Comrades in Arms
During the late 1980s and the early 1990s the CIA was the biggest drug kingpin in the United States. Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Oliver North were involved in getting arms to the Nicaraguan Contras and they did it through the sell of cocaine to American citizens. Crack affected many people but my adopted family was devastated. In 1992, my 45-year-old brother decided that he was going to try crack one more time after a 15-month stint in prison. He went to a crack dealer’s house and tried to get some on credit. The story goes that the dealer refused to sell him any drugs and my brother—6’2” 215lbs of muscle—begin to threaten him and destroy his house. No one is sure what happened next. We know that the crack dealer was in a wheelchair and that his mother was present. Someone got a gun and shot my brother in his heart. He reportedly sat down on a couch and asked “What did you shoot me for?” He died the next day.
Two of my other siblings’ lives were also devastated by crack cocaine. My sister became a hooker for crack, and another brother is nowhere to be found because of his crack habit. In 1990, I wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times detailing my dealings with my crack addicted brother and my discovery about how to deal with addiction in the family.
Crack was a plague that spread through African American neighborhoods like wildfire. We now know that this plague started in South Los Angeles with a dealer by the name of “Freeway” Ricky Ross. Ross became the major player in the drug scene of the late 80s and early 90s. He was known as “The Wal-Mart of Crack”. He refined the cooking process for crack and sold it cheap. He recruited street gangs from every area as his vendors. The violence that ensued spread to every US city and even rural towns as Crack became the drug of choice.
The question that many African Americans asked at the time was where could a street hustler get so much cocaine? It turns out that his main source was Danilo Blandon, a drug dealer who had ties with the Contras, the CIA and the Reagan and Bush administrations. Blandon and agents involved with the Contras have since testified that the CIA knew that the Contras were being supported by drug money. The CIA flew drugs into the United States and that those drugs were delivered to Freeway Ricky Ross on consignment by Danilo Blandon.
All of this was detailed in articles by Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News. Webb’s article garnered praised from his colleagues, but caused him to become paranoid. One of the reasons was that the Mercury News eventually backed away from Webb’s story and ruined his career as a journalist. Eventually Webb was shown to be correct. Gary Webb died of an apparent suicide in 2004.
So how did the vicious cycle work for families like mine? The CIA and Blandon sold the drugs to Ross. Ross cooked the crack and distributed it on the street. Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan and those who followed him began to ratchet up the drug war. Crack was on TV every night telling people how powerful and cheap it was. According to “American Drug War: The Last White Hope” a documentary that discusses these issues in detail, the news blitz was one of the best marketing campaigns for any drug ever. It was as if Madison Ave. had developed it themselves.
Drug laws were changed so that sentences were three times longer if you had crack than they were for those who had powder cocaine. Now, many non-violent black and brown people were thrown in prison for years. While more affluent white people who used powder cocaine were given light sentences. America needed more prisons, so enter private prison companies.
My brother spent several months here with me getting help. He eventually decided to leave and go back to Texas. For a while, he was sober and working as a truck driver. However, his past caught up to him when he went back to Texas and he was arrested for breaking and entering and stealing a remote control from his ex-wife's house. He was sent to prison for 15 months. He told me after he got out that he had seen such horrible atrocities that he would never be the same. I believe that what ever haunted him caused him to go to that crack house that night. I believe that he went there to commit suicide. Domestic problems devastated black and brown neighborhoods, but the cocaine wars decimated many Latin American countries.
American Marines were used to help train countries like Guatemala and Mexico how to keep drugs from crossing their border. I personally met Marines in Guatemala who were training Guatemalan soldiers to take part in the drug war. Countries like Columbia, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico have been devastated by our need for illicit drugs and especially cocaine.
In the end, what happened to the men who started this plague? Ricky Ross was imprisoned for life. He was recently released after serving almost 20 years because of a change in the drug laws. Danilo Blandon, who supplied Ross with his cocaine, did not spend much time in jail. He spent 24 months in jail but that was released because of time served. He is now an employee of the Drug Enforcement Agency making about $42,000 a year. Oliver North was made the scapegoat for Iran-Contra. He is now considered a right-wing hero and has his own TV show on Fox. George H. W. Bush became President and fought the first Gulf War. Ronald Reagan just did not remember what happened. It was found later that he probably suffered from Alzheimer's while he was president. He is considered a Republican idol. His name is invoked like some Greek god.
