Saturday, March 20, 2004
Jan. 29, 1978. First of two St. Louis Art Museum buglaries. Bronze statute, Bronco Billy by Frederick Remmington stolen.
Feb. 20, 1978. Second burglary, a total of seven statutes are stolen in the two thefts.
The burglary squad of the St. Louis Police investigates the art museum burglaries and the FBI is called into the case.
March 13, 1978. FBI record of the alleged soliciation of Russell Byers to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King found at the St. Louis field office of the FBI.
The police recover the statutes from three locations over several weeks time. One location where they find three statutes is Finer's Metals, 5 9 00 Manchester Ave.
One suspect in the Art Museum case is beaten in the city workhouse by jailers in late April 1978. Another suspect receives a threatening noting the fact that the first suspect was beaten while in custody. Jailer at the city jail are p art of the St. Louis Sheriff's Department. Who was sheriff in 1978? Probably Bennie Goins. Goins was involved in the vending machine rackets. White worked as a goon for Ray Sharf, a vending machine operator.
The commander of the police unit is the late Capt. John Walsh.
After three of the statutes are recovered from Finer Metals, Sid Finer says he was set up and complains to the police board.
The police board clears the St. Louis police of wrongdoing in the way they handled Finer's arrest. The cir cuit attorney drops the case against Finer.
Sam White is interviewed by the FBI on May 30, 1978.
Sam White is last seen on June 6, 1978 near the intersection of Vandeventer and McRee in the presence of a black man and white man who were driving a b lue or green older vehicle, possibly a Chevy or Pontiac.
Sam White's body is found in rural Madison County, Ill. in a farm field Old Alton Road, two miles north of Interstate 270 on June 11, 1978. White had been shot once in the stomach with a shotgun a nd twice in the head with a .38-caliber handgun. His body had then been burned. He was identified through fingerprints from one hand that wasn't consumed in the fire.
A subject interviewed by the FBI claims that White had stolen things for the St. Loui s police. No record is in White's files indicating that this individual was ever reinterviewed even though he was willing to speak to the FBI again.
Russell Byers testifies before the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
The feds refuse to prosecute the White murder for among other reasons the fact that potential witnesses were involved in the Art Museum burglary and immunity had been granted in that case by the Circuit Attorney's office.
SAC, STLOUIS (183-117) (P)
April 28, 1978
On 4/20/78, [redacted] was recontacted regarding a singed statement that he had made on the previous day. [redacted] had previously been in the workhouse on Hall Street, but on this date was in [redacted] as a result of being struck on the head by jailers at the workhouse. [redacted] did not provide details at this time but had wished to make a Civil Rights complaint.
[redacted] has been cooperating as shown by previously submitted FD-302's, stated that on this date [redacted] had received an anonymous telephone call. The caller sated words to the effect that what you see, what we have done to [redacted] when he is in jail, think what we can do to you.
It is suggested as a possibility that SAM WHITE, one of the potential subjects in this case, hired somebody at the jail to actuallyu call [redacted] to their office for the purpose of obtaining information regarding the Art Museum theft 1/19/78. It is noted that [redacted] has already been charged in the Art Museum and that he has been many time questioned by the St. Louis Police Department.
[redacted] has noted that he has changed shifts at this employment at [redacted] because SAM WHITE has been observed to be in the vicinity at the time periods when he is normally at work.
[redacted] states that there is no question in his mind that is no question in his mind that SAM WHITE is attempting to kill him and he feels that if he would have remained on the night shift where he would have to be at the parking lot during dark hours that a person could easily ambush him or kill him on the lot. He stated that he knows this can be done because he has done this numerous times himself with SAM WHITE. He did not specify any particular killings or beatings, however, that he had been associated with SAM WHITE.
On 4/18/78 and 4/19/78 [redacted] a former [redacted] telephonically contacted writer and stated that he is now representing [redacted] and that he was calling to see if there were any new details regarding the investigation. [redacted] was advised that dertails regarding the investigation could not be revealed to him or to [redacted] and that if it became necessary details would be revealed to him at the proper time. This memo is being submitted for information of Agent handling 44 case regarding [redacted] to guide in questionin of [redacted] and others
ST. LOUIS DIVISION
AT ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
Interview [redacted] regarding anonymous calls.
Conrad "Pete" Baetz was developing Russell Byers as a witness for the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
The FBI was involved because the Bureau found a misfiled informant's report on March 13, 1978. The report was based on the assertions of Richard O'Hara, a criminal associate of Russell Byers. In the report, which was made in 1974, O'Hara claimed that Byers had told him of a contract offer that he had received to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966.
Byers was also a suspect along with White in the St. Louis Art Muesum thefts in early 1978. As a congressional investigator, Baetz was on leave from the Madison County Sheriff's Department, but was still reporting to the Edwardsville office when he was in the St. Louis area. Baetz claims he never heard of Sam White's murder.
Here's a verbatim transcription of an FBI memo indicating that the Madison County Sheriff's Department was investigating White's murder. The date of the document is 8/1/78
United States Government
To. SAC St. Louis
From SA [redacted]
Attached is P.D. (police department) report from S.O. (sheriff's office) Madison County, Ill. indicating death of Sam Ernest White.
On 7/26/78 [redacted] Post-Dispatch, requested info re [redacted] she was referred to AsAC (assistant special agent in charge) Shanely.
Closing memo and letter to Bureau in dictation.
On 6/19/78 [redacted] officers Madison County S.O. Edwardsville Ill. advised his office plans on bringing a # of witnesses before the grand jury.
date of transcription 7/20/78
[redacted] old, Negro female, was telephonically contacted in an effort to arrange an appointment for an interview. [redacted] at this time, stated she would not meet with Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and that she knew of nothing and could see no reason why she should get involved in the recent death of SAM ERNEST WHITE.
[redacted] stated that she had been with SAM WHITE on redacted] and that WHITE had driven [redacted]. She sated that they had come back to St. Louis and had gone to the vicinity of Vandeventer and McRee and that at approximately 11:30 a.m., SAM had met with some people. She stated that she was asleep most of this time and that Sam apparently had talked to someone, but she would not say whether the person or persons where white or black or how many there were.
Initially in the interview, [redacted] indicated that the persons may have come up in an older car, light blue or greenish in color. Later in the conversation, she indicated that she did not know that there as a particular car that the people had arrrived in on not.
[redacted] emphatically stated she knew nothing of SAM WHITE or his associates and did not want to get involved in anyway in any of his activities.
interviewed on 6/19/78
at St. Louis, Missouri
file # SL 183-117-91
by SA [redacted]
date dictated 6/28/78
date of transcription 7/5/78
[redacted] stated that she is the [redacted] to her knowledge [redacted] currently lives with [redacted]
She also knows SAM WHITE to be associated with another Negro female known to her only as [redacted].
[redacted] stated she did not know [redacted] but has talked to her on the telephone on a number of occasions since she has known here for the last six months. She provided a telephone number for [redacted} where she works at a grocery store a s [redacted] stated [redacted] home telephone number is [redacted] and that currently, because of the recent event of SAM WHITE's death, she has been staying with her [redacted].
[redacted] stated she knows a white male, [redacted] who has been to her home several times in the last two years since SAM WHITE has been out of prison.
[redacted] stated she knows that SAM WHITE and some of his associates had been engaged in illegal acts but that SAM WHITE has purposely never told her any details so that she could nto get involved.
Prior to May 30, 1978, SAM WHITE told [redacted] that he had been requested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to appear at their office because they wanted to talk to him regarding his activities. He told her that he would go there on that date. Subsequently, SAM WHITE did not talk to her about this particular appearance.
At some date after June 6, 1978, [redacted] talked to [redacted] on the telphone. [redacted] advised her that SAM WHITE had driven her to a court appearance in Illinois and that after that they drove to the vicinity of McRee and Vandeventer where they waited about 45 minutes for someone to appear. [redacted] stated that at 11:46 a.m., a white male and a black male arrived in a blueish or greenish-colored older car, possibly a Chevrolet or Pontiac. [redacted] told [redacted] that the white male stayed in the car while the Negro male talked to SAM for a period of time. SAM then came to the car where [redacted] was sitting and told here to drive the car b ack to the store and that he was going to go with the two males. SAM then got in the car and left the vicinity.
[redacted] at this time also told [redacted] that [redacted] had called her [redacted] six times on June 6, 1978, after 2:00 p.m. [redacted] t ol d [redacted] that SAM was to meet him at 2:00 p.m. and had not arrived. [redacted] did not tell [redacted] the nature of the meeting.
[redacted] stated that SAM WHITE would have surely known the people in the car because he did not normally deal with very many white people. In addition, she said she was surprised that SAM would even get into an older vehicle as described by [redacted]
Other associates of SAM WHITE are [redacted] and [redacted] the [redacted] the [redacted] Martin Luther King Drive.
