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Canada to pursue the heroin inquiry and to seek to obtain evidence that Robert Vesco and Norman LeBlanc were prepared to finance the drug transaction (pp. 262, 438, 439, 446,447).
Dos Santos told Senators that as of July 27, the RCMP had reason to believe that Bouchard's allegations about Vesco and the heroin conspiracy were worthy of further inquiry (p. 262). Accordingly, Dos Santos said, Peroff was dispatched to Montreal to provide for "further investigation" of Bouchard's heroin plot (p. 440).
Dos Santos said the decision to have Peroff go to Montreal was made by himself and by the RCMP. Dos Santos said, “I am pretty sure I” also consulted with” John J. O'Neill. But, Dos Santos added, he kept no notes and wrote no memoranda about the consultations with the Mounties or with O'Neill so he could provide the Subcommittee with no specifics about them (p. 440).
O'Neill seemed to know what was going on, Dos Santos said, because O'Neill was dealing directly with the RCMP. But, Dos Santos said, "except for isolated incidents,” he, Dos Santos, was never informed of the substance of the O'Neill-RCMP talks (p. 441).
The final instructions he gave to Peroff, Dos Santos said, were that Peroff was to tell Bouchard that without a substantial sum of advance money, the executive jet could not be made ready for the trip to Costa Rica or to Rome (p. 442).
Manuel asked Dos Santos why Peroff was sent to Montreal July 27 when, according to the tapes, Bouchard didn't want Peroff in Canada; he wanted him in Costa Rica, picking up $300,000 from Vesco, LeBlanc or one of their operatives. Dos Santos replied:
Well, there are a number of answers to that, I think, but I can't provide them (p. 443). Dos Santos explained that he did have the authority to send Peroff to Montreal but persons higher on the DEA ladder were the only ones with the power to have Peroff go to Costa Rica. Dos Santos said that, to his knowledge, no one at DEA was even considering the possibility of having Peroff go to Costa Rica (pp. 443, 444).
Once Peroff was in Montreal, Dos Santos said, Peroff followed his instructions, asked Bouchard for advance money and then found himself with no description of the airplane the heroin plot was built around (p. 445).
Corporal Claude Savoie of the Mounties was troubled by the fact that Peroff had no details of his executive jet. So Savoie called him, Dos Santos said, and warned, "It is very important that Frank have that memory.” That was when Dos Santos went out and found a Lear jet and relayed its description to Savoie, who passed it on to Peroff, Dos Santos said (p. 444).
Subcommittee Chief Counsel Howard J. Feldman asked Dos Santos if it was Corporal Savoie's belief that Peroff went to Montreal July 27 for the purpose of seeing Bouchard on the so-called Vesco-LeBlanc connection." "I felt it was," Dos Santos replied (p. 446).
As for DEA Agent Sidney C. Bowers of the Montreal office, Dos Santos could not remember him being involved in Peroff's July 27 visit. Dos Santos said he felt at the time that Bowers knew about the Vesco-LeBlanc lead. Dos Santos said he thought Bowers knew why
Peroff was in Montreal-that is, to pursue the Vesco-LeBlanc anglebut that Bowers might have had another assignment that weekend that kept him from taking part in Peroff's undercover work (p. 447).
While in the past Agent Bowers had managed Peroff's activities in Montreal, on this visit the DEA office in Montreal was not directly notified that Peroff was coming, Dos Santos said. Dos Santos had to deal directly with the RCMP and it was the Mounties who were then to keep Bowers and other DEA agents advised of what was happening, Dos Santos said (pp. 447, 448).
Two other DEA agents in Montreal-Jack McCarthy and Ronald Swanson, both formerly of BNDD-may have had some information about Peroff's coming to Montreal July 27, Dos Santos said, but he did not know how much. Dos Santos was not sure who was heading up the Montreal office at the time. He had heard that Bowers would not be in charge and that Swanson "was going to be the man" (p. 448).
Subcommittee Chief Counsel Feldman asked Dos Santos to explain the channels through which the DEA Montreal office learned that Peroff was on his way to Canada. Dos Santos replied:
I can't answer that question. I may have called them myself. I may have talked with McCarthy, but I don't recall
making the phone call (p. 449). Dos Santos said it was his understanding that O'Neill had been talking to McCarthy about the case. But, Dos Santos added, “Exactly who was calling the shots for Uncle Sam in Montreal at that time, I don't know" (p. 448).
