The Blue episode involving us and cocaine must have been playing on the mind of Smiles. In a most direct way, he asked that we let him know if we had access to any quantities of cocaine, saying he would buy it from us. Smiles added that he was expecting a guy named Tony to bring him a 1-lb. weight of coke but he could not rely on that.
This was as clear a sign as possible that Smiles now trusted us. He believed we were connected enough for him to score cocaine from us. We believed that by the reference to Tony he was talking about Tony Dalton. What we were not aware of at that time was information to which only Dick Lee was privy. One of Lee’s faults was a tendency to keep certain things close to his chest.
I later became aware of the significance of this request from Smiles. UK Customs had briefed Dick Lee that they were about to raid Smiles’ home in connection with a plot to import large amounts of cocaine. A Customs surveillance had seen Smiles and Tony Dalton when they visited an American, Frank Manacheo. This was at an address in Elgin Crescent, London.
The visit took place just before Christmas 1976, shortly before the time of this conversation. The American was a wanted fugitive in the States. He was indicted there for a massive cocaine shipment the DEA had seized in New York. UK Customs believed Smiles and Dalton were planning a deal with Manacheo. They were going to exchange a large quantity of LSD for Manacheo’s cocaine. Lee never made Eric and me aware of that development. It was a gross oversight on his part and may have had disastrous consequences for both of us. In my opinion, Americans, large cocaine shipments and gun violence are constant companions. Furthermore, what if there had been a connection between Manacheo, Bill and Blue? I admired Dick Lee for his risk-taking approach but not when it endangered my well-being!
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