NarcoNews: Second Informant Surfaces in ICE’s Mayan Jaguar Cocaine-Plane Op

US Attorney Dismisses Criminal Case Against Brazilian Informant

By Bill Conroy

The secrecy cloaking a corporate jet with a CIA-linked tail number that crash landed in Mexico in the fall of 2007 with a nearly four-ton load of cocaine onboard continues to unravel, one string at a time.

The Gulfstream II cocaine jet was part of a suspected US intelligence operation wrapped in the garbs of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) undercover operation called Mayan Jaguar, law enforcement sources suspect.

The newest revelations in the case pop up in court pleadings recently unearthed by Narco News and show the cocaine jet that ditched in Mexico’s Yucatan in September 2007 was part of a much larger web of cocaine planes sold to drug-traffickers with the assistance of at least two informants who continue to work for or own aviation brokerage companies.

The ICE undercover operation played out in the first decade of the 2000s (roughly 2004 until sometime in 2008) and involved the use of US government front companies to sell aircraft to suspected Latin American drug-trafficking organizations.

Brazilian national Joao Malago has already been identified as one of the key ICE informants for Mayan Jaguar. He oversaw several front companies as part of the operation, including Florida-based Donna Blue Aircraft, which was used to broker the sale of the CIA-connected Gulfstream II cocaine jet, tail No. N987SA, to two individuals — one of who, a pilot named Greg Smith, has past connections to US government operations, prior Narco News reports revealed. Shortly after Smith and his partner inked a bill of sale and took over ownership of the Gulfstream II, it crashed in Mexico with a payload of Colombian cocaine onboard.

But court pleadings unearthed recently by Narco News show that Malago was not alone in his informant role with Mayan Jaguar. Larry Peters, owner of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Skyway Aircraft Inc., also was “a confidential informant for ICE and operation Mayan Jaguar for a time period that coincides with Mr. Malago’s cooperation as a confidential informant,” the recently surfaced court pleadings state.

“In fact, Mr. Peters and Mr. Malago were brought in by ICE agents at approximately the same time and signed up as sources at approximately the same time,” the court records reveal. “The government has released discovery of confidential source documentation from ICE pertaining to both Mr. Malago’s and Mr. Peters’ official status as confidential sources.…”

Dismissed and More   

Peters was never charged with a crime in relation to his role with Mayan Jaguar or his aircraft brokerage business. Malago, though, somehow got on the wrong side of US law enforcers and was hit with narco-trafficking and money-laundering conspiracy charges in an indictment filed in federal court in Florida in January 2012.

That criminal prosecution was dismissed suddenly this past March, about a month after Narco News’ published an expose on Mayan Jaguar that alleged it served as a global cocaine-plane pipeline that was marked by CIA fingerprints.

The dismissal of Malago’s case is seemingly in line with a prediction made by one DEA source, who told Narco News earlier this year that if a court case gets too close to exposing a CIA-enabled covert operation, then it will be shut down behind the scenes using the hammer of national security.

Malago is not alone in helping to broker the sale of a plane later linked to the CIA. Larry Peters’ Skyway Aircraft also is connected to a plane transaction that has the Agency’s number all over it.

Peters’ Skyway Aircraft sold a Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft to a Venezuelan buyer in October 2004, about a month before it was found in a cotton field suspected of hauling a payload of some 1,100 kilos of cocaine. The Beech 200 was discovered in Nicaragua with a false tail number (N168D).

That tail number was registered at the time to Devon Holding and Leasing Inc., a CIA shell company, and also was being used by a separate CIA aircraft as well, press reports and an investigation conducted by the European Parliament into the CIA’s terrorist rendition program show.

Narco News has reported previously as part of a multi-story series that ICE’s Mayan Jaguar — known pejoratively within some law enforcer circles as “Mayan Express,” because it allegedly allowed huge volumes of cocaine into the US market —appeared to use ICE as a cover for a US intelligence agency mission. The real goal of the operation, the sources suspect, was not to interdict illegal narcotics, but rather to use the sale of the cocaine planes — which, according to court records, were equipped with location-monitoring equipment — to monitor, penetrate and ultimately manipulate narco-trafficking mafia organizations and their government allies


Read the entire investigative report here @ Narco News: Click Here

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  1. Great work as always, Bill. Thanks for bringing real journalism to this subject.

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