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Cryptonym: AMHINT-24

Definition:
Victor Espinosa Hernandez aka Victor Papucho Espinosa.
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
Back in 1960, he was situated at Base Trax in Guatemala. He reported that contacts that he had included Anselmo Alliegro (a family active in the drug trade, according to Henrik Kroger's The Great Heroin Coup) and Mike McLaney, with whom he was involved in raids on Cuba in 1963. https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=52163&search=alliegro#relPageId=112&tab=page As seen below, Espinosa got training in New Orleans at JMMOVE. His colleague, Carlos Hernandez Sanchez/AMHAZE-2523 got commando training in New Orleans: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=55637&relPageId=151&search=ORLEANS He testified that he left the CIA in June 1961 after the Bay of Pigs because he felt they got a lot of people killed "for nothing". (180-10075-10072, Deposition, pp. 62, 76) When asked if the CIA was involved in the July 1963 McLaney raid on Cuba, he said "for Christ's sake, of course not." (p. 93). Referred to as "aka Victor Papucho Espinosa" in Nov. 1962: 104-10169-10244.
Sources:

1994.05.16.14:10:07:880005 Reel 51, Folder G - ROLANDO CUBELA SECADES.

(1958) Subject: CIA Operations and Plot to Kill Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Other Key Figures of the Present Regime in Cuba: "I was a good friend of Rolando Cubela. We conspired together against Batista and we planned assassinations of Batista supporters. We carried out the killing of one of the SIM chiefs, RICO Gelan, successfully..." See this profile of Espinosa at "Reel 7, Folder K", p. 110, 112: "Part of abortive attempt on Batista. This fracas resulted in Jose Antonio (Echevarria) being killed (March 1957...subject will be a singleton action - blow-and-burn-type agent in Havana." p. 117: Personality file action request made by WH/4 Albert Amori.

180-10075-10072: DEPOSITION OF VICTOR ESPINOZA

Pre-Bay of Pigs - Sponsored by Mike McLaney when he first came to USA in 1959. Espinosa testifies to being infiltrated before the Bay of Pigs, and 3-4 times after. Frank Bernardino infiltrated in as well, he was a friend of Artime. Taken in by sea in small groups of 3-4. Besides Frank, Went on raids with Miguel Alvarez Jiminez, Calcie Nundez, in training with Carlos Hernandez, American trainer was "Colonel Vallejo" of Phillipine origin - almost certainly Lansdale's colleague Col. Napoleon Valeriano. Espinosa went first to Guatemala and then to Panama for training. Sponsored by Mike McLaney when he first arrived in US in 1959. The word on Hemming was that he worked for FBI or CIA or somebody and nobody took him very seriously or confided in him for anything. Also see 104-10263-10062: Espinosa is 201-285147, C-85593, Green List 104625(?) See 104-10263-10065: "Subjects are briefed for the infiltration of Igor, and to assist DRE in uprising in Las Villas - Frank is 2512, Jose Raffo Barrera is 2509, Victor Espinosa is 2771."

Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked (Lancer, 2010), Appendix E

Espinosa "took military training in Guatemala beginning in June, 1960, and was then transferred to the special training camp in Belle Chase outside of New Orleans (JMMOVE). This camp appears to have been associated with paramilitary training and with certain operational activities separate from the Brigade landing at the Bay of Pigs. Hernandez's description of his time there strongly suggests that he was picked as a member of a special paramilitary action group. Given his extensive knowledge of the Castro party cadre in Havana, and in particular his own assassination team experience, he would have made a perfect candidate for deniable political operations...he had ties to the Cuban land owner/sugar industry/Julio Lobo money clique. In the summer of 1963, this New York City clique was also involved with exile initiatives such as Paulino Sierra...the two major pre-assassination leaks about a plot against JFK came from Homer Echevarria in Chicago (who was shopping for guns with Sierra money) and from Soto Martinez in Miami. Soto Martinez had been sponsored into the United States by Mike McLaney (just as had Victor Espinosa Hernandez) and was living on McLaney's estate in 1963 during the same time frame that McLaney was using (Espinosa) Hernandez in the two abortive Cuban raids."

