11/11/08 - Cele Castillo

Cele Castillo, former DEA agent, Iran-Contra whisteleblower & author of "Powderburns, Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War" + Terry Nelson Reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Guest: 
Cele Castillo
Organization: 
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
Download: Audio icon COL_111108.mp3
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Century of Lies, November 11, 2008

The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.

Welcome my friends, to this edition of Century of Lies. I’m so glad you could be with us. Today we’re going to talk with a former DEA agent. He’s author of a great book, Powder Burns.

He was one of the whistle blowers on the Iraq Contra Affair and it seems that the government is kind of, nipping at his heals. They’re trying to sentence him to prison, perhaps, for selling guns at a gun show, like thousands of us have done in the past. I guess with that, let’s go ahead and bring in our guest….. (connection was lost with Mr. Cele Castillo.)

O.K. We’re going to get back with Cele. We will hear the LEAP report from our good friend, Mr. Terry Nelson, also of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
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Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. These men and women have served in the trenches of the drug war as prosecutors, judges, cops, guards and wardens. They have seen first had the utter futility of our policy and now work together to end drug prohibition. Please visit leap.cc
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Dean Becker: All right my friends, that wasn’t Terry. But we are going to be talking about Law Enforcement Against Prohibition today.

We’re a group of about 10,000 plus members now, world wide. We have several hundred cops and wardens, prosecutors, judges and many others who have spent time in the trenches of the drug war and who now work together, to end this madness of drug prohibition.

I’m told we do have Mr. Cele Castillo with us. Hello Cele.

Cele Castillo: Yes, sir. How’re you doing?

Dean Becker: I’m good Cele. Good to hook up with you. Cele, you’ve been our guest in the past and we’re going to talk about this case the government is trying to levy against you insofar as selling guns, here in America. But let’s first introduce Cele. What is your experience working for the government?

Cele Castillo: I started working for the government from 1979 to ‘91/’92 and worked with the Department of Justice up in Central and South America on the, so called, war on drugs with the Drug Enforcement Administration and worked from New York City all the way to South America and then Central America.

Dean Becker: Now Cele, If I recall from our discussion, you saw instances where there was frivolity, if you will, between the forces of US government and members of the cartel. If I remember right, wasn’t it at a soccer game?

Cele Castillo: Yeah, it was down in South America when I first saw the Columbian traffickers playing soccer ball with the Peruvian military. I knew then and there that we were supporting, what was known as, Cocaine democracies down in South America. So it was then and there that I figured that we were part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Dean Becker: Now, Cele, you were one of the few who spoke up, in that regard, who helped to expose the “Iran Contra Affair.” Tell us about that information you relayed.

Cele Castillo: Yeah. Basically what we had down in Latin America, we had the Contra’s who were heavily involved in drug trafficking for their covert operations down in Central America and it was revealed that out of El Salvador, we received cables asking us to investigate Hangers 1 and 5 out of Ilopango Airport and low and behold, 4 and 5 hangers were owned and operated by the CIA and the National Security Council.

Dean Becker: Wow. Now, this is reminiscent of… I mean, this reaches back in time, at least to the Vietnam War, where they were smuggling heroin in the bodies of the deceased soldiers back to the US. The CIA has had their toe in the water, so to speak. They support one cartel vs. the other, to this day in Mexico, do they not?

Cele Castillo: Absolutely. We’ve got to, first of all, try to understand the history of our government being complaisant in the drug trade. You know we saw American Gangster, with Frank Lucas, where he actually went down to the triangles in Vietnam to buy heroin, skipping the middle man. Actually, what he was doing, he was wholesaling the whole operation with the help of the United States Military and that’s what they were doing, smuggling.

The same thing we’re having right now in Columbia, we have it in Mexico where we’re now financing, I think it was 240 Million that just went into Mexico, to supply what was known as the paramilitary that Mexico has now developed. Basically it was the same blueprints that were used in Central America and Southeast Asia that’s being used in Mexico now.

Dean Becker: Now, Cele, you live in South Texas?

