Criminals tend to talk a lot of shit. So journalist Evan Wright wasn't exactly convinced when a former cocaine mega-smuggler told him he once performed a contract murder with a drug-world enforcer who went on to become a CIA spy.
But when Wright researched the claim, he was stunned. Hard evidence showed a high-level spook specializing in counterterrorism was suspected by the Miami-Dade Police Department in not one, but seven murders -- and was apparently protected from prosecution through his connections in the CIA.
Wright, the author of Iraq War tome Generation Kill, makes the allegations in How to Get Away With Murder in America, a 124-page e-book recently released by Internet publisher Byliner. The investigation traces the journey of Enrique "Ricky" Prado from alleged Mafia hit man and drug dealer to his perch near the top of the CIA and then Blackwater, the private contractor that has handled much of the United States' dirty work in Iraq.
Prado first appeared on Wright's radar when he was co-authoring former Medellín cartel smuggler Jon Roberts's memoir, American Desperado. The since-deceased Roberts bragged that he and Prado had gunned down Richard Schwartz -- famed gangster Meyer Lansky's stepson -- in a North Bay Village hit in 1977. Wright unearthed thousands of pages in documents, he writes, that implicated Prado in so many murders that one investigator said he was "technically a serial killer."
Prado was the enforcer for eccentric convicted Hialeah drug trafficker Alberto San Pedro, according to Wright. Though Miami-Dade police and federal agents built cases against Prado in the murders of Schwartz and others, no charges were filed. He joined the CIA in the mid-'90s and skyrocketed through its ranks, supervising the hunt for Osama bin Laden and directing SEAL Team Six missions into Afghanistan.
Wright thought the notion of a character from Miami's criminal underworld being allowed to make such an ascent so "fantastical" that he sometimes expected Prado or the CIA to debunk his reporting. "I was almost wishing that he would say, 'Oh, here's the big mistake. You got the wrong guy,' " Wright says.
No such luck. Neither Prado, who is retired, nor the CIA responded to Wright's accusations. He says of the bombshells in his book: "I think their hope is it will just
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