[redacted] stated that [redacted] is the only white man she knew of that SAM ever dealt with [redacted] also knows a [redacted] a Negro male, and a [redacted] also know to her as [redacted] as two young males who dealth with SAM. [redacted] had stayed at her house after he had been released from prison some time ago.
[redacted] had no positive information to indicate why SAM WHITE would have been killed in the manner which he was.
[redacted] currently lives at [redacted] Missouri...
[redacted] stated that [redacted] SAM ERNEST WHITE'S [redacted
[redacted] stated that he knew that SAM WHITE WAS involved in illegal activities but did not have any specific details he felt he could relate at this time. He knows SAM WHITE was an associate of [redacted].
[redacted] was asked if SAM had ever mentioned being involved in any way with anyone by the last name of [redacted] stated that on one occiasion he recalled that he had gone to Columbo's Tavern on Manchester Road in St. Louis and that SAM had said that he wast to meet with some people close by and did not want him, [redacted, to be involved as these two people did not want anyone else to know of their association. He said, however, that SAM had never menti oned anything about a company named [redacted] or the names [redacted].
[redacted] a Negro male, another associate of SAM WHITE, told him, [redacted] that [redacted] had called to locate SAM on June 12, 1978, because he, [redacted], had a job for SAM. Th e details of the job were not specified.
On June 4, 1978, while at the Harlem Tap Room on Martin Luther King Drive, SAM had told several people that, "They almost got me at the store today." SAM did not elaborate as to who the people were or for what re ason they were trying to "get" SAM WHITE.
After SAM WHITE's body had been identified by Illinois authorities and it had been dtermined that WHITE was shot and subsequently burned, [redacted] went to the store which he identified as the [partially blacked out] _ G R Grocery on North Grand Avenue and told a female associate of SAM WHITE who [redacted] knows only as [redacted] and [redacted] a short heavy-set Negro female the details of SAM's death. At this time [redacted] whose name he does not know, said "You mean [redacted] did that to him?" He could provide no more details as to what the relationship was with SAM WHITE or what information they had regarding [redacted]
[redacted] said that he did not have any positive information as to who wanted SAM dead or who could have possibly been the killer.
[redacted] was generally reluctant to talk during the interview and would not provide any details as he said that he feared for his life if he were to get involved in any manner whatsoever.
[redacted] da te of birth is [redacted]]
date of transcription: 7/5/78
SAM ERNEST WHITE voluntarily appeared at the St. Louis Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as previously requested. Present with WHITE was a Negro female whom he indciated was his wife. He did not provide her name.
WHITE was asked questions about [redacted] and he stated that he knew him but was not a close associate of his and that he had very little dealings with [redacted]. He stated that he knew nothing about firebombs or beatings related to [redacted].
WHITE stated he was employed at a store at 5612 Delmar and his home telephone number is 863-7517.
Interviewed on 5/30/78
at St. Louis, Mo.
file # SL 183-117-80
Date dictated 6/5/78
DIRECTOR, FBI (183-1276)
SAC, ST. LOUIS (183-117) P
Re SL letter to Bureau dated 2/22/78
[five lines redacted]
As a result of the contacts with St. Louis Police Department, it was determined that [redacted] had had the statues stolen but a source had revealed this and subsequent pressure had caused [redacted] to return statues in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
Further investigation shows that two Negro males, [redacted] and redacted] had assisted in these thefts along with other persons.
[redacted] and [redacted] have made statements to the FBI as a result of being introduced to the FBI by the St. Louis Police Department. [redacted] and [redacted] were associated and hiredby SAM E. WHITE who in turne had been hired by [redacte].
[redacted] and [redacted] stated that WHITE and [redacted] had hired them to perform certain arsons against [redacted] and had been hired to beat up [redacted] in May 1977.
On 6/16/78, it was determined that SAM WHITE had been murdered, his body being found in Madison County, Illinois.
St. Louis will interview associates in an effort to determine the murderers and the reason for the murder.
Other investigation will be done to verify [redacted] and [redacted] information.
2 - Bureau
2 - St. Louis
ADMINISTRATIVE: Delay in submission of this communication is due to stenographic delinquncy in the St. Louis Division of which the Bureau is aware. î
To: SAC, St. Louis (183-117) (P) Date: 7/5/78
On 6/19/78 [redacted] appeared at the FBI Office with his wife, [redacte d] as refelcted on a separately submitted FD-302. In addition to the information shown on the FD-302 [redacted] stated that SAM WHITE had told him (on) several occasions that he sold stolen goods to [redacted] of St. Louis, Mo. He also said that several y ears ago, SAM was telling everyone that [redacted] was going to be put away by the Federal authorities; however, SAM never provided any details at that time.
[redacted] was very reluctant to speak during the course of the interview while his wife was pregnant. During the entire interview, [redacted] kept stating that, "We don't know anything, we don't want to get involved, we don't want to get killed." She could provide no details as to whby she felt this way.
At one time during the interview [redacted] stated that SAM told him that he was stealing for some St. Louis City policemen. [redacted] refused to reveal their names as he again indicated he did not want to get involved.
[redacted] alluded to several burglaries and robberies that SAM had been in volved in at one time or another, including one in which he had obtained some Chinese statues. Accordings to [redacted] spent a great deal of time traveling around the country in order to sell these statues. He had no specifics as to where they were stole n, where they were at present, or what value they had.
At the conclusion of the interview, writer was able to talk to [redacted] momentarily alone and [redacted indicated would be willing to give a little more information at some later time when his wif e was present.
ST. LOUIS DIVISION
AT ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
Reinterview [redacted] for additional details regarding SAM WHITE and [redacted].¡
What does this have to do with the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr? Nothing. But it is related to the House Select Committee on Assassination's investigation into the King murder. The connection comes through Russell Byers, the man who was suspected of masterminding the first Art Museum burglary. White is thought to have hired the two burglars who broke into the museum for Byers. Following the crimes, White was murdered and Byers ended up as a witness before the HSCA hearing in Washington, D.C. During his testimony before the HSCA, Byers claimed that he had been offered a contract to kill King in 1966 by two St. Louisans, John Kauffmann and John Sutherland. The FBI alledgely got the this information from on of Byer's other criminal assoicates, Richard O'Hara, who was an informant. But the FBI agent who received the information in the early 1970s supposedly filed it away without forwarding it to FBI headquarters. The alleged informant's report was not discovered until March 13, 1978, which coincidentally was when the police and FBI were negotiating to get the stolen statutes returned.
The letter is from assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Jenkins of the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis). Note that in the letter dated July 26, 1978 (six or seven weeks after White's murder) Jenkins declines to prosecute somebody whose name is blacked out "because the subject's involvement with others in the Art Museum case." Jenkins also notes that he is "cognizant of the deal made between the Circuit Attorney's Office and the other subjects and of certain investigatory police work, our chances of successful prosecution are dim."
"Certain investigatory police work" and "the deal made between the Circuit Attorney's Office. ..."
United States Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri
1114 Market Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
July 26, 1978
Special Agent in Charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
1520 Market Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63103
Re: United States v. [redacted]
FBI File #SL 183-117
The FBI investigation into this matter has been hampered by the subjects' involvement with others in the Art Museum case. Cognizant of the dal made between the Circuit Attorney's Office and the other subjects and of certain investigatory police work, our chances of successful prosecution are dim. Coupling these problems with the stature of the two main witnesses (assuming they testify) and the problems of proving an interstate nexus for a RICO or Hobbs Act charge, it is the opinion of this office that this case is legally and factually insufficient for prosecution.
Very truly yours,
Robert D. Kingsland
United States Attorney
By: Ronald E. Jenkins
Assistant United States Attorney
Friday, March 19, 2004
They all think they're going to be overnight millionaires, right? Well guess who jumps on the bandwagon with these guys? Barnard Spector. Who I don't even know. All of a sudden he shows up in St. Louis.
Anyway, they missed Bernard Spectors kilos, how many ever that he brought up. And that's why we had to go to trial. Everybody else plea bargained.
Valenti's reference by the defense attorney, Ryder Trucks? Why would he even bring that up?
I have no idea. Valenti's was one of the hot spots in St. Louis(?) It was kind of funny, years later (corrects himself Valenti's is in Miami). They killed, the famous informant for the FBI was killed there in the parking lot. Hell, I hang out a mob spot and didn't even know it.
Dresnick is the attorney, he mentions that you met with a DEA agent, Tom Robinson, at the Edge Restaurant. Isn't the Edge Restaurant a Mafia hangout?
Why would you guys be meeting in a Mafia hangout?
I was dating one of the waitresses. There you go again. Sorry. I wish I could do better.
was doing a lot of business with a lot of guys from the Edge. Collections. Skip tracing. I was an investigator for a couple of years and didn't even realize what I was doing. I started out in 78. I've been playing this game for 20 years now.
There's no connection between the Webb situation and what he's writing about and St. Louis. There's no connection whatsoever.
pilots. Some of them came from this area or at least the Midwest.Texas.
What about Terry Reed, Oklahoma, right?
