Ken Leighton 4:30 a.m., March 4
From San Diego to the White House Lawn: Alleged Gaddafi Smuggling Plot
In an April 2 press conference on the White House lawn in Washington, Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, praised the co-operation between Mexico, Canada and the United States in foiling an alleged plot to smuggle the son of Muammar Gaddafi out of Libya and into Mexico. When the Union Tribune initially broke the story in San Diego, it was linked to two closely entwined San Diego companies: Veritas Solutions and Veritas Security.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the plot: Cynthia Vanier, a Canadian citizen, Gabriela de Cueto, a Mexican national with a residence in Coronado, Pierre Christian Flensborg, a Danish national, and Jose Luis Kennedy Prieto, a Mexican citizen. Christian Eduardo Esquino, a Mexican citizen and former resident of Coronado, owned the planes involved in the alleged plot. Esquino has recently been arrested as well.
As reported in the international blog La Politica es la politica, Calderon depicted the events this way: "This [alleged plot] implied an international and very North American operation, because it was headed up by a Canadian business woman, who hired an American company, which hired in turn Mexican pilots and counterfeiters, this multinational operation...would not have been avoided without international security mechanisms that we didn't have before and now we have."
La politica goes on to observe, "Mr. Calderon failed to mention that none of the four individuals imprisoned in Mexico and facing charges with regard to the alleged plot had been found guilty of any crime."
It's campaign season in Mexico. Although Calderon is inelgible to run again, his party, PAN (Partido Accion Nacional) is running a candidate in the July 1 election. Gregory Gillispie, who owns the company that brokered the flights for the alleged plot, reiterated in an April 4 interview that the motivation for these arrests is "political."
Through his security company, Gillispie asserts that he has dealings with people at the highest level of the Mexican government "and I've been told all along these arrests are political." (For more details see March 28 Reader story "Gregory Gillispie Discusses Gabriela de Cueto's Arrest in Mexico City."
The Mexican government has named Gillispie as a suspect, but he maintains that they have made no attempt to contact him. "I just wish I could hold a press conference like Calderon and lay all my evidence on the table," Gillispie said. "I'd really like to get my partners [Gabriela de Cueto and Pierre Flensborg] out of jail.
"The Mexican government is beginning to investigate what happened. They already dropped one of the charges against Vanier."
Cynthia Vanier and Gabriela de Cueto were charged with organized crime, attempted human trafficking and falsifying documents.
More like this:
- Unwinding — Dec. 11, 2012
- Good Intentions Gone Awry at Veritas — March 28, 2012
- Gregory Gillispie Discusses Gabriela de Cueto's Arrest in Mexico City — March 28, 2012
- Illegal Arrest & Torture Case Filed Against Mexico — March 19, 2012
- Canada's National Post Details Alleged Gaddafi Conspiracy — Dec. 8, 2011