O'NEILL STATES PURPOSE OF JULY 27 TRIP
Dos Santos said the purpose of the July 27 trip was to pursue
the Vesco-LeBlanc lead in the Bouchard heroin inquiry. O'Neill had a slightly different way of saying it but, in generaÌ, he did not conflict on this point with Dos Santos.
There were, said O'Neill, two reasons for Peroff to go to Montreal. First, O'Neill said, the DEA and the RCMP wanted Peroff in Montreal “to check to see if Vesco would finance” the 100- to 300-kilogram heroin deal (p. 612).
The other reason for sending Peroff to Montreal July 27, O'Neill said, was “to see if Bouchard was going to run" away from Canada. Peroff was to gain "general intelligence” about Bouchard's present circumstances (p. 612).
It was apparent from O'Neill's testimony, however, that he meant for the Subcommittee to understand that the second reason to gain "general intelligence"-out weighed in importance the first reason, the pursuit of the heroin deal and identification of its backers.
Again, O'Neill said, neither he nor the RCMP had much hope left at this point for the heroin deal ever being executed. O'Neill said he told Dos Santos that he, O`Neill, and the Mounties did not believe in the heroin plot or the Vesco-LeBlanc angle. O'Neill was informed that Dos Santos had testified just the opposite. Dos Santos said the Mounties did believe in the l'esco-LeBlane angle and wanted Peroff in Montreal to pursue that very lead. But O'Neill told Senators that his point of
view was more accurate and he repeated his assertion that Dos Santos "was generally aware of the fact that people in Canada did not hold out very high hopes” for the Bouchard heroin inquiry or the VescoLeBlanc involvement (pp. 613, 611).
Dos Santos said the decision for Peroff to go to Montreal was made by himself and the RCMP and he generally remembered talking to John J. O'Neill about it. O'Neill said the decision was made by the Mounties after "our talking to them." (P. 611.)
O'Neill noted that the same day Peroff went to ('anada he, O'Neill, went on annual leave (p. 614).
Manuel asked why Peroff was directed to demand money from Bouchard when the general feeling at the time was that Bouchard was broke and that was why Bouchard needed a backer such as Vesco for the heroin deal (p. 615).
There was considerable testimony to support the contention that Bouchard was the last person to be counted on to be able to finance from his own resources a large heroin transaction. Court costs had cut into his cash reserves, for one thing. For example, it was the DEA Administrator himself, John R. Bartels, Jr., who told Senators that in July of 1973 "it was known that Bouchard had neither funds nor associates who were likely to assist him" in a substantial heroin transaction (p. 463). Other witnesses had also asserted that Bouchard would have difficulty financing a heroin purchase on his own.
Citing Bartels' observation about Bouchard's lack of funds, Manuel asked O'Neill what purpose could be served by demanding cash from the nearly bankrupt Conrad Bouchard. To present the full meaning of John O'Neill's explanation on this point, this discussion between O'Neill and Manuel is reprinted:
MANUEL. Specifically what did you discuss with Dos Santos and what did Dos Santos instruct Mr. Perofs to do?
O'NEILL, I wanted Peroff to ask Bouchard for money.
O'NEILL. Peroff was alleging that he had access to huge sums of money, $600,000 I think was the figure, and that lie should instruct Bouchard, Dos Santos should instruct Peroff to ask Bouchard for money to show a sign of good faith on the part of Bouchard to show that there was a narcotic deal that was in the offing and that it would be worth Peroff's time and energy to stay with them.
MANUEL. Forgive me, Mr. O'Neill. I am a little bit confused. You say you had information that Mr. Bouchard had access to large amounts of money, yet as I recall it in Mr. Bartels' statement yesterday he said that everybody was aware that Bouchard had no money.
O'Neill. No. I said Bouchard alleged that he had access to large sums of money.
MANUEL. Who did he allege that to?
O'NEILL. The first tape that he was going to have to go down to Costa Rica and see the old man, take care of everything.
MANUEL. In other words, the money that Bouchard had available to him was from Costa Rica ?
O'NEILL. Wait a minute now. This is where we are turning around again. Let's be very clear and precise.
