Why This American Pilot Became A Drug Smuggler

Why This American Pilot Became A Drug Smuggler

Adler Berriman Seal’s grave marker is adorned
with an airplane and a cross, the first quite fitting for the pilot and the latter a questionable
addition to some. It’s inscription of “a rebel adventurer,
the likes of whom in previous days made America great” would likely enrage others. Why are there such strong emotions surrounding
this man born in July of 1939 and killed in February of 1986, who only lived to be 46? Well, his life from birth to death was nothing
if not unique. Though Christened Adler Berriman Seal when
brought into the world on July 19th of 1939, all who knew him called him Barry. Growing up he was described as fun, wild,
and at times mischievous like many other young boys, but he wasn’t raised by just any family. Some sources claim that not only was his father,
Benjamin Curtis Seal, a candy salesman but he was also a supporting member of the white
supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan. While Klan membership peaked to an astonishing
4 million in the 1920s, the movement had lost steam with the Great Depression of the ’30s
and fell apart completely a few years after Barry’s birth. It was not rekindled until later on in the
Civil Rights era. However, the senior Seal’s bigotry seemingly
endured despite the lack of public support and remained unwavering. One can only guess the things Barry was subjected
to as a consequence while a young man growing up. Fortunately, Barry made a name for himself
early on not as a racist but as a remarkably gifted pilot. He first manned an aircraft in solo flight
at the tender age of 15 after just 8 hours of practice. By 16, he was a fully licensed pilot. While others his age might work a paper route
or bag groceries at a store, Barry spent his time towing advertisements across the sky
to earn some extra cash. And he knew just what to spend it on. He allegedly landed a plane on his high school
football field in order to impress a girl and take her out on a date. As he grew older, Barry put his many talents
to use in much more practical ways. He joined the Louisiana Army National Guard
in 1961 and served as a member of the 20th Special Forces Group for several years. After doing his part for the country, he worked
as an engineer for the Trans World Airlines. However, his in-flight talents quickly became
evident and soon elevated him to the position of command pilot. Once again, he was one of the youngest people
to make it this far and operate his own Boeing 707. However, this promising start in life was
soon to take a turn for the worse. Barry became injured on the job in 1972 and
began to engage in some dubious activities during his time on medical leave. He started to fly explosives to Cuba for a
friend affiliated with the mob. Though Barry was led to believe they were
for use in the battle against Fidel Castro, this was not the case. He and others were arrested but when witnesses
for the prosecution could not testify, the case was ruled a mistrial. While not enough to derail his life as a jail
sentence would, the scandal resulted in him losing his job as a Trans World Airlines pilot. Facing unemployment, he sought a paycheck
elsewhere in much darker places. Based on information provided by his wife,
it was in 1975 that he turned the corner from making a good honest living to profiting exclusively
off crime. It was just four years after Nixon declared
drug abuse America’s “public enemy number one,” that Barry began smuggling the stuff
across the country’s borders. He began with stashes of weed, then bridged
over to pills, and finally, to cocaine. This helped him develop some rather unsavory
connections and brought him into close contact with the Medellin Cartel. Eventually, he was transporting mass shipments
of drugs on behalf of Pablo Escobar, its leader. Escobar and his crew had quite a reputation
already at this point, but were busy making it worse. They were behind the Medellin Massacre that
took place that same year and left 40 dead as retaliation for the seizure of their drugs
by Colombian authorities. They also had a habit of referring to Barry
as “El Gordo,” which means The Fat Man. However, Barry began a partnership with the
nefarious criminals nonetheless, becoming an even greater one himself in the process. After hooking up with the cartel he began
to unload his cargo in a sparsely populated area of west Arkansas instead of in Louisiana,
the place he was most familiar with and called home. This was a much safer destination, especially
considering how Barry would fling duffel bags of drugs from his plane to be snatched up
by his accomplices waiting below. For years he made mega-bucks off this arrangement
and accumulated a stash in the millions. Until one day when a shipment was intercepted
on route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Just like that, his days of profiteering off
the drug trade were over. Unfortunately, by that point, incalculable
damage had already been done. Upon being apprehended, Barry admitted that
he had flow drugs into America more than 100 times, carrying between 600 and 1200 pounds
of cocaine a trip. This amounted to billions of dollars’ worth
of illicit substances, and most assuredly resulted in the death of countless American
citizens, not to mention the destruction of their families and a tragic ripple effect
throughout society upon being sold off at their final destination. As a consequence of his actions, Barry was
indicted in 1983 yet somehow only handed a meagre 10-year sentence. However, to him, a man who liked to live life
on the edge and engage in thrill after thrill, even this was too much. He tried on several occasions to offer his
services to the FBI and operate as an informant in order to escape doing time. The FBI wasn’t interested in making a deal,
however. Not one to give up easily, Barry flew to the
DC office of the vice president of the drug task force. He was redirected to the Drug Enforcement
