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BEFORE ME the undersigned authority personally appeared Special Agent Donald R. Kimbler, of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Miami, Florida, who upon being duly sworn, deposes and says on information and belief:
On September 20, 1978. JOSE PUJOL, ordered the following weapons and accessories from Garcia National Gun Shop. 225
S.W. 22nd Avenue, Miami:
Ten(10) Remington #742, 30.06 Caliber rifles
PUJOL told the salesman that the Panamanian Consul was respon
sible for everything and that he, PUJOL, was the middle man in
On September 22, 1978, PUJOL returned to Garcia National Gun Shop and signed ATF Form 4473 for the rifles he had ordered.
The salesman told PUJOL that he would need a license to export
PUJOL said he would take the chance in exporting
the rifles because he was putting them into the airplane himself. PUJOL made a phone call, and then told the salesman he would be ordering firearms in quantities amounting to $2,000,000.00. PUJOL also said that the weapons were going to Nicaraguan guerilla
On September 29, 1978 PUJOL returned to the Garcia Nacional
Gun Shop and placed another order for the following weapons and
Three (3) Colt AR-15 rifles
Ten(10) Browning 9 mon magazines
EDGARDO LOPEZ, the Panamanian Consul in Miami.
ATF forms 4473 for the weapons · PUJOL had ordered earlier. PUJOL later returned and received the weapons he had ordered.
On October 9, 1978, PUJOL ordered approximately $25,000 of weapons and accessories. The order consisted of:.
Ten (10) Remington 1742, 30-06 caliber rifles
On November 7, 1978, Edgardo Lopez, Jose Antonio Alvarez,
and another Latin male, entered Garcia National Gun Shop at 2:45
P.M. I observed Lopez sign the ATF forms 4473 for the weapons described above and others.
On November 9, 1978, LOPEZ, AND ALVAREZ went to the Tamiami Gun Shop, 2975 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, Florida. LOPEZ purchased
seven pistols and one ishotgun. LOPEZ gave the handguns to ALVAREZ,
who then transported the weapons to Panama aboard AIR PANAMA.
On November 9, 1978, at about 2:00 P.M. I seized the weapons
and accessories which were ordered by PUJOL on October 17, 1978,
for which LOPEZ signed the ATF forms 4473.
On November 10, 1978, LOPEZ stated to me that he had been ir
volved in at least seven firearms transactions which PUJOL and
ALVAREZ which involved the purchase of over two hundred firearms to
be exported from the United States.
LOPEZ said he had received his
instructions from an official of the Panamanian G-2, an intelligence
Mr. HUBBARD. Now we call Mr. Eugene W. Gleason, investigator for the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee.
He previously was an investigator for the House Judiciary Committee on Crime; and for 11 years was an investigator for the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.
Mr. Gleason, thank you for your testimony, and please proceed.
STATEMENT OF EUGENE W. GLEASON, INVESTIGATOR,
COMMITTEE ON MERCHANT MARINE AND FISHERIES Mr. GLEASON. After a number of inquiries to the committee concerning the accuracy of news reports about gun smuggling between the United States and Panama, the chairman directed the investigative staff of the committee to undertake a review of the available public information for the express purpose of informing the committee of the accuracy of those reports.
arrying out that directive, I have visited Miami, Fla., on two occasions. Along with other members of the staff, we have interviewed officials of the Department of the Treasury including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; Customs; State Department officials, including the Munitions Control Agency; spokesmen for the Department of Justice. We referred to CIA documents and talked to media representatives and others.
The news stories in question-which have been supplied to the members of the committee-concern the indictment and arrest of five men in Miami, Fla., in early May, for the illegal purchase and export of firearms to Panama. They include an official of the Panamanian Government.
The second case involved four men indicted on April 24, by a Federal grand jury in Brownsville, Tex., on firearms conspiracy charges involving the purchase and transfer of 1,000 machine guns. One man in that case was held on $1 million bail.
Both of these gunrunning conspiracy cases were the result of outstanding police work by agents of a half-dozen or more Federal agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; Customs; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Coast Guard; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the State Department's Munitions Control Division; along with the close cooperation of the Department of Justice.
I want to point out here we will take every precaution not to prejudice pending prosecutions that might be involved in this matter. All this material has been assembled from public records.
So the question was put this way:
Answer. Yes, and the Government has so charged.
Question. Is there evidence that at least some of these weapons were subsequently transferred from Panama to Nicaragua?
Answer. Yes. The Government has traced a large quantity of M-1 carbines, a standard World War II Army weapon, from the manufacturer and distributor in the United States to the Government of Panama.
