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Unlikely Allies

Unlikely Allies

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Unlikely Allies

251 pagine
4 ore
Jan 21, 2016


Shortly after the end of World War II, the world is still trying to put itself back together, Europe most of all. Within the chaos, a French heroin cartel takes advantage and begins successfully trafficking drugs into the United States, via New York City, utilizing a covert Latin American organization. The DEA is on the hunt.

Meanwhile, Israeli Intelligence struggles to pin down the location of ex-Nazi war criminals. Their investigation collides with that of the DEA, and two very unlikely parties become allies.

As the agencies work together, they soon come to a shocking revelation. The Latin American connection, sneaking heroin onto U.S. soil, is linked to the ex-Nazis hunted by the Mossad. Now more than ever, two countries must share confidential information to stop not only a drug epidemic but also bring to justice hateful men who tortured and murdered thousands.
Jan 21, 2016

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Unlikely Allies - John J. O’Brien


Copyright © 2016 John J. O’Brien.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means—whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic—without written permission of both publisher and author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.

ISBN: 978-1-4834-4255-6 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-4254-9 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-4253-2 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015919696

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Lulu Publishing Services rev. date: 1/20/2016



Chapter 1   Is Paris Burning

Chapter 2   Berlin

Chapter 3   The Escape

Chapter 4   Years Later

Chapter 5   Heroin Delivery

Chapter 6   New York

Chapter 7   The Drug Enforcement Administration

Chapter 8   Israeli Intelligence

Chapter 9   The French Drug Cartel

Chapter 10   Corsica

Chapter 11   Special Ops

Chapter 12   Flushing, Queens

Chapter 13   Washington, D.C.

Chapter 14   Colombia, SA

Chapter 15   Spring, 1972

Chapter 16   Soledad City

Chapter 17   Washington, D.C.

Chapter 18   Murder in Soledad City

Chapter 19   Late June, 1972

Chapter 20   The Stash

Chapter 21   The White House

About the Author

There are many people whose help and encouragement made this book possible. My wife, Rosemary, on more than one occasion talked me out of quitting the project. My children, Cynthia and Sean, also pushed me to complete it. The name of the book, Unlikely Allies, was actually the brainchild of my son Sean, whose lively imagination came up with the catchy title.

Dear friend and former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Frances Bud Mullen, was not only a source of encouragement but also a significant contributor to the global aspect of the case. His sound reasoning, thoughtful notes, and ideas were essential to the fast-moving pace of the work.

Ed Ricciuti, a well-known author who has published numerous works, was a great help in the construction of the plot and character development. His encouragement to carry on and complete the work was invaluable.

To all, thank you.


Whether the drug of choice is an illegal substance such as heroin or cocaine, a legitimate pharmaceutical medication such as oxycodone, or a street product known as a designer drug, there is no single answer to the myriad causes of drug addiction. Drug abusers, worldwide, represent of a sampling of the general population from the down-and-out to high-profile professionals and everyone in between. An examination of the causes of drug addiction will span the full spectrum of society’s most common ailments. People use drugs to relieve the often times overwhelming pressure of today’s modern fast paced world. They take drugs to forget, to overcome pain; or to escape reality. And very often warfare and armed conflict contributed heavily to the addict population.

For example, during World War II, battle casualties unintentionally resulted in an untold number of military personnel who became addicted to morphine when, after they were wounded in combat, doctors and medics liberally prescribed morphine to ease their pain. Because of the circumstances, there was little, if any, accounting for morphine consumption, and the lack of oversight in the administration of painkillers often resulted in a huge increase in the addict population. After every war and conflict, drug addiction seemed to grow exponentially. This was partially due to the fact that few, if any, in the medical world knew or understood the long term consequences and the overwhelmingly addictive results caused by the over prescription of morphine. Understandably, on the battlefield or in the aid station, the first concern was to relieve the suffering of the wounded. Often, after addiction to a painkiller such as morphine, when not available then other addictive substances were substituted. It was a vicious downward spiral.

Such is not to accuse the military of indifference to drug abuse by members of the Armed Services. On the contrary they are anything but indifferent. The U.S. Military is absolutely committed to the prevention of the abuse of both legal and illegal substances. However, the tragic truth is that many members of the Armed Services often were addicted to the use of drugs by way of boredom, peer pressure, availability and/or addicted involuntarily as a result of battle field wounds. After every conflict, when men and women are placed in harm’s way, an abundance of drug users and drug abusers arise, whether by choice or by the inadvertent over prescription of battlefield pain medications. Either way the answer is it happens.

