In the early days of conspiracy research, a lot of attention was put on transforming Meyer Lansky into a sort of ultimate Dr. Evil, a meme now seemingly reserved for Lord Rothschild. It’s a role someone has to play because if you don’t create a trail of breadcrumbs to a fake Dr. Evil, you might stumble into a real one.
Under President Nixon, the IRS launched an investigation of Lanksy and he fled to Israel because word was out Nixon planned to bring him down. This may have been about the casino business, the source of a lot of slush funds. Lansky had been banking with the CIA-connected Castle Bank, which might indicate someone at Sullivan and Cromwell may have had a finger in that cookie jar as well. The picture above shows him in Israel with his daughter.
Richard Schwartz was the son of Lansky’s wife by a previous marriage, and raised by Lansky and eventually worked in the family casino business in Cuba during its heyday. Had Castro not stepped in and shut down their operations, Lansky and his partners would have been a lot richer. Cuba was the center for rum running during Prohibition and a transit point for illegal drugs entering Florida and New York. So it wasn’t just about gambling.
After losing his Havana kingdom, Lanksy and crew were forced to downsize. His stepson was running a cafe in Boca Raton in 1977 when he stopped by a hangout for Sicilian-men-of-honor and their associates in Miami, a bar called The Forge. In a scene right out of Goodfellas, he got into a pissing war with the son of a local boss named Vincent Teriaca. Apparently, the dispute began over who was going to pick up a $10 bar tab and ended when Schwartz whipped out a revolver and put two bullets into Teriaca. A few days later, Schwartz arrived at his cafe as usual at 9 AM, and was greeted with a sawed-off shotgun blast to the chest. Nobody was surprised, and far as I know, Lansky took no action and it all ended there.
Except that recently it was revealed who blew that hole in Schwartz’s chest, and it turns out to have been a CIA counterintelligence expert named Ricky Prado. Ricky was a fireman and paramedic at the time but that was just his cover. He’s really a super spook who can dance through raindrops, a real-life James Bond assassin whose connections go straight to the top of the Octopus.
Enrique “Ric” Prado is a paramilitary, counter-terrorism, and special/clandestine operations specialist, with a focus on international training operations and programs, a 24-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency where he served as an Operations Officer in six overseas posts. He was Deputy Chief of Station and “Plank Owner” of the original Bin Ladin Task Force/Issues Station under Senior Analyst, Michael Scheuer, as well as Chief of Station in a hostile Muslim country. He also served as Chief of Operations in the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC) during the September 11th attacks, where he helped coordinate CIA/CTC’s special operations (SPECOPS) activities with the National Security Council and FBI, as well as with elite U.S. military representatives from Delta Force and SEAL-Team Six, then detailed to CTC/CIA. He retired as Senior Intel Service-2 (SIS-2, Major General equivalent at CIA). Mr. Prado spent his first ten years at CIA as a paramilitary officer in Special Operations Group/Special Activities Division (SOG/SAD, Ground Branch) which is CIA’s “special operations force,” is how his minimal website describes himself, and he resides in Mexico City and might be available for hire for intelligence work.
What this indicates is the relationship between organized crime and the intelligence agencies is much closer than you’ve been led to believe, and these entities are, in fact, two sides of the same coin.
Later Lansky wanted to retire, but wasn’t allowed to. That may be why the IRS went after him because they’d obviously turned someone with an immunity offer. It was your typical jail-house stool-pigeon story, but that stuff usually works great for prosecutors. Meanwhile, Lansky put his $14 million fortune into his brother’s name and departed to Israel, fully expecting to be given citizenship as was his right. But Nixon threatened to withhold military support to Israel, especially the delivery of some crucial fighter jets, unless Lansky was returned posthaste, and rather than duke it out in court at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars, Lansky returned and fought and beat the IRS charge. But he’d lost most of his fortune in the process, and didn’t leave much to his kids, and his daughter says her uncle’s family ended up with most of it.
3 Replies to “Meyer Lansky and the CIA”
Your essays are always brilliant, Steven, but that adjective fails adequately to describe this one. Oh yes, and by the way, Happy Birthday. Here’s hoping in the year ahead that you draw upon all your knowledge and talent and write a truly original movie script that knocks the socks off the Hollywood moguls.
Thanks Douglas, I appreciate the kind words of support.
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