Cele Castillo: That’s correct.

Dean Becker: We, here in Houston, we see a lot of the stories. I don’t think they circulate too far North, or too often, but there is constant brutality, torture, beheadings. Just ultra violence going on in Mexico for control of that drug supply. Right?

Cele Castillo: That’s correct. Basing it on what they’re using now when it had started to come off, we realize that it was the Central America Special Forces, like the Cabilas that the US government trained for counter insurgency are now working as marks for the cartels down in Mexico now.

So that’s why we’re having the people being beheaded and the corruption and the culture has spilt over into the US right now.

Dean Becker: Let’s talk about that. There are police chief’s and sheriff’s and border guards and custom’s agents. The list is not as substantial as it is on the Mexican side but it is an enormous amount of corruption going on, on this side as well, right?

Cele Castillo: That’s correct. You’ve got to understand that the majority of the drugs that come into this country come from the point of entry in the border towns of Texas and Mexico. When I mean point of entry, I’m talking about the bridges where the federal agents have been compromised in allowing those drugs to come into this country.

Of course you have the free-lancers that come in through the river. But those are just a small percentage of the drugs that come in. But, there be no mistakes the Federal agents are being corrupt and they’re being paid off by the cartels and every branch of the government has been infiltrated now by the cartels.

Dean Becker: You know, it was one of the capo’s of Al Capone, I can’t remember his name, but he talked about the fact, ’You don’t have to buy the whole police force. You just have to buy one or two people with authority in order to get these,’ I guess with them it was the alcohol, but same goes for getting ‘drugs across the border.’

Cele Castillo: Well, that’s absolutely true and basically what we have, like every month here now, we have a border patrol agent or a custom’s agent or a ICE agent being arrested for corruption.

So, that’s an indicator that it is happening. It’s this new generation of agents are coming in. They’re actually being compromised. Not that it’s never happened before, we know it has, but it’s being found more frequently now.

Dean Becker: Well, the cartels have a phrase, what is it? De Plato or del oro?

Cele Castillo: Yeah. It’s called De Plata o Plomo. Plato means money and o Plomo means bullet; lead. So, that’s basically what it is. There’s a lot of people who’ve been compromised in this whole operations now that it’s easier for the cartels and the military, the paralegals that are heavily involved in the drug trade so that’s the problem.

Dean Becker: Yeah, it is. It reaches all the way up, at least we know on the Mexican side, up to the very highest level of the federal government.

Cele Castillo: Exactly. We just found out that the number two guy for Calderón, who’s the President of Mexico, just expired on an airplane crash and he was very well documented as being very corrupt and the cartels had actually infiltrated the Attorney General’s office on the issues of drug trafficking and money laundering.

Dean Becker: It’s amazing that… look, I try to find politicians, here on the US side, willing to talk about this and they just turn a blind eye to it, they do not recognize the futility, they do not recognize that there is an alternative solution to solving this problem.

Let’s talk about our band of brothers, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. You’re a speaker for their behalf as well, right?

Cele Castillo: Yes, Sir. I’ve been a member of leap for quite a quite a few years and I’ve actually spoken out for them in Canada and here in the US. But you know, Dean, we’ve got to understand that law enforcement has never worked on the, so called, war on drugs. It’s never worked. Yet we spend billions of dollars on countries like Columbia and Peru and we can’t make a dent.

We’ve got more drugs than we ever did ten or fifteen years ago. So that’s got to tell you that drug enforcement is not working and I guess the… I would tell you that the solution would be education, prevention and treatment and other issues that we can actually try.

But there’s an old saying Dean, that ‘The America now is more addicted to drug money than they are to drugs.’ So that’s lowered drug trafficking. Today, our banking system would probably collapse.

Dean Becker: Well, it reaches into every aspect of our society. I was listening to an interview with Mr. Califano, head’s up CASA, and they’re the one’s who gather all the information about drug use and what age kids use and all of this and…. I didn’t hear anything in there about changing the equation, of taking away the ability of kids to access drug more easily. Because it is the black market that makes it possible for our kids to more easily get their hands on drugs.