The truth is that the American government sold drugs in our neighborhoods. It then used the excuse of a drug plague to arrest thousands of minorities and warehouse them in prisons across the country. If you think it can not happen again, consider Afghanistan. Before we went to Afghanistan there was little or no poppy production under the Taliban. Poppies are used in the production of heroin. Now, poppies are the largest cash crop in Afghanistan and heroin is again a scourge on American streets. All you have to do is walk around Skid Row Los Angeles and look at the balloons on the ground.
Ricky Ross Interview Pt. 1
Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on January 13, 2018:
True. And furthermore, major US banks launder money for drug cartels. Seems the use of and sales of illicit drugs is only 'wrong' if you get caught, and are not a bank or government organization.
b on February 11, 2017:
Just reread and comprehend a bit better... Only part lost me is "American marines were training Mexicans, Gautemalons etc to keep drugs from their border..." What's point of doing that, to be a smoke screen, or facade of sorts? Looking like the US is the savior or doing the right thing?? Kinda confused in that part of story...
Also, can you point me to Amy good sources or documentaries on any of this-esp part on Danilo basically being a CIA operative, which is what it sounds like to me...
Do you work in any way toward changing this endless charade? Any suggestions??
To jerks above: drugs have long been used by Big Gov to suppress entire populations/communities of people-to basically keep people down. They've also Even been used to get vulnerable minds to go confidently blazing into battle during wars, a whole other can of worms I suppose... But Wake up and educate yourself. You really think the methamphetamine outbreak in the Midwest after factories closed doors, sending jobs overseas, wasnt calculated??? or was entirely the people's fault for saying "yes?!" Bull! That's a very ignorant response from a type of person that'd rather ignore reality. The majority of psychiatric prescription drugs is no exception either. It's disgusting what goes on in this country! How can anyone read this story and nit be moved to want to help change this disease ever festering in our damn government. We should be coming together to help eachother not continue to passify these heinous destructive acts by gov on ppl-the very ppl paying their salary as they continue year after year after year to destroy the very lives that put the food on their grandchildrens table?!
b on January 22, 2017:
-I've no doubt my gov in the US is corrupt and has long been! and they're in bed with mainstream media manipulating every1-been goin on 4ever. They're so arrogant, they can be completely caught-the proof all around-and they just create a narrative and use media to lie lie lie so easily. It's sick, then a week later the ego is even richer, their wondering why you don't trust them or CIA or media-all while creating some new bogus narrative... And so many ignorant Americans are clueless to this! They corrupt beyond all measure, but this is not an exclusive club. Obama, and yes especially the Clintons have LONG been bigtime corrupt. Bill C.inton's business partner and brother both did time for cocaine and laundering back in his Arkansas days-while Bill skated. Anyway, just wondering where the actual proof is in saying that we sold guns to them-and they had to sell us drugs in order to get money to buy them, right? And that RR was in on it? Not that don't believe u, was just lost that part of you story above... Hope u r doing betr despite everything here-so sorry for you. So much peace.
Sanxuary on August 25, 2014:
Its a proven fact ever studied the Watts trial? Its amazing how much crime and corruption never gets a moment on the news and how no one ever gets punished. Is it any wonder that no one believes anything any more?
Bruce Bean (author) from Riverside, CA on June 14, 2013:
Read for yourself. I can support every bit of this with evidence.
ggggggg on March 26, 2013:
indeed this mofos are fuckin us over, how else can oslo in norway be the worst city in the world on od's on heroin.. were supossed to be the best country in world, still you will find a lot of heroin addicts here, got some friends hooked on it, my best friends father did from it..
afghan heroin went from been like 5% of world market to over 90% after the americans invaded there country. USA sell heroin and cocain to the whole world, not just black and browns they fuck up europe too..
this isn't about race if you belive that you are stupid, this is about moneys, and new ways to get em self richer and us the majority poorer, money is what makes the world go around aint it? americans should realy flip out soon cus atm your country look as dumb as north korea to most people in the world. both countrys brain washed like hell.. communism is bether than capitalism as capitalism is another word for greedyness. TBP was organzing well, and they belived in "karl marx" and hes theorys, that's what the gouverment was scared of and that's why you guys got cracked up. see they dont want to share, they just want to get. communism is about sharing(if you look away from the anti propaganda made by the usa and the west), capitalism is about keeping everything for them self. so now are you selfish and a greedy bastard? or do you want to help the poor? the ansvear will let you know on what to belive in! its basicly that simpel capitalism is the root to all evil!
