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October 17, 2005

HarryTho 10/17 Early Evening Natalee Holloway Update And Commentary: A Briefing On Aruba, Jossy Mansur, And Crime (Updated with evening cable news)

Topics: Natalee Holloway
The Interbank is owned by the Mansur Family. If anybody owns 60 per cent of the island, it is this powerful family. The Mansurs made their fortune as cigarette manufacturers and in the import-export business.

Jossy Mansur is the owner and chief editor of the biggest newspaper on the island, "Diario". ""When I read an article in Diario, I know what will be the next action of the government","says Hendrik Croes, adding that the Mansurs create a climate of fear and intimidation on Aruba. Their newspapers force others off the market. Furthermore, ""their annual income is bigger than the yearly budget of the government. And you may guess how they make that kind of money"."""

"Most observers do agree on that supposition. Nothing moves on Aruba without the consent of the Mansur's: ""If you want to do business on the island, you have to deal with them." - more below.

This early evening edition focuses on Aruba, crime, and the shady backgrounds of some of our "characters" in the story of Natalee Holloway's disappearance, and the history of mystery and intrigue n Aruba. Is Aruba the same today as it has been in the past? Has it been cleaned up? Note the players that are mentioned - in this 1997 report. The names will astound you, some of them you are still hearing about on cable news stories that are related to Natalee Holloway.

So if readers are ready for this, here it is, in the raw!

Begining with some background from 1997 on Aruba and it's relationship with international crime:

The Rothschilds of the Mafia on Aruba, by Tom Blickman - TNI Researcher. Transnational Organized Crime Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 1997

The island (of Aruba) is used as a base for bulk transhipment of cocaine to the US and Europe, through its Free Trade Zone. Off-shore corporate banking facilities, the casino/resort complexes, high volume tourism, and a stable currency all make Aruba attractive to money laundering organizations.

"... the US remains convinced that entrenched money laundering organizations direct large cash deposits into land development and other construction projects on the island."

Aruba's reputation as a 'Mafia island' became public in March 1993 when it was described by the Italian daily "Corriere della Sera" as 'the first state to be bought by the bosses Cosa Nostra'. (7) The Sicilian Mafia clan of the families Cuntrera and Caruana allegedly had taken over the island. Between 1988 and 1992 they acquired 60 per cent of Aruba through investments in hotels, casino's and the election-campaign of a Prime Minister. Aruba looked set to be the first independent state under Mafia control.

""the clan is best described as an international holding ... a holding which secures certain services for the Sicilian Cosa Nostra as a whole: drug-trafficking routes and channels for money-laundering."

The dirty money the clan laundered through several Canadian banks really stank. ""It smelled musty"." The cash was all in small bills of two, five or ten dollars, the typical denomination of drug transactions on the street.

""Money doesn't just fall of the trees","says Bourque. ""There is no legitimate business in Montreal which generates half a million every week, except the drug business"." He is disgusted with the collaboration of Canadian banks. They earned some 4 to 5 percent on the transactions

The Italian community abroad is vulnerable to infiltration by its criminal countrymen. That doesn't mean that every Sicilian is a mafioso. Far from it.

Our friend Joe Mammana, Beth Twitty's money-knight is self-made, multi-millionaire of Sicilian ancestry. (No allegation here, just a statement of fact)

Responsible for the operation was the chief of the Organized Crime Division of the "Policia Tecnica Judicial" (PTJ), Guillermo Jiménez. It was his finest hour, but a few months later he was forced in early retirement. Now he spends his time at a private office downtown Caracas. ""We searched their houses and offices. We managed to seize lots of documents, that is what made the operation successful"," says Jiménez. (69) These documents included details of off-shore companies on Aruba

One of the Venezuelan banks the clan worked with, the "Banco de la Construcción", has an off-shore subsidiary on Aruba: the Intercon Financial Bank, through which a lot of money was channelled.

Hendrik Croes - a brother of the island's legendary leader, the late Betico Croes who guided Aruba to its semi-independent status in the Dutch realm - is one of the leading political figures on the island. He led several election campaigns for the MEP, now in the opposition. The Croes Family has been accused of ties with Cuntrera-Caruana. The Sicilian mafiosi payed for a trip of another brother, Rudy Croes (who succeeded Hendrik as Minister of Justice in a previous MEP government) as party secretary to a meeting of the Socialist International in Turkey. This has not been denied.

According to Canadian police reports, in 1978, Pasquale Cuntrera owned the Holiday Inn Casino - although the registers indicated otherwise. ""At the start of 1980s the Cuntrera's were often at the Holiday Inn casino"," says a croupier. ""In 1989 they were there again, although they were ostensibly thrown of the island"."

DEA agent David Lorino, the case-officer in Operation Wiseguy, claims that ""when the Cuntrera's moved to Venezuela they carried some 15 to 30 million dollars with them, which were invested in hotels in Caracas, but also on Curaçao and Aruba"." 71 The DEA had used the Miami-based Italian-born Venezuelan business man Raffaele Bellizzi to contact Pasquale Cuntrera. Before 1983 Bellizzi owned a shipping-company, but that year it went bankrupt because of the debt-crises in Venezuela. ""He told us that his ships transported narcotics and money from Caracas to Aruba and Europe","says Lorino. As mentioned before Canadian investigations show that the clan used Aruba as a trampoline for cocaine to North America. (72)

The Cuntrera's must have felt at home on Aruba. The island has been a smugglers' paradise, since colonial times, when it was used to evade the Spanish trade monopoly

""One day a refrigerator fell when we were loading. The guns tumbled on the pier"," a former longshoreman remembers. ""Every family who is rich now, was in contraband"." All commerce is in cash. Special 'runners' receive the cash in Colombia and bring the money to Aruba.

The Colombian and Venezuelan 'contrabandistas' used the tested contacts with its Aruban business relations. The island is like a Western enclave in Latin-America. Its excellent banking facilities, and Free Trade Zone provide an easy access to the European and American market and financial institutions.

""Aruban traders built an extensive infrastructure in the Caribbean","one of their former employees explains - a network of warehouses, shipping-company's, bank-accounts on Aruba, in the Panamanian freezone Colón, in Miami. ""In 1983 the bolivar" -" the Venezuelan currency" -" collapsed on account of the debt-crisis, and the bills could not be payed to the Arubans any more"." Then it really started. The smuggling economy needed re-structuring. The whole infrastructure was turned around: now it was used for cocaine trafficking and money laundering.

