[ Main Site Menu ] [ Back to Pilots Menu ] [ Index to Site Documents ]

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


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 based planes.

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 patrol.
Page 2

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.
Page 3

#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 from plane.

#13  Princeton Farms, Quail Roost Drive and S.W. 167th Avenue
        Crop dusters and private; good isolated strip, 2000 foot runway.

#14  Private Field, 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, mile or more long.

#21  Holley Dusting Service, 4 miles West of Holley field on Tower Road on V.S. Highway 27
        Crop dusting, 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 mile long; good smooth strip and could hold a DC-3
Page 4

Person to contact for reliable South Dade information on airstrips;

1511 N.E. 14th Street,
Homestead, Florida
phone number CI 7-2167.

Supplementary List Other Than Dade County

#1  Key Largo, Monroe County

#2  Immokalee,
      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
      Municipal Field

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.

Page 5

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 submitted.

Following is a list of persons possibly responsible for much of the leaflet dropping:

D. VASQUEZ                       JAMES WEIGHMAN
BILLY WINN                       JAMES SPINNING
HUGO BAIR                         R. JAFFE
MARTIN CAROL                 F. LAZAR

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.

Respectfully submitted,

FRANK KAPPEL, Supervisor
Criminal Intelligence

End of Page

Copyright 1998-2014 Cuban Information Archives. All Rights Reserved.