The DuPont Company of Wilmington, Delaware, had the corporate slogan Better living through chemistry. The allure of the dulling effect of heroin or the uplifting rush of cocaine is compelling to a vast number of people. Call it a form of extreme self-medication or an indulgence of the morally weak and ethically bankrupt, drug addiction is one of the most compelling forces of personal conduct. Few, if any, hardcore drug abusers escape the final tragic consequence of addiction: a horrible quality of life that is often followed by an agonizingly painful death.

Heroin is among the most popular of the illegal drugs on the market. As with its vegetative brother, cocaine, which is the end product of the chemical treatment of the coca plant, heroin is the end result of the chemical treatment of the extracted sap of the poppy plant. To harvest opium, the poppy farmer need only make a small incision in the poppy plant’s stalk. A white gummy substance bleeds out. The sap of the poppy plant is collected by labor-intensive hand scraping of each plant. The plant sap, now raw opium, is usually dark in color because of impurities and dirt collected in the process. The tarlike substance is formed into bricks or sometimes balls for concealment and shipment. The effects of opium are known and mentioned as far back in time the Old Testament. The Bible recounts passages in which a biblical figure chewed a strange plant that momentarily greatly enhanced his physical strength. Biblical scholars suggest that the plant so consumed was the poppy plant.

Opium was thought to have been first introduced to the United States in the 1860s by Chinese immigrants and laborers, particularly during the East–West expansion of the railroads. Opium was widely used recreationally as well as medicinally to relieve the pain of the workers who labored long hours under severe conditions in the construction of the railroads. Various derivatives of opium also made their pain relieving properties known to the budding medical profession. However, opium application in medicine was clumsy and often unavailable for many procedures. Derivatives of opium such as dilaudid, a pain medication capable of relieving moderate to severe pain, were sold by snake oil salesmen during the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries. These salesmen—also known as drummers because when entering a western town they announced their presence by banging on a drum—sold countless bottles of dilaudid as a cure for all that ailed the populace. From snakebites to toothaches, dilaudid was recommended, and for the most part, it worked. Once again, the sales of dilaudid and products containing dilaudid were uncontrolled. The product for sale could have been a full-strength rendition of dilaudid or a watered-down version, depending on the predilection of the drummer to dilute the product prior to sale.

But the real pain-relieving ability of opium was fully developed through a derivative known as morphine. German chemist Dr. F. A. Serturner named the product after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, partly because of the dreamlike state rendered to users. Morphine was a tremendous breakthrough in pain control during medical procedures. But the medical use of morphine was a work in progress. As with any developing product, morphine’s benefits were seen as perhaps the single most significant advance in the healing arts. But its addictive qualities were neither understood nor appreciated. Sherlock Holmes, the hero of the great novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was openly addicted to morphine.

As a response to morphine addiction and as a then-hopeful substitution for morphine’s addictive qualities, a German pharmaceutical manufacturer developed a product it believed would solve the morphine problem; it named the product heroin. It was not then known that heroin was even more addictive than morphine. At the time, heroin was marketed as a safe, non-addictive substitute for morphine. Its worldwide distribution was uncontrolled, and in the United States it was dispensed by nearly every pharmacy in the country. It was touted by the medical world as good for one’s constitution—a surefire cure for headaches, backaches, and nostalgia, as well as almost everything else that ailed the human body. Just as its predecessors, opium and morphine, heroin’s benefits were first thought to outweigh its serious and dangerous side effects. It appears that no one ever considered the possibility of heroin being more addictive than any of the drugs that came before it. The medical realm and the pharmaceutical industry were both still in diapers, but the pharmaceutical manufacturers were fast outpacing the medical world. It was a clear case of the tail wagging the dog. The medical world was reacting to pharmacology instead of leading the way by holding test trials before allowing consumption by the general population.