The Arubans managed the logistics. They brought in the precursor chemicals necessary for the production of cocaine out the coca leaves; they bought the planes and ships to transport the merchandise; and last but not least, they laundered the proceeds through the accounts of their import-export firms in the Aruban Free Zone, skimming a percentage for their services.

"... this was a 'loan-back' operation to launder money. An amount of money is deposited cash at a bank and the bank lends the money back: now there is a clean and legitimate source of earnings ...."

The Interbank is owned by the Mansur Family. If anybody owns 60 per cent of the island, it is this powerful family.

Jossy Mansur is the owner and chief editor of the biggest newspaper on the island, "Diario". ""When I read an article in Diario, I know what will be the next action of the government","says Hendrik Croes, adding that the Mansurs create a climate of fear and intimidation on Aruba. Their newspapers force others off the market. Furthermore, ""their annual income is bigger than the yearly budget of the government. And you may guess how they make that kind of money"."""Jossy Mansur is not impressed claiming that accusing people of drug trafficking and money laundering ""has become a political tool to discredit them"." (75) Jossy Mansur acts as the family's mouthpiece

The Rothschilds of the Mafia on Aruba
Tom Blickman - TNI Researcher
Transnational Organized Crime Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 1997

"A magnificent washing-machine is sold here, its trademark is Aruba. The machine is an Aruban-Colombian product, its model called Cartel. The brand is well-known for its good performance in the United States and Europe. It is recommended by former ministers, members of Parliament, owners of casinos, supermarkets, cosmetics manufacturers and importers of cars and batteries. The washing-machine fits everybody who has become inexplicably rich from one day to another.

The MPs of the Staten van Aruba - the Aruban Parliament - must have been bewildered when one of their own ministers smeared the good name of their island. Former minister Elio Nicolaas grins when he is reminded of his speech in 1989. (1) Finally someone had thrown a rock in the silent and complacent waters of the Caribbean tax-haven Aruba - a semi-independent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. ""I had to react"," he says. ""My own colleague, the Minister of Finance, denied money was laundered on the island"." Nicolaas knew better. Prior to his political career he had been a police officer and had actually set up the anti-narcotics squad.

His denunciation incited strong objections in Parliament. Opposition-leader - and former Prime Minister - Henny Eman demanded his resignation. Nicolaas retorted by suggesting that Eman's election campaign was financed with drug money. Nicolaas thinks today nothing has really changed: ""The island is still infested with 'narco-complacientes', people who benefit from the drug trade"." Indeed, Eman is once more Prime Minister of Aruba. ""Well, did you come to write stories about our pirates island?"" he asks sarcastically when we walk to his office. (2) Eman has had enough of the 'mad stories' about the Caribbean island as a 'Mafia Nest'. They are not substantiated and damaging for Aruba's good name, foreign trade and the tourist-industry, he thinks.

""Aruba's geographical position is a blessing and a curse at the same time"," says Eman, alluding to the pleasant climate which attracts thousands of tourists each year, and the unpleasant closeness of the Colombian and Venezuelan northern shores which makes it vulnerable for drug-traffickers. According to Eman, Aruba is burdened with the problem of other nations: ""The drug trade is not Aruba's primary responsibility. The market is in Europe and the United States. It is not our fault they cannot control their borders, that Aruba is used as a transit point"."

The US Government is not as dismissive as Mr Eman. Within three years Aruba rose from a 'medium risk' to a 'high risk' country in the State Department's annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. The island is used as a base for bulk transhipment of cocaine to the US and Europe, through its Free Trade Zone. Off-shore corporate banking facilities, the casino/resort complexes, high volume tourism, and a stable currency all make Aruba attractive to money laundering organizations. Eman considers these reports as too negative and suggests hat Aruba is in good company since ""the US and Holland rank number one on the list as well"."

The US is concerned about credible reports that some members of the Aruban government met regularly with individuals associated with drug trafficking and money laundering syndicates. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the denials by Aruba officials, the US remains convinced that entrenched money laundering organizations direct large cash deposits into land development and other construction projects on the island. (3) The Netherlands is equally worried. ""I think we are going to loose it on Aruba"," Arthur Docters van Leeuwen, the Dutch Attorney General, said about the counter-narcotics efforts on the island. Aruba is in the hands of some powerful families and Holland can't do anything about it, due to constitutional restraints. (4)

The reasons for Docters' pessimism were revealed when a confidential report on the Aruban Security Service - the Veiligheidsdienst Aruba (VDA) - leaked in the Dutch press. In October 1994 its director Martien Ras had sounded the alarm-bell. He had written to Docters, then chief of the Dutch security service, that democratically elected officials promoted the interests of private business-men to such an extent that Aruba's democratic institutions were in danger. (5)

Both the Dutch security service and the American CIA had assisted Ras with his investigations. Ras wrote to Docters because Eman - freshly re-elected as Prime Minister - demanded to see the VDA-files about Aruban entrepreneurs who Ras suspected of money laundering and linked to drug traffickers. The Dutch rapidly removed the files, but Ras had to quit his job. Since then he Ras has lived in hiding somewhere in Holland. His interim successor, a Dutch intelligence officer, confirmed his conclusions.

December 1996 President Clinton put Aruba on the list of Major Illicit Drug-transit Countries. (6) Aruba is now eligible for de-certification by the US Government. At the yearly certification scrutiny March 1997, however, Aruba was not decertified.

The First Independent State under Mafia Control

Aruba's reputation as a 'Mafia island' became public in March 1993 when it was described by the Italian daily "Corriere della Sera" as 'the first state to be bought by the bosses Cosa Nostra'. (7) The Sicilian Mafia clan of the families Cuntrera and Caruana allegedly had taken over the island. Between 1988 and 1992 they acquired 60 per cent of Aruba through investments in hotels, casino's and the election-campaign of a Prime Minister. Aruba looked set to be the first independent state under Mafia control.

At the time Aruba was set for independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1996. Ten years before it had acquired a "status aparte" - a semi-autonomous status - within the realm. The Dutch consented to the Aruban wish for self-determination, but established a 10-year time period. Due to the reluctance of many Arubans, and anxiety with the Dutch government about the infiltration of organized crime on the island, independence never materialized. The US, France, the United Kingdom and Venezuela pressed the Dutch government to abandon its moves towards Aruban self-government, and the Netherlands complied. (8) Consequently, although the island is now handling its own internal affairs, foreign relations and defense remain a Dutch responsability.