I know him, yeah. I remember him. He had some luggage problems down there. They lost a bunch of his shit and I had to go down and retrieve it. It's amazing how the Contras tended to lose Americans luggage somehow. Nice guy.
What about John Hull, I already mentioned him and James Denby? Is he still alive?
I heard he got killed. What did they tell me? I don't comment on things I'm not sure about. Whether it was a plane crash, I'm not sure. I wouldn't have flown with him. I had to go down there for something and he talked about me flying with him and I just made every excuse in the world, I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but no thanks, you know.
Hull's ranch used as a transshipment point?
I heard that constantly, especially from Terrell. Where Terrell was getting his information, I don't know, but he always claimed that it was a big drop off pick up, you know, depot spot for drugs. I don't know, when I was down there it was the business of war not drugs.
Drugs financed the war, a partnership of convenience?
It doesn't take somebody from South America with Colombian pilots to figure out gee whiz we're going back empty to New Orleans and nobody's going to inspect use, I'll just put a couple of kilos on board and make some money. Those things probably happened because we did have open doors, I mean nobody checked anything. We could have done anything. It was sort of spooky too that our borders could be that open. If you were going hire a bush pilot to fly in and out of, some of these areas where we dropped cargo and landed, you're talking about grass air strips. The places we landed in the Rus Rus there in the Miskita for the Indians and stuff, I mean you'd be flying through some of the most dense mountains and jungles in the world. Then all of a sudfden there's this airstrip and you've got to hit it right the first time. Now who do you want flying that plane? Do you want people who are used to doing that as a profession? Or do you want some rookie.? I'll take the professional.
Do you think this stuff is still going on? It's got to be coming in somehow. ...
I've been so far removed from the drug world, I've been removed from the drug world since Jeez, 84, I really haven't worked a big drug operation since then.
I was the only agent inside working Burma for the DEA in 88 and 89.
Tracking drug routes from Khun Sa, the opium lord. What I did I went in under the authorization of the DEA and CIA to Burma and provided military training to the Kerin sp? rebels at Kotoola (sp?) training base across the border from Thailand. In exchange what I was doing was gathing American intelligence on drug trafficking for our agency in Bangkok.
Do you know Bo Gritz?
No. We have a lot of mutual friends, I guess.
Khun Sa? Is he still operating?
Sure he does. He's got a 30 to 40,000 man standing army. He's anti-Burmese government. And AnSuKee (sp?) who got the Nobel Peace Prize what happened because of Iran-Contra all the blow up in Washington during Iran Contra, I had taken off for a short period of time and was working in South Africa working. Doing the same thing again. Working as a body guard, training body guard personnel to some upper class people in Johannesburg. Came back. Iran-Contra is warming up. People are calling me. Getting my name from different sources. I appeared befor the Senate Foreign Relations Commitee and testify. And then all of the sudden I got Jack Singlaub calling me. Anyway, because of all the Burmese resistance in W.ashington was trying to recruit military trainers to go back in Burma and train their young people. So I had a couple of Burmese people through other avenues that contacted me. I went to Washington and they knew quite a bit about me and so I ended up going to Thailand and the Phillipines for some meetings and arranged for some logistics to be transported from the Phillipines to Thailand to Burma. They needed some maps. Associates of mine within the American military gave me those maps to smuggle to the Burmese guerrillas. That was my first contact. We didn't have any aerial photography of the areas.
So I befriended the Burmese guerrillas. And then they made me an offer to put together trainers to come in and train our team because we predict that the government was going to close the universities. And, of course, they did and all the students fled into the jungles and got pissed off and joined the rebels for fours years anyway.
So I was very lucky. I organized the DAB, which is the Democratic Alliance Burma Army, which was the first all-student revolutionary group against the government. And in that group of course we had people who had formerly been associated with Khun Sa, some students. If you've got a 40,000 member standing army, you've got families. Just like the Red Chinese, I mean they moved 100,000 troops at a time. You got family, you got kids. Well, you're kids are going to go to the University of Rangoon, eventually right? ... I was their trainers. I organized and trained these small teams to go back and sabotage the Burmese government.
In exchange, I wanted to make sure there were no snags so what we did was we met with the CIA and other officials in Bangkok and told them about the proposals and they said fine, but here's what we want out of you: We want you to run frug intelligence for us.m And I said not a problem. See what actually I was doing was I was covering my own ass because I was already being threatened with jail in the U.S. because of violation of nuetrality (against Nigaragua).
Now I've got official sanction, again. Of course, I had official sanction the first time. But that was my cover for going back in. If I was ever questioned about violation of nuetrality again, well, why I was there was for gaining intelligence for the U.S. government. 88-89.
I retired from being a mercenary in 89 because of malaria. I almost died because of malaria in Burma. Then I came out of retirement in 91, of course, and went to Croatia. Yeah, I'm a colonel in the Croatian army.
Yeah, we got a team ready to go to Indonesia to evacuate personnel from a private company that's back in the jungle ... We've been on standby since February. In fact, the FBI came and hit me recently and said that you can't do this. And I said, Oh, yes I can. So I had to straighten them out. Why we're doing it and who we're working for. How it's going to be done. They looked at this as a military invasion and it's not. It's like if they had a big earthquake in Mexico a private corporation could hire a team to get the people out. That's all we're doing.
Who are you representing?
I was contacted and paid by Beloit Industries. I'm just a member of the team. They have wood processing plants. The problem is that they are so remote that the American. They've been warned if you want out get out now. Because we're not sure we can get to you. ... younger FBI agents no longer know him
You know something, you hit that right on the head. When Doug Abrhams before he died, the FBI agent, he got killed shot in the head here in St. Louis, they named the FBI building here after him, him and I were like thick as thieves, man. He was up here every fucking day. And we did more neat stuff off the record then I've done since. You're right. There's a new generation of agents who are picking up pieces of files on me and they don't know the whole story. ...
I've probably worked with 500 agents over the years and he no doubt was the best, as human being, as a father and as an agent. He got the job done and he did it right. . ...
You know I was involved in that Lieberman thing, right? I was working for her attorney when Barbari decided to set them up and double cross them, I backed off. One thing about it, you'll never find me double crossing anybody. It's like Scar Face said, I never fucked over anybody that didn't have it coming. They double cross me, I'm going to get them. But until somebody double crosses me, I can't do that. I wasn't raised that way. No matter who it is or what they've done. I don't operate that way.
I'll give you a little tid bit though. Remember when Harold was goingt to go to Cuba? I was there waiting on him. I was there waiting, pal. He was coming home. See, they won't extradite me back to Cuba for kidnapping. But they would extradite me back to Santiago for kidnapping. So that was my end, When I got wind that Harold was coming to Cuba, I was there waiting on him. ... I worked for Phyliss (Harold Lieberman's wife).When Barbari doublecrossed Phyliss and set them up, I couldn't be a part of that. Because there was no reason to. Phyliss never did me wrong. Barbari was in trouble on a drug charge and so he did that to get out of the gun charge problems.
She got busted for coke, right?
That was a gift. That wasn't supposed to happen. That had nothing to do with what was going on. ...
What I didn't realize was that the owner of scrap yard had gotten himself tangled up with some of these characters who burglarized the St. Louis Art Museum. The heavily redacted FBI reports indicate that Same White and a couple of his criminal partners were paid by somebody else to beat up one of the Finers.
As best I can tell, it had something to do with a dispute over the ownership of the company.
Besides being a career burglar, White is reported to have worked as a strong-arm man for vending machine operator and felon Ray Scharf, who was a government witness against St. Louis Sheriff Benjamin Goins. (Goins had beenb charged with some kind of crime connected to the vending machine trade.) Before being elected sheriff, Goins had served as St. Louis License Collector. Goins' assistant was then Peter Webbe, the brother of Sorkis Webbe Sr. The two Webbes had an interest in the Aladdi n Casino in Las Vegas. But I digress.
Some of the stolen statutes were found at Finer's scrap yard, after allegedly an anonymous call was made to the home of St. Louis Police Capt.John Walsh. Sid Finer, the owner of the scrap yard, complained to the police commission that he had been set up. In a letter to the police commission, Finer said Walsh threatened to parade him before TV cameras, if he didn't submit to a lie detector test.
Is this getting more than a little confusing to follow?
Because the FBI reports on White are so heavily censored, it's hard to make sense of it all a quarter of a century later. Perhaps an excerpt from a story by former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Sally Bixby Defty will help explain it better:
Post-Dis patch, page 4A, May 12, 1978:
In an interview, Finer said that he was the victim of four violent incidents in the last two years, including an attempt on his life last May. He said that he had identified one of the persons implicated in the theft of the Rodin sculptures and another Art Museum burglaries earlier last winter as one of two men who had tried to kill him.
Finer said he believes that a second person implicated in the burglaries -- a man police believe to be the "mastermind" -- also was involved in the violence against him, which, he said, was instigated by a business enemy. ..."
Sally, if you read this, your story has been immortalized in FBI File #STL 183-117-72.
