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CIA Denies Claim it Trained Guerrillas at Mexican Drug Trafficker’s Ranch

July 6, 1990 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An informant claims the Central Intelligence Agency trained Guatemalan guerrillas at a ranch owned by Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration report.

The allegation, made in an interview with the DEA, was denied Thursday by a CIA spokesman in Washington, D.C.

″The whole story is nonsense,″ spokesman Mark Mansfield said. ″We have not trained Guatemalan guerrillas on that ranch or anywhere else.″

Caro is serving a prison term in Mexico for the murder of U.S. DEA agent Enrique Camarena at Caro’s home in 1985.

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The DEA report surfaced this week in the U.S. District Court trial of four other men allegedly involved in Camarena’s torture and murder.

Judge Edward Rafeedie ordered prosecutors to give the report to defense attorneys. The Associated Press obtained a copy, although the informant’s name and other identifying information was blacked out.

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday identified the informant as Laurence Victor Harrison. The newspaper said Harrison ran a communications network for traffickers and cohorts in Mexican law enforcement in the 1980s.

The ranch purportedly used to train guerrillas is in Veracruz, Mexico. The bodies of Camarena and his pilot were found on a ranch near Guadalajara.

The informant told the DEA on Feb. 9 that the CIA used Mexico’s Federal Security Directorate (DFS) as a cover for the guerrilla camp.

″Representatives of the DFS, which was the front for the training camp, were in fact acting in consort with major drug overlords to ensure a flow of narcotics through Mexico into the United States,‴ Harrison said.

Sometime between 1981 and 1984, members of the Mexican Federal Judicial Police who went to the ranch on a separate drug investigation were confronted by the guerrillas, the report says.

″As a result of the confrontation, 19 MFJP agents were killed. Many of the bodies showed signs of torture; the bodies had been drawn and quartered,″ the informant said.

Not contained in the DEA report are any specific statements as to whether the CIA knew who owned the Veracruz ranch, why Guatemalans were being trained there or if any marijuana was being cultivated there.

The informant also told the DEA in a Sept. 11, 1989, interview that CIA personnel once stayed at the home of Mexican drug trafficker Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, who was convicted and imprisoned in Mexico in the Camarena case.

Harrison testified in the Camarena case that he lived at Fonseca’s house in 1983 and 1984 while installing radio systems. He carried an Interior Ministry credential which he used while serving as a guard on Fonseca’s drug convoys.

Harrison also has testified that he decided in September to become a government witness.

In testimony Harrison has said he audited classes at the University of California, Berkeley, in the late 1960s, went to Mexico for the first time in 1968 during a student rebellion there, and settled there in 1971.

He has denied ever working for a U.S. government agency.