Prime Minister Eman doesn't like to be reminded of the name Cuntrera - primarily because of his signature on the licence of Paolo and Giuseppe Cuntrera for their nightclub Visage in 1987. It keeps hurting him, even though he tries to dismiss it as ""a very superseded story"." According to Eman, at the time these people were honourable citizens in several countries, among others in Venezuela. In Aruba, their criminal activities were not known. Moreover, ""when we learned who they really were, we expelled them"."

The issue also became highly politicized. The two main political parties - the "Arubaanse Volkspartij" (AVP, Aruban Peoples Party) led by Eman and the "Moviemento Electoral di Pueblo" (MEP, People's Electoral Movement) led by Nelson Oduber - accused each other of permitting the Cuntrera's to infest Aruba and both claim to have kicked them off the island. In reality, the Cuntrera's had left - temporarily - on their own in 1988.

In April 1988 "Business Week" published a story about the involvement of the family in a case of heroin smuggling from Thailand to Montreal, and their money laundering schemes in Canada. (9) The article and copies of the licence for the Cuntrera's signed by Eman, were distributed anonymously on the island, and caused a fierce political battle.

Eman still claims that the MEP-government which preceded his first government, already allowed the Cuntreras to establish the nightclub and that legally he couldn't do anything about it. But Eman's own Minister of Economic Affairs, Leonard Berlinski, in writing had refused a licence for Paolo and Giuseppe Cuntrera. Berlinski's officials advised him not to issue the permit because it was not in the public interest of Aruba, warning him ""don't burn your fingers"." Ironically, shortly after the licence was denied, Berlinski had to resign because of allegations of corruption. He was arrested but acquitted on appeal. In the meantime a new request for a licence was applied for - by notary Maria Albertina Eman, a sister of the Prime Minister. Eman, then Minister of Economic Affairs ad interim, approved the application in spite of repeated negative recommendations. (10) Berlinski contends that observers of these events can draw their own conclusions.

Eman's claim that the Cuntrera's were honourable citizens in several countries is not convincing. This was certainly not true in Italy, Canada and the United States. In 1983 an international arrest warrant for Paolo Cuntrera was issued by the Italian police, and in June 1985 Gerlando Caruana was caught smuggling heroin to Montreal. Assuming this escaped the attention of the Aruban authorities, closer at home in Venezuela, the Cuntrera's were exposed as mafiosi in 1984 - three years prior to permission for the Cuntrera nightclub. Their names, accompanied by photographs, made the headlines in the Venezuelan press. In addition, Aruban authorities knew - or at least should have known - of the involvement of the Cuntreras in cocaine traffic on the island. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had followed Sabbatino Nicolucci, a suspected courier for Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto, to the island. When Canadian police-officers - accompanied by the Aruban chief of police - asked to look at Nicolucci's phone calls at the Holiday Inn it appeared he was not registered: the room was reserved and paid for by Pasquale Cuntrera. (11) Despite this incriminating evidence, which probably inspired the negative advice of Aruban officials, Prime Minister Eman gave the Cuntrera's permission to open a nightclub.

The 'Rothschilds of the Mafia' or 'the bankers of Cosa Nostra' were the names given to the Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia-clan the Italian press. (12) A prosecuting judge was more precise, describing the clan as ""a close wicker-work of blood-relations composed of family-nucleuses in different countries all over the world, joined with an equal wicker-work of economical and industrial connections, intended to improve their networks for international traffic in narcotics and money-laundering"." (13)

The Cuntrera-Caruana clan specialized in laundering hundreds of millions of drug dollars. This may well have been why it had come to Aruba. The island is one of the many Caribbean tax-havens famous for their relaxed off-shore regulations popular at the shady side of the money business. In the 1980s the booming tourist-industry offered additional possibilities to re-invest drug profits. (14) It was entirely appropiate therefore when an Italian newspaper suggested that the sun never sets on the Cuntrera-Caruana narco-empire. The occasion for this was the arrest of three Cuntrera brothers (Pasquale, Paolo and Gaspare Cuntrera) at Rome's international airport in September 1992. (15) They had arrived from Caracas. The night before they had been secretly put on a plane to Rome, after the Venezuelan government had decided to expel them.

The Italian government had requested the Cuntrera brothers' extradition several times since a first arrest-warrant in 1983, but the clan seemed to have safeguarded its stay in Caracas through political connections. For a long time the Venezuelan government seemed uninterested in pursuing thebrothers. In 1992, however, the tide turned. In May the brutal killing of the popular anti-mafia judge, Giovanni Falcone, in Sicily produced a public outcry in Italy and the government stepped up its battle against the Mafia. At the same time, the apparent protection of the Cuntrera-brothers in Venezuela dwindled.

President Carlos Andres Perez barely survived a coup of discontented military in February and faced allegations of corruption. A tough law-and-order Minister for Home Affairs was nominated. Diplomatic pressure from the US (where Pasquale Cuntrera was indicted on charges of heroin-smuggling) and Italy resulted in the expulsion of the three Cuntrera-brothers.

According to Natoli, ""the clan is best described as an international holding ... a holding which secures certain services for the Sicilian Cosa Nostra as a whole: drug-trafficking routes and channels for money-laundering"." The families Cuntrera and Caruana are the nucleus of the clan. They are relatives; they inter-married like medieval feudal lords to strengthen their criminal alliance. Consequently, the clan is very compact with great cohesion. Natoli describes it as " "a very tight knit family group of men-of-honor, not only joined by Mafia bonds, but also byties of blood"." The strength of this group - apart from the numbers and solid relationships - is that it moved to the nerve-centres of drug trafficking in North and South America.

Within Cosa Nostra few know who they are, but all know what they are. ""Everybody knew that Cuntrera-Caruana were the undisputed controllers of the Canadian and Venezuelan market"," says Gaspare Mutolo, a "pentito" (repentant) who himself was heavily involved in the drug trade, but became a state witness in 1992. (20) ""In Cosa Nostra it was generally known that they were involved in drug trafficking at a very high level"," says Mutolo. Indeed, the names Cuntrera and Caruana were - and probably still are - a guarantee of a good deal. Moreover, the clan has scarcely been touched by the Sicilian Cosa Nostra's internal power-struggles, like the one which brought Totò Riina and his Corleonesi to power in the 1980s. One reason is that the Cuntrera-Caruana clan had moved abroad. Another is that it positioned itself at an equal distance to the different factions in the Sicilian Mafia. As Natoli explains: ""Their interest is the drug trade, an activity which runs right across different interests and factions. That is why they have to keep a central position and be independent from whatever 'political' wing that rules Cosa Nostra"."

