US Colonel Gets 10-Months in Colombia Drug Case 

US Colonel Gets 10-Months in Colombia Drug Case 
Posted by FoM on July 13, 2000 at 21:17:46 PT
Five months in prison & five months home detention
Source: Reuters
A U.S. Army officer who headed U.S. anti-drug efforts in Colombia was sentenced to five months in prison and five months of home detention on Thursday for concealing his knowledge that his wife was laundering drug money while they lived in Bogota.Col. James Hiett, of Seaford, Virginia, a former head of the Military Group at the American Embassy in Bogota and commander of the U.S. 
Army's anti-drug operation in Colombia, pleaded guilty in April to concealing knowledge of a felony.Hiett was also sentenced to seven additional months of supervised release, which is akin to probation. He could have been sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison and fined $250,000.Colombia's new National Police chief Gen. Luis Ernesto Gilibert condemned the sentence as a ``joke''. U.S. officials have long criticized jail terms for drug traffickers in Colombia as too lenient while threatening capos extradited to the United States with multiple life terms.``This is almost a joke. When Colombian narco-traffickers are sent to the United States they are given long sentences,'' Gilibert said. ``We're very disappointed when we see such a derisory sentence.''U.S. Army officials have been waiting for Hiett's trial to wrap up before taking action against the colonel, which could range from no punishment to a court martial. He had been set to retire in November.After declining to speak on his own behalf before Judge Edward Korman, chief judge of Eastern District, Hiett said: ''The only thing I did, that I consciously did, was try to protect my wife.''In pleading guilty, Hiett admitted that his wife, Laurie Anne, made two trips in April 1999 from Bogota to New York, returning with $25,000, but he never questioned her about it.He pleaded guilty to ``misprision of a felony'' for failing to tell government officials that his wife was laundering drug money by moving cash between the two countries.Saying he was disturbed by Hiett's silence as well as his failure to apologize, Korman told him: ``You spent the money. ... You had to know what the source was.'' After handing down sentence, Korman said: ``Some term of imprisonment is required for the betrayal of trust'' involved in the case.Hiett's wife said she never told her husband about her scheme, and while he said he never questioned her about it, he admitted he spent $14,000 on personal bills. He said he became aware of her activities in June 1999 when ``I was informed that she had been smuggling narcotics to New York City.''Hiett must surrender Jan. 8. He requested imprisonment in Texas to be near his wife, who was sentenced in April to a five-year term in Ft. Worth for conspiring to smuggle drugs into the country.During his time in Colombia, Hiett oversaw U.S. troops there who trained security forces for counter-drug operations and also protected radar bases used to track aircraft carrying drugs.Hiett's sentencing comes just two weeks after Congress approved a record $1.3 billion package of mostly military aid to help Colombia fight drug trafficking and Marxist rebels.Last week, a former chauffeur at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota accused U.S. officials of covering up the scale of a heroin-smuggling ring involving the Hietts.Ex-driver and bodyguard Jorge Ayala, held in a top security Bogota prison pending a U.S. extradition request related to his role in the scheme, also alleged in an interview with Reuters that a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official helped smuggle drugs from Colombia to the United States as U.S. Marine guards turned a blind eye.The U.S. Department of the Army, which led the initial inquiry, said Tuesday there was an ``ongoing investigation'' into the embassy-based heroin ring, but declined to say whether the DEA official named by Ayala was under scrutiny. New York (Reuters) Thursday July 13 10:02 PM ETCopyright  2000 Reuters Limited. Related Articles:Colombian Says U.S. Covered Up Heroin Scam Corruption of Col. James Hiett Pleads Guilty in Drug Case Anti-Drug Colonel Knew Nothing of U.S. Army Colonel to Plead Guilty Two Lives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on July 15, 2000 at 09:58:32 PT:
Just like that movie, "The Green Berets"