Fm DIRECTOR FBI [62-117290]
TO ST. LOUIS IMMEDIATE
HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS [HSCA]
REBUTELCAL TO ST. LOUIS DATED JULY 28, 1978.
BY AIRTEL TO BUREAU DATED MARCH 13, 1978, ST. LOUIS ADVISED THAT INFORMATION RE POSSIBLE CONSPIRACY IN MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., ASSASSINATION HAD BEE LOCATED IN ST. LOUIS FILE. [REDACTED] INFORMANT [REDACTED] HAD BEEN CONTACTED IN MARCH, 1974, AND INFORMATION RE CRIMINAL MATTERS, INCLUDING ABOVE. PLACED IN CONTACT MEMORANDUM MARCH 19, 1974, AND APPARENTLY NEVER DISSEMINATED OR ACTED ON.
ST. LOUIS IS DIRECTED TO IMMEDIATELY CONTACT AGENT AND AGENT SUPERVISOR WHO HANDLED [REDACTED] IDENTIFIED BY ST. LOUIS OFFICE AS FORMER SPECIAL AGENTS [REDACTED] AND [REDACTED] AND THOROUGHLY INTERVIEW THEM RE ABOVE. ORIGINAL
1 -- MR. J.B. ADAMS
1 -- MR. J.J. MCDERMOTT
1 -- MR. H.N. BASSETT
1 -- MR. J.A. MINTZ
[ATTN. MR. HELLER]
1 -- MR. W.L. BAILEY
1 -- MR. G.J. FOSTER
investigator -- August 1977.
TO: Dan Coulson, Special Agent Office of Congressional Affairs Federal Bureau of Investigations
FROM: Stephen J. Fallis, Deputy Chief Counsel
Select Committee on Assassinations U.S. House of Representatives
DATE: Au gust 15, 1977
RE: Background Investigations
1. Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding relative to the Federal Bureau of Investigations conducting background investigations for the House Select Committee on Assassinations I am forwarding to the Bureau the completed forms for the following member of Staff of the Select Committee on Assassinations:
DALY, Martin J.
BAETZ, Conrad E. (circled)
In 1997, I wrote a follow-up stories on the 1978 House Select Committee's investigation into the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King. Using a theory developed by congressional investigator Conrad "Pete" Baetz, the committee concluded that a St. Louis-based conspiracy was the most plausible explanation for King's murder. To come to that conclusion the HSCA relied heavily on the testimony of Russell Byers, a St. Louis criminal. Months before he made his appearance before the committeee, Byers was named by the St. Louis police as a suspect in one of two St. Louis Art Museum burglaries. Byers was never charged. One of the other suspects, Sam E. White was found murdered in Madison County, Ill. in June 1978. HSCA investigator Baetz, who was a deputy in the Madison County Sheriff's Department at that time, denied knowledge of White's involvement in the art museum burglary with Byers or the fact that his body was found in Madison County, which was Baetz's law enforcement jurisdiction. Following the publication of my story, I received the following letter from the daughter Komaletta White, the daughter of the murder victim. It is dated April 4, 1997, which is the anniversary date of King's assassination.
April 4, 1997
The Riverfront Times
6358 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO. 63130-4719
While your story seemed to be based on Mr. Russell Byers, there was absolutely nothing ever done for the middle man who was murdered in 1978, Sam E. White. There was no investigation of his murder. Although your story clearly stated that he was a criminal, he was also a loving fatherof three children and a husband. He was my father, someone who was concerned for the well being of others. Now he is just another murder victim that have left behind a family with no peace because his killer or killers was never found and brought to justice.
REASONABLE DOUBT, I have no doubt that Mr. Russell Byers was behind the murder scheme of my father. The same day that my father was killed he was suppose to have met with Mr. Byers. Your story stated that Same White was killed the same day that he met with the FbI, which is wrong. he was suppose to have met with the FBI the next day.
I understand this is a close case now, especially since the FBI has destroyed all the files pertaining to Sam Ernest White. So please Sir let his name either rest or help find his murderer. It hurts my family to even see his name in your paper. I never knew that the FBI would destroy files on anyone, or maybe was just my dad because they didn't care. He was only the MIDDLE MAN.
Concern daughter of the Late Sam Ernest White,
The Riverfront Times, April 8, 1992:
In 1978, Samuel Ernest White, an associate of Russell Byers whos was implicated along with him in the St. Louis Art Museum burglaries, was found murdered in Madison County one week after he had visited FBI offices in St. Louis. Was White's murder case ever solved.
Ba etz: To be real honest, with you, and I swerar this is an honest answer, that's the first time I ever heard of him. I remember the Remington bronze. It just doesn't hook up in my head.
That's how the committee got his name, because the FBI suspected Byers of being the mastermind of the art-museum thefts. Maybe I'm wrong.
The reason it was developed by the committee was not because anybody was looking at the art except as background on ... [jump page missing]..
by Robert H. Teuscher
St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 8, 1975
LAS VEGAS -- St. Louis attorneys Morris A. Shenker and Sorkis J. Webbe paid at least $250,000 to an alleged associate of organized crime figures as a finder's fee for a casino sale which never materialized, a suit on file in U.S. District Court here charges.
Nevada authorities speculated that the alleged payment may have been a means of transferring casino profits into a lower tax bracket.
The recipeint of the fee, according to the suit, was Samuel R. Calabrese of Las Vegas and Los Angeles, whom West Coast authorities identified as an associate of ranking members of a New York organized crime family. ..."
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I worked at Ranzini's Pizzeria on Watson Road, where I trained Gerard Slay, the mayor's brother, how to make pizzas. He was just a regular kid. We both had to work part-time jobs while attending high school. While we worked until the wee hours two or three nights a week, Sorkis Webbe Jr. drove around in a brand new Corvette and had all the high school girls chasing after him.
That's the difference I remember between the Slays and the Webbes. I hope the mayor also remembers the difference, but I doubt it.
In Bryant's 1991 story, Webbe said he was considering moving to Los Angeles, where his brother-in-law David Slay operated a restaurant.
Flash forward: During the last mayoral Democratic primary campaign in St. Louis, Mayor Clarence Harmon accused Aldermanic President Francis Slay, his rival, of favoring a casino in South St. Louis County, to the detriment of city interests, because Slay had a relative among th e local partners in the proposed deal. Who was the relative? -- David Slay.
I did not realize the family ties between the Slays and the Webbes until this morning. See what you learn when you read stale news for breakfast? The guy who probably hasn't forgot all these trivial details is Jim Shrewsberry, the current aldermanic president, who was beat up at the polls by Webbe's thugs.
Remeber this is the crowd that KMOX's Charlie Brennan was socializing with in 1995, when he attended the late Pasta House honcho John P. Ferrara's 50th birthday party.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
3401 Kienlen Ave., Pine Lawn
3401 Kienlen Ave., Pine Lawn
3401 Kienlen, Pine Lawn
Ann L. Barrett, Buster Wortman's secretary and vice-president of Plaza Amusement 9100 Gooddale Ave., St. Louis
William R. Brown, secretary treasurer of Plaza Amusement
12145 Lake Placid Dr., St. Louis
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Millas, property owner where VIP Oriental Spa is located
240 South 88th St.
Centreville, Ill. 62207
Pioneer News Service
604 Carleton Building, St. Louis
Platinum Inc., dba Boxer n' Briefs
10282 N. 103 Place, Scotsdale, Ariz. 85258
Plaza Amusement Company, 3020 North Grand Ave., St. Louis
Plaza Amusement Co. Inc, 1912 Washington Ave.
Plaza Amusement, 3401 Kienlen
Twin Valley Entertainment, dba Crystal Palace
Katrina M. Sanders (Robert Romanik's girlfriend)
23 Towne Hall Estatees Drive
Belleville, Ill. 62223
Sunshine Land Trust
23 Town Hall Estates Drive
Edward Wortman, Buster's brother
R.R. 1, Caseyville, Ill.
Besides the aforementioned companies, Plaza Amusement used the Kienlen Avenue address up until late 1984. Plaza Amusement was registered as a fictious name with the Missouri Secretary of State on Sept. 29, 1980. The parent company of Plaza was listed as Adisco Inc. The names connected to Adisco are Stephen J. Bresley, president; Laverne Wichmann, secretary and Gary J. Green. Adisco is also listed as doing business as Merne Inc. and S&M Bresley Inc.
Adisco's use of the Kienlen Avenue address and its choice of Plaza Amusement as a name for its affiliated company are both intriguing.
3401 Kienlen, as already noted, was the business address of numerous St. Louis Mafia-owned companies, at least until the late 60s, if not longer. Whereas, Plaza Amusement was the name of Eastside rackets boss Frank "Buster" Wortman's vending machine and juke box company in St. Louis.