The Missing Link: Venezuela

Around 1982 there was no denying that the Cuntrera-Caruana families were key players in the narcotics business. Police on both sides of the ocean met them in investigations. Italian "Criminalpol" and the Venezuelan police listened to their telephones, ignorant of their common interest. The FBI spotted their partner Giuseppe Bono in New York chatting with Pizza Connection protagonists Joe Ganci and Sal Catalano, while the Italians thought Bono controlled things in Milan.

DEA agents trailed their old acquaintance of the French Connection days, Nick Rizzuto, in Milan, telephoning Bono and sending containers to Canada. Pasquale Cuntrera was intermittently in Caracas and Rome (where he owned an apartment at the sea-side resort Ostia). Alfonso Caruana was spotted in Lugano, Switzerland, handling the money with Sicilian boss Antonio Salamone - a relative of the Grecos everybody presumed dead - coming in from Brazil.

Wiretaps gave a glimpse of Paolo Cuntrera's son-in-law Nino Mongiovì moving around in Honduras and Miami. He had obtained a monopoly for ""two containers a month with a distributor in Florida"." (46) They were all connected to Michele Zaza and his crew of skilled smugglers from the Camorra organization in Naples. According to the FBI this network smuggled 3 metric tons of heroin a year to the US. (47)

Only when the Americans and Italians pooled their findings did they grasp what was going on. In 1983 the Italian police summarized their investigations in the Bono+159 report. The report identified Cuntrera and Caruana as the pivot of the well organized network moving heroin up to the US and the money down. It was the first time the clan was thoroughly examined. In fact, the police had uncovered part of the supply line for the Pizza Connection. But, while the US Pizza Connection trial resulted in the conviction of a significant segment of the network the authorities didn't find the real link between North-America and Sicily. (48) That missing link was to be found in Venezuela, where the Cuntrera-Caruana clan had set up their headquarters at the start of the 1970s, buying hotels and founding a string of businesses in Caracas and Valencia.

The most intriguing of the dozens Cuntrera-Caruana enterprises was a cattle-breeding company on an extended ranch in the state of Barinas, close to the Colombian border. It had its own private airstrip. A special task-force of the Venezuelan intelligence-service DISIP looked at this farm called Ganaderia Rio Zapa, established in 1971. (49) The shareholders of the firm represented the creme-de-la-creme of Mafia heroin-movers in those days:

Salvatore 'Cicchiteddu' Greco, the former head of the overall Commission of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, and one of the pioneers in the international heroin trade (50); Nick Rizzuto, a lieutenant in the Montreal-based Cotroni Family, but highly independent and in fact subordinate to the Sicilian Mafia (i.e. Cuntrera-Caruana); Antonio Napoli, a high-ranking made member of the New York Gambino Family and 'the biggest mover of junk to the United States' (51); John Gambino, a relative of Carlo Gambino and boss of the Sicilian faction of the New York Gambino Family (52); Brothers Angelo and Francesco Mongiovì, figure-heads of the Cuntreras in Caracas and Italy's financial centre Milan. According to a DEA report, Angelo's son Nino Mongiovì married Paolo Cuntrera's daughter and was the 'super manager for drugs of all kinds passing through Miami'. (53)

The DEA spotted them investigating the Napoli brothers of the Gambino Family in New York. Antonio Napoli had moved to Venezuela and was a partner in a Cuntrera business. At the time DEA headquarters figured the trail irrelevant; nevertheless, special agent Tom Tripodi was sent to Caracas. DEA-analyst Mona Ewell told reporter Claire Sterling that Tripodi ""came back with the whole thing."" (54)

""We saw the Cuntreras and the Caruanas. The security around their homes was incredible... They had control in Venezuela like you wouldn't believe... We saw their businesses, all fronts for paper-shuffling. What these people handled was the money. Their names had been coming up for years on the money. Historically, they worked the money. They did it for cocaine as well as heroin ... It was a tremendous operation, and it was going on a long, long time... In my opinion, that's still the key. They're the people with the money; they've been in the business of narcotics the longest"."
The implication, as Italian investigator Alessandro Pansa has noted is that ""Venezuela has its own Cosa Nostra family as if it is Sicilian territory ... Until this day, the structure and hierarchy of the Mafia has been entirely reproduced in Venezuela ... The clan has direct links with the ruling Commission of the Sicilian Mafia, and are acknowledged by the American Cosa Nostra"." Pansa claims that they are the funnel for the Gambino Family. Indeed, according to Tommaso Buscetta, it was the all-powerful New York Mafia boss Carlo Gambino himself who sponsored the acknowledgement of the Cuntrera-Caruana Family. (55)

Global Operations

The Montreal-New York and Caracas-Miami connections proved to be the gateway for narcotics to the world's biggest consumer-market. From its Venezuelan base the Cuntrera-Caruana clan supplied whatever drug was in demand - heroin, cocaine and cannabis. As their importance grew, however, the clan finally started to get to the attention of law enforcement agencies around the world.

Arrest warrants began to pile up. The 1983 Bono+159 report resulted in the first ones for the Cuntrera brothers and Alfonso Caruana, among others. Buscettas revelations in 1984 resulted in a new one for Pasquale Cuntrera, followed by yet another set in 1985. Italian Mafia-prosecutor Giovanni Falcone again indicted the clan in 1989, when two influential clan-members were arrested in Germany.

At the time the family's estimated worth was US$ 500 million. It was estimated by those investigating the clan's activities that it had shipped at least 700 kilo's of heroin and 70 metric tons of hashish with a total value of 700 million US dollars. Already then the Italian press warned Prime Minister Henny Eman of Aruba to remember the name Cuntrera and Caruana. If not, he might find himself a prisoner of Cosa Nostra instead of independent of the Netherlands. (56)

The investigation only looked at the years 1978-85, and the figures proved to be conservative. Subsequent evidence revealed that the investigators had missed a lot of what was going on. In 1992 "pentito" Gaspare Mutolo, Cosa Nostra's contact with Thai traffickers, disclosed massive heroin transports at the start of the 1980s. In 1981, Mutolo organized a 400 kilo shipment to the US. The Cuntrera-Caruana clan received half of the load, while John Gambino's crew took care of the other 200 kilos. When the money of the first deal came back, Mutolo immediately started to arrange another similar transport. (57) The shipments were financed by consortium of Sicilian Mafia clans. They had organized a pool to provide the money to buy the merchandise from Thai suppliers. The system in the heroin-business was that every Mafia family could invest in a shipment if it had the money. Each step in the different stages between buying and selling the commodity was payed along the way. The Cuntreras and Caruanas were the trusted buyers who supplied the market in North America.