Within a matter of weeks after that transaction, the weapons were captured inside Nicaragua and the serial numbers were matched up with those sold to Panama and reported in connection
with an export permit issued by the Munitions Control Agency of the State Department.
You have before you a copy of the indictment from the U.S. District Court of the southern district of Florida which outlines that conspiracy and names five defendants in the case-two of which are identified as agents of the Panamanian Government.
They are: Carlos Wittgreen and Jose Antonio Alvarez. Alvarez has been arrested and charged. Wittgreen was arrested but fled to Panama. A third unindicted coconspirator was Edgardo Lopez, a Consul of Panama, stationed in Miami, who has also fled to Panama.
When questioned by Donald R. Kimbler, special agent, A.T. & F., last November 10, Edgardo Lopez stated to Kimbler that he had been involved in at least seven firearms purchases involving over 200 weapons which have been illegally exported from the United States.
Agent Kimber's statement on file with the court in which he outlines the investigation and the conspiracy is in the file before you.
The indictment before you details the illegal purchases and/or transfer-this is in the indictment-of at least 817 M-1 carbines which went to Panama. A number of those weapons have been taken from Sandinista insurgents by the Nicaraguan National Guard. Some of those captured weapons have been returned to the United States and are in the hearing room today.
The particular weapons I refer to were sold by Southern Gun Distributors in Miami, Fla., to Public Safety Associates, of Fort Lauderdale, and sold to Caza y Pesca, S.A., of Panama.
The sale was authorized by the State Department and the export permit for that sale is among the documents you have before you.
The permit was issued January 24, 1979. More than 70 of the weapons were captured in Nicaragua in mid-April after their delivery to Caza y Pesca via Air Panama-a government-controlled corporation.
The second case before you, the Brownsville, Tex., indictment, is detailed in a public statement by ATF Director G. R. Dickerson. It is a conspiracy case involving one thousand military-type machine guns, $100,000 worth of parts. That document is a part of your file. Four men were named in the indictment which was handed up this past April 24.
Other witnesses scheduled to appear before this committee are prepared to discuss both of these cases in more detail.
I should point out that in pursuing this inquiry we have had excellent cooperation from the administration and its agencies. The indictments are the result of outstanding law enforcement work by the Government agencies. In the files prepared for each member are news stories comprehensively prepared by Joe Crankshaw and Sam Jacobs, of the Miami Herald, columnist Walter Reilly and television reporter Carl Lazenby.
So the question is, was there any truth in these rumors, and particularly, the news reports about guns being smuggled from the United States into Panama, and presumably then on into Mexico?
Material you have before you and comments I made substantially verifies that that is true.
That is about it.
Mr. HUBBARD. Thank you very much, Mr. Gleason, for your excellent testimony and work as our committee investigator.
Do you have knowledge as to the whereabouts of Edgardo Lopez, the Panamanian Consul stationed in Miami?
Mr. GLEASON. I have been told that he is back in Panama. If I were him, having talked like that, I would be a little concerned about going back, having admitted making illegal purchases, so forth.
Mr. HUBBARD. Say that again?
Mr. GLEASON. If I were Mr. Lopez, I would be concerned about going back to Panama, having admitted to Federal agents the existance of a conspiracy.
But I am told that is where he is, back in Panama.
Mr. HANSEN. Would you say that you needed even more time to investigate, or do you feel you have completed
Mr. GLEASON. In view of the pending cases, it will be hard to go further and discuss it publicly. But we can always use more time.
Mr. HANSEN. Is this the only discovery you fully developed of agents?
Mr. GLEASON. There was a statement in the newspapers by an ATF agent, who presumably is a lot more knowledgeable than I, agent Lee Waldrop, a supervisor in the Miami office of the ATF. He said: “We are supplying all of the Panama runs with the instruments of war.”
The newspapers quote Lee Waldrup, Chief of the Government's Bureau of ATF in Miami.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you.
Mr. Gleason, one thing I am confused about, and that is the question of exchange of parts in Brownsville. Has there been a tiein between those purchases and the fact that parts have gotten to either Mexico or Panama?
Mr. GLEASON. You mean, has there been enough time for them to get there?
Mr. Wyatt. No. What is the relevance of the machinegun parts in Brownsville?
Mr. GLEASON. Well, there were a 1,000 machineguns, plus $100,000 worth of machinegun replacement parts involved in that Brownsville conspiracy.
And they were shipped by, I am told, men who were not American. And they were going to Latin America.
Mr. WYATT. Somewhere in Latin America?