Sunday, June 4, 1972

Viet Heroin Traffic Linked To Nation's Top Politicians

WASHINGTON (AP) --South Vietnam's heroin racket is run by three of that nation's top politicians, is linked to Corsican and U.S. Mafia gangsters and is virtually condoned by some U.S. officials, a narcotics researcher told a Senate Foreign Aid panel Friday.

Alfred W. McCoy, a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University, said South Vietnam's opium and heroin traffic is divided between the political organizations of President Nguyen Van Thieu and former Premier Nguyen Cao Ky and Prime Minister Tran Thien Khiem.

He told a Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee Gen. Ky's sister, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ly, buys finished heroin in Vientiane, Laos, and arranges its shipment to Cambodia "where it is picked up by transport aircraft belonging to the Vietnamese Fifth Air Division and flown to Saigon."

In Saigon Thieu and Ky were not immediately available for comment Friday night.

Both have denied similar charges in the past.

McCoy, who said he spent 18 months in research and interviews preparing to write a book on heroin in Indochina, asserted that top military leaders in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand are also heavily involved in the illicit drug trade.

He said that until recently a person he identified as "an overseas Chinese racketeer named Huu Tim Heng" was a silent partner in the Vientiane bottling plant of the Pepsi Cola Co., using his position as a cover to import acetic anhydride, a chemical necessary for the manufacture of heroin.

He said Heng bought raw opium and morphine from Gen. Quane Rattikone, former chief of staff of the Royal Laotian Army.

McCoy claimed that in a three-hour interview Rattikone "admitted that he controlled the opium traffic in northwestern Laos since 1962."

"Most of the opium traffic in northeastern Laos is controlled by Vang Pao, the Laotian general who commands the CIA's mercenary army," McCoy claimed.

McCoy produced photostats of a document on the stationery of the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, linking Vietnamese Lt. Gen. Ngo Dzu and his father to the heroin traffic. The document was stamped confidential.

He also said "overwhelming evidence of systematic corruption" extends all the way to the top of President Thieu's political apparatus and that some of his closest supporters inside the Vietnamese army "control the distribution and sale of heroin to American GIs fighting in Indochina."

A State Department spokesman said, "We are aware of these charges, but we have been unable to find any evidence to substantiate them, much less proof."

Beginning in 1965, he said, members of the Florida-based Trafficante family of the Mafia began appearing in Southeast Asia.

"Santo Trafficante Jr., heir to the international criminal syndicate established by Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, traveled to Saigon and Hong Kong in 1968," he said.

McCoy said sources in the U.S. Embassy in Saigon told him Trafficante met with prominent members of Saigon's Corsican syndicates with the result of increased quantities of Asian heroin being shipped to the United States.

"Viet Heroin Traffic Linked To Nation"s Top Politicians", by (AP), published in the Pacific Stars and Stripes Sunday, June 4, 1972 and reprinted from European and Pacific Stars and Stripes, a Department of Defense publication copyright, 2002 European and Pacific Stars and Stripes.
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