Former CIA Pilot Tells of Guns and Drugs Shipments
Robert O'Dowd and Tim King Salem-News.com
Robert "Tosh" Plumlee, former CIA pilot, reported the illegal shipments of guns and drugs to Congress. Plumlee said he flew into former MCAS El Toro, CA, a number of times, in unmarked C-130s in the early hours of the morning.
Tosh Plumlee in
However, the death of Marine Colonel James Sabow is not some crackpot conspiracy tossed around by those with nothing else to do.
Last week’s tragic shooting of two guards at the Pentagon was definitely the result of a mentally unbalanced individual who apparently was consumed with the death of Marine Colonel James Sabow at MCAS El Toro in January 1991.
The truth is that experts outside of the Defense Department believe that the forensic evidence supports that Colonel Sabow was murdered. According to Dr. David Sabow MD, his brother, the motive was to prevent him from telling about the shipments of cocaine into the
Independent investigations by others and the overwhelming forensic evidence strongly suggests murder. There was no reason in the world after
Michael A. Jacobs, attorney and retired supervisor of the Orange County District Attorney’s Homicide Trials Division, believes that homicide is supported by:
(1) compressed fracture to the right rear occipital skull and the resulting hemorrhaging beneath the skull and
(2) the large amount of aspirated blood found in the alveoli of Colonel Sabow’s lungs.
Jacobs told Congressman Duncan Hunter that “Colonel Sabow’s death could not have been a suicide but had to have been a homicide inflicted by the hands of another.”
Former Lt. Col. Anthony Verducci, a Marine Corps JAG [attorney] who was stationed at MCAS El Toro in 1991, wrote Dr. Sabow, “I have reviewed x-rays, crime scene photos, and letters submitted by forensic pathologists and other experts about Col. Sabow’s death… these materials lead me to believe that Colonel Sabow did not die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound [my emphasis]. As a Marine, former prosecutor, and citizen, I believe that an impartial law enforcement agency must review this case.”
Deadly Setup for a Whistleblower
Colonel Sabow, Assistant Chief, MCAS El Toro, had been removed from his position a few days before his death, pending the outcome of an investigation for a minor infraction relating to the carrying of personal items on an official military flight.
Friends close to Jim Sabow say the charges were concocted strictly in an effort to keep him from blowing the lid off clandestine federal drug running that he became aware of, with the planes actually landing at
Dr. David Sabow, a retired neurologist and the younger brother of Colonel Sabow, said his brother was pressured to retire but told others that he would accept a court martial, since he had nothing to do with the shipment of cocaine in civilian aircraft to the
Described by superiors as a “straight arrow Marine,” Dr. Sabow said that Colonel Sabow in his position as Assistant Chief of Staff at MCAS El Toro, would have known about the authorized shipments of weapons to Central American to support the Contra war in Nicaragua, but knew nothing about the illegal shipments of cocaine into the U.S. to fund the Contra war.
A former CIA pilot, Robert “Tosh” Plumlee, is very familiar with the events surrounding Col. Sabow's untimely death. He says that the word being spread from military personnel at
Plumlee is convinced that Col. Sabow was murdered to silence him.
"These trips were approved by military intelligence personnel attached to the Pentagon, with CIA logistical support. They were made in total secrecy to the extent that other government agencies were not aware of the existence of these flights, or of the operation. The pilots were given a specific coded transponder number to squawk so their aircraft would not be challenged by U.S. Customs aircraft when patrolling the U.S. border." - Former CIA pilot Tosh Plumlee
"It is highly probable that Col. Sabow became aware of the night flights into
Dr. Sabow believes the inspector general was making an effort to force the officers under suspicion to resign for the good of the Corps. But because Col. Sabow knew he was clean so far as drug shipments were concerned, instead of quietly accepting the accusations, he planned to insist that a court martial be convened in order to clear his name.