O'Neil. Bouchard alleged that he was going to get money from Vesco. My purpose was to either make Bouchard make a positive action to get money from Vesco or from whoever he could go to get money.
MANUEL. But wasn't your
O'Neill. Or acknowledge the fact that part of the investigation was dead. That part of that transaction was no longer viable.
MANUEL. But likewise was it your information from the same tape that the only way Bouchard was to get that money was to send Peroff to Costa Rica to pick it up?
O'Neil. If there is that type of money available and if the permission that was to be received by the father, the grandfather, whatever they called him in Canada, the man is in Canada, there should be money available in Canada to cover that.
MANUEL. What evidence did you have of that?
O'NEILL. I had no evidence of it. What we were trying to do was make Bouchard make a positive move to go through with this transaction. We knew that Bouchard didn't have a dime. We knew that he couldn't do it himself.
MANUEL. Why not resolve the issue by sending Peroff directly to Costa Rica to pick up whatever money Bouchard wanted him to pick up?
O'NEILL. Because he had never-it is my understanding and—that was mentioned once. You say it was mentioned twice on the second that was only mentioned twice at top.
MANUEL. I am only saying Mr. Peroff testified to that. I wasn't anywhere around in July of '73.
O'NEIL. That was mentioned once, possibly twice. They never told Peroff where to go in Costa Rica. They said they would give him the name once the telephone or once the meeting of July 7th and July 8th was kept. Those meetings were never kept. The phone calls were never made. This whole thing was a figment of Bouchard's imagination to keep Peroff on the string. So what we wanted to do was put Bouchard in a position where he would have to make a positive move one way or the other.
We knew that Bouchard did not have any money. We didn't think that he had access to any great amounts of money.
What we wanted him to do was to finally tell Peroff that part of it was ended, it was terminated (pp. 615–617).
BOWERS REPORT CONFLICTS WITH HIMSELF, O'NEILL, DOS SANTOS Sidney C. Bowers, the DEA agent in Montreal, filed a report August 2, 1973 in which he described the July 27 visit by Peroff to Montreal. A copy of the report was made part of the hearing record. The Bowers report conflicts with the testimony of Bowers himself and with the testimony of John O'Neill as well as the testimony of Richard Dos Santos. Bowers' testimony also conflicted with Peroff's.
Bowers said in the report that Peroff arrived in Montreal Friday, July 27 aboard a 9:30 a.m. Eastern Airlines shuttle from New York. Bowers said Peroff, acting according to a plan made by the RCMP, registered at the Ramada Inn at 1005 Guy Street, Montreal.
From 3 to 4:45 p.m., Peroff met in his room with Bouchard and Louis Cote. Bowers wrote:
In essence, Bouchard and Cote maintained that the plans for attempting to smuggle 100 kilograms of heroin into North America by aircraft were proceeding but there would be a delay, of an unknown duration, while arranging for the nec
essary financing Bowers said Peroff demanded money from Bouchard to meet his installment payments on the airplane. "Bouchard indicated he would try to arrange for some," Bowers wrote in his report.
As the meeting was ending, Bowers wrote, Bouchard casually made the assertion that 10 kilograms of heroin were being smuggled into Montreal on Saturday, July 28, or Sunday, July 29, by a woman courier and the heroin was being offered to Bouchard at the price of $7,000 a kilo. Bouchard said he had already sold the arriving heroin to a Detroit figure for $20,000 a kilo, Bowers wrote.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were wary of this information, fearing it might be a trick that would lead them to apply extra security at the Montreal International Airport over the weekend in anticipation of the heroin being brought in. By over-reacting they might reveal Peroff's confidential informant role. Bowers reported that the Mounties decided against any "extraordinary measures" at the airport. But, mindful of Bouchard's known link with John Fecarrota of Detroit, DEA Agent T. Bauer in Detroit was advised of the lead and an effort was made to find out if Fecarotta was planning to travel to Canada, Bowers wrote.
Peroff tried to make contact with Bouchard Saturday and Sunday, Bowers wrote in his report. But Peroff could not reach Bouchard, Bowers said, adding that Peroff did meet briefly with a Bouchard associate, Claude Lemoyne, Sunday night. Lemoyne told Peroff that Bouchard was out of town and there was no new information on the heroin effort anyway, Bowers wrote. Bowers noted that Peroff left