(CAM) On December 10, 2004, the body of journalist Gary Webb, 49, was discovered in his home near Sacramento after a moving company worker found a note posted to his front door that read: “Please do not enter. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance.”
In the days leading up to his death, Webb had told friends that he was receiving death threats, being regularly followed by what he thought were government agents, and that he was concerned about strange individuals who were seen breaking into and leaving his house.
In the late 1990s, Webb had written a series of stories for the San José Mercury News, which provided the basis for his book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion (New York: Seven Stories Press, 1998).
In it, Webb detailed how the explosion of crack cocaine in South Central Los Angeles during the 1980s was sparked by two Nicaraguan émigrés, Danilo Blandón and Norwin Meneses, who sold huge amounts of cocaine to raise funds for a CIA-backed rebel army—the Contras.
Webb was a Pulitzer Prize winner whose “Dark Alliance” series went viral in the early days of the internet. It caused a firestorm that led to the resignation of CIA Director John Deutch after he was grilled by angry Black activists at a meeting in L.A.
Webb’s story had traced how cocaine was shipped into San Francisco and distributed in L.A. after Blandón and Meneses sold it to a street dealer from South Central named “Freeway” Ricky Ross.
Through this connection, “Freeway Rick” became a crack kingpin, using his contacts with L.A.’s Crips and Blood street gangs to help distribute crack to many other cities across the country.
Webb had first heard about the story after receiving a tip from the girlfriend of a drug dealer against whom Blandón was testifying.
In his lead paragraph, Webb wrote that “a Bay Area drug ring had funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency” which was in league with “Uzi-toting ‘gangstas’ of Compton and South-Central L.A.”