Missouri Secretary of State Records show that the officers of Plaza Amusement Co. Inc. in 1969 were Edward Wortman, Buster Wortman's brother; William P. Brown, son of Bev Brown, owner of Pioneer News Service; and Ann L. Bartlett. The company was formed March 1, 1947. Plaza Amusement Co. Inc. was listed as being located at 1912 Washington Ave. Bartlett was a secretary for Wortman's businesses. The Secretary of State lists this company as "perpetual."
Plaza Amusement Company, a firm with a similar name to that of Plaza Amusement Co. Inc., was also associated with Wortman. The Secretary of State's Office still lists this company as "active." The address for it is 3020 North Grand, which is across the street from the location of the old Sportsman's Park. 3020 North Grand is now the site of a vacant lot. The name attached to this particular Plaza Amusement is Bernard Barts -- Wortman's accountant. Barts was called before Estes Kefauver's Senate racket hearings in the early 1950s.
Barts's name showed up in the Globe-Democrat 20 years later, in 1972, in relation to the St. Louis police investigation into the murder of Steamfitter business agent Edward Steska.
On Nov. 29, 1972, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Ted Gest reported the following:
"Thomas Callanan, a controversial figure in Steamfitter's Local 562, was named yesterday as a possible suspect in the killing of Edward L. Steska, the union's business manager.
"The reference to Callanan was made at a hearing before United States District Judge James H. Meredith in which three union officers were granted immunity from self-incrimination in order to force them to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the killing.
The reference was made in reading of the court reporters' notes of secret testimony before the grand jury by Barney Barts, 62 years old, who described himself as the unions' property manager. He invoked the Fifth Amendment in the testimony and was one of the three union officers who were granted immunity. ..."
So Barts, late mob boss Buster Wortman's former accountant (Wortman died in 1968), was the steamfitter's "property manager" in 1972 and was brought before a federal grand jury investigating the death of Steska, Local 562's business agent.
Wortman was a member of the Local 562 and collected a pension from the the union until the time of his death even though he never did any work. His successor, Art Berne, was also a member of the Local 562 and in his later years was given a high-paying job as "security consultant" for the union. Berne died in 1994. FBI reports indicate that the Wortman/Berne gang and Local 562 were both under the control of Chicago organized crime.
Twelve years after Wortman died, a company with the same name as his vending machine firm -- Plaza Amusement -- shows back at 3401 Kienlen Avenue, the location of the St. Louis Mafia's vending machine operations. I guess stranger coincidences have happened, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.
Joe Adams interview, Aug. 98.
I relocated to Miami because of my relationship with a young girl who lived down there and was going to the University of Miami.
I had moved down there until she finished school, working as a security consultant and a body guard and private detective to do something until she gets out of school and meantime, strange enough, she taught aerobics in the evenings and she kept coming home to me and telling me that she wants me to meet this girl who is in her class because her fa ther is Aldolfo Calero.
I was not really following the Central American issue even though I was living in Miami. I wasn’t really that concerned. But she kept talking about it and showing me in the newspapers what was going on. Eventually, as luck wou l d have it, we ended up at a dinner party at Calero’s house.
And Aldolfo and I both being soldiers, me being a soldier and he being a leader of an army, ended up off in a corner talking. I was actually surprised how well schooled he was in my background and what I was doing. What I was capable of doing.
You mentioned being a soldier. What branch of the military service were you in? Were you in Vietnam?
Marines. Yeah. My big skill was shooting competitions, in technical events. I was one of t h e best in the United States and the world. ... Calero told me of a need to do some security analysis and train some security personnel for the presidential house, which was called the directorate, in Tegucigulpa, Honduras.
So he made me an offer of comi ng down to Honduras and spending 30 days and trying to put this security package together for them. And I did that. It was a great opportunity. I had never been to Honduras. So I went down there and did that, and they were very impressed. Before I could leave, Calero and the
Directorate down there, the Directorate was like their Congress, made me an offer, pulled me off to the side, educated me on the fact as to what was actually going on, who was financing this, who they were and introduced me to the CIA, while I was there.
Who introduced you to the CIA?
It had to be one of the Directorate down there. Probably Oscar Montez, which is not his real name, it’s a code name. After introducing me into the CIA, then I started participating in what ever was necessary. You know, we picked up a lot of cash from the agency. We didn’t have to clear Customs. We turned our passports in at the airport. We didn’t recover them, and days later they would show up at the Directorate’s office. Everybody down th ere was carrying false credentials provided by the CIA, under false names, to protect their families who were still in Nicaragua and other places where they lived, Costa Rica places like that.
So I got a good taste of the agency operation down there. Came back to the United States. I accepted their offer for Christmas with my children. And then left for Central America and stayed over most of the next two years. The only problem I actually had, where I got myself in trouble, legally, where I got myself in trouble down there, and I have a hard time saying that, because I really don’t feel like I was in legal trouble down there, was when I joined an American mercenary team and actually went into Nicaragua and waged war against the Sandinistas.
After my part of the war was over, my contract was up and I came home, I believe it was before Christmas of 1986. Came back and was indicted in 88 for violation of Neutrality (Act). And some weapon smuggling charges.
So the group that you were working with was that CMA?
They were provided by CMA, yes. I was not CMA. I was automatically absorbed into CMA. Here’s how it happened. Being Calero's personal body guard, it gave me the open window to everything. There was nothing clo sed for me. It’s very hard for an American to join a foreign service and go about getting business done, because you’re always shut out of things. I’ve seen this all over the world since then. I did not have those problems because I was the bodyguard of th e preside nt and his direct right hand man. Anything I wanted I got. Every place I wanted into, I got. I had vehicles. In fact, I asked Calero for a, I ride motorcycles here in St. Louis, I’m a member of the Hog chapters, the first thing I requested was a motorcycle. The ne xt day off a big transport plane from New Orleans, the back of it drops off and they roll me off a motorcycle.
So I spent most of the war riding a motorcycle. Great war. I loved it. What happened was, when I would go to these, one camp in particular, La Quinta, which was a wait station for people going into the frontier to join other units, Americans were there. They were very frustrated. They were living in tents. They couldn’t get batteries for their radios. The just didn’t know what the shit was going on. But here I am, I’d go in those camps and they think, and I’m walking around carrying an Uzi machine gun. These guys are cleaning barbaric weapons with motor oil. When they change the motor oil in Central America, they don’t t hrow the motor oil away they keep it for their guns. They were living in very crude conditions. Here I pull up in new vehicles, riding motorcycles, carrying Uzi machine guns. And I’m licensed to drive a car in Honduras provided by the CIA.
They’re very pressed, and, of c ourse, I would be, too. So right away I started helping these guys. I got them munitions, I got better weapons, because I could walk in and take what I wanted. So right away they became my friends. They were very impressed with the fa ct that her e they are fighting, struggling, trying to hel p assist in fighting this war and here is this American, you can’t get any closer to the top than I was, I was the number one guy.
I’m confused with the order of events, though. You we nt down to Honduras first and then you returned?
Yeah, I tol d Calero I didn’t come down here to stay. If you let me go home and straighten out my affairs and say goodbye to my children, I’ll return and do what you want me to do.
But Calero was in Mi ami, right?
Living in a safe house in Miami, yes.
Yo u know I can’t re ally swear to that on a stack of Bibles. It didn’t even cross my mind. I could see where the CIA was probably providing certain things for these guys, but I didn’t actually realize the CIA was running the whole show.
Bu t when I got down there, they sat me down and explained the program, explained what was going on in detail and took me along. We used the embassy like a second office. Everybody knew. In fact, everybody at the airport knew I was connected to the CIA. No o ne ever checked m y luggage. I mean, I could have brought a nuclear weapon in. I had carte blanche. If came to pick you up at the airport, you were given orders to just stand and wait for me. I would walk right through Customs. I was like invisible. I wou ld walk right thro ugh Customs in secur e areas, pick up your bag and say, `He’s w ith me.’ And that was it. Your passport would show up at the house a day or so later.
You mentioned one incident in which you were returning from Honduras and you were warned in some kind of manner. That w as an interesting anecdote about coming back to get hamburgers.
Oh, yeah. The house that I protected overlooked the airport outside of Tecucigulpa up on the hill. I think it belonged to some big general in the Hond uran military and he was renting i t out to the directorate of the Contras, pai d for by the CIA. We could see our planes coming in. Of course, we knew when our flights were coming in. I could just pick up the phone and call up North and they’d say the plane will be there at a certain time.