Mutolo was arrested in 1982 before he could finish the second shipment. But, he assured the judge during the Cuntrera Trial, the shipment arrived. His Thai supplier Koh Bak Kin was arrested when yet another shipment of 233 kilos was intercepted in the Suez Canal in May 1983. A few months later, Alfonso Caruana was in Bangkok with relative Giuseppe Cuffaro to set up a new supply line. (58)

This time the clan was caught red-handed when British Customs & Excise and the Canadian RCMP seized a shipment of 58 kilos of heroin in Montreal in June 1985. Principal suspects were co-mafioso Francesco Di Carlo of the Altofonte clan, who was arrested in the UK, and Gerlando Caruana in Montreal. The subsequent inquiry disclosed that there had been more shipments. Besides heroin, loads of hashish were smuggled in as well. (59)

Alfonso Caruana and his brother Pasquale had settled in Woking in 1982, a Sicilian enclave in the 'stockbroker belt' near London. They worked closely with Francesco Di Carlo, who had created a complete smuggling infrastructure in England: he owned a hotel, travel agencies and import-export companies. Both Caruanas managed to leave England before they could be arrested.

Giuseppe Cuffaro was the travelling salesman of the clan. The records of his American Express Card show the international scale of dealings. Between 1980 and 1985 Cuffaro travelled up and down Montreal, Zürich, Caracas, Miami, Aruba, Lugano, Rome, Nassau (Bahamas), New York, Hollywood (Florida), New Delhi, Atlanta, London, Rio de Janeiro, Antigua, Palermo, Singapore, Bangkok and Geneva. In Thailand he married a Thai girl, opened bank accounts and negotiated with their Thai supplier Bang Khampay.

The seizure in 1985 apparently disrupted the flood for a while. Mutolo recalls that he was approached by Giuseppe Bono's associate Gaetano Fidanzati during the Maxi Trial against the Sicilian Cosa Nostra in Palermo in 1986. Fidanzati asked if he could find some more Thai heroin. If so, Fidanzati said ,",we'll send it to Canada, to Cuntrera and Caruana, everything you want, either a 100 or 200 kilos, every amount you can send them in Canada, because they control everything over there."" (60)

In June 1988 30 kilos of heroin were seized in a shipment of jade rocks from Thailand in a factory near Windsor at the US-Canadian border. The factory was owned by Cuffaro's brother-in-law, John Laudicina. Consignements from the same shipping-agent in Thailand had previously been seized earlier in Chicago, New York and in the Netherlands, but no one knew who had organized them. In the factory more hollowed out jade rocks indicated it wasn't the first load.

Meanwhile Giuseppe Cuffaro and Pasquale Caruana were in Germany organizing another network on the European continent to replace the route through England that had been dismantled. The German "Bundeskriminalamt" (BKA) was only just in time to stop them. In November 1988, the German police arrested Pasquale Caruana and Giuseppe Cuffaro near the Swiss border.

BKA investigations revealed an extensive network. Caruana and Cuffaro were supported by relatives and some of the many fellow-villagers who had emigrated to Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. Cuffaro had travelled for months through Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium in rented cars: 33,000 kilometres in 145 days, an average of 227 a day. He spent his days in the plush spa and casino-resort Baden Baden and Germany's financial center, Frankfurt. In addition, he flew up and down from Frankfurt to Bangkok several times, and to Montreal and Caracas. When the BKA finished the investigation it concluded ""there are indications that Caruana and Cuffaro were planning to settle in Germany to lead drug trafficking from South-East Asia and to put into circulation the resulting profits through investments in legal businesses"." (61) Cuffaro and Pasquale Caruana were extradited to Italy and convicted in 1991.

Dirty Money Really Smells

""It didn't smell right"," a bank-clerk told prosecutor Gioacchino Natoli when he heard her in Montreal during a rogatory investigation, following the arrest of Caruana and Cuffaro. Natoli still recalls the event with surprise. (62) The dirty money the clan laundered through several Canadian banks really stank. ""It smelled musty"." The cash was all in small bills of two, five or ten dollars, the typical denomination of drug transactions on the street.

The bulk of the evidence used by Falcone to indict the Cuntrera-Caruana clan in 1989 was gathered by one single policeman from Montreal. Sergeant Marc Bourque of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was appointed to investigate the financial aspects after the seizure of 58 kilo of heroin in 1985.

One of the persons under arrest was Gerlando Caruana. When Bourque wanted to look into Caruana's bank accounts, an employee said he would not find much there, but he should look at the accounts of Gerlando's brother, Alfonso Caruana. (63) What Bourque found there would keep him busy for the next five years. He code-named his investigation Operation Pilgrim - and a pilgrimage it proved to be. Bourque wandered through the international financial worl; he heard 300 witnesses in nine countries, his dossier amounted to 3,600 pages. Bourque laid bare the money laundering system of the clan in Montreal - although whether he found all the money, nobody knows.

In one bank alone Bourque traced nearly 16 million US dollars laundered through accounts of Alfonso Caruana. Every week a couple of Sicilians entered the branch of the City & District Bank in the Montreal suburb Dollard-des-Ormeaux carrying hockey-bags filled with half a million in cash. The tellers spent a half day counting the small bills. The clan brought in its dirty dollars and walked out with clean bank drafts. Thirty-six million US dollars ended up in Swiss bank-accounts which were used to pay the Sicilian heroin suppliers. (64) The dollars the clan transported to Canada were enough to supply the Montreal money-exchange market with its weekly requisite of US cash. Bourque could trace some US$ 50 million laundered by the clan through 4 Canadian banks from 1978 until 1984.

When Bourque presented his case to the Justice Department he was told that it would be discarded: it was deemed too expensive and too intricate. His pioneering investigation never reached a Canadian court. The Department had neither the time nor the money to prosecute the case. The mere summoning of the witnesses alone would cost four or five million dollars.

