison sentences for cocaine crimes.)
Cocaine Smoking, Ronald K. Siegel, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 300, No. 7, pg. 373, February 1979. (First article published in U.S. regarding crack.)
Cocaine Smoking, Ronald K. Siegel, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 14, No. 4, Oct.-Dec. 1982. (Historical study done for National Institute on Drug Abuse.)
Crack cocaine, Hearing before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, July 16, 1986, U.S. Senate, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1986. (An example of the Congressional panic over the crack "epidemic.")
Developing Price Series for Cocaine, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Rand Institute, Drug Policy Research Center, 1994. (Study done for the DEA to help agents determine historical cocaine prices in U.S. cities.)
Land of Opportunity. William Adler, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1995. (Story of poor Arkansas farm kids who move to Detroit and become crack kingpins.)
Out of Control, Leslie Cockburn, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1987. (Investigation of Contra-linked cocaine operations in Florida and Costa Rica.)
Pipe Dream Blues, Clarence Lusane, South End Press, Boston, 1991. (How the drug war has affected black America.)
Powderburns, Celerino Castillo III and Dave Harmon, Mosaic Press, Buffalo, 1994. (Memoirs of former DEA agent who discovered cocaine flights by Contras in El Salvador.)
The Big White Lie, Michael Levine, Thunder's Mouth Press, New York, 1993. (Memoirs of former DEA agent and his run-ins with the CIA.)
The Case Against the General, Steve Albert, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1993. (A chronicle of the Manuel Noriega drug trafficking trial.)
The Underground Empire, James Mills, Doubleday & Co., New York, 1986. (Examination of U.S. efforts to combat foreign drug lords.)
The Agony of a Dictatorship, Oleg Ignatiev and Genrikh Borovik, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1990. (Day-by-day account of the fall of Somoza by two Russian reporters.)
The Nicaragua Reader, Peter Rosset and John Vandermeer, Grove Press, New York, 1983. (Collection of essays and articles on 1979 revolution.)
Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua, Stephen Kinzer, Anchor Books, New York, 1992. (Story of the Contra revolution by the New York Times reporter who covered it.)
Commandos: The CIA and Nicaragua's Contra Rebels, Sam Dillon, Henry Holt and Co., New York, 1991. (Thorough examination of the CIA's role in creating the Contras.)
Hostile Acts: U.S. Policy in Costa Rica in the 1980s, Martha Honey, University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 1994. (A look at how the Contra war affected Costa Rica.)
Iran-Contra: The Final Report, Lawrence E. Walsh, Times Books, New York, 1994. (Report of Independent Counsel's investigation.)
The Iran-Contra Connection, Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott and Jane Hunter, South End Press, Boston, 1987. (Study of covert operations during the Reagan Administration.)
Nicaragua: Revolution in the Family, Shirley Christian, Random House, New York, 1985. (History of the Contra revolution.)
Shadow Warrior, Felix Rodriguez and John Weisman, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1989. (Memoirs ex-CIA agent who worked with the Contras.)
The Tower Commission Report, Times Books, 1987. (Report of Presidential board assigned to investigate the Iran-Contra scandal.)
Under Fire, Oliver L. North, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1991. (North's version of the Iran-Contra scandal.)
Washington's War on Nicaragua, Holly Sklar, South End Press, Boston, 1988. (U.S. involvement in Contra revolution.)
With the Contras, Christopher Dickey, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1985. (Well-reported book on the first years of the Contras.)
Gang Involvement in Rock Cocaine Trafficking, Final Report, Malcolm W. Klein, Cheryl L. Maxson and Lea C. Cunningham, National Institute of Justice, Washington, D.C., April 1988. (Study by USC sociologists for the U.S. government)