The German pharmaceutical company that first synthesized heroin from morphine today is known as the Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Company. It was not until the late 1910s that the US government realized the terrible consequences of addiction to opium and its derivatives, morphine and heroin. In a failed attempt to control these drugs, Congress passed the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. In the name of pain relief, the genesis of a great epidemic of opioid addiction had blossomed, not only in the United States but also throughout the world. This epidemic has lasted more than a century, and it appears that it will continue unabated.

Even though historically, through the nineteenth and into the twentieth century heroin was often described, especially in the media, as French heroin. It was not French per se. The poppy plant was, and continues now, to be grown and harvested in many countries, especially Turkey, Afghanistan, parts of Southeast Asia, North Africa, and anywhere else the hardy poppy plant can grow. The harvested sap of the plant, opium, was typically, but not exclusively, smuggled into France, particularly through the port city of Marseille. It was suspected by U.S. law enforcement authorities that the raw opium was chemically reduced or converted into heroin in clandestine laboratories in Marseille and nearby environs. Dating back to the early nineteenth century, French chemists were known for their high quality heroin production. French laboratories (which convert opium into morphine and then morphine into heroin) are still in business today regardless of the efforts of law enforcement to shut them down. And in spite of keen competition from Southeast Asian countries, especially a huge emerging product source, Afghanistan, French heroin continues to be the gold standard. Since France traditionally had the best conversion laboratories, its reputation has always been the heroin capital of the Continent but really, today, this is a misnomer.

Most nations have signed international agreements banning the growing of poppy plants except in certain countries that have controlled production necessary for legitimate pharmaceutical purposes. Opium production is supposed to be carefully monitored and controlled by these permitted countries. Needless to say, government controls, if they work at all, work poorly. Countries with climate conditions favorable to growing poppies may make an effort to restrict poppy growth, but over quota production is a way of life in many regions. The smuggling of heroin from producing nations into consuming nations is at an all-time high. Smuggling contraband has become an art form. Each day US customs agents stationed at border crossings uncover unique and often bazaar methods used by smugglers to avoid detection. If we consider the known heroin addict population and add to it a factor of at least 50 percent for unknown addicts, we can calculate that the quantity of heroin that must be smuggled into the United States monthly. It is measured in hundreds of kilograms.

This is the story of a postwar growth of a French smuggling group and presented through the lives of several fugitive WWII ex-Nazi officers as they fled Germany before its collapse. As improbable as it seems, the lives of these ex-Nazis and a French heroin consortium that rose from the ashes of WWII collide many years later in a big way.

Although fictionalized the story is based on a true series of events. Because of the nature of the information received from sensitive sources and a need to conceal them, some events and time lines have been significantly changed. The story is meant to describe the dangers facing the men and women of the DEA who are committed to getting out in front of the scourge of drug trafficking. These courageous agents risk their lives daily to achieve that goal. It is a story never before told. It describes heroin smuggled into the United States from European and Asian sources. But contrary to the then available intelligence information and conventional thinking a new unsuspected smuggling route was discovered. The newly discovered route ran through South America and then up into the United States.

The story opens when an Israeli intelligence agent describes to a New York DEA Agent assigned to the New York City Field Office, a bizarre tale about heroin passing through Latin America on its way to the United States. The Israeli Mossad is not interested in heroin or drug dealers per se—only when such sources can lead them in their search for wanted Nazi criminals from World War II. In the course of their search for ex-Nazis, the Mossad discover that some of the ex-Nazis are involved in drug trafficking. Mossad expertise ends at the illicit drug trade, so out of necessity they turn to and bring into the hunt the one US law enforcement agency they feel they can trust: the DEA. So our story begins.


Is Paris Burning

France, 1944

Colonel Reinhart Brauner was the epitome of a German soldier. One could even say he was the recruiters’ poster boy. Tall, good-looking, and in great physical shape, Brauner set women’s hearts throbbing. He was smart enough in his work to keep his superior officers happy while also avoiding induction into the hated SS services. He was educated at the University of Berlin, and he was no fool. His father was a professor at Berlin University and was considered to be part of the intellectuals of the day. Hitler’s Brown Shirts had railed against the intellectuals as part of the Jewish conspiracy against the German State. Somehow Professor Brauner had escaped any retaliation and remained a part of the university. It might have been his son’s entry into the military that helped protect him, as the young Reinhart Brauner had quickly risen within the ranks of the organization to a full colonel.

