Airfields in South Florida
[Reference: OCB Dade County, Florida file #49800-B]
DATE: OCTOBER 26, 1959
TO: THOMAS J. KELLY, Metropolitan Sheriff
FROM: FRANK KAPPEL, Supervisor, Criminal Intelligence
SUBJECT: INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS
Thursday, October 22, 1959, news was received via radio, television and
newspaper that FIDEL CASTRO had made a statement that leaflet dropping
airplanes over Havana had caused near riot and that they were Miami
Contact was immediately made with MR. FRANK WATTERSON of the United
States State Department and with various agents of the F.B.I. who are
assigned to Latin American affairs. MR. WATTERSON stated he had
received no word from Washington relative to an investigation and
obviously CASTRO had not filed a formal complaint, therefore he planned
no immediate action.
The statement from the F.B.I. representatives was exactly as MR.
WATTERSON'S with one addition; that even thought they are not actively
engaged in an investigation, they would appreciate any Intelligence
information which this Department may obtain.
Discussions with agents of the Customs Department and Border Patrol
resulted in a unanimous decision that the mere transportation and
dropping of propaganda leaflets was not a violation. It was then
resolved the normal vigilance would (based on past experience) be
retained on known and more popular airstrips to assure that no
contraband was being flown out.
KAPPEL received a phone call Saturday, October 24, 1959 from Officer on
the Day, Chief BULLOCK. Chief BULLOCK stated, according to
newspaper reports the Sheriff was to receive a request from Governor
LEROY COLLINS pertaining to CASTRO'S allegations. It was then
decided some plan should be formulated to obtain data for the Sheriff's
reply to Governor Collins.
A meeting was scheduled for 1:30 PM, October 24, 1959 in Chief
BULLOCK'S office at the Arena. In attendance at the meeting were
Chief BULLOCK, Captain O'CONNOR and Lieutenant BILLBROUGH of the
Detective Division, TYLER WINTON and HERB WALSH of the Border Patrol,
KAPPEL and TARABOCHIA of the Intelligence Unit. It was again
declared that no violation of the law exists in the dropping of
propaganda leaflets. The final decision was to prepare a list of
airstrips that could be used for leaflet dropping missions; attempt to
contact the owners and ascertain the extent of use of the strip, and
who is authorized to use the strip. This information is to be
evalutated by intelligence, and a list of fields divided into districts
and submitted to the Patrol and Traffic Division with the request that
uniform officers make periodic checks of these strips while on routine
Officers will be instructed to arrest for any and all violations;
possession of contraband; trespassing; improper license tags;
impersonating officers etc. It is quite evident this plan is
merely a harassment and the presence of uniform cars and officers a
deterrent. Uniform officers will be advised that the Intelligence
Unit is on call twenty-four hours a day with information, or to assist
with advice or course of action to be taken.
Below are listed the known landing fields and some pertinent facts pertaining to same:
Miami International Airport and North in Dade County
#1 Miami International Airport, LeJeune Road and 20th Street Both large and small planes can fly to and from
this location generally without interference if they comply with control tower regulations.
#2 Chalk's Flying Service, Mac Arthur Causeway Seaplanes, commercial, hauling to nearby islands.
#3 Amelia Erheart and Southfield of Navy and Marine Corps, East 8th Avenue and 52 Street,
Hialeah, Eastward to N.W. 27th Avenue. Good field; could be used;
#4 Marine corps Air Station (former) N.W. 135 Street and LeJeune Road and 37th to 57th Avenues.
Good field; could be used; particularly the western portion.
#5 Biscayne Seaplane Base Inc., 11295 Biscayne Boulevard.
Primarily private planes.
#6 Craves Tract, East of Biscayne Boulevard on N.E. 139th Street Tow planes for aerial signs.
#7 197th Street and 7/10 of mile East of the Boulevard
Very good conditions, planes occasionally land here; nature of operation unknown.
South of Miami International Airport
#8 Tamiami Airport, s.w. 8th Street and 17th Avenue
Good field, will handle multiple engine aircraft and
known to have been used in the past for illegal operations.
#9 Areo Country Club, formerly Brown's Airport, S.W. 104 Street and 74 Ave.
Primarily private aircraft.
#10 Richmond Air Base, Richmond Drive and S.W. 117 Avenue.
Information was obtained that several weeks ago the U.S. Border Patrol
requested F.A.A. to radar track an unidentified plane approaching this
field. Results not known.
#11 Private Field, approximately 1 mile North of Quail Drive in line with S.W. 167 Avenue.
Reported to belong to the Pope family, no other information obtained.
#12 B. & T. Farms and Pitts Aero Service, Grossman Drive and
S.W. 187 Avenue Curtis Pitts and Jim Holland operators; dusters and
private planes, two hangers. Border Patrolman Phillips took alien
#13 Princeton Farms, Quail Roost Drive and S.W. 167th Avenue
Crop dusters and private; good isolated strip, 2000 foot runway.