""Money doesn't just fall of the trees","says Bourque. ""There is no legitimate business in Montreal which generates half a million every week, except the drug business"." He is disgusted with the collaboration of Canadian banks. They earned some 4 to 5 percent on the transactions. The banks must have been aware of the shady backgrounds. After a while they all discreetly showed the Italians the door. But the clan always found a new financial institution to continue their affairs, carefully planning its steps. The bank branches it selected had Italian-born directors, no doubt more sensitive to the ways and means of the Mafia. Aldo Tucci, the director of the City & District branch, was completely integrated in the clan's system. He set up front store companies and neglected his work for the bank. Eventually Tucci was fired.

The Italian judicature very much appreciated the results of Sergeant Bourque's investigation, piecing it together with evidence they gathered during the Italian inquiry of the Pizza Connection. Bourque's evidence was subsequently used in the trials against Cuntrera-Caruana family members.


[...] A Smugglers' Paradise

The Intercon Financial Bank on Aruba is represented by the law-firm Croes & Wever. One of the partners is former Minister of Justice Hendrik Croes. The firm's trust-company Arulex was implicated in setting up the bank. ""Yes, we are involved with that bank"," says Croes. ""We still handle all their legal affairs, but we don't know anything of their financial accounts"." (70)

Hendrik Croes - a brother of the island's legendary leader, the late Betico Croes who guided Aruba to its semi-independent status in the Dutch realm - is one of the leading political figures on the island. He led several election campaigns for the MEP, now in the opposition. The Croes Family has been accused of ties with Cuntrera-Caruana. The Sicilian mafiosi payed for a trip of another brother, Rudy Croes (who succeeded Hendrik as Minister of Justice in a previous MEP government) as party secretary to a meeting of the Socialist International in Turkey. This has not been denied.

Paolo Cuntrera visited the island regularly despite his expulsion in 1988. The government opposed his legal actions for re-admittance. But Hendrik Croes has to admit the procedures were not stainless. A blundering government lawyer, an official who signed a residence permit 'by mistake', meant that "de facto" Paolo Cuntrera was able to circulate freely on the island.

According to Canadian police reports, in 1978, Pasquale Cuntrera owned the Holiday Inn Casino - although the registers indicated otherwise. ""At the start of 1980s the Cuntrera's were often at the Holiday Inn casino"," says a croupier. ""In 1989 they were there again, although they were ostensibly thrown of the island"."

DEA agent David Lorino, the case-officer in Operation Wiseguy, claims that ""when the Cuntrera's moved to Venezuela they carried some 15 to 30 million dollars with them, which were invested in hotels in Caracas, but also on Curaçao and Aruba"." 71 The DEA had used the Miami-based Italian-born Venezuelan business man Raffaele Bellizzi to contact Pasquale Cuntrera. Before 1983 Bellizzi owned a shipping-company, but that year it went bankrupt because of the debt-crises in Venezuela. ""He told us that his ships transported narcotics and money from Caracas to Aruba and Europe","says Lorino. As mentioned before Canadian investigations show that the clan used Aruba as a trampoline for cocaine to North America. (72)

According to Lorino, ""the names Cuntrera and Caruana were well known on the island"." Now nobody on Aruba wants to know that these gentle and well mannered Sicilians ever existed. ""Oh, but a lot of people knew them then","says Bianca de Mey, who set up the company "Investeringen Tweehonderd en Tien", which was the holding for a nightclub and pizzeria for the Cuntreras. The company now has nothing to do with them any more, she adds.

The Cuntrera's must have felt at home on Aruba. The island has been a smugglers' paradise, since colonial times, when it was used to evade the Spanish trade monopoly. Whatever disagreements Arubans may have - and they have a lot - this is something they readily admit. Even Prime Minister Eman acknowledges ""it is an island of smugglers ... For years Aruba was the most important coffee exporter, while there is no coffee-plant to be found on the island"." Aruba is also the biggest exporter of Philip Morris cigarettes and every imaginable kind of whisky. On Aruba it is all imported and exported according to the rules. What they do at the other side on the South American mainland is not the problem of the islanders. Legal trade or contraband, the difference is thin. ""A lot of families became very rich with this trade","says Eman. ""This went on for decades and it is an eh... accepted fact"."

Here's another little tidbit about our friend Jossy Mansur:

Messrs. L. E. and J. Mansur (represented by Dr. Jan M. Sjöcrona and Mr. John H. van der Kuyp) v. the Netherlands, Communication No. 883/1999, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/67/D/883/1999 (9 November 1999).

2.1 The authors are members of the business community in Aruba. Among other enterprises Luis Emilio Mansur is co-owner of a shipping company and Jossy Mehren Mansur is owner and editor-in-chief of a newspaper and co-owner of a trading company.

2.2 Under a Royal Decree of 22 October 1994 the Interim Head of Aruban Security Service, A. Koerten, was instructed to carry out an investigation into the security and integrity of Aruba. A report on this investigation was produced on 20 April 1995, entitled Security and Integrity of Aruba: Context and Perspective.

2.3 The report was issued as top secret and was sent to a limited number of state officials and institutions, named in the report.

2.4 The report draws a picture of security in Aruba and mentions that foreign services fighting crime in the region are Aalmost unanimous in their opinion that the predominant image of the Aruban business community is one of joint services towards (laundering specialists of) regional drug cartels.@ The report mentions the authors by name and portrays them as criminals who were associated with criminal organizations involved in drugs trafficking, gun trafficking and laundering money obtained from criminal activities

So far, it certainly appears that we've been sniffing around some of the right trees!

Cigarettes, liquor, perfume, refrigerators and other electrical appliances, everything is brought to the Colombian and Venezuelan northern shores, only a few hours away by ship. The contraband sometimes includes guns, although this is something very few will admit. ""One day a refrigerator fell when we were loading. The guns tumbled on the pier"," a former longshoreman remembers. ""Every family who is rich now, was in contraband"." All commerce is in cash. Special 'runners' receive the cash in Colombia and bring the money to Aruba. ""Once, a 'runner' of one family was robbed by another family. They only took the payment for a shipment of cigarettes; he could keep the rest. That means: do not mess with my business","the longshoreman explains.