Throughout his career, Colonel Brauner had carefully avoided all conflict and as much contact with the dreaded SS corps as possible. Brauner had been able to decline entry into Germany’s SS forces by skillfully using his position as an intelligence officer. He also was a keen observer of the war that raged across the Continent. He knew that once the Americans joined forces with the British, the projected thousand-year reign of German world dominance would be dramatically shortened. Ever since the stunning success of the Allied invasion at Normandy, he saw the defeat of the Nazi empire as just a matter of time.

The war in the east against the Russians was a disaster. As the German army retreated from their unsuccessful attack on Stalingrad, the advancing Russians had assaulted them with relentless furor. German losses at the hands of their former ally, had been underreported to Hitler, which had only made things worse. Nearly the entire German army on the eastern front had surrendered or was killed or captured as they tried to escape the tsunami of Russian men and tanks. At nearly the same time, the Allied forces to the west had relentlessly pushed across France nearing the outskirts of Paris. The war was going badly for the Germans, and it seemed that everyone but Adolph Hitler knew it. Berlin was in chaos. High-ranking Nazi officers were recalled to Berlin to face the personal wrath of Hitler. No surrender and die in place were the orders of the day. Hitler was insane; everyone knew it, but few had the courage to do anything about it. The several failed plots by high-ranking German officers to overthrow and kill Hitler had been so savagely avenged that the remaining men in the officer corps with any moral backbone to oppose Hitler were frozen in place. Fear controlled the German army, at least the part of it stationed in Berlin.

Prior to the collapse of the German occupation of France, Colonel Reinhart Brauner was assigned to the Paris station as the head of intelligence. Paris, the beloved, beautiful City of Light, was a favorite place in his eyes. It seemed to Brauner a lifetime ago, but in reality, less than a year earlier he had maintained a small but luxurious villa in the little farming town of St. Ouen, north of Paris. St. Ouen was renowned for producing some of the finest grapes, which were sought for specific blended wines. This meant that the grapes were not grown for the production of a particular wine but were used to enhance and flavor other wines produced in vineyards throughout Europe. The very limited crop of grapes was highly sought after by several major wineries.

The wealthy vineyard owners were almost in a world unto themselves. By farming standards, they were better off than their peers who engaged in similar agricultural enterprises. For some reason, the grape harvest from this small community was the most sought-after product within the wine-making industry. The price was arbitrarily set by a committee of farm owners, and that monopoly made them all extremely wealthy. The countryside around St. Ouen was untouched by the war, and some of the local women openly dated the German occupiers. It was a surreal village in a setting that was reminiscent of centuries ago.

The town had one main street through which most commerce passed. It was known by the natives simply as Le Boulevard. Le Boulevard ran from east to west through the town, and in the early morning, depending where one stood along it, the viewer was presented with sparkling sunrises that promised clear weather and comfortable temperatures. In the evening, the sun set behind low rolling hills dotted with small farms scattered on the hillsides and into the valley floor. For one brief moment, before the sun passed behind the western hills, its rays ignited the bountiful vines on the eastern slopes, and the reflections off the abundant grapes erupted into a shattering presentation of all of the colors of the rainbow. It was a fitting display to signal the end of day. Brauner had never thought such idyllic places existed. He was truly mesmerized by the tranquility and beauty of St. Ouen.

In St. Ouen, the focal point for morning social gatherings was the bakery, which was located midway along Le Boulevard. It was home of the world’s worst coffee but the best pastries. By seven thirty in the morning, most notable figures of the town, including the mayor, made a stop there. Other stores along the boulevard offered farming equipment and household mercantile goods. There was also a butcher shop and a Victorian dress shop. Beyond the shops, the farms began. St. Ouen was a beautiful French village, uncomplicated and simple.

Brauner welcomed the opportunity to spend his leisure time just walking around. It was as removed from the hustle and bustle of Paris as one could get. At the northeast end of town, rows upon rows of grapevines filled the hillsides. The other end of the town was capped by a large field where local farmers sold their products every Thursday and Saturday. On these days, the townspeople flocked to the farmers’ market to buy fresh produce. It was also a social event at which the villagers could congregate and pass the time talking about politics. They would even comment on the war, which seemed to have passed them by.

Brauner was particularly taken by the development of the vines; as the grapes ripened, they continuously displayed dazzling colors accentuated by the sun. He would often walk past the rows

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