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Arms Smuggling -- Cuba

[Reference: Personal papers of Tom Dunkin.  Notes, 3 pages]

[NOTE: Spelling was not changed from the original]

Sept. 15, 1974--This material originally was compiled at the request of Jay McMullen during September and November of 1966 while the "Nassau Project" was alive, and later clips from home files at his request for all possible information on arms smuggling).
Tom dunkin

Arms Smuggling-Cuba
Source-Miami Herald Reference Library
Envelope covering period 1964-5

Clip dated Sept. 24, 1964:
Ricardo Lorie Y Valla, one of Castro's chief weapons purchasers in the U.S. Testified before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee that agents bought guns in all stores in Florida that would sell guns.  The guns were hidden in homes of various Cubans in Miami, then transported to Fort Lauderdale for air transportation to the Sierra Maestra.
Clip dated Feb. 14 1964:
AP dispatch datelined Jacksonville, Fla.
"Customs officials said Thursday no federal charges will be filed against a young Cuban refugee arrested with a quantity of bazooka shells, hunting knives and medicine in his car.
"Customs Agent W.B. Lankford said investigation has determined that apparently no federal law was violated by Juan Miguel Rassi, 21, of New York City, except possible transportation of goods intended for export, without a license.
"This could lead to the confiscation of Rassi's automobile and the goods it contained, Lankford said, but no criminal charges will be pressed."
Envelope on Subject- CUBA- Arms Smuggling, series March 27,28,30,31, 1958.
Series written by Georga Southworth and Donne Petitclore quoted Customs agents Charles E. Wyatt and William B. Lankford as saying movement of arms through Miami to Cuba is a steady operation.  Customs had confiscated arms valued at from $75,000 to $100,00 during the last year, and it was estimated by Batista government that they had confiscated at leasted $2 million worht of arms struggled into Cuba from the U.S.
Clip dated Oct. 13, 1958:
Customs and Florida Highway Patrol arrested three Cubans on Florida turnpike (Sunshine State Parkway) with 200 M-1 rifles.
Officers had trailed them 500 miles before making the arrest
(Southworth-Petitclare series said that fines ranging from $100 to $1000 usually were imposed upon persons convicted of smuggling arms in 1958.)
Clip dated Nov. 30 1958:
The 80-foot lyacht Restless II was caught near Key Biscayne with 200 rifles, 7,000 rounds of immunition.  Supervising Agent Charles V. Wyatt and Border Patrolman Charles Williams made seizure.
Eight men were arrested, including Guillermo Martin, 36, of 4040 Sw 60 Ct., Clip said case going to grand jury Dec. 3, but no follow up clip in envelope.

OF POSSIBLE INTEREST for further research:  Case against Bachman brothers, Stanley J.; Jerome H. and Bernard S. Bachman, doing business as Stanborn Securities Corp., in Rochester N.Y. charged with conspiracy to provide arms to Fidel Castro.  Nov. 30, 1958 clips said hung jury resulted in mistrial, and government considering retrial.  No follow up material in envelope.

arms smuggling-cuba-page 2

Clip dated June 11, 1959:  (Virginia Bland case)
Virginia Bland, female pilot, and five others cleared of conspiracy charges; seven others to be arraigned for trying to fly arms from Miami to Dominican Republic.  (News story sketchy, baut involved attempted bribery of Customs Agent Wallace Shanley.  Full details of incident reported in book by Miriam Ottenber," The Federal Investigators").
Clip dated July 1, 1959:
Three arrested and one escaped when carload of arms and a light plane were seized at North Perry Airport in Broward County.
Rolando Masferrer was found a few miles from the airport about an hour after the 3 a.m. seizure.  He was arrested for having no driver's license, and later released.  He was driving a car owned by Richard Jaffee, 29, of 2030 NW 175th st., owner of Torch Investments Corp., and also owner of the plane involved.  Quantity of anti-Castro leaflets found in car with Masferrer.
The trio arrested was identified as Jose Carbonell Peres Marrero, alias Jose Carbonell, 51, of 3614 NW 12th Terrace; Carlos Manuel Zayas Castro, 30, of 415 SW 5th St., a former newspaper editor in Cuba, and Robert John Daut, 38, of 1570 NW 20th St., a Miami photographer.
Clip dated July 30, 1959:
Two Americans and one Cuban arrested at a Key Largo airstrip with load of arms bound for Cuba.  Arrest made by Border Patrol, sheriff's deputies and a state fish and wildlife officer.  Cargo included 15 Springfield rifles, and 20,000 rounds of ammunition.
Ray Bond, senior inspector for Homestead unit of Border Patrol said names of those arrested could not be released because all three have relatives living in Cuba.
Arrest made at Ocean Reef airstrip, where a resident notified authorities that something odd was going on the night before, when someone put flares out on airstrip, plane landed then took off.
Seizure made at 2:40 a.m., involved a 1959 Piper Comanche.  The arrested men were to be given a hearing before U.S. Commissioner Roger Davis "later today" (July 30, 1959). Plane had been rented at Tamiami Airport on Tuesday, from Howe Aviation.  Rented by Carlos Rojas, about 24, of 409 SE 9th Ave., Hialeah.
Clip dated Aug. 3, 1959:
Manuel Carlos Rojas, 21, of 409 SE 9th Ave, Hialeah, and Orlando Ramirez, 29, of Havana, landed a plane on road at Grassy Key Saturday night and tried to unload and hide cargo of arms.  The duo said they had tried to fly arms into Pinar del Rio Province, but a Cuban f51 chased them away.
Cargo was arms valued at $5,000- included 30 carbines and 20,000 rounds of ammunition.  Rojas and Ramirez complained spectators, who prevented them from unloading and hiding arms, were "aiding communism."  Spectators held the two for police, L. Rene Raiole of Monroe county Sheriff's Department was arresting officer.
arms smuggling-cuba- page 3

Rojas and Ramirez mistook rotating light on restaurant on Grassy Kay for an airport beacon, and made perfect landing on paved road.
They were held in Monroe County jail on arms smuggling charge, and were to be taken before U.S. Commissioner William V. Alloway in Key West.
Rojas was free on #2,500 bond on a similar charge made a week earlier at Key Largo.
clip dated Dec. 4, 1960:
Roy Katon, 45, operator of the Tamiami Gun Shop, 3050 SW 8th St.
Three persons found guilty of gun running in federal court.  Judge Emmett Choate delayed sentencing pending routine presentence investigation.
The three were:
Roy Katon, 45, operator of the Tamiami Gun Shop, 3050 SW 8th St.
Luis Orlando Alvarez, no address given.
Carlos Zayas Castro,  "     "     "
Clip dated Aug. 9, 1959:
Reported that General Services Administration was to inspect seized weapons stored by Customs from seizures over the last two years, to determine disposition.
Some weapons, submachineguns, had been issued to prison guards and some rifles given to U.S. Atomic Energy Commission guards.
Smithsonian Institution asked for Cuban machetes from seized items for museum pieces.
(Note for further research.  story published July 5, 1959 in Miami News, Page 2 B, by Sanford Schnier, headlinged "Where Do Smugglers Get Those Guns?"
(end research notes)

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