CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnJ O E OCCHIPINTI is continuing thernright to clear his name. Occhipinti, thernformer INS agent who exposed the Dominicanrndrug cartel’s New York operations,rnwas prosecuted and imprisoned inrn1992 at the request of New York mayorrnDavid Dinkins, who enjoyed considerablernsupport from the Dominican “business”rncommunity. Although his sentencernwas commuted by George Bush inrnJanuary 1993, Occhipinti wants to exoneraternhis reputation and obtain the federalrnpension that is denied him because ofrnhis conviction.rnFederal agencies have been less thanrncooperative, and a September 19, 1996,rnaffidavit by one William Acosta—a formerrn13-year law enforcement officialrnwho successfully infiltrated the Medellinrnand Cali Colombian drug cartels—rnwhich Congressman James Traficant ofrnOhio read into the Congressional Recordrnmay help to explain the stonewalling.rnPart of the affidavit states:rnOn January 14,1992, Manuel DernDios, a close personal friend andrnworld renowned journalist. , .rncorroborated the existence of arndrug cartel conspiracy against Mr.rnOcchipinti. The orchestrators ofrnthe conspiracy were major Dominicanrnorganized crime figures connectedrnwith the ‘Dominican Federation’rnwhich is the front for thernDominican drug cartel. . . . Unfortunately,rnMr. Dios was assassinatedrnbefore he could bring forward hisrnsources who could prove the drugrncartel conspiracy against Mr.rnOcchipinti.. . .rnMy investigation also determinedrnthat Mr. Occhipinti was exposingrna major money launderingrnand loan sharking operation relatingrnto the Federation which wasrncontrolled by the ‘Sea Crest TradingrnCompany’ of Greenwich, Connecticut.rn.. . My investigation confirmedrnthat Sea Crest, as well asrnthe Dominican Federation, are beingrnpolitically protected by highrnranking public officials who havernreceived illegal political contributionsrnwhich were drug proceeds. Inrnaddition, the operatives in SearnCrest were former CIA Cuban operativesrnwho were involved in thern’Bay of Pigs.’ This is one of thernreasons why the intelligence communityrnhas consistently protectedrnand insulated Sea Crest and thernDominican Federation fromrncriminal prosecution. …”rnThe Sea Crest Trading Companyrnmentioned above has long been suspectedrnof drug dealing, money laundering,rnloan sharking schemes. Though SearnCrest has always denied the allegations,rndocuments obtained by CongressmanrnTraficant show that the DEA believesrnthat Sea Crest is behind the $500 millionrna year money-laundering operation inrnthe Washington Heights area of NewrnYork City. According to one such document,rnattempts to prosecute Sea Crestrn”have been hampered and legislativelyrnfought by certain interest groups and notrna single case has been initiated.”rnWhether the CIA and the DominicanrnFederation are the “interest groups” referredrnto is not clear. These DEA documentsrnhave long been available to thernmedia and members of Congress, andrnmany of them have been widely quotedrnby the New York Daily News and HeraldrnNews of Passaic County, New Jersey,rnwhich have covered the Occhipinti storyrnfor many years.rnFormer U.S. Congressman and StatenrnIsland Borough President Guy Molinarirnhas also tracked this story, and his independentrninvestigations shed light on howrnSea Crest and the Dominican Federationrnreportedly operate in New York City.rnAs a Dominican businessman explainedrnto Molinari, “Sea Crest not only loansrnthe money for the purchase of the [bodega,rnDominican grocery], but insists thatrnany store fixtures, including refrigerators,rnlighting, shelves, air conditioners, cashrnregisters, etc. must be obtained throughrnSea Crest’s suppliers at inflated prices.”rnAccording to the Herald News, SearnCrest’s lending rates in 1995 were fourrnpercent or more a week, which surprisinglyrnis not in violation of any state usuryrnlaw.rnWhen a bodega owner falls behind inrnrepaying his loans, the grocer can reportedlyrneither surrender his business, cooperaternwith his lender’s various illegal activities,rnsuch as coupon fraud, or face thernconsequences. As one frightened bodegarnowner told Occhipinti, “My accountant.rnhe told me, they kill you, no problem.rnFor $1,000, they can get people to do it.rnI don’t want no problem.”rnAccording to published statements byrnformer New York Police Detective BenrnJacobson, Sea Crest has been protectedrnfrom prosecution because the CIA hasrnused the company as a front for covertrnoperations, in particular for launderingrnmoney to finance arms for the anticommunistrnMujaheddin of Afghanistan. Jacobsonrneven claimed to have evidencernthat funds from the $200 million a yearrncoupon redemption scheme had financedrnthe bombing of the World TradernCenter in 1993.rnJacobson has, however, begun pullingrnhis punches. As the Herald News reportedrnon October 18, 1995, Jacobson nowrngives “contradictory statements about arnpossible CIA link to Sea Crest or any otherrncriminal front. One motive for Jacobsonrngiving contradictory information,rnsources say, is that he has been harassedrnby the Internal Revenue Service duringrnrecent days of his Sea Crest investigation.”rnThree final twists to the story. First,rngovernment officials have discussed thernpossibility of striking a deal with Occhipinti,rnthat in exchange for a presidentialrnpardon Occhipinti would sign a gag orderrnforbidding him to disclose what hernknows about Sea Crest; no official deal,rnhowever, has ever been offered. Second,rnin December 1992, the head of the FBI’srnNew York office, James Fox, publicly admittedrnthat there was evidence of Occhipinti’srninnocence. Fox was suspendedrnshortly thereafter, a few weeks before hisrnplanned retirement. Congressman Traficantrnis convinced that Fox’s suspensionrnstemmed directly from the FBI agent’srnstatements about Occhipinti. Third, inrn1986, the U.S. Postal Service arrested inrnSouth Florida 70 members of a couponrnfraud ring who were accused of funnelingrnmoney to PLO accounts in Europernand the Middle East. This particularrngroup had contacts with the ringleadersrnoperating the coupon racket in New YorkrnCity. One of the men arrested in Floridarnwas Adnan Bahhur, who was caught onrntape admitting that he had ties to membersrnof the radical wing of the PLO.rnAccording to the New York Daily Newsrnon July 4, 1994, four Palestinians fromrnthe Abu Nidal terrorist group who werernFEBRUARY 1997/5rnrnrn