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I think it was of Region 5 [Miami-Perto Rico), that they could not under the new, under the DEA Administrative sections of the Manual, that they could not cover his traveling from Puerto Rico to New York unless they had a CI number to ascribe the TR and the $50 (p. 627). Manuel pointed out that Peroff paid back in cash the cost of his July 16 flight from Puerto Rico to New York. “You got that money back, though, didn't you?” Manuel asked. O'Neill replied that DEX got the money from the airfare back but not the $50 (p. 627). Manuel asked:
It was just $50 that was in question here! That is what it amounted to as far as making Peroff a confidential informant ! O'Neill replied:
There was that part, and the part-if you are going to be using a guy, the best way to do it is to get an informant number out. That makes him the world's number one in formant (p. 627).
PEROFF RETURNS TO MONTREAL Frank Peroff flew back to Montreal July 27, 1973. Sidney C. Bowers, who had been transferred to DEA from Customs, met with him in Montreal, Peroff said. Bowers instructed Perofl' to tell Bouchard that he needed $10,000 before he would go through with the heroin deal, Peroff said. Peroff testified that he tried to explain to Bowers that Bouchard was strapped for cash due to the cost of his legal defense, Peroff said he told Bowers that he and Bouchard had already agreed that Peroll could take $20,000 of the $300,000 he was to pick up in Costa Rica. The $20,000 was to take care of Peroff's airplane and other expenses. Peroff tried to make the point that this was simply not the right time to make new financial demands on Bouchard (p. 88).
But Bowers was adamant, Peroff said. What Bowers wanted Vis for him "to do exactly as he said," Peroff testified. Peroff took another approach. He said he tried to point out to Bowers that Bouchard did not want him in Montreal in the first place. But Bowers did not budge. Peroff was to demand $10,000 from Bouchard and that was that (pp. 88, 89).
A change had come over Bowers, Peroff said. Where before they had had a "very casual friendly relationship," Peroff said, now Bowers treated him in an extremely businesslike" manner and addressed him with an official air that was not like him at all.” Peroff said he got the same iey treatment from Corporal Claude Savoie of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Peroff said the RCMP, as usual, had wired his room and telephone at the Martinique Hotel but Savoie wus mene about "what was happening and, more importantly, why this was happening." (P. 89.)
Questioning Savoie did not elicit clear responses from the Mountie, Peroff said, as all Savoie would reply would be cryptic observations such as, “This isn't the only case we have to work with DEA” or "Vesco is an American—go ask them.” (P. 89.)
One thing Savoie did provide him with, Peroff said, was a description of the jet Peroff purportedly had access to. Peroff said Bouchard
and others had been pressing him for specifics about his executive aircraft. Learning of this, Richard Dos Santos located the kind of plane needed and phoned Savoie with the details. Savoie gave Perotf a handwritten note describing the aircraft. Peroff saved the note and gave it to the Subcommittee. It was made part of the hearing record.
Savoie's note indicated that the plane, a 1967 Lear jet 23, was white with a gold stripe. Peroff was to say that he made a down payment of $30,000 on the plane February 27, 1973 in a lease payment agreement wherein he paid $8.250 a month with an option to buy the plane at the end of one year. The owner was Jet America of Washington. D.C. The plane was said to be at the Fulton County Airport in Atlanta where it was being serviced by Mobley Aviation.
The Subcommittee also obtained handwritten notes Dos Santos made while he was taking down a description of the Lear jet. These notes were also made part of the hearing record.
THE NEED FOR A COVER STORY ON THE JET
Group Supervisor John J. O'Neill testified that he never had much confidence in Bouchard's plan to have Frank Peroff fly to Costa Rica to pick up the $300,000 to finance the heroin purchase. O'Neill said he discounted the story almost immediately. The Costa Rica trip, as well as the Bouchard heroin plot itself, O'Neill said, "was a figment of Bouchard's imagination to keep Peroff on the string.” (Pp. 543, 544,522, 617.)
Yet when Peroff was sent to Montreal July 27, 1973, the flight to Costa Rica was still very much a part of the Bouchard inquiry-and the Bouchard heroin inquiry seemed to be very much alive. In fact, Richard Dos Santos telephoned to the RCMP the description of the Lear jet which was purportedly the one Peroff would pick up the $300,000 in. And it was John J. O'Neill who ordered Dos Santos to obtain the description of the Lear jet and relay it to Peroff in Montreal (p. 618).