Cele Castillo: Well, that’s absolutely true and that’s the problem that we foresee. The use of drugs has not come down at all, it’s still rising and it’s feeding on almost every level of the education system that we are.

We’ve got to remember also, even federal agents, Dean… 1992, when I left the agency, we were forced to hire agents who actually use cocaine and marijuana. That was what the key words were, ‘experimental purposes.’ But they all did it in high school and in college. So, even the FBI, now, is being forced to hire agents who experimented with drugs.

Dean Becker: It seems absurd that from that level of federal agents, on up to the presidential candidates and most of the representatives and senators, have experience and yet they want their youthful indiscretions excused but to close the door; slam the cell door on all these youngsters growing up now. It’s preposterous, isn’t it?

Cele Castillo: Well, we’re actually destroying this generation, that’s coming up now, Dean. What’s happening when I mean we’re destroying it. We’re incarcerating more kids who are non-violent arrests on drugs like marijuana and a couple of grams of cocaine.

You’ve got to remember, once an individual is arrested and convicted, there goes his education, there goes his scholarships. There goes every help that the government can give him, is out the window. That’s the problem. We’re building more prisons to incarcerate our youth today than we are schools.

So, that’s got to also tell you that, it’s one out of four in the immediate family who now uses or sells drugs. So now, it’s affected everybody in the immediate family.

We’ve got to remember also Dean, that we have certainly more single parents now than we ever had before in the history and even in the educational system. We’ve got teacher’s who are single parents now. It’s a hard struggle and battle that we have to continue to educate the public and that this is not working.

Dean Becker: Once again, we are speaking with Mr. Cele Castillo, he’s author of Powder Burns. He was one of the Iran Contra whistle blowers and he’s a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Cele, it’s known that the predominant amount of drugs coming into America, comes through the Mexican border and it’s also known that the cartels and the other rebel forces, in Mexico, acquire the majority of their weapons from the United States. Right?

Cele Castillo: That is correct. But there is some myth there Dean, that the people think it’s the gun shows and people think it’s the gun shops down here that they’re furnishing the fire power to Mexico’s cartel’s and military.

When in fact, it’s the United States military that’s furnishing all the M-16’s, full automatic weapons, the grenades, the grenade launchers, you name them. The high powered rifles, the high training right now that the ’Mexico Plan’ which was, I think, two hundred forty million dollars, that just went into Mexico.

They got… One of the aspects of that contribution is that they are allowing Blackwater to go in now and train the paramilitary that Mexico has. Which was going to be what we were always known as, ‘The Death Squads’ and basically, that’s where we’re having all this violence in the border towns of Texas in the US.

Dean Becker: It’s just so outrageous that this funding, the ability of these cartels to buy these weapons, comes from profits made on turning a weed into a hundred dollar bill, right?

Cele Castillo: Absolutely. Every time we have an election, everybody gets in their soapbox and talk about what they going to do to stop the, so called, war on drugs when in fact we can’t make a dent.

We’ve got more drugs today then we did ten or five years ago and a lot of it’s made me remember that we’re now in charge of Afghanistan and we cut the biggest harvest of the opium that’s coming into this country right now, as we speak.

So that’s got to tell you that something’s wrong with this picture. Even the United States government is complicit in allowing Afghanistan to harvest the biggest Heroin crop in the history. Then there’s something definitely wrong with our system.

Dean Becker: You betcha. As I understand it up in, particularly in the Northeast United States, it’s now cheaper to get high on heroin than to buy a couple of beers. It’s just a…

Cele Castillo: Absolutely and the problem that we had in Vietnam Dean, was the one out of three veterans that came back, were heroin addicts. That’s the number that the government has put out so imagine what’s going to happen to our Afghan veterans coming out from Afghanistan become junkies and that’s a big problem we’re going to have with veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other problems.

