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Monday, October 15, 2007

On the CIA coke trail: Doubtful doings in Delaware

Many thanks must go to those readers who have tried to solve the strange case of the cocaine-laden crashed jet -- the one with the CIA history. (For earlier stories, see here and here and here.) Friends to this blog have done some remarkably good Sherlock Holmesing. Now I must play the part of Dr. Watson, as I transform their sleuthing into a linear narrative. Toward the end, I'll describe my own recent detective work.

As you may recall, on the very day that our now-infamous Gulfstream II flew off to destiny, ownership was transfered one Clyde O'Connor -- a rather wild Florida businessman who started a multi-million dollars aviation firm after declaring bankruptcy. His very silent partner is a guy named Greg Smith. O'Connor's firm is, or was, called Execstar; it is, or was, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Smith runs something called Global Jet Solutions.

According to Palm Beach reporter Bob Norman, O'Connor was allowed to walk around free for a couple of weeks, even though Mexican authorities found three tons of coke in the wreckage of his jet. His liberty stunned everyone else in local aviation circles.

Norman's piece appeared on October 11. The very next day, O'Connor flew off to Canada, and from there to the Azores. I suspect that if Norman had never published, O'Connor would still be enjoying the sights and sounds of Spring Break City.

Think about it. Suppose you loan your car to your nephew, and suppose that the cops stop him and find a few ounces of weed. You stand a good chance of having your vehicle impounded, don't you?

Yet nobody stopped O'Connor from flying away in his Cessna.

Over three tons of coke, folks.

When O'Connor landed in Halifax, border guards asked him if he had any firearms. He said no. They checked anyways, found two handguns, and gave him a fine. A Canadian border services spokesperson says that O'Connor was "very cooperative" -- and that he was traveling with an unidentified woman. (I suspect that the lady may be a wife named Raisa.)

Incidentally, his partner Greg Smith refuses to talk to reporters. No word, yet, as to whether the cops consider him worthy of interest.

One of this blog's commenters, a man who calls himself LoganCale, contributed this rather startling information:
It appears Clyde O'Connor's Cessna 210 is N210TM, which flew from Halifax Int'l to St. Johns Int'l on Thursday night, and then Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, the next morning.

N210TM is registered to Mellon Investments Corporation, located at 3511 Silverside Road, Suite 105, Wilmington, Delaware. This is the address of Delaware Registry, Ltd., a company that sets up Delaware corporations.

In 2003, N1116G, an aircraft owned by One Leasing, a corporation with the same address as Mellon Investments, crashed in Columbia with 4 people on board that were allegedly CIA employees.
That Guatemalan crash was, you may recall, a rather big deal, since the CIA guys fell into the hands of FARC guerrillas.

Mellon investments is, of course, a rather fragrant name. The most notorious member of the ultra-rich Mellon clan is Richard Mellon Scaife, the Darth Vader of the anti-Clinton movement. Scaife has long made hazy claims of a CIA association.

This interesting confluence of data prompted me to research that address: 3511 Silverside Road, Suite 105, Wilmington, Delaware. Lots of companies have used this service to set up corporations in a state where the tax-man is less welcome than elsewhere. Many of the companies using this mailing address appear to be benign.

And quite a few are not.

This article about the planespotters who uncovered the rendition scandal tells the tale: A surprising number of aircraft used in the CIA's program belonged (on paper) to businesses "headquartered" at that same office in Wilmington: 3511 Silverside Road, Suite 105.

And guess which other noteworthy organization used that address?

Al Qaeda.

This Romanian-language story connects that address to a shady pair named Dimitros Kokkos and Riffat Mahmoud. I wasn't able to decipher much from that article, since there are no good free online Romanian-English translation services. (My Romanian is, er, a little rusty.) But Googling on those names brought forth a wild tale of nefarious doings on the high seas back in 2002. (Note: There are several ways to transliterate "Riffat Mahmoud," and "Dimitros" probably should read "Dimitrios.")

These guys ran cargo ships, and stood accused of transporting Osama's operatives.
These incidents suggest that Kokkos and Muhammed are chiefs of al Qaeda's maritime operations. Kokkos has links with Greek crime syndicates and is purely driven by commercial interests while Muhammed is an al Qaeda operative in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean. Their modus operandi is simple: al Qaeda operatives posing as seamen are flown in from Karachi, embark on vessels to support cells, collect/disburse/disseminate cash, addresses, instructions and identity papers. Besides, the strategy involves using small, weather beaten, rusty cargo vessels that change names and flags at sea. Before arriving at a port, the vessels rendezvous with another ship, offload the operatives who then masquerade as stowaway/ distressed immigrants.
Of course, a cargo ship run by crooks might be used to transport more than just people.

Would I be out of line to suggest that the fact that Al Qaeda owned a "fleet" of cargo vessels may have some connection Jack Abramoff's decision to go into the casino ship business? As I have noted previously, Osama Bin Laden was a man with heroin to sell -- and nobody inspected those casino boats when they returned to port.