Plumlee said, "He was willing to expose the operation that sent American weapons into
Col. Sabow’s wife Sally Sabow, told her brother-in-law that the day before her husband was killed, a senior officer entered Col. Sabow’s home, and was observed shaking his finger in Col. Sabow’s face, shouting, "You will never go to a court martial..."
Drugs, Weapons and
As one of the civilian pilots who ran guns for the
"These trips were approved by military intelligence personnel attached to the Pentagon, with CIA logistical support. They were made in total secrecy to the extent that other government agencies were not aware of the existence of these flights, or of the operation. The pilots were given a specific coded transponder number to squawk so their aircraft would not be challenged by U.S. Customs aircraft when patrolling the
He says it began in the 1980s, when the U.S. Army's 82nd and 101st Airborne were sent to
"However, some of the weapons did not return to the
Plumlee and other pilots have testified to Congress that they were working for a secret
"When the weapons were repaired and tested at
Plumlee says the aircraft used by this group were designated as “cutouts” and certified as belonging to the U.S. Forest Service’s aircraft fleet. They were, however, controlled by
"These flyways and airstrips were secretly recorded by undercover flight crews and reported to various government interdiction agencies in the
Plumlee goes on to say that in 1990, there was still a covert weapons operation continuing to fly weapons to Latin America, mostly to
"These flyways and staging areas in
According to Plumlee, an American DEA agent from
Tosh Plumlee emailed a copy of a February 1991 letter from former Senator Gary Hart to Senator John Kerry, Chairman, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Communications and a redacted summary transcript of his testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from August 1991. The Senate report shows that Plumlee was a "former deep-cover military and CIA asset from 1956 to 1987 with a long history of CIA activities in
A little less than a month before Gary Hart’s letter to Senator Kerry, Marine Colonel James Sabow was found dead by his wife in his backyard at MCAS El Toro. Although there’s no connection to his death, the letter does describe in some detail the illegal arms and narcotic shipments made to fund the Contra war.
Gary Hart served as a Democratic Senator representing
In his letter to Senator John Kerry, Hart noted that Robert “Tosh” Plumlee met with his Denver Senate staff during the period 1983 through 1985.
Plumlee provided Hart’s staff with maps and names of covert landing strips in
Plumlee said he was involved in covert military activities in Central and South American starting in February 1978. He “had personally flown U.S. sponsored covert missions into Nicaragua… that Nicaragua was receiving assistance from Cuba with nearly 6,000 Cuban military advisors and large quantities of military supplies were being stockpiled at various staging areas inside Nicaragua and the Costa Rica border."
In contacting Senator Hart in 1983, Plumlee’s purpose was to initiate a congressional investigation on illegal arms and narcotic shipments “which were not being acted upon by
According to Plumlee, these operations were not under the control of the CIA but were directed by the White House, Pentagon, and NSC.
Gary Hart in 1991 noted that Plumlee’s allegations were brought “to the attention of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time , but no action was initiated by either committee.”
The death of Marine Colonel James Sabow and the years of subsequent loss and hardship for his family and friends is a travesty. It was a loss for all Americans; we need military leaders who are honest and forthright. We learn in this story and the preceding installments about Col. Sabow, that nothing is as it seems with the people who run this country. People in office reading this right now are cognizant of their roles in the death of Jim Sabow.
And what about the Contras? In essence, they represented the interests of the people and businesses with deep pockets. The Sandinista movement was for the poor people. Today the man who runs that country was the leader of the Sandinistas. It looks like the choices by public officials to fund that war, like so many others, were not only in vain, but they led to the loss of many human lives and also a great deal of suffering.
Today the base at
Marines and former Marines write to us almost every day because of our stories on El Toro, numbering several dozen now, authored by several writers, all former El Toro Marines.
As we have written in the past, it seems oddly appropriate as a setting for this story.
It appears that the
Bob O’Dowd is a former U.S. Marine with thirty years of experience on the east coast as an auditor, accountant, and financial manager with the Federal government. Half of that time was spent with the Defense Logistics Agency in
· . You can email Bob O’Dowd, Salem-News.com Environmental and Military Reporter, at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this
Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the