Las Vegas-based aviation company ‘Maverick’ may have C.I.A. ties

Saturday, November 4, 2017
By Paul Martin

By Shepard Ambellas
IntelliHub.com
November 4, 2017

Dossier information, background history, reveal Maverick Aviation founder may have ties to clandestine ‘black’ helicopter operations

(INTELLIHUB) — On Dec. 4, 2001, Russian officials detained four members of a Las Vegas-based charter crew who had traveled from the United States to a remote Russian region in Siberia to acquire several helicopters for the C.I.A. to use in clandestine operations.

The details of the covert operation were first reported by Sharon Weinberger in Aug. 2009 when she explained how a “privately owned Boeing 737 had left Biggs Army Airfield in Texas, carrying the crew and 16 Americans” who were at the time “traveling on tourist visas.”

The plane was “a luxury aircraft outfitted with wood paneling and a three-hole putting green, had been chartered by a small company from Enterprise, Alabama, called Maverick Aviation.”

Weinberger wrote:

What the plane and its passengers were really doing in Russia in the middle of winter is only hinted at in an appeal filed by two federal prisoners this year [2009]. But interviews with those involved in the case reveal a secretive, and sometimes comical, mission to strike back at the Taliban after 9/11 — a rare glimpse into the CIA’s efforts in Afghanistan.

According to unclassified court documents, the group was traveling to a helicopter plant in Siberia, where Maverick Aviation, which was experienced in acquiring Russian aircraft for the US military, was planning to buy two helicopters for a “customer.”

Not mentioned: That “customer” was the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA needed Russian helicopters because of its clandestine operations in Afghanistan. On Sept. 24, 2001, a Russian-made helicopter loaded with $10 million in cash carried a small CIA team into Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley. Code-named “Jawbreaker,” the mission was to cement support among tribal leaders and pave the way for US military operations. It was the first entry of Americans into Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The aging helicopter, an Mi-17, was the team’s only way of getting in or out of the country. Though hardly state-of-the-art, the Russian helicopter had a distinct advantage for the CIA: it allowed the agency to operate relatively unnoticed in an area where Russian equipment left over from the Soviet occupation was commonplace.

There was only one problem: The CIA owned only one Russian helicopter. It needed more, but a clandestine American agency couldn’t exactly pick up the phone and call a Russian factory. So it turned to Jeffrey Stayton, then the chief of the Aviation Division at the US Army Test and Evaluation Command and an expert in Russian copters.

The Rest…HERE

One Response to “Las Vegas-based aviation company ‘Maverick’ may have C.I.A. ties”

  1. Strayhorse

    WHAT THE HELL is the CIA doing operating domestically?

    #3434336

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