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For years, the CIA has used drugs and drug dealers as a means to control politics and fight against governments that are both friendly and unfriendly with the U.S.

From cocaine and heroin dealers the CIA has supported, paid and protected some very unscrupulous characters.

Here is a list of the “Top 5 CIA Connected Gangsters of All Time.”

Before you move on to this list, check out some of our other posts:

5. Oscar Danilo Blandon

Oscar Danilo Blandon was a Nicaraguan government official who fled to the U.S. when the Communist Sandinistas came to power. Blandon would raise money from the a military group, The Contras, supported by the United States to overthrow the Sandinistas. Blandon would then admit to selling cocaine to Los Angeles gang members including infamous drug trafficker, “Freeway” Ricky Ross. He would claim that he was protected by the CIA who allowed him to sell drugs without punishment. Blandon would be arrested in 1986 only to become an informant for the DEA.

4. Lester “Jim Brown” Coke

Lester  “Jim Brown” Coke was a strongman for the Tivoli Gardens area of Kingston, Jamaica which was controlled by the Jamaican Labor Party. When the opposition party the People’s National Party took power and began adopting socialist policies, the CIA began a destabilization program with the JLP to fight against the PNP. Coke’s associate, Cecil Connor, would later claim that the CIA provided Coke’s gang with guns and drugs. Coke would later be burned in a Jamaican jail cell while awaiting extradition to the U.S.

3. Luis Posada Carrilles

Luis Posada Carrilles is a Cuban national who was trained by the CIA to fight against the Fidel Castro regime. In 1976, a Cuban plane flying from Barbados to Jamaica exploded mid-air as a result of bombs placed on the plane. 73 people were killed including the whole Cuban fencing team, including women and children. The bombs were traced to two employees of Posada’s in Venezuela. Carrilles was also a suspected drug trafficker with ties to the Latin American cocaine trade who was also implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal. Carrilles is currently free living in the U.S. despite being wanted in several countries on terrorist charges.

2. Manuel Noriega

Manuel Noriega was an official employee of the CIA starting in 1967 but his relationship with the agency dates back to the 50’s. In 1988, a Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism and Narcotics found that the Noriega manipulated the U.S. while they turned a blind eye to his corruption and drug dealing. Noriega had close relationships with both former CIA director and president, George Bush, as well as Medillin Cartel head, Pablo Escobar.

1. Ahmed Wali Karzai

Ahmed Wali Karzai was the brother of Afghan President Hamid Harzai and a suspected opium dealer and warlord. Karzai would come to prominence after returning to Afghanistan from the U.S. after the American invasion in 2001. The New York Times would report that Karzai was on the CIA’s payroll from 2001 to to 2009, and that there was a strong possibility he was involved in Afghanistan’s booming opium trade. The CIA would use Karzai’s paramilitary organization for strikes against the Taliban. Karzai would be killed by a bodyguard of his in 2011.