I had hoped to write at some length about the Great Coke Jet mystery today, since a couple of commenters have sent in some great leads, appended to previous posts. Alas, time presseth mightily. So right now, let me strongly recommend this article published by the Tampa Tribune, which details the links between the two cocaine jets that we’ve been looking at.
Although the planes probably didn’t contain drugs while in the Tampa Bay area, investigators say both aircraft were purchased with cartel money and were used to carry cocaine, most likely from Colombia into Mexico.
“Cartel money”? Is there any proof of this?
Clyde O’Connor paid — we are told — two million for the jet, even though most people think he didn’t have that kind of money. But his partner, a pilot named Greg Smith, says that the money came from a man named Don Whittington, widely acknowledged to have CIA connections. Not only that. Several sources have said that the actual bill of sale lists the purchase price as $100. If that’s true, then we may fairly surmise that the “sale” was a temporary on-paper ruse designed to hide the aircraft’s true owner. (In a previous post, we noted that the craft was controlled by the mysterious Arik Kislin.)
The Tampa Tribune’s reporters cannot engage in surmise, of course. But they can dig up that bill of sale, which is hard evidence.
Tribune reporters Howard Altman and Karen Branch-Brioso offer up one additional nugget about O’Connor:
He has also filed for bankruptcy twice, in 1997 and 1998, in South Florida, listing dozens of creditors, including a number of casinos.
Casinos, eh? Methinks that if you owe money to those guys, you might be willing to play Let’s Make a Deal…