"House investigator opens Mena probe" By Rodney Bowers THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE December 17, 1987 FORT SMITH _ A congressional investigator arrived Wednesday in western Arkansas to interview persons about alleged criminal activities at Mena's Intermountain Regional Airport. "We're looking at various things pertaining to drugs and guns," the investigator, who asked not to be named, said in an interview Wednesday. The investigator is assigned to the House Subcommittee on Crime, which is headed by Representative William J. Hughes (Dem., N.J.). He said he plans to stay in the area through Friday. *Grand Jury convenes* Also Wednesday, sources who asked not to be identified said a federal Grand Jury convened at El Dorado is believed to be investigating at least three Mena residents who allegedly were involved in drug smuggling and illegal currency transactions at the airport. Charles Black, the Polk County prosecuting Attorney at Mena, said last week that he may file a case in state court if federal indictments are not returned by the Grand Jury. *Linked to informant* The Gazette reported Monday that local, state and federal agencies are investigating a drug-smuggling ring that allegedly was run by convicted smuggler Adler Berriman (Barry) Seal of Baton Rouge. Sources said Seal, who became a federal informant and began working with the Drug Enforcement Administration in March 1984, used the Mena airport as a base of operation from early 1981 until his death February 19, 1986, and possibly was involved in running guns to the Nicaraguan contras. Seal participated in a DEA drug "sting" in July 1984 and later flew to Mena a converted military C-123K cargo plane that was said to have been used in the operation. The plane stayed at the airport until mid-June 1985. It was shot down over Nicaragua in October 1986 while carrying arms and supplies to the contras. *Shot to death* Seal, through his work with the DEA, also was said to have been instrumental in the arrests of people involved in cocaine smuggling from Colombia. Seal was later shot to death. Terry Capehart, a former Polk County deputy sheriff who initiated the local investigation, and other investigators who asked not to be identified said Seal's involvement with the government has complicated their efforts to have prosecuted those people involved in Seal's pre-1984 activities at the airport.
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