If there was anything on there that would concern us, they would bring people down on those planes. I would go out and help expedite them to their knew quarters. If Calero wasn’t in the country I more or less had all the off tim e I wanted. If Calero w as in the country, I was a shadow, I could do nothing but stay with him. He traveled a lot doing speaking engagements. So when he wasn’t there I could go down and help. It gave me something to do, too, other than shoot all afternoo n. So I ha d been down th ere for, oh, three or four months straight. And there is something to be said about hamburgers in St. Louis or the United States. Hamburgers in Central America just don’t make it. I heard about an LA turn around comi ng down, where we had a sh ipment of supplies coming down from New Orleans. And it’s going to unload, turn around and go right back to New Orleans, turn around and come right back the next day. So I excused myself. Calero was obviously not in the country or I would not have don e this. And I packed a bag. I think I told one of the bodyguards, `Secure my quarters, I’ll be back tomorrow. I’m going to take the flight up to New Orleans, `I’ll bring you back some cheeseburgers.’ They got all excited. So that was my plan. So I grabbed some catch, and went down to the airport, after they off loaded on got on the airplane and secured a seat behind, pretty much behind the cockpit and everything, and one of the Contras got on board. In fact, I can’t lie to y ou, I’m not going to bullshit you, I’m just v ery leery about giving out this guy’s name, because he was an American. An American got on board who worked with the supply teams coming to and from And he goes, `Tirador (shooter) Colonel, whe re are you going.
I said, `I’m going to N ew Orleans for a cheeseburger. He says, `Wait, wait, what are you talking a bout?
I said, `We’re doing an LA turnaround. This plane’s coming back tomorrow morning. I’m going, because I was always doing stuff for the men. I was always buying stuff. They didn’t even h ave a pair of tennis shoes until I got there. I said, `I’m going to the United States, I’m going to buy a hundred cheeseburgers at McDonald’s right across from the airport in New Orleans, and I’m going to jump back on the airplane and bring them back to the guys in Tegucigulpa, bring them back some McDonald’s cheeseburgers.’
He said, `You can’t do that.’ Well, first of all, nobody tells me anything down there. You know, `What do you mean. I do what I want to do.’
He said, `You shouldn’t be on this plane.’
I said, `I’m coming back tomorrow. Calero’s out of the co untry, you know. What’s your problem?’
He goes, Colonel, you can’t be on this plane. We don’t want you on this plane.’
Okay, w hy don’t you want me on this plane? What’s the p roblem?’
He goes, ‘Because this plane’s not going back empty.’
`You know, wha t the fuck do you mean, `it’s not going back empty? It looks like a football field in here. What do you mean it’s not going bac k empty?
He goes, `We can’t expose you to this. There are some things on this plane.
I go, `Wait a minute. You gotta be kiddin’ me.
He goes, I’m not kidding you.
I said, `Not that.’
He said, `Yes, that.’
I said, Who’s flying this plane?
He says, Colombians.
I said, that’s it, I’m off of he re. And I got off the plane.
Who owned the plane?
We leas ed them. The CIA bought from different companies.
Was it Southern Air Transport?
That particular plane? I don’t remember. I might have it some place. But that was my only expos ure, actually.
I knew we were bring morphine in, okay. The pilot s would bring it in in the ir bags. And we were bringing morphine in for obvious reasons. It was a very expensive drug and we would have do ctors in the Cuban community donating prescri p tion drugs that w ould have a hard time getting through Customs. The pilots just carried their bags and would give them to the directorate and we would get it to the field to the surgeons. That stuff happened all the time.
But the only direct flight that I was involved i n where narcotics were on board supposedly, was that flight.
What year was that?
It had to be 85. Our supplies, it was just everyday business. Supply planes just kept coming and coming and coming. Where all the supply planes went to, I don’t kn ow.
I know Honduras got a good chunk of them, beca use I explained to Calero one time, I said, `You know, sir, when you’re not here, and I go down to help unload those planes, you know, they’re stealing all of our merchandise.
He looked at me and said, `Tirador, you know, it’s the cost of doing business with the Honduran government. They got 20 percent off the top of anything we flew in to the Contras. I don’t give a shit if it was Navy survival knives, they too k 20 percent on an ything right off the top.
In fact one time, they are so stupid I went dow n, the Contras are Indians, they’re indi genous people, they’re compensinos. If they had the choice of picking up a gun or pickin g up a knife, they’ll pick up a knife, because th at was they’re mentality growing up, they’re farm people ...
[Adams explains that the Honduran government would not skim supplies that were directed personally to him.]
“Magazines were sending me supplies and stuff f or the bodyguards and clothes.
Soldier of Fortune?
Yeah, they sent me a lot of stuff. If they’d mark i t for me, then the Hondurans wouldn’t touch it. So the stupid Hondurans, we’ve got a flatbed truck so loaded with knives th at the tires were rubbing the flatbed of the truck. A nd the Hondurans came in and tried to take a few cases of these knives and I sa id, `Hey, guys, these are my knives. These are my personal knives. Now how stupid is that. You know what they said, `Okay, let him go.’
Calero asked me months later, `I he ard that you declared two thousand knives to the Honduran military.’
I said, `That’s the only way that I could get them in, sir.’
As long as they thought they were mine, they didn’t care. So I started marking my name on all the boxes that were coming in to try and cut down on their percentage.
You mentioned the title of Colonel. Who bestowed that rank?
The Contras, because I was a commandante. The way the rank structure worked down ther e my rank becaus e I was a pilot wh en I got there, just a class II pilot, made me a captain. Calero made me a lieutenant colonel.
I w ent back and looked at some of the clips at the library that preceded your work with the Contras. You were arrested in St. Louis on cocaine charges back in early 80 s weren’t you?
Yeah. I do get calls from his attorneys. About a coupl e of years ago I got a call from his attorney. I set up the largest drug sting operation, at the time, with a friend o f mine, Tom Robinson. He’s a detective over there in the County. I set up a cocaine sting for him. He was attached to the DEA. ...
I never knew Bernard Spector. Was it Bernard Spector? I never really knew him. He jumped on the bandwagon with a couple of other drug dealers and wanted to bring some cocaine to St. Louis. What happened was the DEA, Bernard Spector detected the DEA surveillance and made his cocaine disappear. So I think the only thing they got him on was conspiracy. I know they ever recover ed any of his cocaine. The other guy’s cocaine they got. I forgot how many kilos were seized.
But that was here in St. Louis?
So that would be 1984. So in 1984 you were working for the DEA?
DEA task force, yeah.
Did you w ork for the DEA or other federal agencies?
I worked f or every federal agency on the books.
Okay, were you working for DEA in Miami or Central America?
What was your job?
In Central Am erica, no, not DEA. I never saw any d rugs in Central America. The only time I was ever even exposed to anything like that was that one plane I was taken off of.
I worked on for the DEA in Miami. It w as more than drug s it was weapons, ai rcraft thing s like that, things that were involved i n narcotics. Oh, I tell you what, in fact, I worked undercove r and stung two U.S. Custom agents who were selling information to drug dealers, which is pretty serious. In fact, whe n I first told local authorities about that I’m able to gather information and buy information covertly from U.S. Agents, they didn’t believe me. I said, yes, I can. I know that drug dealers are doing it. Information can bought by your own agents. So t hat was actually my first job with the government was who in Washington was selling this information and what they were doing was they we re selling true identities of agents and they’re locations, which is very dangerous. It’s a violation of the National Security Act,
< em>You mentioned, when I first spoke to y ou, that you had worked with John Singlaub or that you had spoken to him at least. You said that for the Contras’ cause you would have worked for the devil himself, if it would have caused the fall of the Sandinista government. I was wondering why you felt so strongly about that.
My work with the Contras was the first time that I got to do exactly what I wanted to do. If you had to give a job description of someone who is perfect for the job that was me. Co vert operation, give me all the logistics in the world that I needed. Give me the authority to pull the job off. It’s very, very few times in your life that you’ll get the job that you actually want to do.
What was your relationship with Jack Singl aub (director of the U.S. chapter of the World-Anti Communist League)?
Oh, he was just another Contra patriot. He came to our camps on the Honduran-Nicaraguan border and he was shocked at what he found. When he saw us there, and what we had achieved, he was stunned. Because actually nobody knew that we were. We were able to keep a lid on it. The only reason that they found out was because Jack Terrell blew the lid off of it.
He went to Washington and was te lling congressional people that Americans are fighting with the Contras. And it sc ared the shit out of the m because they didn’t know about it. Congress, thinks they’re supposed to know everything, right?
And so that’ how the big stink came up. And t hen we had, you know, Singlaub’s there. H e said, is there anything you need. I said, hell, yes. We need every thing. We don’t have anything out here on the frontier. That was the Masura, ...
Out there if you don’t have it on you back and take it with yo u, you don’t get it. So he was impresse d. He was a very formidable Contra patriot. Did everything he could do for the Caleros and Oliver North and did what he could do.
Did you know North? Did you work with North directly or with Rob Owen?
My liaison with North w as Rob Owen. North knew of me. I’ve saw memos and stuff becaus e Terrell was always causing problems and I was always with Terrell. He had no agenda was what his problem was, where I was loaned to Calero.
No, Rob Owens visited th e directorate’s headquarters several ti mes. In fact, I met Rob Owens, what did Time magazine call Rob Owen, our CIA man in Costa Rica, John Hull.
Yeah, I went to John Hull’s ranch and home down there with Calero, I don’t know how many times. [Hull’s ra nch has been alleged to have been a transshipment point for drugs by at least half a dozen pilots.]
