The Smugglers of Misery – Part IV

The Smugglers of Misery – Part IV

Couriers and Codfish.

Some of the most ingenious techniques of all were practiced by a Geneva-based syndicate headed by ex-convicts Andre Hirsch and Robert more. Syndicate couriers would board Trans World Airlines flights in one European city, say Frankfurt, and deplane in another, usually London. Wile aboard, they hid six-kilo lots of heroin (stuffed in men’s socks) behind lavatory waste receptacles. American-based couriers would then board the plane at its first U.S. stop – perhaps New York, perhaps Washington – retrieve the heroin in flight and get off at a second U.S. city, usually Denver or St. Louis. There would be no necessity to through Customs. The couriers would return to New York, contact their buyer and receive $51,000 for each six-kilo load.

The operation worked smoothly for some time, with the U.S. couriers sending back as much as one million dollars a month, usually via secret Swiss bank accounts. Then, in July 1968, a TWA maintenance worker discovered the heroin and alerted Customs. The couriers were arrested, as were their U.S. buyers.

But within a month Hirsch had another scheme under way.* A 23-yr-old Parisian, Christian Serge Hysohion, was dispatched to New York with instructions to set up the Panamanian Chemical and Food Co., Inc., a dummy import firm ostensibly handling Spanish food-stuffs. Then, in the Spanish port of  Malaga, large quantities of heroin were sealed in cans of codfish and pzella, and shipped to hysohion in New York. On December 10, 1968, the S.S. Raunda sailed with 702 cases of the tins. On January 31, 1969, another 400 cases left aboard the S.S. Grundsunda. In New York, the dope was to be separated from the legitimate foodstuffs and sold to a syndicate contact.

Unknown to Hirsch and Hysohion, however, a globe-girdling investigation by New York-based Customs agents, Edward Coyne and Albert Seeley, had uncovered the operation.

When the Ragunda docked in late February, Coyne was on the scene. Using a high-powered X ray, he examined the 700 cases, discovering six (6) in which heroin was secreted.

Coyne and Seeley bided their time. Undercover agents followed the precious shipment as it was delivered on March 7 to Hysohion’s home in Queens, and kept up an around-the-clock surveillance. On march 8 an accomplice arrived from Paris, and early the next morning the two left, carrying a large leather satchel stuffed with heroin. Hailing a cab, they headed for Grand Central Station to hide the stuff in a public locker. The never made it.

Customs agents arrested Hysohion and his partner and seized 62 lbs of heroin. Twenty-four hours later, the Grundsunda docked, and Customs grabbed another 62 lbs of the deadly white powder. Ultimately, more than 30 ring members were arrested, but in less than two years of operation, Hirsch and his coterie had shipped more than 800 obs of pure heroin into the United States, enough to push tens of thousands of addicts closer to their grave.s

* Mori was arrested by French police as a fugitive in May 1968, extradited to the United States, and convicted of smuggling. He is now appealing his conviction while serving a 20 year sentence in federal prison.

See ‘The Smugglers of Misery – Part V’

 Source: The Reader’s Digest, April 1970, by William Schulz

 Article posted with permission from Former WWII Intrepid Crew Member and former U.S. Customs agent, Edward ‘Ed’ Coyne

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