Administration, which at that time, had only been around for about a decade. It was there that his proposal was accepted. Barry became part of an operation backed by
the Reagan administration. However, they had ulterior motives of their
own beyond simply bringing drug smugglers to justice. Reagan and his associates wanted to have the
Contras militia in power in Nicaragua, not the Sandinista government. However, the US was in a bit of a pickle,
as Contras was renowned for various human rights violations. In other words, they could not be backed without
a reason, and it had to be a good one. Barry claimed to be able to give them this. Apparently, the Sandinistas were working together
with the Medellin Cartel in the drug smuggling business and he could provide proof. Barry held up his side of the bargain. Landing in Nicaragua the CIA’s cameras on
his plane captured images of the Medellin Cartel and its leader loading cocaine with
Sandinista soldiers’ assistance. Perhaps wanting to give yet further importance
to the mission, Barry later claimed that an associate of a Nicaraguan official was present
as well. While this was questioned by some reporters,
others believed this as well as everything else. Barry would come to wish they hadn’t. The Washington Times soon published a story
in which they described his trip and called him out by name. It was pretty clear from the piece that he
had been working for the US government to disclose the underhanded dealings between
Sandinista officials and the Cartel. The timing could not have been worse, as it
also brought Barry’s usefulness to an end. He had originally intended to stage a celebration
with Escobar and other key players after successfully flying the cocaine to the states. However, this would work as a cover and the
men would be surprised and arrested. With his cover blown, this was no longer possible. The DEA assigned him no more missions, and
while Barry was somewhat safer by remaining in the states, he also no longer had the DEA’s
protection. The Medellin Cartel was not without the funds
to go after him in America, yet it would turn out that his own government, at least initially,
got to him first. The FBI came after Barry once the DEA cut
him loose and he had returned home to Louisiana. While he was ultimately given only six months
of supervised probation it was in essence a sentence of death. He was mandated to be at a Salvation Army
halfway house each and every day for 12 hour shifts to comply with the circumstances of
his parole. In other words, anyone and everyone knew where
he would be between the hours of 6pm and 6am on a daily basis. Unsurprisingly, it was just outside the Salvation
Army building that Barry was murdered while his friend watched in horror from the nearby
Belmont hotel. It was February 19th of 1986, and according
to this friend two killers approached Barry’s car from both sides. While each carried machine guns, only one
shot his weapon. Barry anticipated what was soon to take place,
and put his head down before the shots were fired. While definitely not without his faults, many
claim that the way Barry’s life ended was reprehensible. They believe it was a disgrace that a man
who put his own safety on the line while working for the country was essentially left out in
the open at a time when he was most vulnerable due to its betrayal. Though he had allegedly refused witness protection,
many claim that in his own best interests he should have been forced to accept some
sort of a defense. Fortunately, those who killed him answered
for their crime. Assassins linked to the Medellin Cartel were
later found trying to flee Louisiana, and three were convicted of murder and sentenced
to live out the rest of their days behind bars. However, some believe the way things panned
out was just all too convenient. Some believe it was the CIA, not the cartel,
who orchestrated the events surrounding Barry’s death. It was rather nice that Reagan could use photographs
from Barry’s secret mission once his cover was blown to gain public support for Contras
control. However, he may have just been taking advantage
of an opportunity that had in essence fallen into his lap. Only a select few will know for sure. Whoever was ultimately behind Barry’s death,
many who knew him felt a sense of loss at his passing. He married three times and left four kids
behind. Quite likeable in person, he had many friends
as well. To look at photos of Barry, who in his later
years was quite portly with a double chin and a side swept comb over, you would never
guess he was working on the opposing side in America’s war against drugs. Because of these choices, those with loved
ones who suffered from addiction may have been less than sorry to see him go. Despite opposing opinions, most agree that
Barry got in over his head and paid the ultimate price, as most do when it comes to drug smuggling,
let alone switching sides. While we have covered most of the known facts
of Barry Seals life and death, it is important to note that conspiracy theories surrounding
his various exploits abound. Some have claimed that he carried out various
government missions far before his last drug smuggling project for the DEA. These included an attempt to kill Cuban leader
Fidel Castro and, while not the trigger puller, supposedly placed him at the scene of Martin
Luther King’s assassination. Some have even suggested he was the getaway
plane operator after John F Kennedy was shot. If any of these are true, those with information
to confirm it aren’t talking and it’s likely they never will. What do you think, was it wrong the way Barry
died? Could he have carried out additional secretive
CIA missions and been killed by the CIA so the general population never found out? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called How Did He Become The King of Cocaine – Pablo Escobar! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!


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