So, we’re going to have a major, major problem in our country because we are not, as a government, prepared to assist these Iraqi and Afghan veterans coming back from war.

Dean Becker: Exactly. Now, Cele, I want to address this charge against you, for gun sales, and I want to preface this with, There are thousands of people across America who love these gun shows who trade, for historical purposes or whatever, but that are not gun dealers, that are not complicit in, I guess, the importation or exportation of these guns to Mexico and who do it as, a hobby.

As I understand it Cele, you’re retired now. Your health was not doing so good but, you found that by attending these gun shows, you found people that you could talk to that shared common interest and… So, you traded a few guns. Tell us what happened?

Cele Castillo: Basically Dean, what happened was I started attending the gun shows about three years ago and basically what I was doing, I was selling my book. Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contra’s & the Drug War. After awhile I started collecting, what was know as, Vietnam vintage, I don’t… that people were selling at the gun shows.

So I started collecting them and then someone suggested that I could sell a couple used guns here and there, without a problem. Basically what we have is that half of the gun shows venders don’t have license to sell guns. So what I was doing was basically what half of the gun show was doing. They were selling guns. You buy guns, whether they’re new or old, you collect them and then resell them.

But, when I got arrested I got charged, when in fact under Polk vs. US, I wasn’t a prohibited workman, so it took the government seven months to figure out that they had charged me with the wrong counts and at the end of the day, when they dismissed my case, I was kind of forced to plead to two new counts and one was selling guns without a license.

Well, why am I being targeted, a select prosecution when in fact other people at the gun shows are doing the exact same thing I did and yet they are not being targeted or so forth and I strongly believe that I was targeted because of my activism against the government and that’s basically what it is and that is what I got charged with.

I was looking at a five year count on each one. One was selling the guns without a license and aiding and abetting. One of the other reasons was because at the time, the prosecutor addressed the courts and told them that I would not loose my benefits if I was to plead out to these two counts and well, of course, that was not a true statement.

Because I am going to loose all my benefits and I got sentenced to 37 months in prison because of that. Even though I’ve never been arrested before in my life. I had a clean record and my health issues and the judge felt that he was warranted in giving me the 37 months in jail.

What I’m trying to do, I’m trying to get some donations so I can try to hire an attorney that I can trust. The government will probably give me an attorney, a federal public defender because I just don’t have the funds to hire an attorney and if I still appeal my sentencing and that’s what I need to appeal and that’s what I’m trying to do, appeal my sentencing.

I’ve been a good soldier all the way around but I just got nailed on a technicality and the government does have a choice of who they want to prosecute and who they don’t want to prosecute and they prosecuted me to the fullest even though I’ve never been involved in any criminal activity.

Dean Becker: Well, Cele, that’s why I wanted to bring you on here because those out there for gun rights, those who are out there for our basic constitutional rights, need to recognize what’s happening to you because you’re not a major player, you’re not a threat, to either the US or the Mexican government through these few gun sales. You’re just a hobbyist who….

Cele Castillo: Exactly. Exactly. Once again, Dean, I didn’t do nothing that nobody else was doing and they’re still doing it, at the gun shows, yet I was targeted because I felt that the ATF was conducting racial profiling on their gun shows. They were filming the shows and so forth. They were stopping people, taking their guns away, without charging them with anything.

They actually would seize guns in the parking lot or would follow the people and take their guns away for whatever reason and gave them a receipt, not charging anyone with any violations.

Now that’s Gestapo tactics. That’s what happens in Russia and other third world countries. But here in the United States this was occurring and agent… the senior agent or the agent in charge of the ATF in McAllen… what’s going to happen, actually he’s going to get one of his agents ---- …in the next six months an ATF agent is going to be killed because of these illegal activities that’s going on by ATF.

Dean Becker: Well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but it seems that there is a little bit of hope on the horizon, a little sunshine sneaking our way with the election of Barack Obama and if he follows through with his commitment to human rights and adjusting the “criminal, comma, justice system” here in America, perhaps things will get a little brighter for you as well.

