Retired age Richard “Rich” Garcia served in the FBI for 25 years. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Rich Garcia reviews his Group 1 Undercover Operation (UCO), where agents set up a bogus company to sell beepers, cell phones, shortwave radios, and other high-technology devices to Colombian cartel drug smugglers transporting shipping drugs from Central and South America to the United States. The case, code-named “Cat-Com” for Catch Communications, resulted in charges against 93 alleged drug traffickers, including the leaders of three distribution networks.
Rich Garcia was a street agent in the Dallas, San Juan, and Miami Divisions. He held management level positions at FBIHQ, Washington Field Office, and the El Paso and Houston Divisions. He retired as the Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office.
During his career, Rich Garcia received numerous awards for investigative and managerial operations to include the Attorney General’s Award and the Presidential Rank Award. While assigned to FBIHQ as the Section Chief of Operations for the Information Resources Division, Garcia played a significant role in the espionage investigation of FBI spy Robert Hanssen. Garcia managed and monitored his activities prior to Hanssen’s arrest.
Currently, Rich Garcia is the Principal of the 3RB Consulting Group, LLC, which uses its extensive global network to put companies and clients together that need services in Cyber Security, Assessments and Cyber Training.
Rich mentions working with Bob Levinson, who was held hostage for 13 years and died in the custody of his Iranian captors, and responding to the 1986 Miami firefight where agents Jerry Dove and Ben Grogan were killed. The following are inks to case reviews of both tragic events:
Special Agent (Retired)
Richard T. Garcia
1980 – 2005
“We found out drug traffickers were dedicated to money. They were loyal to that. Otherwise they couldn’t care less who they would work with. Not like the mob who is more dedicated to family members.”—Retired Agent Rich Garcia
The following are links to articles about the Cat-Com undercover operation targeting the Colombian Cartel:
The Washington Post – 12/7/1988: 93 CHARGED IN FBI OPERATION DIRECTED AT DRUG CARTELS
New York Times – 04/23/1990: Colombian Cocaine: Tracking Down Dealers – A special report; A Covert and Major Victory is Reported in the Drug War
Associated Press – 12/6/1988: High-Tech FBI Sting Leads to Charges Against 93 U.S. Drug Traffickers
2 Brian Ross News Report Cat-Com (VIDEO download)
Books and Articles
Blow – by Bruce Porter,1993 Chapter 11 – Jacksonville 1987 (Bob Levinson and Rich Garcia develop a scheme to lure Carlos Lehder out of Colombia in order to capture him.)
The FBI – by Ronald Kessler,1993 Chapter 5 – Miami, Super Bowl of Crime (Discussion about the Cat-Com investigation and photo of Undercover Agents and Trafficker Carlos Mario, nephew of Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, aka El Mexicano of the Medellin cartel.)
Kings of Cocaine – by Guy Gugliotta and Jeff Leen, 1989 Chapter 33 – The Henry Ford of Cocaine (Mentioned FBI [Levinson/Garcia] getting Jung to testify against Carlos Lehder)