In 1970, Celerino “Cele” Castillo served in the US Army and was sent to Vietnam where he
was awarded The Bronze Star for bravery. In 1976, after returning to the US, Castillo earned a BS in Criminal
Justice degree. In 1979, he joined the Drug Enforcement Administration as one of the few Latino agents.
In 1980 he was assigned to New York City as the first Mexican-American agent. In 1990, Celerino
Castillo was transferred out of Central America because of the assassination plot. He was assigned to the Drug Enforcement
Administration San Francisco office. In 1992, he medically retired. Celerino Castillo
is the co-author of Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War.
According to a reader of Powderburns:
Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War, “Castillo, a former DEA field agent, stationed in Central America
became an unwitting witness to the CIA's, Oliver North's, and the Reagan Administration's involvement in the smuggling
of cocaine to fund the Contra army. Published years before the 1997 San Jose Mercury News/Gary Webb article, "Dark Alliance",
about the CIA's role in bringing crack to the streets of America, Castillo provides a shocking but entirely credible story
from the inside. Castillo, during the course of his field investigations into cocaine smuggling, inevitably ran into the CIA's
cocaine network. A fly-drugs-up/fly-guns-down network operated by Oliver North, Richard Secord, and CIA front company Southern
Air Transport out of the Ilopango airbase in El Salvador. He was repremanded time and time again by his DEA superiors for
sticking his nose places it didn't belong. Warned off by claims he was endangering missions critical to our National Security.
Yet, Castillo continued to file tell-all reports to the DEA in Washington. This is the story of the uncovering of these revelations,
and one man's fight to expose the truth and bring these injustices to light. I highly recommend it.”