J on March 05, 2013:
First and foremost, it is not the fault of anyone else that your siblings were stupid enough to try crack. I have zero sympathy. Let's not turn this into a conspiracy theory. Rather, let's just say that people that try crack are idiots. You sir are a moron!!
pbc7414 on February 17, 2013:
Now that's mad sick but the day of judgement will have no rock UNturned
Bruce Bean (author) from Riverside, CA on November 19, 2012:
Now wow, I'm saying the CIA dealt crack in black neighborhoods and were never held accountable for it.
wow on September 21, 2012:
so basically you blame crack for your families problems? All the people and "neiborhoods" had no choice. The crack was there so they had to buy and use it. Just wow
Ginger Ruffles on May 26, 2012:
I remember reading about the CIA'a involvement some years ago. Reprehensible. I'm sorry for how this affected your family personally Habueld.
Tomretterbush you might want to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Eye opening.
Tyrone on June 19, 2011:
THINGS THEY FORGOT ABOUT ON FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN 100 BIRTHDAY
Washington D.C., November 24, 2006 - On November 25, 1986, the biggest political and constitutional scandal since Watergate exploded in Washington when President Ronald Reagan told a packed White House news conference that funds derived from covert arms deals with the Islamic Republic of Iran had been diverted to buy weapons for the U.S.-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
In the weeks leading up to this shocking admission, news reports had exposed the U.S. role in both the Iran deals and the secret support for the Contras, but Reagan's announcement, in which he named two subordinates -- National Security Advisor John M. Poindexter and NSC staffer Oliver L. North -- as the responsible parties, was the first to link the two operations.
The scandal was almost the undoing of the Teflon President. Of all the revelations that emerged, the most galling for the American public was the president's abandonment of the long-standing policy against dealing with terrorists, which Reagan repeatedly denied doing in spite of overwhelming evidence that made it appear he was simply lying to cover up the story.
Despite the damage to his image, the president arguably got off easy, escaping the ultimate political sanction of impeachment. Reagan should had been impeach and charge with treason. Oliver North should be in prison.
During the late 1980s and the early 1990s the CIA was the biggest drug kingpin in the United States. Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Oliver North were involved in getting arms to the Nicaraguan Contras and they did it through the sell of cocaine to black neighborhoods. The question that many African Americans asked at the time was where could a street hustler get so much cocaine? It turns out that his main source was Danilo Blandon, a drug dealer who had ties with the Contras, the CIA and the Reagan and Bush administrations. Blandon and agents involved with the Contras have since testified that the CIA knew that the Contras were being supported by drug money. The CIA flew drugs into the United States and that those drugs were delivered to Freeway Ricky Ross on consignment by Danilo Blandon.
tomretterbush from San Antonio, TX on June 02, 2011:
Its about money, not the color of your skin, so please don't bring the race card into it. Poor white people get just as much time as black or Hispanic people. I know, I've been there. Yes, prison, for a little bit of powder cocaine. Its about money. Even if you have a lot of crack, if you can afford a good attorney and if its good for the media, you could be green and get a lighter sentence than if you have just a little bit of powder cocaine but are poor. Period.
SOBF from New York, NY on December 20, 2009:
The truth will set you free - excellent hub but you left one often overlooked participant out of your list of those who should take blame. "William Jefferson Clinton". The CIA used the state of Arkansas as its drop point for the delivery of cocaine which was then moved to cities in which there was a fear of black uprising.
While there is no proof that Clinton had any knowledge of the shipments, it would be hard to believe that the Governor of a state would not be made aware of CIA activity within his state. My connection comes from a pattern often overlooked by blacks when viewing Bill Clinton. The privatization of prisons and the skyrocketing incarceration of blacks males boomed during the Clinton Presidency.
Bruce Bean (author) from Riverside, CA on December 17, 2009:
It's interesting, but we really need to look into America's power and control issues with drugs.
William R. Wilson from Knoxville, TN on December 17, 2009:
Interesting stuff and a nicely written hub.
Have you researched the Opium wars of China? I've also heard that heroin addiction started in Russia after they invaded Afghanistan.
Drugs intersect with power very neatly. They are a perfect tool for controlling people.
The crack sentencing laws are a horrible injustice. I've known a few crack addicts, and what they need is treatment, not prison.