Government Retaliation Against Retired DEA Agent:
Another of Many Similar Tragedies
A major drug arrest that I had written about in my book, Drugging America, involved Claude Duboc. There were a number of major corruption missteps by DOJ officials in that case. The missteps against Duboc are described in that book. But there was another “misstep” involving a former federal agent, retired DEA agent Stephen Michael Swanson, a tactic I have repeatedly discovered and written about.
After Swanson’s retirement in 1984, he combined investing in California and Nevada real estate with working as a confidential informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). It was in this capacity that Swanson discovered evidence that led to the arrest of Claude Duboc on the drug charges. A hazard facing Swanson in bringing about Duboc’s arrest was that Swanson started receiving death threats, which he believed were from Duboc’s associates.
Under whistleblower legislation, Swanson filed a claim for a percentage of the money that Claude DuBoc forfeited to the government after his arrest. That claim would greatly reduce the windfall that the government receives. Possibly for this reason, government personnel turned against Swanson. In 1997, federal prosecutors charged Swanson with selling information back to the DEA that he had learned while he was a DEA agent. A Florida grand jury, with more street smarts then most juries, refused to indict Swanson.
Swanson then filed a civil action against the government to obtain his share of the money, as provided by the whistleblower legislation. In 1996, at Reno, Washoe County District Judge Deborah Agosti, awarded $8 million to Steven and Louise Swanson on the basis of the information that he provided that led to Duboc’s arrest and seizure of his assets. Despite the judgment against the federal government, DOJ personnel filed federal actions to block the collection of the state judgment. At the same time, Swanson was working a sting operation as a confidential informant for DEA agents in Florida.
Federal prosecutors then probed Swanson’s real estate transactions in California and Nevada in an attempt to bring other charges against him. They couldn’t find anything there to charge him with. Then they tried another tactic. In 1998, DOJ prosecutors charged Swanson with drug money laundering and racketeering, along with two others, Tommy Smith and (unknown at this time). The trial was held before U.S. District Judge Maurice Paul
The alleged drug offenses were part of a sting operation that Swanson was carrying out with DEA agents. DOJ prosecutors ignored the fact that he was cooperating in a sting operation with DEA agents and actually working with the federal government. As is standard practice, the cooperating with DEA agents and authority to engage in the undercover sting operation was verbally sanctioned by the DEA agents that Swanson was working with.
Over many years I have been in touch with numerous present or former federal agents who were falsely charged by Justice Department prosecutors to (a) discredit federal agents exposing high-level corruption; (b) insuring the success of a prosecution by using the "paid" testimony of the drug kingpin against either a minor figure or one not even involved; or (c) to pad their list of successful prosecutions and increased status and pay.
In Swanson's case, U.S. Attorney Michael Patterson filed false charges against Swanson, using the "paid" testimony of the drug smugglers. In this way, Patterson insured that he would bolster his prosecution record with another conviction. By reducing the charges against the drug kingpins, Patterson not only got another conviction to bolster his own status, but relieved the Justice Department from paying Swanson the Nevada money judgment arising from his share of Duboc’s assets . And maybe, also, retaliation for offending those controlling literally life and death power over the people.
Tommy Smith, one of the three defendants in the trial, had earlier stated to DOJ prosecutors that Swanson had no role in the drug operation. But during the criminal trial Smith recanted his earlier testimony that Swanson was not a part of the drug operation. It is standard practice, repeated tragically many times, for prosecutors to pressure defendants to provide perjured testimony against another person so as to reduce the charges, or lessen the sentence, or to have charges dropped.
The stress during trial of the prosecutors false statements, the perjured testimony by Smith, were compounded by stress arising from his wife’s terminal cancer condition. She had a metastatic brain tumor and needed expensive medical treatment and the retirement income from Swanson’s retirement as a DEA agent. Those benefits, and the retirement income, would be lost if he was judged guilty in that trial.
Multiple Stresses Overwhelmed Swanson
In March 2000, during the trial, as the federal prosecutors concluded their closing argument to the jurors, inflaming the jurors with the way the prosecutors misstated the facts. Swanson, fearing that if convicted he would lose the medical benefits that his wife so badly needed, decided on an immediate cause of action.
He borrowed the keys to his lawyer’s van. He left the courtroom. He then drove onto fast-moving Interstate 75, parked the van, and walked to his death into the front of an incoming 18-wheeler. Swanson was killed instantly, thereby insuring that his wife’s medical treatments would continue, along with his retirement income.
Background on Swanson
Swanson graduated from CSUS with a degree in criminality in 1966 and became employed by the DEA. The DEA transferred him to France where he investigated drug operations. His successful work caused him to be named in various articles appearing in the Wall Street Journal and other media. Eventually he was transferred to the Reno, Nevada DEA office. While living he Reno, he obtained a state private investigator’s license.
An article in the Las Vegas Sun (April 12, 2000), referring to Swanson, stated:
Probe seeks motivation for troubled drug agent’s death.
Reno, Nev. (AP): Investigators are piecing together the death of a former Reno drug agent who left his racketeering trial in Florida and threw himself in front of a tractor-trailer rig as the case against him appeared headed for conviction.
Stephen Michael Swanson, 56, of Incline Village, claims he was double-crossed by the government after he landed a major drug dealer while working as a private investigator.
He told the Reno Gazette Journal in 1997 that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tallahassee turned on him after he arranged the arrest of Claude Louis Duboc.
The government first tried to indict Swanson on charges that he sold information on Duboc from his old employer, the Drug Enforcement Agency, back to the DEA.
When a Florida grand jury refused to indict Swanson in 1997, government attorneys then probed his real estate transactions in Nevada and California to build a racketeering and money laundering case against him.
