The brother of Nicaraguan Contra leader Adolfo Calero and six others have been indicted on charges they conspired to unlawfully recruit mercenaries to serve in the anti-Sandinista rebel army, the Justice Department announced today.
The long-awaited indictment did not mention any Reagan Administration officials or Calero himself.
According to the indictment, returned June 28 in U.S. District Court in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and unsealed today, the defendants "recruited soldiers in the United States to participate in military expeditions and enterprises against the Nicaraguan government," the department said.
Each of the defendants was charged with violating and conspiring to violate the Neutrality Act, which bans recruitment of mercenaries to fight in foreign countries. The indictment also cites violations of firearms laws and misuse of a passport, the department said.
19 Recruited in Early 1985
Named in the indictment are Mario Calero, brother of Contra leader Adolfo Calero; Texas millionaire Maco Stewart; Jack Terrell; Thomas Posey; Joe Adams; Jose Coutin, and Alex Martinez.
The indictment mentions two groups totaling 19 soldiers recruited in early 1985, with money provided by Stewart to Mario Calero. It gives no details on who the soldiers were.
Terrell, who now opposes the anti-Sandinista rebels, said earlier that he will turn his arms-smuggling trial into a forum on the Reagan Adminstration's policy in Nicaragua. He and others say they were encouraged by the Administration in their efforts.
Terrell said it is unfair that he and other low-level smugglers are being indicted while those who ordered the weapons are free.
"I have some news for this Administration," he said. "I won't take the fall for Rob Owen, Ollie North or Ronald Reagan." Owen was North's aide and liaison to the Contra operations.