Most of the merchandise went to Maicao, a semi-legal staple-town in Colombia at the border with Venezuela on the La Guajira peninsula. Its national representative is senator Samuel Santander Lopesierra Gutierrez, better known as the Marlboro Man. Like his father before him, Santa the Marlboro Man made his fortune smuggling cigarettes and liquor. (73) Maicao is moving exclusively on the rhythm of contraband. But is not only receiving goods, it also exports the local branded products such as coffee and other Colombian specialities. La Guajira was the place of the "bonanza marimbero" - the marijuana boom - in the 1970s when the US discovered the pleasure of Santa Marta Gold. Cocaine replaced marijuana when the Colombian government under US pressure sprayed the fields with pesticides - and the US market began to produce its own home grown grass. The Colombian and Venezuelan 'contrabandistas' used the tested contacts with its Aruban business relations. The island is like a Western enclave in Latin-America. Its excellent banking facilities, and Free Trade Zone provide an easy access to the European and American market and financial institutions.

""Aruban traders built an extensive infrastructure in the Caribbean","one of their former employees explains - a network of warehouses, shipping-company's, bank-accounts on Aruba, in the Panamanian freezone Colón, in Miami. ""In 1983 the bolivar" -" the Venezuelan currency" -" collapsed on account of the debt-crisis, and the bills could not be payed to the Arubans any more"." Then it really started. The smuggling economy needed re-structuring. The whole infrastructure was turned around: now it was used for cocaine trafficking and money laundering.

The US Attorneys Office in Miami gathered an insight in this pattern when, in December 1993, it indicted - among others - Aruban business-men Randy Habibe and Jossy Arends in its case against the La Costa Cartel. This 'enterprise' is accused to have smuggled some 80 tons of cocaine and 250,000 pounds of marijuana to the United States, and laundering some 800 million US dollars from 1980 onwards. (74)

The Arubans managed the logistics. They brought in the precursor chemicals necessary for the production of cocaine out the coca leaves; they bought the planes and ships to transport the merchandise; and last but not least, they laundered the proceeds through the accounts of their import-export firms in the Aruban Free Zone, skimming a percentage for their services.

Habibe is not the only one. The 1994 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report stated that ""other Aruban families with connections to banks in Venezuela and to cocaine cartels in Colombia are strongly suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering"."

Aruban Connections

Five members of the Aruban Mansur Family, viz. Mr. Elias F. Mansur, Mrs. Damia M. de Cuba-Mansur, Mr. Luis E. Mansur, Mr. Miguel J. Mansur and Mrs. Sarah E. Arends-Mansur, have raised objections against general references in the following chapter to the Mansurs or the Mansur family. In their opinion these references may be understood as including them and thereby implicating them in alleged wrongdoing they have never committed.

The author is of the opinion that such references to a large family will not be misunderstood as including each and every member of the family. However, in case this opinion should prove incorrect, the author points out that he regrets such misunderstanding and that he did not intend said references to implicate all members of the family.
The Cuntrera-Caruana clan had links with another Aruban bank: the Interbank. The bank granted a credit to the Cuntrera company "Investeringen Tweehonderd en Tien" for 1.8 million Aruban guilders (approximately one million dollars). Why the Cuntreras who own several investment companies in Venezuela needed the loan is unknown.

One could speculate, however, this was a 'loan-back' operation to launder money. An amount of money is deposited cash at a bank and the bank lends the money back: now there is a clean and legitimate source of earnings. But there is no proof, no one ever looked really into the relations of the bank with the Sicilian mafiosi. The letter of credit was issued before the mafia connections of the clan became officially known on the island. This did not stop the bank from keeping the Cuntreras as clients. During Operation Wiseguy the undercover DEA agents were asked to wire money for a shipment of hashish on the account of Alfonso Cuntrera at the Interbank.

The Interbank is owned by the Mansur Family. If anybody owns 60 per cent of the island, it is this powerful family. The Mansurs made their fortune as cigarette manufacturers and in the import-export business. With a licence of Philip Morris, they are the major suppliers of Marlboros in the Caribbean basin. The Mansurs sponsor the best baseball team - Aruba's national sport - the Marlboro Red Tigers as well as the AVP party of Prime Minister Henny Eman. They own the biggest hotel and time-sharing complex, La Cabana, with its inevitable casino. And they have a couple of import-export businesses in the Free Trade Zone.

Jossy Mansur is the owner and chief editor of the biggest newspaper on the island, "Diario". ""When I read an article in Diario, I know what will be the next action of the government","says Hendrik Croes, adding that the Mansurs create a climate of fear and intimidation on Aruba. Their newspapers force others off the market. Furthermore, ""their annual income is bigger than the yearly budget of the government. And you may guess how they make that kind of money"."""Jossy Mansur is not impressed claiming that accusing people of drug trafficking and money laundering ""has become a political tool to discredit them"." (75) Jossy Mansur acts as the family's mouthpiece, Ruben and the elder Alex are the patriarchs, and Elias 'Don' Mansur is the family's whizz-kid. Elias graduated at Notre Dame University, and was Minister of Economic Affairs in Eman's first cabinet. As representative for the Free Trade Zone entrepreneurs in a mixed Dutch-Aruban commission he has to recommend measures to tighten regulations in the FTZ to prevent money laundering and contraband, together with Dutch government officials. (76)

More and more the name Mansur turns up in money laundering cases. Alex and Eric Mansur were indicted in Puerto Rico in August 1994. (77)

In Venezuela the Mansurs are implicated in money laundering with Santa Lopesierra, the Marlboro Man. Every month Santa 're-invests' 20 million dollar ""with the help of a well-known entrepreneur called Mansur"""." (78) Lopesierra is accused to have financed his election with the proceeds of drug trafficking and a car-theft ring. He is also reputed to be the man behind the Puerto Rico indictment. The activities of Mansur and Lopesierra, however, go well beyond this. They are accused of illegally funding the presidential campaign of Colombian president Ernesto Samper in 1994. Not only did Samper allegedly receive 6 million dollars from the Cali Cartel - an accusation he vehemently denies and ascribes to political machinations - it is said he also pocketed US$ 500,000 in cash offered by ""a group from Philip Morris and Interbank"." (79)

The Mansur Family seems to have all the right connections in its corner of the Caribbean. Some Mansur's still have Venezuelan nationality, and they have interests in Maracaibo and Caracas, as well as in Punto Fijo and Coro, where the originally Lebanese Mansur Family had settled before moving to Aruba. Punto Fijo is situated on the Paraguaná peninsula in the North at the Golfo de Venezuela, which separates it from La Guajira. A ferry connects Punto Fijo to Aruba. Some 20 years ago, in 1974, a few Sicilians set up a fishing company in Punto Fijo called "Mediterranea Pesca". Among the shareholders: Leonardo and Giuseppe Caruana and Giuseppe Cuffaro. The company owned a sea-going vessel and Italian police suspected that ""in view of the background of the owners it is probably a cover for drug trafficking"." (80)

Most observers do agree on that supposition. Nothing moves on Aruba without the consent of the Mansur's: ""If you want to do business on the island, you have to deal with them

Let's repeat part this last paragraph. "Nothing moves on Aruba without the consent of the Mansur's: ""If you want to do business on the island, you have to deal with them."" I wonder how much has changed since this report was written!