O'Neill explained to Senators his reason for giving this order. O'Neill said he told Dos Santos to tell Peroff to demand $30,000 from Bouchard. This money, O'Neill said, was needed for repair work on the planerat least that was what Peroff was to tell Bouchard. O'Neill testified:
I told Dos Santos to tell Peroff the reason they needed the money was to keep the plane going, that they were losing money with the plane being down, that they were holding the plane for Bouchard, therefore, he needed the funds to keep
the plane going (pp. 618, 619). Subcommittee Investigator Philip Manuel showed O'Neill the copy of the description of the Lear jet which Peroff said was given to him by Corporal Claude Savoie of the RCMP. Manuel asked:
Is this the cover story that was supposed to be used for the plane which Mr. Peroff
' was going to use to fly to Costa Rica? Was that Mr. Bouchard's belief?
You would have to ask Bouchard. I would presume that, if Savoie (of RSMP) got together with Peroff on this, yes. The answer is yes (p. 621).
BOUCHARD WAS ANNOYED AT PEROFF'S PRESENCE IN MONTREAL
Bouchard brought Louis Cote with him when he came to see Peroff at the Martinique Hotel in Montreal July 28 at about 10 or 11 a.m. Peroff said the three of them talked for about five hours (p. 89). Bouchard was apprehensive about Peroff being in Montreal and warned him, Peroff said, that this visit "could kill this whole deal.”' Peroff testified:
I countered this by explaining that without financial assistance then and there, there was no deal. Without financial
assistance I would not move an airplane to Costa Rica (p. 90). Bouchard wanted to come up with the $10,000, Peroff said. Bouchard claimed he knew where he could buy seven kilograms of heroin at the "very reduced" rate of $10.000 a kilo, Peroff said, adding that the drugs were being brought into Canada from Paris by a man and woman who were indebted to Bouchard. If Bouchard could buy and then sell this heroin, he could make enough money to give Peroff the front money he was demanding (p. 90).
Peroff said Bouchard, Cote and he sought to find somebody to finance the seven-kilo purchase. Bouchard did not want to go to Giuseppe Cotroni for backing on this effort, Peroff said, for fear it might "interfere or endanger the larger deal which, at that time, involved Vesco and LeBlanc." (P. 90.) Calls were made to various potential backers of the seven-kilo buy, Peroff said. But they could find no one willing to invest in them. Finally, Bouchard concluded that their only hope was borrowing from a loan shark. Peroff said Bouchard declared he would contact a loan shark immediately (p. 91).
Peroff reminded Senators that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had wired his hotel room and telephone so that these discussions : phone calls were all on tape (p. 91).
Peroff testified that sometime after Bouchard and Cote left his room he received a phone call from a man who identified himself as a loan shark. The man wanted details about the Lear jet, Peroff said (p. 91).
The next day was Sunday, July 29, and Peroff stayed in contact with Bouchard by phone. Peroff said in a telephone call on Sunday Bouchard claimed to be having trouble raising $10,000 but was “fairly certain" he could come up with $5,000 by noon Monday, July 30. “At the very least" Bouchard felt he could get hold of $3,000, Peroff
' said. Peroff said he and Bouchard agreed to meet Monday at noon (p. 91).
At 10 a.m. Monday, Peroff said, he was awakened by Corporal Claude Savoie of the Roval Canadian Mounted Police. Perofl said Savoie told him to pack his bags because he was leaving Montreal "right away." (P. 91.)
Peroff objected, saying he was to meet Bouchard at noon. His protests falling on deaf ears, Peroff said, he asked if he could at least call Bouchard. Peroff said Savoie refused him that request. At the airport, Peroff said, he was confined to a limited area, precluding him from getting to a phone. All Savoie would reply to his questions was the response of "ask Rick," Peroff said. Rick was the nickname of Richard Dos Santo (p. 92).
In New York, Dos Santos met the plane, Peroff said. “I did ask Rick” what this was all about, Peroff said. Wearing a "big smile," Dos Santos suggested he call Bouchard, Peroff said. Bouchard's line was busy, Peroff said. From his room back at the Hilton Inn, Peroff kept calling Bouchard. But the line stayed busy for several days. He said he did get through to Bouchard's associate, Louis Cote, and Cote explained that Bouchard's phone was out of order (p. 92).
On August 1, 1973, Dos Santos called him at the Hilton. Peroff said. Dos Santos said he was on his way over and not to call Bouchard until he got there, Peroff testified. This time the call went through. Dos Santos taped the conversation. Pero iť said (pp. 92, 93).
