Hemp Madness!

Hemp Madness!
Posted by FoM on February 03, 1999 at 21:54:30 PT

Hemp MadnessReaders of Gary Webb’s "Dark Alliance" series on the contra-crack connection in South-Central Los Angeles might be wondering whatever happened to a key figure in the story, convicted drug dealer Oscar Danilo Blandon. Well, we found him — smack in the middle of another drug scandal involving Nicaragua.
Webb documented how Blandon and others supplied tons of cocaine to L.A. crack distributor "Freeway" Ricky Ross in the early ’80s. Part of the proceeds went to finance the contra war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Webb suggested that the CIA knew of the coke-trafficking operation but turned a blind eye.Blandon, under a deal with the feds, played informant in 1994 to help the DEA nab Ross and put him behind bars. Fast-forward to December 23. That’s when the Nicaraguan police busted what they described as the largest marijuana-growing operation in the history of Central America. The point person and 10 percent shareholder in the Canadian company, Hemp Agro International, which was charged with cultivating 400 million pounds of marijuana, was — you guessed it — none other than Blandon. He secured permits from the Nicaraguan Agriculture Department to import and farm what the combine described as hemp. The Nicara-guan government launched an investigation, and early this month heads of minor officials rolled.Hemp Agro claims that its crop was hemp, the non-narcotic variant of marijuana. The Toronto Sun newspaper reported that the Hemp Agro crop’s level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was above that of commercial hemp but below that of pot sold on the street. No matter, the DEA, which is suspected of having had a hand in the busts, considers both substances illegal. Blandon, who was conveniently out of the country for the arrests, denied any wrongdoing or association with the DEA in an interview from his Baton Rouge, Louisiana, home. (The interview was with the Nicaraguan newspaper Confidencial, Now, where have we heard Blandon baying his innocence before? Oh yes, when he denied CIA or DEA knowledge of his contra support, or its link to the crack epidemic.
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