So where's Natalee, and who should we be asking? And by the way, I also can't help but wonder why Fox and the other media interviewed the Mansurs and presented them as credible witnesses without discovering and disclosing these and other related matters.

Dan Riehl addressed much of this in his October 13 post entitled, "Natalee Holloway: Why Joran Van Der Sloot Is Guilty."

(...) Why Joran Van Der Sloot Is Guilty - or, more precisely, why do so many think he is guilty when there is no evidence he committed a crime?

(...) There is nothing professional, ethical or noble in what is taking place on our cable news networks in this regard any more. And that should feel incredibly sad as well as dangerous to every American with any genuine sense of justice, or a genuinely serious concern for an all too young to be missing, missing girl.
And in that, Dan nails it for all of us that don't swallow the Beth Twitty line hook and all.

Though Dan's and Scared Monkey's sites have previously explored portions of what I've presented here, I do not believe that anyone has made a connection between the locations of ownership of the Mansur family and locations of trafficking, both sex and drugs, revealed in the articles: Mansur Free Trade Zone in Aruba, and in Venezuela: Puento Fijo, Coro, Maricaibo and Caracas, Venezuela. Also, we find that the main money laundering facilities in Aruba are the Intercon Financial Bank, subsidiary of Banco de la Construccion of Venezuela, and the Interbank. The source article identifies the Mansur family as the owners of the Interbank in Aruba. This statement comes from the original link under reference # 81 - above. [TNI Publications]: Interbank Aruba NV - Company profile & brands (payment required)

And this choice bit of information:

They would 'find much interesting affairs'. ('El Gobierno debe abrir un investigacíon sobre actividades de Mansur en Punto Fijo', "El Mundo", 24 December 1987.) Mansur and El Mundo were engaged in a press-war since the Miami correspondent of El Mundo, Antonio Llano Montes, accused Jossy Mansur to head a gang smuggling cigarettes, liquor and televisions to Coro, and was implicated in the murder of Betico Croes, former Prime Minister of Aruba ('Desde Miami', "El Mundo", 10 November 1987)
Cable News Update: Meanwhile, cable news is still interviewing the Mansurs as thought they were the epitome of credibility, so here's a quick summary for cable non-subscribers:
CNN Jane Mitchell hosted Jim Monet of the Inside Edition, Jossy Mansur, Tim Miller of Texas Equussearch and Richard Herman (cutoff by Nancy Grace on his last appearance).

Jim Monet mentioned that Friday will be Natalee's 19th birthday, and Dave Holloway mentioned that he intends to re-search the landfill area. Jim felt that some sex notion from the Skeeter tapes could bring the boys back into custody. (lots of luck)

Jossy Mansur knew nothing of any news from Holland about Joran van der Sloot, and he expounded on the search of the van der Sloot's home and claimed that Paulus is smart and had refused any search of his home or property without a search warrant. Jossy then informed us that people are searching the ocean near the Holiday Inn with a new technologically-advanced camera, because Joe Walker's bone-detector identified some bone-tooth material somewhere on the ocean floor. Jossy returned to the Middle Ages to unearth the bone-wizard Joe Walker. Even Jane Mitchell had difficulty accepting this story.

Tim Miller went over his encounter with Paulus van der Sloot's rage over the request to search his property. Tim acknowledged that a reasonable cause is required for any search warrant to be issued.

Richard Herman, a defense attorney, stated that nothing short of an express admission will break this case, and that all of these inconsistencies are nonsense and unpunishable under Aruban law.

Lastly, for Jane, Robi Ludwig encouraged the family to remain in the face of the Aruban law enforcement until their daughter is found.
Rita Crosby of the MSNBC claimed that "blockbuster" information will arrive in Aruba on Wednesday. These are the infamous Skeeter tapes, and Rita claims that Beth Twitty has postponed her trip to Aruba as a result of death threats.

Paul Reynolds denied any death threats to Beth Twitty. Paul felt that Police Chief Dompig will re-open the case and certify the authenticity of the Skeeter tapes. If the tapes are authentic, Paul contends that the police chief will ask for more searches and arrests.

Paul Ciolino, a former Homicide Investigator, doubted the death threats to Beth Twitty. He mentioned the high level of animosity created by Americans trying to force their will upon a foreign country, and reiterated that there is no body and no blood to indicate a crime. He believes that patience is needed in order to allow the Aruban authorities to do their job, and doubts that the Skeeter tapes are a gift from God. He outlined many pitfalls associated with the tapes, such as prior promises, coaching, adulteration of the medium, etc.

Greta on Fox News interviewed Police Chief Dompig.

I believe that Greta may have slipped up and referred to the tapes that the FBI seemed reluctant to send to Aruba. Greta referred to the tapes as "edited tapes." It sounded like Greta knew that the tapes would be useless. She follows with an "if-then" statements to Police Chief Dompig: "If you receive unedited tapes, can you then arrest Deepak Kalpoe? (or words to that effect)" The Police Chief elaborated on the procedure that the prosecutor would have to evaluate the value of the tapes to the case and then request from a judge for permission to arrest Deepak Kalpoe. It would be a judge's decision whether or not to arrest Deepak Kalpoe. The Police Chief continued with the fact that they had been bugging the FBI for two weeks for the tapes. Only in the last five days have they been able to persuade the FBI into giving them the tapes.

When prompted by Greta, Police Chief Dompig mentioned a few new leads in the case, although he dampened the notion of breaking new leads with the plea for the remaining, unknown witnesses to come forward and not let the case become a cold case.

In closing on Greta, the police chief said that he had a gut feeling that they already spoken with the people involved in the disappearance. The police chief avoided connecting the three suspects with the conviction hinted by Greta.

Posted for HarryTho

Posted by Richard at October 17, 2005 7:53 PM



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