Celerino Castillo

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Person.png Celerino Castillo  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, whistleblower)
Celerino Castillo.jpg
Alma materUniversity of Texas–Pan American
Exposed • “Iran-Contra”
• CIA/Drug trafficking
• Operation Fast and Furious
A former DEA agent who exposed deep state involvement in drug trafficking.

Celerino Castillo is an ex-DEA agent who provided first hand testimony to the US Senate House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of his first hand knowledge of CIA drug trafficking. In 1975, he was closely involved in Operation Watchtower, a CIA run series of missions to ship cocaine from Bogata, Colombia to the United States via Panama. Directed by the CIA's field agents, Edwin Wilson and Frank Terpil, the operation was also supported by the Mossad.[1]


In 1979, Castillo joined the DEA as an enforcement agent fighting in the front-line trenches of America's so called "War on Drugs", and is best known for blowing the whistle on the CIA-backed arms-for-drugs trade (spearheaded by Colonel Oliver North) that was used to prop up the 1980s Contra counter-insurgency in Nicaragua, and for the book that he published on that subject, entitled Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War. In 1994 he published POWDERBURNS - Cocaine, Contras and The Drug War a TV exclusives on ABC's Primetime Live, Dateline NBC, and The Discovery Channel.

Later exposures

In 2008 (three years before Operation Fast and Furious was exposed publicly) Castillo made the revelation to reporter Bill Conroy that ATF agents were smuggling high powered weapons into Mexico. According to Castillo the source of that information was a government informer who was later murdered.


In March 2008, Celerino Castillo was arrested for selling firearms without a permit (selling legally-purchased weapons without a firearms-dealer permit). He expressed his belief at that time that he was being targeted by the government in retaliation for his long-standing efforts to hold government agencies responsible for their felonious activities. He pled guilty on the advice of his attorney and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.