#14 Private Field, ½ mile West of Goulds
Operated by Charles Burr, Crop dusters.
#15 Homestead Air Force Base.
#16 Barnes Field, 3 miles North of State Prison Camp on Farmer Road
Crop dusting and private; narrow with high tension wires close by.
#17 Sotille Private Field, South of Tucille Drive and East of Tennessee Road
Small field; low; flooded out now.
#18 South Dade Farms, 3 miles S.E. of Florida City
Crop dusting and Gov3ernment Park plane; good width strip and isolated.
#19 Holley Dusting Service, 3 miles south of Florida City on Tower Road.
Crop dusting, soft wet ground; trees at end of runway.
#20 Brown's Strip, sawmill roads, 2 miles south of Palm Drive
Crop dusting, isolated, ½ mile or more long.
#21 Holley Dusting Service, 4 miles West of Holley field on Tower Road on V.S. Highway 27
Crop dusting, ½ mile strip, isolated and Border Patrol worked a case here.
#22 Barnes Strip, in Everglades National Park, 7 miles Southwest of the Holley field
located on U.S. 27.
Crop dusting; private; 1/2 mile long; isolated.
#23 Iora Strip, 4 miles west of the Barnes Strip in the Everglades National Park.
Crop dusting and private; isolated.
#24 Hayes Strip, 3 miles Southwest of Barnes Strip in the Everglades National Park.
Crop dusting; private; wide
and ½ mile long; good smooth strip and could hold a DC-3
Person to contact for reliable South Dade information on airstrips;
1511 N.E. 14th Street,
phone number CI 7-2167.
Supplementary List Other Than Dade County
#1 Key Largo, Monroe County
Reported to be very good possibility
#3 Upper Matecumbe Key
#4 Marathon, Monroe County
Gas and oil available.
#5 North Perry, West Hollywood
Has been used for illegal operations.
#6 Davie, Broward County
#7 Ft. Lauderdale
A similar list omitting the supplementary list is being prepared and
sent to Chief LEPPIG with the recommendation that the Uniform Division
follow through as aforementioned. Plotting maps are being
prepared to assist in locating and spotting these airstrips.
At this point is may be well to mention that small single engine
aircraft are the type most widely used in these leaflet dropping
expeditions, and this type plane can take off and land on any
semi-smooth area 75 to 100 yards long by 30 feet wide. This makes
every open field, level, filled-spot and sparsely traveled road a
potential "air-strip". Based on this, it is logically impossible
to attempt to place County wide surveillance.
At approximately 8:50 PM, October 24, 1959, the Public safety
Department complaint Desk received a call from a male speaking with a
Spanish accent. The unknown person stated, "At 10:00 PM, an
aircraft will take off from an airfield on S.W. 8th Street to drop
leaflets on Havana." and hung up.
Captain GALLAGHER, Detective Division proceeded to Tamiami Airport
located on S.W. 8th Street and an investigation proved negative.
Border Patrol was advised.
At approximately 10:00 PM, October 24, 1959 KAPPEL received a telephone
call from Agent LEE STAFFORD of the F.B.I. STAFFORD stated they
had just received a coded message from Washington recommending an
investigation and submitting of reports of their findings.
STAFFORD further stated they are appreciative of any information that
would assist them in their investigation.
KAPPEL received information that a meeting was being held Sunday
October 25, 1959, 8:00 PM at the "Circulo Cubano" Building 90 N./W.
27th Avenue by the "26th of July Club of Miami." The purpose of
the meeting is to discuss plans to condemn the persons responsible for
the leaflet dropping. Information was also received that
Anti-Castro groups would make an appearance in protest of this meeting.
Captain LEE NAPIER, Miami Police Department was advised and stated the
necessary precautions would be taken to prevent any violence.
Agent TARABOCHIA, Intelligence Unit and Detective AL MOLINA, Detective
Division were detailed to attend the above mentioned meeting to gain
Intelligence information. Both TARABOCHIA and MOLINA were
instructed by KAPPEL that their mission was strictly Intelligence and
should any acts of violence occur, they were not to become
involved. Report of the information gained at the meeting will be
Following is a list of persons possibly responsible for much of the leaflet dropping:
GORDON HOOVER EVELIO OLPIZAR
GEORGE TREADWELL MANUEL ROJAS
ORLANDO IZQUIERDO CHARLES HORMEL
JACK YOUNGBLOOD WILLIAM SHERGALIS
MARTIN CAROL F. LAZAR
PEDRO DIAZ LANZ
This list was compiled by the Intelligence Unit and members of the
Border Patrol and is based on past cases either directly or indirectly
implicating these persons.
A renewed effort is being made by the Intelligence Unit to ascertain
the whereabouts and present activities of the aforementioned.
All information is being forwarded to the Intelligence Unit for
evaluation and close liaison is being maintained with various federal
agencies for further developments.
Investigation will continue and reports will be submitted.
FRANK KAPPEL, Supervisor
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