Confidence Games

How Venezuelan traffickers allegedly colluded with the CIA to smuggle coke into the U.S.

Weighing in at 998 lbs., the shipment of cocaine that slipped into the country through Miami International Airport in late 1990 was large but not extraordinary. The clues to its origins, however, were tantalizing. The U.S. Customs Service, which discovered and confiscated the drugs, learned from Venezuela's secret police that their country's National Guard was behind the contraband. Joining the probe, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration made an even more surprising discovery: the shipment was under the direct supervision of General Ramon Guillen Davila, Venezuela's top drug fighter and a close collaborator with U.S. counternarcotics operations.

And it was not the...

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