104-10263-10078: VICTOR ESPINOSA HERNANDEZ

Identified as AMHINT-24, 201-285147. "Was in Guatemala for sometime. Worked for (CIA) on infil team but quit." His arrival at JMWAVE was on 3/1/61, see 104-10263-10066. Travels around, his base is in New York City with American friend Stewart Cowley. Can be reached by Canadian friend Madalene Caubro. His addresses in Miami and Cuba can be found here: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=103352#relPageId=2

1994.05.31.12:56:22:250005: Reel 7, Folder L - VICTOR ESPINOSA-HERNANDEZ

See 104-10263-10061: Terminated by PM 3/20/61 as a malcontent. Alias "Papucho". See 104-10204-10283: This 3/22/61 report states "WAVE attempted (to) salvage...subjects chose termination...during discussion subjects stated (JMMOVE) offered Nino Diaz (as a) termination option. Subjects felt (they) could not go Nino and desired return WAVE area (and) join AMBIDDY-1..." In Larry Hancock's analysis below, he states that "this reference (to malcontents) refers to individuals who were trained in Guatemala, given additional training outside New Orleans, and officially separate only weeks before the Cuba invasion. All in all this sound much more like a cover story created to grant deniability to a small, select group which was intended to perform deniable operations inside Cuba." The Reel 7 item cited above shows that Joe Piccolo was Espinosa's case officer at the time of the Bay of Pigs, when Piccolo worked for WH/4. Date of birth is 8/26/37. Security office number for VEH: 224700. Reel 7, Folder K, "the following men were classified as malcontents...agreed to stay in their homes (in Miami)...Jose Malo, 2616; Alfredo Matos, 2657; Luis Grillo 2663; Diego Berges, 2710; Lazaro Ugarte, 2725; Manuel Vivos, 2739; Nilo Alvarez, 2768; Victor Espinosa, 2771." 104-10240-10269: On 4/1/61, Espinosa joins Carlos Hernandez/AMHAZE-2523 and others in Artime's elite strike force. 4/2/61: 104-10263-10065, 4/4/61: Subjects are briefed for the infiltration of Igor, and to assist DRE in uprising in Las Villas - Frank is 2512, Jose Raffo Barrera is 2509, Victor Espinosa is 2771. 104-10240-10269: 4/11/61, Plan to infiltrate amhint leader Frank Bernardino Babot 201-281263 (raider), Jose Raffo Barrera 201-281271 (raider), Carlos Duquesne Wylryez 201-268951. 104-10169-10219: On 4/18/61, Piccolo obtained a POA (Provisional Operational Approval) for Espinosa.

124-10204-10263: No Title

June-July 1963 period: Customs agent Wallace Shanley stated that Customs Agent Edgar Owens observed Carlos Eduardo Hernandez Sanchez, aka "Batea" in Miami in a green 1963 Chevrolet station wagon with Florida plates. Hernandez was with Victor Espinosa Hernandez and (FNU) Basulto. "Shanley advised that Hernandez Sanchez and Espinosa Hernandez were two of the five subjects involved in preparations for a bombing raid In June 1963 against a Cuban oil refinery when they were detained and seizure of their plane and bombs were made by US Customs in a rural area of southwest Miami." See 124-10204-10283: On 7/19/63, Acelo Pedroso Amores said that the pilot wanted him to inspect the bombs to see if they are suitable. He said two Cubans named Carlos and Batea picked him up in a green Chevrolet station wagon. ...pilot Evilio Alpizar is believed to have been the Customs informant who led to the detention of Alpizar, Carlos Hernandez, Miguel Alvarez, & Rene and Victor Espinosa/AMHINT-24 for a similar plan on 6/15/63...

124-10286-10463: No Title

June-July 1963 period: A plan to bomb the Shell refinery in Cuba resulted in Espinosa and others seized but not arrested by Customs in Miami. Mike McLaney part of plan. On 7/19/63 Acelo Pedroso advised of another plan to bomb Cuba, resulting in the 7/31/63 seizure of dymamite and bombs on McLaney's brother's land near Lacombe, LA. Espinosa transported the dynamite from Miami. Rich Lauchli purchased it in Illinois, brought it to Miami, where Gerry Hemming and Frank Sturgis helped him sell it to Espinosa and others. Howard Davis is 639-S/MM T-3, who explains, among many other things, that Minuteman Rich Lauchli is not emotionally attached to Cuban exile cause (p. 45) SA Warren de Brueys obtained warrant for 7/31/63 seizure. http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=136967#relPageId=81&tab=page Vince Nasca of FBI said this was not a CIA operation. http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=136963&relPageId=2 Espinosa was coordinator of the plan to bomb the oil refineries: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=137080&search=%22john_koch+gene%22#relPageId=4&tab=page