We’ve been speaking with Mr. Cele Castillo, author of Powder Burns, a patriot, in my eyes. Cele, any closing thoughts, where folks could maybe reach you?

Cele Castillo: Yes, Sir. You can actually go to my email address at powderburns@prodigy.net and you can actually email me and maybe, hopefully you can send me a little donation so I can work on my appeal of my sentencing and any little bit counts.

So guys, I know it’s hard times out there for everybody, but I certainly do need your assistance and if you can help fine, if you can’t, you know, God bless you all and continue to bless your families.

Dean Becker: All right. Thank you, Cele Castillo.

Cele Castillo: OK Dean, thank you very much.

Dean Becker: Ok, I just wanted to, we’re done with Cele but I just wanted to say something. Over the last week, I’ve seen in nearly every major paper in America and overseas, the fact that these court appointed attorneys are overworked, overburdened and incapable of doing a good job.

I’m hoping that you folks will consider getting in touch with Cele. Again, that was: powderburns@prodigy.net
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O.K. let’s now, let’s hear from Mr. Terry Nelson.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. I have worked for almost three decades in the war on drugs and almost a year at the US Embassy in Mexico City.

It was true then and it’s true now, that the prohibition of drugs make for a rich and powerful enemy. The following information from United Press International has been seen many times before and will be seen many more times if the US continues the fail public policy called the war on drugs.

Mexico City, October 28 (UPI) - ‘Mexico said it is cleaning house in it’s attorney general’s office after five inside drug officials were arrested for secretly working for drug cartels.

The arrested official’s came from Mexico’s elite organized crime unit and are accused of pocketing as much as $450,000 per month from the Beltran Leyva Cartel, one of the biggest transporters of Columbian cocaine, in exchange for sensitive law enforcement information.

One alleged cartel informant worked for US embassy in Mexico City and leaked drug enforcement agency secrets to organized criminals, Mexican officials said.’

Just for grins, you might want to go to Google and google, ‘Mexican attorney general involved with cartels’ and if you do, you will get 35 pages of hits going back 20 years and almost all of those pages deal with corruption and drugs in Mexico.

Plan Mérida, the most recent plan to deal with this problem, if fully implemented, will provide over one billion dollars to Mexico to fight the drug barons. In the 18 months that Calderón has been President, there’ve been over 5.000 drug war related killings and over 500 of those were policemen. That’s one thousand more than US soldiers we lost in five years in Iraq.

The best way to put the cartels out of business is not go mano a mano
with them, but instead remove the immense profits from their coffers and they will no longer have the money to take on governments.

By legalizing the drug trade and then regulating and taxing it, similar to alcohol and tobacco, it would take the profits from the drug cartels and put them into the state’s coffers instead. While this will not fix the drug problem, it would greatly reduce the crime and violence issues. We can then implement a system of credible education to prevent drug abuse and when needed, medical treatment to treat those that do become addicted.

Drugs are entirely too dangerous to be left in the hands of street gangs and criminal cartels. Let’s make our streets safe and our country safer by removing the drug gangs from our midst by a policy of regulation and control instead of arrest and incarcerate.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc , signing off..
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Dean Becker: All right. I want to thank Terry. I want to thank Cele Castillo, author of Powder Burns. As I said, he’s a patriot. He blew the whistle on the Iran Contra Affair and now they’re trying to lock him up for selling a few guns at a gun show. It’s just crazy.

Be sure to tune into this weeks Cultural Baggage. Our guest will be Reverend Eddie Lepp and also the Reverend Carl Olsen. We’re going to be talking about their two cases from different states that are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court over the sacramental use of marijuana.
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Be sure to check that out and be sure to….

Do your part to help end the madness. Remember there is no truth, justice, logic, scientific fact, medical data, in fact no reason for this drug war to exist.

We’ve been duped. The drug lords run both sides of this equation. Do your part to end the madness. Please visit our website: endprohibition.org

Prohibido istac evilesco.

For the Drug Truth Network this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston

Transcript provided by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org