La Repubblica published this lengthy report on Kokkos and Mahmoud. Riffat Mahmoud, we learn, has two passports and holds dual citizenship in America and Pakistan. He was still doing business in the United States after 9/11, and after suspected Al Qaeda operatives were found aboard his ships.

DEBKA (widely considered a Mossad front) has a story on the pair here.

On can go further down that trail, but I think the point is made. One small office in Delaware -- just a stone's throw from the Brandywine Country Club -- has played host to at least one suspected coke smuggler, a good portion of the CIA's air fleet, and Al Qaeda's navy.

When I contacted the firm in question, Delaware Registry Ltd., the very nice lady who answered the phone seemed surprised to learn that so many shady businesses had used the company's incorporation and "mail drop" services.

"Do you give a free set of steak knives to spooks?" I asked. She laughed, and said no. (One of the differences between blogging and mainstream journalism is that bloggers have greater leeway for levity.)

But she also confirmed that there is a lot of competition in this line of work. Delaware Registry Ltd. is far from the only firm offering such services.

And yet -- as near as I can tell -- the addresses of competing firms do not show up in story after story about drugs, the CIA, and terrorists.


Added note: Clyde O'Connor appears to be married to the Raisa O'Connor who runs Global Jet Charters, a subsidiary of "Aero Toy Store, the world's largest pre-owned private jet aircraft sales company." They're based in Florida, but they have a branch in Canada.

According to published accounts, Greg Smith (the other owner of the coke jet) runs something called Global Jet Solutions. The same company...?

(Many thanks to readers starroute and Logancale for their outstanding help.)
Great post but I think you mean "His liberty" instead of "His libert".
Thanks, Perfessor...
Itsa no a-perfect, but a you can a get the howyou say 'drift' witha this online translator libre, itsa translate from Romanian to English, even iffa you don't a-like no pastrami:

A superb reporter with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is Dennis B. Roddy, who has written pieces about RMS. Your own reportage got me to recall this piece from 1999:

It's doubtful that you and Roddy read each other; you might try phoning him. From the way he writes, he seems like a darn good guy.

The piece reports about a strange "suicide" by a man who left Las Vegas to confront RMS at his offices at One Oxford Center in Pgh. (Hey! The Oxford developer owned the yacht that Gary Hart was lapped on.)

If it happens that you figure RMS a key in this, I can furnish names of a couple who recently-enough (possibly still) worked in the RMS homes in Wilmington and Pgh as nannies.
Here's a link to someone who writes a few paragraphs about Steve Kangas/RMS/Operation Mockingbird:
The only other mention of Mellon Investments Corp that I can find online is in a list of letters from the Martin County Airport in Stuart, Florida, to entities whose aircraft landed during a noise curfew period. This particular letter refers to a different aircraft, N2651Y, a Cessna 402C. This aircraft is also still listed for charter by Execstar Aviation.

In fact, it may be worth checking out all the aircraft they have listed for charter on RSVPair.
As you probably have realized- one can incorporate online with that company in Delaware. Over ten years ago I registered with a Delaware company similar to this one--it's one of the easiest things I ever did in running my own business --just about all you have to do is give them the money.

Anyway- they also register aircraft and yachts.

I doubt Scaife even knows the name of the company that registered their plane-they are a dime a dozen in Delaware.
I understand, kc. (Although there is a difference between a yacht and a fleet of cargo ships.) What got to me is this: Why always the SAME address?

As the nice lady confirmed to me, there is plenty of competition in that field. And yet it is not as though these shadowy folks opened up a phone book and picked a registry service at random. Somehow, word seems to have gotten out -- to both the CIA guys and to Al Qaeda -- that THIS was the firm to use. One can only speculate as to why.

I did not mean to imply that I have certain knowledge that anyone in the Mellon family knows about Clyde O'Connor. I note but two facts:

1. Clyde chose an awfully "fragrant" name, an unusual name, and we can only guess at his reasons.

2. I'm trying to figure out where Clyde gets his money. He and his wife owned not one but TWO aircraft fleets. And he shelled out two million bucks for tha Gulfstream II. After two bankruptcies.
He and ex-wife Raisa were divorced in 2005. So who was the woman in his Cesna in Halifax?

>>>Raisa now works for the Aero Toy Store at the executive airport. She'd heard about the crash in Mexico, she told me, but she didn't want to talk about her ex-husband. "I have no idea where he is or what he's doing," she said.<<<
In the meantime Cessna N210TM is deregistered (10/30/2007: exported to Portugal !)but N-Number is reserved again.
My name is Marilyn Willson

CLyde OConnor has just killed/sentenced my dad

If you want information I can be contacted at

My dad is an innocent man spending his last years rotting in a prison in Morocco

CLYDE I know from childhood. You may like the story you read you have no idea how toxic he really is.

If your interested in writing or calling your Congressman, Senators, Washington DC, newspapers, tv it would greatly help.

Marilyn Willson
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