The only reason that movie was made was propaganda...pure and simple. An attempt by the Johnson Administration to justify continued involvement in a failed policy.I'm afraid 4D is right when he says we can expect to see some pro-DrugWar drivel lurch it's way out of Hollywood, soon. But now, the artists and critics are on their toes, thanks to this heads-up. It can't help but get interesting.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by dddd on July 14, 2000 at 21:07:36 PT
Speaking of movie time.Now that the czar is going to be bribing hollywood to further his dimented obsessions,,,,we may be seeng some well financed false blockbusters,that legitimize,and justify the Colombian scam/'s not unlikely...........dddd
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on July 14, 2000 at 05:36:29 PT:
It's movie time, again
Many years ago, there were a couple of movies that dealt with the problem of illicit drug trafficking and the corruption that goes with it. They were "The French Connection" and the "French Connection 2".In the sequel, the French arch-trafficker is having lunch with an American partner, and is discussing their latest shipment schedules, vacation plans, etc. Just having a friendly chat while planning the continued enslavement of countless lives. Then the American takes his leave. As he does so, he picks up his dry-cleaner wrapped business suit - which happens to be an American Army officer's uniform.The connections between the US military, La Cosa Nostra, and drug trafficking in general go *way* back; US Naval Intelligence had made a deal with then-imprisoned Lucky Luciano in the early 1940's: his freedom for information concerning port facilities at Sicily, vital to the Allies preparations to invade. Al the while, he was 'doing bus-i-ness' and co-ordinating narcotics importation, while all the time the Navy had a wiretap on him and could certainly guess what he was up to. In return for his 'support', Luciano managed to have all the Mafiosi that Mussolini had locked up released after Italy surrendered. A very sweet deal for the Mob... and we have been suffering ever since for the Navy's wartime expediency.What Hiett and Company did was nothing new. What the judge did in sentencing him is nothing new, either: Ollie got a slap on the wrist, community service...and a radio show. Will we see Hiett engaging in the same G. Gordon Liddy-ish refusal to apologize for blatant lawbreaking ... ESPECIALLY, WHEN THE LAW BREAKERS ARE CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROSECUTING THE LAW? (BTW, Liddy was a Federal LEO, who led the raid on Timothy Leary's little commune in Virginia, and was a top LEO working for Nixon when he engineered the Watergate break in. And like all the other Watergate goons, he got sent to a 'country-club' prison. Oh, yes, the Powers That Be take care of their own. No hell-holes for them, where they have to constantly be on guard against life-threatening situations. As their victims do.)So, I ask you, who's really 'fighting' drugs? The President...who refused to take a piss-test like every other civil servant has to? And then fired his first doctor for having the temerity to ask for a medical history? The Vice Prez, who is a *known* doper who *did* inhale, and not 'experimentally' but dilligently repeated his 'research' numerous times? Gen'rul Barry...whose right hand man in Colombia, Col. Hiett, was a known security risk because of his wife, and looked the other way? The whole time this crew is on watch, the US experienced the greatest rise in the use of illicit drugs among young people in the entire history of this so-called DrugWar.Is this any way to fight a war? Yes... if you never had any intention of winning it. Because to win it, you have to do the one thing that seems to go against common least, as a bureaucrat defines it. Decriminalize. Some links you might want to look at:THOSE DIRTY ROTTEN BANKERS! with Dr. Alfred W. McCoy:THE POLITICS OF HEROIN IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, IMPUNITY & THE CIA:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by dddd on July 13, 2000 at 22:30:52 PT
"Colombia's new National Police chief Gen. Luis Ernesto Gilibert condemned the sentence as a ``joke''. Yes,and it's a bad joke at that.This is another example of the twisted justice created by the drug war.If this guy was me or you,we would have been charged with conspiracy,and sentenced to a mandatory minimum."All animals are created equal,but some animals are more equal than others"..(a near exact remembered quote,from Animal Farm,by G. Orwell) ................dddd
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: