Joseph Douglass   Red Cocaine The Drugging of America and the West
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Joseph Douglass Red Cocaine The Drugging of America and the West


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involved in research and 
development of new drugs. In the fall of 1963, Raul Castro's deputy went to Czechoslo-
vakia for assistance in obtaining special equipment for producing drugs in Colombia and 
for manufacturing synthetic drugs as part of an experimental program in Cuba. The 
actual equipment was picked up by Raul Castro in April 1964, when he stopped over in 
Prague after a visit to Moscow. Subsequently, the Czechoslovak chief of the Health 
Administration of the Rear Services, Colonel-General Miroslav Hemalla, accompanied by 
two subordinates and two technicians, flew to Cuba to sign an agreement on medical 
cooperation (a cover for drug research), to teach the Cubans how to operate the equip-
ment, and to instruct Castro to begin local production of drugs in the Dominican Republic. 
This was part of the Soviet decision to produce drugs locally whenever possible, rather 
than ship them in from the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe. Cubans were to be used as 
the operators, so as to keep the Soviets 'clean'. 
Following these various measures to penetrate existing drug organisations and then to 
set up Cuban operations throughout Latin America, the Soviets ordered the formation of 
still another set of backup production and distribution networks all over the region -this 
one organised directly by selected East European intelligence services. Czechoslovakia's 
first target was Colombia. To kick-start the new operation, the Soviets recommended that 
the Czechoslovaks should recruit one of the key individuals from Cuba's drug network in 
Colombia, a retired Colombian military officer who went by the name of Kovaks. The Top 
Secret code name for the Czechoslovak operation in Colombia, 'Pyramid', was selected to 
mislead people into associating the new initiative with the Middle East. The Czechoslovak 
officer in charge of this operation was the first deputy at the Ministry of 
CHAPTER 3: Building the Latin American Drug Network 31 
Interior. Shortly afterwards, he became the Minister of Interior. Amazing through it may 
seem, some in the West do not even appreciate that in the overt Communist system, the 
Minister of Interior is not the person in charge of natural resources or parks, which is what 
Westerners usually associate with the title. Rather, the Minister of Interior is in charge of 
'interior security'; that is, civilian intelligence and the secret police. 
Kovaks travelled to Czechoslovakia in April 1964 with a plan for the new operation 
to be approved by Czechoslovak intelligence. To cover his trip, he first went to Mexico, 
where he was provided with a forged passport at the Czechoslovak Embassy. From Mexico 
he flew to Vienna, where he was provided with a Czechoslovak passport to use on the 
third leg of his journey. 
The final plan that he brought with him for the new activities in Colombia was first 
taken to the Soviet Union for approval. Then the plan, modified to incorporate last-minute 
Soviet suggestions, was presented to the Czechoslovak Defence Council. The plan set forth 
guidelines and planning estimates, the most important of which were: 
1. With help in obtaining the necessary equipment, production of cocaine would begin 
within six months. 
2. The distribution network would be in operation in less than six months. 
3. Initial distribution would be into the United States and Canada. Later, the 
distribution would be extended to Europe. 
4. Distribution would be kept out of the local market. 
At the presentation of the joint Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior plan, the 
Minister of Defence explained that twelve people had already been recruited for the oper-
ation and that eight of them had already been cleared in two ways: first, by the Communist 
Party of Colombia, and secondly, by a long-time Czechoslovak intelligence agent who was 
then a high official within Colombia's internal security ministry. The plan was unanimously 
approved by the Czechoslovak Defence Council. 
Because the most effective Cuban drug operation was developing in Mexico, the 
Soviets now directed the Czechoslovaks to infiltrate and gain control of this operation. The 
Czechoslovak Top Secret code name for this operation, 'Rhine', was selected to mislead 
people into associating it with Europe. The Czechoslovak agent who was responsible for 
this initiative, Major Jidrich Strnad, had been operating in Mexico under cover of an export 
company. His Zs control officer was Colonel Borsky. 
The Cubans had been especially effective in recruiting Mexicans to establish production 
and distribution networks and in using the associated corruption information for 
blackmailing Mexican officials. The Soviets were especially impressed, and one of the main 
reasons for directing Czechoslovak intelligence to infiltrate the Cuban operation was to 
learn the secrets of their success in Mexico. 
Recognising the strategic location of Mexico, the Soviets further directed the estab-
lishment of a second Czechoslovak operation in Mexico which was designed to complement 
the 'Rhine' initiative. The code name of this second operation was 'Full Moon'. 
This drug campaign had two purposes. The first was to develop an extensive network 
for smuggling drugs into the United States. The second was to train intelligence agents who 
would then be inserted into the United States and Canada, with instructions to penetrate 
drug distribution networks. Through their contacts into supply networks in Mexico, they 
were to access the supply network and gradually take control of the drug 
32 RED COCAINE 
businesses in the United States and Canada. This was a 'push-pull' drug operation. The 
name 'Full Moon' referred to the time when Soviet Bloc agents would be in control of most 
major groups in the United States and Canada. Mexico, it should be noted, has also been an 
important country in the Chinese drug offensive. 
With both the Soviets (initially through the Cubans) and Chinese having targeted 
Mexico, it comes as no surprise that Mexico is one of the primary drug-trafficking routes into 
the United States for heroin, cocaine and marijuana. For identical reasons, Canada is 
another primary drug-trafficking route into the United States. 
Czechoslovak intelligence was also involved in the Cuban operation in Panama, 
under the code name 'Pablo'. A Cuban operation was set up, too, in El Salvador. At a 
meeting on the financing of the Communist Party of El Salvador, Sejna remembers that the 
Soviets directed the Cubans to provide the financing for that Party out of their profits from 
the El Salvador drug operation17. 
A separate Soviet operation intended for the 'benefit' of those who regularly seek the 
warm sands and seas of the Caribbean islands was directly targeted to take advantage of 
the booming Caribbean tourist trade. The Second Secretary of the French Communist 
Party (a long-time KGB agent), together with the First Secretary of the Communist Party of 
Guadeloupe, conceived the idea of distributing drugs to Caribbean tourists. Their 
objectives were to raise money out of the tourist trade and to obtain blackmail information 
on vacationing Americans and other members of the bourgeoisie. 
They helped establish the operation and provided recommendations on whom to 
recruit to run it. The operation was then turned over to two Czechoslovak intelligence 
officers, one from military intelligence and one from the Ministry of Interior. Both officials 
had been born in France and spoke fluent French. Guadeloupe was the centre of the oper-
ation, which serviced Martinique and other islands. The monies earned in the late 1960s 
from this initiative proved adequate to finance all Communist intelligence operations in 
Guadeloupe, Martinique, Suriname, Haiti and most of France. 
In the early 1960s, the Soviets were rapidly building organisations throughout North, 
Central and South America