FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 9TH, 2009
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
CELE’S LAST STAND – DEA VETERAN FIGHTS FOR HIS LIFE, AND THE TRUTH
Celerino Castillo is one of the bravest whistle-blowers of our time, and one of the most honest Americans ever to serve his country.
WHO IS CELE CASTILLO?
Celerino Castillo III was born in 1949 in South Texas. He came from a family of a long tradition, tracing his heritage back to the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata
In 1970, as the only son in the family, he served in the US Army and was sent to Vietnam where he was awarded The Bronze Star for bravery. While in Vietnam he repeatedly saw fellow soldiers lay low from heroin overdoses. This powerful experience convinced him to devote his life to combating the illegal drug trade and its devastating effects on Americans.
On New Years Eve, 1979, he joined the DEA as one of the few Latino agents. In 1980 he was assigned to New York City as the first Mexican-American agent. There he was a key figure in deep undercover investigation that led to the incarceration of drug traffickers connected to major organized crime families.
In Guatemala, Castillo was ordered to conduct his drug raids with the Guatemalan Military Intelligence. In the course of his investigations Castillo discovered that almost every top official in the Guatemalan government (under President Cerezo) was a documented drug trafficker.
Cele was next assigned to represent the DEA in El Salvador at the height of the Contra war. It was there that he began to record intelligence on how known drug traffickers, with multiple DEA files, used hangars four and five at Ilopango airfield to ferry cocaine north and weapons and money south. Hangars four and five were owned and operated by the CIA and the National Security Council. He found out that the traffickers were also being given US visas by the CIA, in spite of their well known activities. Castillo also documented and spoke out about CIA and National Security Agency abuses in a manner utterly consistent with his heritage and the rest of his life.
Then Cele discovered that the Contra flights were under the direct supervision of US Lt. Col. Oliver North (DEA case file GFGD-91-9139) and had the additional protection of Felix Rodriguez (a retired CIA agent) who ran hanger 4 at Ilopango. Castillo was repeatedly warned that the drug profits were being utilized to support the Reagan-Bush backed right-wing “Contras” in Nicaragua and surrounding countries and that he should stop his investigations.
In April, 1987, one month before the Iran-Contra hearings, DEA Latin American foreign office chief, John Martch, traveled to Guatemala to investigate Castillo and warned him not to reveal his information about the Contra drug operations. At one point, the DEA ordered Castillo not to close some of the Contra files so that the records would not be unavailable to Senator John Kerry’s committee under the Freedom of Information Act. In 1988, Senator John Kerry’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations finished its investigations, having never called Castillo to testify.
After denial of a US visa (drug trafficking) to Guatemalan Military Lt. Col. Hugo Moran Carranza, head of Interpol, Moran retaliated by ordering Castillo’s assassination. The elaborate plot involved ambushing Castillo in El Salvador to divert suspicion from the Guatemalan Colonel. Luckily for Castillo, the plan was taped recorded by an informant and placed into evidence in a Houston DEA file M3-90-0053. Col. Moran was attempting to attend a War College in the US invited by the CIA. Despite the danger, the DEA continued to order Castillo to travel to El Salvador. Because Col. Moran was an asset of the CIA, he was never prosecuted in the US on the attempted capital murder of a US drug agent.
In 1991, Castillo secretly met with a representative of the Office of Independent Council of Iran Contra where he reported his intelligence gathering reference to CIA and NSC’s cocaine-contra operations. Castillo’s remarks never appeared in Walsh’s final report but Castillo’s interview notes were found at the National Archives.
In 1992 Castillo received an early retirement from the DEA due to stress and damaged nerves to his arms and hands. Since his retirement he has had numerous TV, radio and newspaper interviews in order to expose what he knows about the CIA and DEA collaboration with drug traffickers and murderers in Central America. His TV appearance include “Current Affair” (1994); a one hour documentary aired in 1994 by the Australian Broadcasting Company exposing Oliver North’s drug trafficking activities; ABC’s “Prime Time Live” on December 27, 1995 (on the US protection of criminal military officers in Guatemala) and Date-Line (NBC) June 13, 1997.
In 1994, Castillo was able to co-author his book “Powderburns” Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War . Which included journal entries with case file numbers and other direct information from his investigation.
WHY YOU SHOULD HELP THIS MAN RIGHT NOW?
NOW CELE CASTILLO IS FIGHTING A MUCH TOUGHER BATTLE. It’s a battle for his very life, prosecuted by the very government he fought for, in the name of the people he sought to protect.
The conviction of Iran/Contra whistleblower Celerino “Cele” Castillo III late last year on federal charges of dealing in firearms without a license is beginning to look more and more like a travesty of justice. Moreover, this precedent setting case is yet another example of “selective prosecution”.
Castillo’s case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, which is overseen by Johnny Sutton, a close personal friend of former president George W. Bush. During his tenure as a U.S. Attorney, Sutton has been at the center of a number of controversial criminal cases, some of which have elicited national outrage. (Including the prosecution of two border agents accused of shooting a drug trafficker on the Mexican border.)
Castillo was convicted of dealing guns without a government-issued license as part of a plea bargain hammered together at his sentencing hearing on Oct. 1 of last year. He arrived in court that day to be sentence on two other charges related to making straw gun purchases. Those charges had been pending since March of 2008, but had to be dropped by Sutton’s office because they were, in essence, bogus.
The straw charges required evidence that Castillo had purchased guns from a “prohibited” person, specifically a convicted felon. The complaint sworn out by the ATF agent involved in Castillo’s arrest claims an individual involved in selling guns to Castillo was, in fact, a convicted felon. Castillo claims that was a false charge, hence he argues the arrest violated his constitutional rights. This has BATFE sting (set up) written all over it.
All the information concerning the case is located on Cele’s website at www.powderburns.info
Cele will be heard in Federal court in San Antonio this Friday July 10th, 2009. If he is not vindicated, or the case not continued, he will be required to turn himself in by July 20, 2009. His sentence will then be served, and many will call it a death sentence. The people who may be most damaged by Cele’s eyewitness, and vetted testimony, will have this opportunity to use his incarceration, and his health conditions to finish him off so that the story dies with him. Even IF he is not directly targeted, his health may not be up to the challenge of prison life. Being a former DEA superstar, he still has many enemies in the illegal drug world, and history shows that people like Cele are the walking dead in prison.
We ask that all media outlets simply investigate this story and cover the news of this event. We ask that all who still revere the second amendment stand up for this hero, who through “selective prosecution” has become a victim of the country and the Constitution that he swore to defend.
Please forward this release to ALL global media outlets, and if you can take the time please show up as protestors and court watchers for his appeals trial this Friday. (There may also be an organized protest next Wednesday in San Antonio if his appeal has failed.)
Where and When?
STATUS CONFERENCE in Courtroom 4, on the Third Floor of the John H. Wood, Jr. United
States Courthouse, 655 E. Durango Boulevard, San Antonio, TX, on Friday, July 10, 2009 at 09:00 AM.