And of course the same old faces again went down the re for meetings. And I went down there with Calero, providing this protection. And then Rob Owen shows up.
What actually happened was they wanted me, after I had already left the Misura and all the mercenaries were sent home, I was the only one, of course that was allowed to return.
They wanted me to go to the southern front. It really got ugly th en. John Hull. I take that back. Let me
get my chronology right. Before I went with the Misura, I went with the Misura, oh, there was a Texas oil man named Maco Stewart who wanted to provide a lot of money to help a major offensive for the Contras. So we basically had to find a place where he co uld fight his own part of the war.
So I went to the Misura tribes out on the frontier. Rented an aircraft from the CIA, with Maco Stewart’s money. Flew to, think I had a C-47. Flew out to the Misura. That was them. We agreed to return with a team of me rcenaries to help them train and fight the Sandinistas on the Honduran front.
Prior to that I had an opportunity to go to the southern front, which was doing nothing down there. That was, basically, use Jo hn Hull’s ranch as the training base for the n ew offensive, because Pastora wasn’t doing a damn fact. In fact, Eden Pastora was a real thorn in Calero’s side. There was even some talk about assassinating Eden Pastora. I for that, too, if he wasn’t going to cooperate.
Was that the meeting that was held in Miami with Owen and Calero, where that was broached? That would have been Terrell and you?
Yeah, I think so, yeah. I think we talked about it. But Calero ne ver put his fist down and said okay, take him out. But th ere was a plan to kill Eden Pastora. But I don’t ever remember sitting and talking in Aldolfo’s house and talking about killing Eden Pastora. We had our own ideas about taking Eden Pastora out. If they wanted him taken out. And there was some talk about how much of a pain in the ass Eden Pastora was. But to sit down and say th at Aldolfo Calero said, `Kill Eden Pastora.’ No, I don’t think that ever happened.
It’s like a movie plot, Joe. It amazing the experiences you’ve be en in.
Well, why d o you think I pled guilty to one count of Neutrality (violation of the Neutr ality Act).
I had a contract to do the same thing in Burma. And if I didn’t plead guilt of Neutrality violation, I w as going to lose my contract to go to Burma. And it was even better than the Cont ras. So while they were throwing money at each other, politicians, I was over there doing the same damn and being paid by the CIA.
Did you enter into an agreement in late 1983 or early 1984 with the U.S. Attorney here to act as an informant for fede ral agencies? What were the terms of the agreement. The agreement you signed with them pretty much let you off the hook. You ment ioned before that you had not been involved in any kind of drugs. I don’t know if you were arrested or not for sure, because I don’t have. For cocaine?
Well, I thought I saw Post-Dispatch articles.
The big thing I did was how would be arrested at the airport all the time with a trunk full of machine
guns. That’s never happened.
The trial for Bayord Spector you were a government witness.
And his attorneys, and, you know, the government’s attorneys for the prosecution, you testified both in direct and cross examination during the trial and some of these things I have partial transcripts of your
testimony and a lot of this information is contai ned that I’m beginning to allude to is contained in your testimony.
But that had nothing to do with the CIA. I had nothing to do wi th the CIA until after th at time.
You s aid that you had not worked for the CIA in the testimony.
I remember all the DEA and FBI agents in the back row putting all of their heads on the chair in front o f them and just banging their foreheads, because I guess I wasn’t under fire so I did n’t really give a shit. Why the defense attorney would say, `If you’re involved with all of these agencies, how come you haven’t worked for the CIA?’
And I said, `I’m lucky I guess.’
But right after that you went down there and started working with Calero.
After that, I was CIA. I’m not going to lie to that one.
But not before. You were working for DEA then. So you can understand in my mind why I would wonder , you’re on the edges of all t his action. You’re acting as an informant for the DEA, both in St. Louis and Miami. You’re also involved in these covert acti ons in Central America. Now there’s this book out by Webb, that doesn’t talk about you but refers to other parts of the Contra operations as being connected with drug traffic king.
I guess if you were a script writer that would work right in. Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for that. It was just a matter of timing, that’s all. If I ha d not been involved w ith a young lady in Miami and moved down t here because of a l ove affair, I never would have met Calero. The two worlds have nothing to do with each other. I wish I could say they did. It would be much more interesting, but I can’t d o that.
It says here that Spector was from Miami, at the time, you were operat ing a security agency called G-2 Enterprises. That’s correct right?
Right. I t was paid for by DEA.
You said on the witness stand that you had act ed as a courie r for , I believe, marijuana, at least, and, I think, also, the transcript is riddled with associations with dru g traffickers in your role as a DEA informant.
Big drug traffickers, man. Directly linked to the cartel. Big boys.
But what you’re saying is that this activity that you’re engaged in is totally separate from any of your activities as a mercenary or a Contra supporter.
Yeah, right. I could s ee where it would be more interesting, if it had something to do with each other. But it was like walking from one door into a different room. There’s no connection what soever except for that door.
What was the door then, if that is the connection?
There’s a woman behind everything, I guess.
She was a doll. God she was doll. I think she’s with t he prosecutor’s office in Miami. No, no, up in Broward County (Fla.), she’s a big-time attorney. She was a public defender in Dad e County (Fla.) for a long time and now I think she’s with the prosecutor’s office up in Broward. I talk to her every once in a while.
Are you still connected to or working for any federal agencies?
Ahh, at different times. Yeah.
Kind of like on a free-lance or contract basis.
Yeah, contract basis, right.I’m sort of on the outs with them right now. The feds don’t talk to me. T here’s hot and cold spells. Right now I’m cold because of some shit that I pulled. They didn’t like it. So, you can’t please everybody. My problem is I’ve never been effective politically.
Like I was Michael Asinofseldo’s (sp?) bodyguard who murdered his wife. And I was Joe Adavido’s bodyguard who ran Lender’s Mortgage. They didn’t like that because I bonded him out of jail. How the hell can I be a guy’s bodyguard and make $3,000 a week, if he’s in jail? Of course, I’ll bond him out. So the feds didn’t like that. They tried to tell the judges that I was going to help these guys skip the country, because I can come to and from this country at will. You know, I know ho w to do it. And it’s true. But I wouldn’t do it for illegal reasons. I’d do it for covert operations. Bu t I wouldn’t do it to smuggle people out of the country.
You’re saying the feds. Would that be the Justice Department? You’re falling out of grace with them because of the clients you have as a private investigator?
No doubt about it. Guarantee it. Because recently what happened was. I’d keep a lid on this. Fuck, they raided my house to tell me thank you. Let me tell you something, I’m a pretty high-profile guy and weapons have been a part of my life. Don’t you think that if the FBI raids my house, couldn’t they find one thing illegal here. One thing. One little thing. They found nothing.
That was because of an investigation here in St. Louis that I investigated some federal agents. And to pay me back, they raided my house. Thank God I wasn’t here. It could have been ugly.
What agency was that?
I don’t want to say because I don’t want my house broken into again.
That’s one of the reasons that I’ve been apprehensive about talking to you, because o f the nature of the business that you’re engaged in.
I know. My problem is that I’m not political. If somebody tells me, because we’re going to cause you problems. Well, that’s the first thing I’ll do. Nobody is going to intimidate me. Nobody is going to tell me what cases and what clients I can handle because of political reasons. If I don’t break the law, it’s none of their business. I’ll tell you what, it’s okay for the police to investigate you, but don’t you dare investigate the police. That’s their philosophy. I’m not going to be that w ay. If they’re not guilty, then who cares.
I keep going back to this. I’m kind of waltzing around it, it’s my understanding from reading the court tran script of the Bayord Spector trial that you became an informant for federal agencies at that time, because of stuff that the feds had on you .
Supposedly, that was not the real reason. You got to read between the lines. What happened was I was the bod yguard and security consultant for one of the big, big cartel boys. The St. Louis connection. There was a direct drug trafficking connection to St. Louis. And that’s how I met this guy. Somebody here in St. Loui s who was a big drug trafficker bullshited m e one time and said, `Hey, I’m going to Miami.’ Some kind of gold scam. He said, `Hey we need a bodyguard.’ That’s how this whole thing star ted back in probably, Jesus, 78. So between 78 and 82, I was a part of this g roup, providing security, whatever they needed to conduct their business between here and Miami.
The people in Miami, the Colombians and some Cubans and some, I call them Jubans because they were Jewish Cubans, hired me to actually provide protection for them You don’t provide protection against the government. What you do is you provide protection between each other down there. Because, you know, every time I would acquire weapons or whatever, well, guess who sold them to me. The police. Guess where they got them? Because they took them from somebody else. So you didn’t protect the cartel people from the police, you protected them from killing each other. So I became directly sort of an attache or a bodyguard, consultant for some of the big boys in Miami. What happened was, on trips back to St. Louis, I saw these people in St. Louis falling apart. They weren’t the same people any more. Because they were doing this drug called bazooka, which is nothing more than free-base. Now at that time nobody knew what free-base was, but the Colombians introduced free-base to these drug dealers, showed them how to use the
champagne of cocaine.
