Kudos for Jerry Ceppos, executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News. He acknowledges that the story of the CIA influencing crack cocaine in the Los Angeles South-Central area may have been without accurate evidence (May 12).
I was the LAPD representative who investigated Thomas "Tootie" Reese for nine years. During that period he visited San Francisco and experimented with a new creation called "freebasing" cocaine. Freebasing was brought to some very exotic parties in the late '70s. The popularity of this drug, derived from the Bel-Air jet set, was soon seen in the South-Central areas, replacing PCP, the drug of choice. Reese was sort of the "godfather" of Ricky Ross.
Ross, who was a very young entrepreneur, gang associate and PCP seller, began selling this drug some time before he met Danilo Blandon. Blandon was a small financial contributor to the Contras, and a cocaine trafficker.
We in law enforcement (I am now retired) continuously are frustrated with the reporting of our field with limited facts or conjecture.
* Ceppos backed down to what surely was peer and government pressure to apologize for being critical of the CIA's foul dealings and relationships with thugs, terrorists and murderers. Still, Gary Webb sticks close to his revealing and detailed story, which exposed what many had suspected for years: that CIA personnel at the least turned a blind eye to CIA operatives' criminal activity and at the most possibly provided cover.
It strikes me funny that the L.A. Times, N.Y. Times and the Washington Post were all so quick to clear the CIA in following articles.