Schmoke joins call for probe of CIA-drug charges


Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is joining the call for a congressional probe into charges that a drug ring with ties to the CIA introduced crack cocaine to the nation's cities -- and is urging other mayors to do the same.

In letters sent yesterday, Schmoke urged his fellow urban leaders to join the Congressional Black Caucus in asking for an investigation into the charges raised last month in a three-part series in the San Jose Mercury News.

"You know of the devastating impact that drugs have had on cities in the past two decades," Schmoke wrote. "Many questions have been raised about our inability as a nation to control the flow of drugs into and throughout the country. Clearly, it is in our national interest to determine whether an agency of the United States government assisted, either directly or indirectly, the distribution of drugs in this country."

Schmoke sent the letters to Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II, president of the National Conference of Black Mayors; Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, president of the National Conference of Mayors and Columbus, Ohio, Mayor Gregory S. Lashutka, president of the National League of Cities.

This week, Schmoke sent letters calling for an investigation to House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and members of the Maryland congressional delegation. The Congressional Black Caucus called for a public inquiry last week.

In its series, "Dark Alliance: The Story Behind the Crack Explosion," the Mercury News said that a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring run by members of a CIA-backed guerrilla force sold tons of cocaine in the 1980s to street gangs in South Central Los Angeles. The profits from the sales were used to buy weapons for U.S.-backed anti-Communist guerrilla groups known as the contras, who were trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.

Those sales fueled a crack epidemic in America's cities, the paper said. CIA Director John M. Deutch has said he has found no evidence of wrongdoing by his agency.

Pub Date: 9/19/96

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