Well, in 1978, up until 1980, I remember reading Newsweek magazine and Time magazine and they used to say the dangers of cocaine was it wasn’t addictive. Do you remember that? But I saw how people were changing. So what started out in the beginning as being fun and being Miami Vice, I saw these people becoming evil. So I told the Colombians and the Cubans what you ought to d o is you got to shut off the St. Louis connection because they’re losing their minds. T hey’re not the same people They’re not doing business. They’re more concerned with doing bazooka, which is free-base. I never even saw the word
bazooka printed anywhere.
How do you spell it?
Like a bazooka, it blows you’re fucking head off. I t’s an Indian word, actually.
But it’s spelled the same way?
It’s like being a U.S. Border Patrol agent. You don’t call wetbacks, wetbacks. Somebody in Colombia would neve r call free-base, free-base, they’d call it bazooka. So anybo dy that says bazooka knows what they’re talking about.
Now don’t forget these are days, when the government is saying, cocaine is controlling the news media, its’ controlling what TV program you put on the air. Now t his don’t come from me, it comes fr om the media. When the final chapter is written about cocaine, they’ll talk abo ut ho w cocaine was controlling everything. Who had the best cocaine had the best tables at the best restaurants. Right? Well it was, pal. But, I, on my own, saw things changi ng. And when I told the Colombians, everyone you send me after to find who owes y ou a lot of money somehow gets involved in this bazooka shit. Now there’s a pattern here. You don’t have to be a fucking genius here to figure this out. He who fucks with ba zooka loses his mind. You’ve got to get away from it. So what do the Colombians do? The Colombians tell the St. Louis connection, Joe Adams says you guys are all fucked up from smoking bazooka, we got to cut you off. So what do they do? A little war starts up here. Now they’re telling the fucking Colombians and South Americans that I am a federal agent because I trained with the U.S. Border Patrol That’s got nothing to do with anything. So I fucking retire. I say fuck yo u. But now to go a step further ...
What year are we talking about?
82. By 82, I’m retired. I’m done. In meetings before with the Colombians, I mean you’re talki ng some multi-multi millionaires.
When did you open your gym in Maplewood? W asn’t it 75?
I don’t know.
The Colombians always had a standing thing. Anybody ever gets caught, keep your mouth shut, we take care of your family, that’s it. I mean they had federal judges on the p ayroll, they had police captains on the payroll, police chiefs, entire detective staffs of different departments. I mean it was business.
Where we talking about, Miami?
I even worked for a federal judge. Someone was harassing this federa judge and the Colombians had to go out and put a stop to the harassment to help the federal judge out. So the philosophy was you get caught any way, shape or form doing anything, you keep your mouth shut, do your time and bingo. So anyway, come 84 everything starts to unravel up here. I’m since retired and li ke I predicted, the fucking bazooka heads start falling apart. And they start ratting each other. They’re losing their world. They’re all drug addicted. And guess who they try to drag in on it to save their own asses?
Me. And I don’t blame the DEA, beca use the DEA says here’s a bu nch of drug traffickers up here in St. Louis. But guess who knows where all the skeletons are buried? Joe Adams. Who was at the top with all the big boys? Joe Adams. So they come after me. So what do I do? Nothing. I contact t he cartel boys and say, `Look it’s like this, I warned you motherfuckers two years ago, you didn’t listen to me, but I’m
going to keep my part of the bargain. I don’t say nothing, you take care of my family, get me $100,000
up here for attorneys. I’ll d o my time. They don’t have an ything on me. All they got is a bunch of conspiracy and a bu nch of bazooka heads talking about th ings t hat happened years ago. You know what the Colombians told me? `You’re problem is your proble m.’ You know what I told t hem? `I’m coming after you.’ And that’s when me and Thomas Dittmeir (U.S. Attorney for Eastern Missouri at the time). Now that’s th e truth. And I took them all down. All they had to do was keep their work and they wouldn’t do it.
When you say the C olombians who were they? Are they still active?
Yeah. I destroyed their whole system.
Were they the Meddelin cartel or the Cali cartel?
Meddelin. I went after them.
So how did Spector enter into this?
We were done with our op eration, okay. I was deep cover a nd the underground in Miami was in the process of opening up an underground casino. Well guess who the y wanted to run the secu rity? That’s right, Joe Adams. So anyway the local police up here, I mean I walk in DEA head quarters, I mean it’s everyday
business. Everybody is very satisfied with what I did. Mark says, you’ve got a pass, your done. You’ve gone above and beyond. You’re finished.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, what do you mean finished? We’re just starting. And so the local coppers who were assigned to me go, `Joe, enough is enough.’ I said, `no enough is never enough. We’re not done yet.’ I said, we’ve got some real ins here. We’ve got weapons going to Chile. I think we seized about 16,000 M- 16 rifles going to Chile. We got stolen airplanes. We’ve got murders. We’ve got an underground casino being opened right in the middle of all this shit. They said, `Well, do us one favor. If you can set up a big drug deal here in St. Louis, we can all get promoted. I said, okay, what do you want. He says, `Get 25
kilos of cocaine shipped up here.’ I go, `Why? We could do that anytime. They go, `Come on, Joe. We want to get you out of this thing, and you can go on with your life, if you can get us a big drug sting. I said, `Well, alright.'
So I’m sitting down at the local restaurant where I ate every night. All I had to do was pipe the work.--
Included in the following list is an excerpt by former Postie Elaine Viets, who covered a biker's ball that Adams attended. Viets was last heard from eulogizing her dead cat on KWMU yest erday morning.
Jan 26, 1990
FROM THE SOURCE: Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry's use of drugs came as no surprise to former Contra mercenary Joe Adams. The hometowner, who now serves as a private investigator for lawyer
Norman London, said, ''Two y ears ago, some persons who were sympathetic to the Contra cause in Central America approached me to accept videotapes on which Barry was allegedly filmed while using
drugs, hoping that I could trade them for immunity from the federal authorities.'' At tha t time, Adams was under federal indictment for violation of neutrality because of his efforts with the CIA and Contras.
Sept. 14, 1990
Yesteryear physical fitness expert and soldier of fortune Joe Adams has turned investigator for the likes of legal pow erhouses Charlie Shaw, Art Margulis, Norm London and Donald Wolff. . . .
Oct. 21, 1990
Well-wishers can form a line to the right to shake hands with investigator Joe Adams and lawyers Jeff Hailand and Dan Hayes, who will race by car Friday through Nov. 1 from Guatemala to Laredo, Texas, tracing the route of the Pan American Highway. Hayes and Hailand will share a 1954 Mercury and Adams will drive a 1948 Plymouth, marking the
national holiday in Mexico commemorating the anniversary of the highway's bow.
Dec. 2, 1990
Al Baker's was where ''soldier of fortune'' Joe Adams and Pamela Miller were toasted by the likes of: lawyer Dan Hayes and publicist Patsy Miller; Mike Barbieri, owner of the six Bodybuilders training centers; and Linda Neville. Nearb y, Pat and Ron Battelle, recently appointed St. Louis County Police supe, were being feted on stone crab by Adrienne and Doug Morgan. . . .
Tuesday, December 10, 1991
And from Croatia comes season's greetin gs from our town's Joe Adams, who writes about his latest adventure: ''I took a leave fro m my private investigator job and have been here for the last three months, training the Croatian military police in SWAT tactics and marksmanship.''
Monday, N ovember 30, 1992
HOG HEAVEN BIKERS DANCE TO THIER OWN TUNE
By Elaine Viets
IT WAS Saturday night, and I was covering a society party. No long dress and 12-button gloves for this a ffair. I put on my best black leather for the bikers ball.
Five area HOGs - Harley Owners Groups - from Alton to Washington gathered for the Leather and Lace Dance at the St. Louis Casa Loma Ballroom at Cherokee and Iowa. This ball's big celebrity was pr ivate investigator and former mercenary Joe S. Adams Jr. He looked dangerous in black leather.
March 29, 1994
BUYERS BEWARE: "The public should use common sense and restraint and allow the legal system to take its course," said pr ivate investigator and security consultant Joe Adams, who was referring to Theresa and Joseph Iadevito. "I have them under protection and will move them when necessary." Iadevito, who founded Lenders Mortgage Services, Inc. in 1987, was assaulted last wee k. Lenders collapsed in mid-March, leaving hundreds of hometowners in a real-life financial horror story.
Jan, 8, 1995
FROM THE SOURCE: Yesteryear Iran-Contra figure and private investigator Joe Adams of Our Town has offered his opinion onthe recent host age incident in North Korea. Opined Adams: "The North Koreans played laser tag with the helicopter pilots and jammed their guidance system. Now our country and Bobby Hall are apologizing for violating North Korean air space. We know the North Koreans murdered the other pilot. But, I guess they'd (the U.S. government) rather apologize than get into a tug of war.""