“Venice was a kind of quiet Mena (Arkansas),” stated a former drug pilot for The Company. “Jackson Stephens built this huge headquarters next to the airport. And he was in charge. But I do remember seeing Porter Goss around the airport a lot.”
The airport where three of the four terrorist pilots in the 9/11 attack learned to fly was a hub of operations in the 1970’s and early ‘80’s for “The Company,” an international drug smuggling organization headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky and Mena, Arkansas.
Led by a mysterious Cuban exile, who used the alias “Frank Guzman,” The Company’s contingent at the Venice Airport numbered as many as a dozen pilots and associates. The Company began receiving national attention in the early 1980’s.
“The Company,” whose name is a commonly-used euphemism for the CIA, was profiled in Sally Denton’s best-selling book “The Blue-Grass Conspiracy,” which raised pointed questions about the involvement of the CIA with the group.
The 60-year secret history of covert CIA and military operations at the Venice Municipal Airport now coming to light goes well beyond anything previously known to have taken place there.