In Gainsville, the 17-year veteran of the DEA faced up to life in federal prison if convicted. Instead, after prosecutors concluded their closing arguments last Thursday, he borrowed a van, drove to Interstate-75 and walked into the path of the oncoming rig.
His attorney, Bill DeCarlis, thinks it was an act of courage that arose out of concern for his wife, who is terminally ill with breast cancer. If convicted, Swanson would have lost medical benefits his wife needed. “He wanted to eliminate that possibility,” DeCarlis said. “He’s a fallen hero as far as I’m concerned.”
The case against Swanson stemmed from an investigation into the drug-smuggling case of Duboc, who pleaded guilty in 1994 to conspiracy to launder money and import up to 120 metric tons of hashish and marijuana into the United States.
Swanson was one of three people indicted in 1998 in charges of money-laundering and racketeering involving the drugs. Swanson, who retired from the DEA in 1984, claimed the government knew about his involvement because he was helping investigators with their case against the drug operation.
Basically, most of his defense was that he was working for the government and there was testimony to that fact,” DeCarlis said. “I thought that our defense had a realistic shot at succeeding.”
In 1996, Washoe County District Judge Deborah Agosti awarded $8 million to Steve and Louise Swanson in a civil suit. The money was to come from Duboc’s asserts but the Swansons could not collect the judgment from the government, Swanson said in 1998. The Swanson's had filed suit against Duboc after Louise Swanson received death threats, apparently from Duboc’s henchmen.
Now for the Rest of the Tragic Story
The health of Swanson’s wife, Louise, worsened, probably accelerated by Steve’s death. She died in February 2002 of cancer. With her death, the two young girls were orphans.
Steve’s sister, Barbara Moore, living in Sacramento, wrote: “Steve’s death was the worst thing that has ever happened to our family. He was gentle, kind, honest, and generous, with a quick sense of humor.”
Tragedy from Arrogance Only a Blip on List of Many Others
To understand how Swanson’s death affects all Americans, the following are a few examples that I write about in several of my books. They are only a fraction of those who suffered from the corrupt culture in people in the FBI-DOJ. That culture threatens everyone:
· Rodney Matthews, working a sting operation with DEA agents in Beaumont, Texas, was charged with being a drug kingpin by DOJ prosecutors, and is now serving a life-in-prison sentence.
· Richard Pitt, a former United Airlines pilot, working a similar sting operation with DEA agents in Texas, was charged with being a drug kingpin by DOJ prosecutors, and is now serving a life-in-prison sentence.
· David Correa, a former Eastern Airlines pilot, foolishly carried a drug shipment for a crime family in Pennsylvania. He was arrested, and DOJ prosecutors used the testimony of the real drug kingpin, found with a machine gun, against Correa, who now is serving a life-in-prison sentence while the drug kingpins are free. Failure of DOJ prosecutors to have drug kingpins testify falsely against a minor participant insures a conviction—thereby enhancing the status of the prosecutor.
· Richard Taus, a former FBI agent and highly decorated Vietnam helicopter pilot, was falsely charged by FBI and DOJ prosecutors after Taus contacted members of Congress about criminal misconduct being covered up by the FBI and other DOJ offices. Taus had discovered a covert CIA operation that was secretly funding and arming Iraq during the 1980s; he discovered that his supervisor, Lindley DeVecchio, was secretly working with Colombo Mafia capo Gregory Scarpa Sr., and involved in multiple murders and other crimes. (I write about this in Crimes of the FBI-DOJ, and the Mafia; and in FBI, CIA, the Mob, and Treachery.
· Joseph Occhipinti, a top INS agent that was discovering drug activities by groups in the New York and New Jersey areas that had political influence. To halt his activities, DOJ prosecutors filed false charges against him and a brain-dead jury sentenced him to federal prison. President George H.W. Bush pardoned Occhipinti before leaving office. The arrest of this top INS agent halted the drug investigations, which halted the investigation of al Qaeda operative, Ramzi Yousef, operating in Jersey City, New Jersey. Shortly thereafter, Yousef masterminded the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. In Crimes of the FBI-DOJ, and the Mafia, I describe how DOJ personnel retaliated against Gregory Scarpa, Jr. who was obtaining information about planned terrorist bombings in Africa, the planned downing of TWA Flight 800, and later, the hijackings of four airliners on 9/11.
· John Carman, former Customs Agent, who, along with others, were blocked from inspecting suspected drug shipments in railway cars coming from Mexico. In disgust, Carman left government service and put up a web site, www.customscorruption.com, which exposed the corruption in Customs and the cover-ups by Justice Department personnel. In 2006, the U.S. attorney in San Diego filed false charges against Carman, using as a witness a deported Mexican alien. Again, a jury unaware of the culture in the DOJ, held Carman guilty, and sentenced him to federal prison. That sentence warned others of the consequences of exposing corruption in the DOJ, the government entity that is a great threat to the American people than any threat from foreign sources, at least, up to this time.
The examples I have given here are only a few of what I have written about, and only a few examples of the most corrupt group in the government of the United States.
This type of misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum; it infiltrates and corrupts other areas in which the FBI-DOJ operates.
Books for Serious People by Serious Professionals:
Unprecedented Insight Into America's Government Culture
All of the books are available at amazon.com, in print and on the Kindle, and at many other Internet sites. They bring together the various pieces of the puzzle to better understand the overall picture, and why the same conditions continue year after year. Information on the books by former government agent Rodney Stich
Sampling of early books reviews
Sampling of complimentary letters/faxes to author/activist Rodney Stich.
More information about these books by clicking here.
Among the "Least" Guilty of the Enablers
Euphoric Blissful Ignorance−It Feels so Good—Enablers of Great American Tragedies
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