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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

FBI releases Barry Seal documents

Information names Rich Mountain Aviation

Staff Report

After a barrage of requests from media outlets, the FBI released more than 1,000 pages of its file on Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal on July 15th.

A joint investigation by the FBI, Arkansas State Police and IRS revealed that Barry Seal used the Mena airport for “smuggling activity” from late 1980 until March, 1984, according to the documents released last week.

A pilot, Seal moved much of his smuggling operation from Baton Rouge to Rich Mountain Aviation at Mena Intermountain Airport, according to the May 1986 FBI memo. Seal is purported to have flown guns to South America from Mena and drugs back into the United States, according to the memo.

In February 1986, Seal was killed in a hail of machine-gun fire outside a Baton Rouge Salvation Army halfway house.

Seal’s mysterious activities have spawned books and the popular 2017 movie “American Made”, starring Tom Cruise.

A 1983 entry in the recently released documents referred to a telephone conversation between the FBI and Polk County Sheriff A.L. Hadaway. According to the document, Hadaway said an informant told him a “narcotic smuggling operation” was headquartered out of the Mena airport and that a man named Barry from Baton Rouge was in charge of it.

If you are interested in reading the FBI documents released on July 15, you can go online to: Part one consists of 472 pages, while part two contains 552 pages. Only about 25 pages of the documents refer to Arkansas or Mena. Many names in the documents have been redacted.

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