124-10371-10038: ADMIN FOLDER-U5: HSCA ADMINISTRATIVE FOLDER, INFO RE GARRISON

"On 7/19/63, we received information from a Miami informant that a former Cuban pilot had gone to New Orleans a few days before to check some bombs allegedly to be used by two B-25 aircraft on a bombing run against Cuba. The pilot, upon interview 7/19/63, admitted traveling to New Orleans with two Cubans and being taken to a house in the New Orleans area where some bombs, fuses, and 2,500 pounds of dynamite were located. The pilot voluntarily accompanied a Miami agent to New Orleans on 7/30/63 and identified the house in which the explosives were stored. On 7/31/63, representatives of our New Orelans office, with an authorized search warrant, searched a residence located in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, owned by William Julian McLaney...and the items seized were 48 cases of dynamite, 20 practice bombs, fuses, and other materiel for making bombs."

180-10131-10314: TESTIMONY OF CARLOS HERNANDEZ

July-August 1963 period: "Of particular interest to the 'I' issue is the following: Carlos was called by Victor Espinosa on two occasions. Each time the mission involved bombing the oil refineries in Havana. Victor had been an old friend that had trained with Carlos in Panama. Carlos felt Victor had connections with organized crime. Each mission was a set-up that Carlos feels was deliberate in that organized crime figures wanted to be on good terms with the Cuban community should Cuba be recaptured and they used phony attempts to raid Cuba as something they could use to demonstrate their efforts to help regain the homeland. Carlos met Norman Rothman at the Bel Air hotel on several occasions...Carlos felt (Victor) knew Rothman." (During 1978, Carlos Eduardo Hernandez Sanchez provided immunized testimony to the HSCA).

124-10217-10019: No Title

7/31/63 interview with Espinosa: Said that he was looking for Cuban pilots in Fort Benning, Georgia to bomb Cuba, couldn't find anyone willing. Gonzalo Herrera, officer in charge of these pilots, interviewed and stated had not heard any of these pilots were contacted regarding this planned mission. Pilot Antonio Soto - already resigned from the USAF - did know about the plan, and told Herrera that "the plan was never fulfilled due to the fact that a plane could not be obtained and that the dynamite was not suitable". (at p. 42: Pedroso Amores went with Espinosa and friends and examined the 24 bombs - there was 2500 dynamite on the scene, but no detonators - and said "it would be impossible to utilize such equipment on a bombing raid". At p. 77: They asked Pedroso to place the dynamite int the bombs and attach the fuses - he refused the job as too dangerous. Others involved included Gene John Koch, Mike McLaney, Sam Benton. Acelo Pedroso Amores identified Espinosa as the one who brought him and others to see the site where dynamite and bombs were located close to New Orleans. Page 90: William McLaney, owner of the land, was casino manager at the Hotel Nacional in Havana from 1958-60 or 61. More than ten pages of photographs follow. Pedroso Amores said the bombs were delivered to the planes in Navy trucks: See https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=104084&search=%22201-297748%22#relPageId=4&tab=page

104-10234-10373: CABLE: SUBJECT REF IS PRESENTLY NOT KUBARK CONTACT AND HAS NO KUBARK MISSION

5/27/65 cable: WH/C/FI/TC claims traces run on Espinosa, find no records of him after his March 61 termination! Espinosa says he severed all CIA ties in 1962. Author recommends no contact with Espinosa, and for French asset UNSNAFU-9 to learn more about Espinosa and choose his words carefully to prevent Amlash-1 from being exposed and captured by Castro.

1993.07.20.09:54:39:960530: VICTOR ESPINOSA HERNANDEZ

Mid-1965: Espinosa met with a CIA agent and Alberto Blanco in Paris. It became clear that Espinosa knew everything about the Cubela operation. Espinosa sought out INS, who led him to FBI, who led him to CIA. Espinosa had a message from Cubela, saying he was ready to kill Castro and that he wanted to know if "CIA and the US government was with them and ready to support them." Also see 157-10014-10242, p. 169: "Espinosa's information raised the possibility that underworld figures who were aware of the Harvey plots may have been aware of the AMLASH operation. CIA reaction to this interrogation was to terminate the operation immediately."

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Bill Simpich

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