Conrad Bouchard was "unbelieveably enraged,” Peroff said. Bouchard shouted that "the deal was as good as dead" and accused Peroff of being to blame. Peroff said that during the call Dos Santos told Peroff to try to persuade Bouchard that due to his short cash position the Lear jet had been repossessed (p. 92).
But Bouchard was not receptive to excuses at this point, for, as Peroff assessed the situation, this phone conversation with Bouchard was really where this investigation ended." (Pp. 92, 93.)
Peroff added that Bouchard told him that if Peroff were in Montreal at that moment he would have him killed. Bouchard explained that "I should consider myself lucky that I was not dead," Peroff testified (p. 93).
SUMMARY OF PEROFF'S POSITION To Peroff's way of thinking, DEA agents and other government officials had no intention of allowing the Bouchard heroin case to succeed because of Robert Vesco's reported involvement. That was why they sent him to Montreal at the very time Bouchard wanted him in Costa Rica, Peroff said (p. 94).
Instructing Peroff to demand money-$10,000~from a man known to be financially bad off was another effort to make sure the heroin venture collapsed, Peroff said (p. 94).
But Bouchard surprised the DEA when he vowed to come up with some of the front money, Peroff testified. Proof of his premise. Peroff said, could be found in the fact that as soon as drug agents learned Bouchard was doing "his best to raise a portion of the money and give it to me, I was yanked out of Montreal without explanation and sent back to New York” (p. 94).
The final blow came when Dos Santos directed him to tell Bouchard that the Lear jet had been repossessed, Peroff said. Peroff testified that Bouchard had no further use for Peroff in the heroin deal since without the Lear jet “I could not participate in any transaction." (P. 94.)
Government witnesses did not address themselves directly to the Peroff theory as to why the Bouchard case had failed. John J. O'Neill, for example, dismissed Peroff's position out of hand, asserting time and again that the Bouchard heroin inquiry was doomed to fail from the start and that the Vesco-LeBlanc lead was a complete fiction.
In turn, the DEA-Customs inquiry concluded that even if the Vesco-LeBlanc angle were deserving of further investigation it was Peroff
, by refusing to fly to Costa Rica when ordered, who undercut the case; the government was not to blame.
Once, however, a government witness conceded the Peroff theory had merits but he rejected it anyway. Richard Dos Santos, formerly with DEA, now back with Customs, testified that Peroff did everything he was told to do on the July 27 trip and that the Mounties held up their end of the venture as well but that two developments occurred which led them to send Peroff back to New York. First, Dos Santos said, the RCMP finally concluded Bouchard was lying to Peroff. Second, he said, the RCMP decided Bouchard knew Peroff was an informant and might kill him (pp. 272-274, 276). Dos Santos offered no documentation to support his view, Subcommittee Chief Counsel Howard J. Feldman asked:
Assuming that Mr. Peroff's allegations are correct, that Bouchard, when asked to put up money, said he would come un with $5,000, and that Peroff was, in effect, spirited out of Montreal, do you have any explanation of why this particular transaction was killed after all the investment that went
into it? Dos Santos replied: "I can't reconcile that with what we know, if Mr. Peroff is to be believed” (p. 272).
Dos Santos said the controversy over why Peroff left Montreal July 30 could be resolved in deciding which side to believe the Mounties, on the one hand, who told him they directed Peroff to leave town for valid reasons; or Peroff, who claimed the entire exercise was intended to destroy the case. Dos Santos said he accepted the word of the Mounties. "I don't believe there is anything that would occur that would make me disbelieve or doubt their integrity," Dos Santos said (p. 272).
JUDY PEROFF TESTI FIES Indy Peroff, Frank's wife, testified before the Subcommittee May 17, 1974 (pp. 170-173). She also submitted a Subcommittee affidavit sworn to April 17, 1974 (p. 173).
In the affidavit, Mrs. Peroff said that "on or about" August 1, 1973, shortly after her husband's July 30 return from Montreal, Richard Dos Santos came to their room at the Hilton Inn Hotel.
Taking a tape recorder from his attache case, Dos Santos equipped the phone with the device and with a head set enabling him to listen and record simultaneously, Mrs. Peroff said.
Then her husband and Dos Santos placed the call to Conrad Bouchard. Mrs. Peroff said Frank got Bouchard on the line and a "very heated conversation" ensued.
She said that Dos Santos, listening to both ends of the cal], wrote out things for Peroff to say in notes the DEA agent passed to her hus