August 30, 1996

The Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
10th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Madam Attorney General:

I am writing to request an Inspector General investigation into an alarming situation recently reported by a major California newspaper. It involves the Central Intelligence Agency's alleged Connection to a major drug trafficking operation that may very well have initiated the monstrous crack problem plaguing America's inner cities today. Residents in my state of California are outraged that the federal government possibly played such a role in the explosion of a drug that took countless lives.

The San Jose Mercury News reported after a year-long investigation that a drug pipeline between Colombia and the Bay Area functioned for almost a decade, funneling profits to finance the CIA-backed Contras in Nicaragua and leaving a legacy of drugs and destruction in the poorest areas of Los Angeles.

The report asserts that a former Contra leader, Oscar Danila Blandon Reyes, exiled to the United States worked with the CIA to rebuild Somoza's defeated army. To raise funds, a drug operation was started that may have been the initial link between Colombian cocaine cartels and the black ghettos of South-Central Los Angeles. At the same time, it was discovered that cocaine could be transformed to a rock form and the deadly crack cocaine was born.

Drug-dealer Blandon was the distributor for thousands of kilos of cocaine and has been called one of Nicaragua's largest cocaine dealers. Today, Blandon is a well-paid informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency who has avoided recourse for his actions.

The news article reports that Blandon has been paid $166,000 in taxpayer funds as a DEA informant.

Other alarming statements in the report include that:

* Blandon told the DEA last year he was selling up to 100 kilos of cocaine a week. The profit was going towards the Contra revolution.

* Blandon testified that the drug ring sold almost a ton of cocaine in the United States in the first year -- $54 million worth at prevailing wholesale prices.

* Blandon implied that the cocaine sales were, for a time, CIA-approved.

* Though Blandon admitted to crimes that have sent others away for life, the Justice Department turned him loose on unsupervised probation after 28 months of jail time.

* The CIA is believed to have compromised prior investigations into Blandon's dealings which were wholly unsuccessful.

* Norwin Meneses, Blandon's supplier as of 1983 and 1984, routinely flew quantities of 200 to 400 kilograms from Miami to the West Coast.

* Meneses was implicated in 45 separate federal investigations since 1974, yet was finally arrested in 1992 by Nicaraguan authorities in connection with a staggering 750-kilo shipment of cocaine.

* None of the government agencies known to have been involved with Meneses and Blandon over the years would provide any information about them.

While I am fully aware that these events occurred during the Reagan and Bush Administrations, it is unconscionable to let the implication stand that the United States helped introduce the crack cocaine epidemic to the streets of our cities. The implications are far too deep and the connections far too strong. For this reason, I believe an Inspector General investigation is in order to fully evaluate these allegations. As you well know, the United States and particularly my State of California are already fully immersed in the fight against drugs. Crack cocaine has been an unwelcome contributor to this problem that has escalated to proportions beyond the resources law enforcement and health care can manage.

While we attempt to control our borders and decrease the flow of drugs entering the United States, it is imperative that we have an accurate understanding of the roots of the problem. It is completely unacceptable for the United States to have been involved in any way with the trafficking of drugs over our borders. I urge you to dispel these notions by getting to the bottom of these allegations. We must be honest about our past to ensure that our work to stop the flow of drugs in the future may continue without the tarnish of corruption these charges have brought. The integrity of our justice system is at stake.

With this in mind, I hope that you will take a serious look at the charges that have been raised. I look forward to the findings an investigation will provide. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

I have attached a complete set of the news articles for your reference.


Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator