Gary Webb was American investigative journalist. He became known for his 1996 Dark Alliance publication that alleged that the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles, California was aided by members of the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua and supported and protected by the Central Intelligence Agency and United States government.
Webb’s Dark Alliance series gained notable attention. The allegations were largely denied by the African American community in Los Angeles, and the four U.S. government agency investigations that it prompt all claimed to have found no evidence to support his allegations.
Webb’s Dark Alliance series became targeted by other major Newspapers, notably The Los Angeles Times, which are said to have sought to diminish the credibility of Webb and his research, suggesting the “Dark Alliance” claims were overstated.
Webb’s Journlist career diminished after the series. Some believe he was targeted by the U.S. government or one of its agencies, i.e. Organized Stalking, because of the Dark Alliance publication. Gary Webb died from two gun shots to the head, which was controverially ruled as a suicided.
C.I.A. & Dark Alliance series
Webb began researching “Dark Alliance” in July 1995. The series was published in The Mercury News in three parts, from August 18–20, 1996, with one long article and one or two shorter articles appearing each day. It was also posted on The Mercury News website with additional information, including documents cited in the series and audio recordings of people quoted in the articles. The website artwork showed the silhouette of a man smoking a crack pipe superimposed over the CIA seal. This artwork proved controversial, and The Mercury News later changed it.
The lede of the first article set out the series’ basic claims: “For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.” This drug ring “opened the first pipeline between Colombia’s cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles” and, as a result, “The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America.”
Webb was found dead in his home in Carmichael, California on December 10, 2004, with two gunshot wounds to the head. His death was ruled a suicide by the Sacramento County coroner’s office. After a local paper reported that he had died from multiple gunshots, the coroner’s office received so many calls asking about Webb’s death that Sacramento County Coroner Robert Lyons issued a statement confirming Webb had died by suicide. When asked by local reporters about the possibility of two gunshots being a suicide, Lyons replied: “It’s unusual in a suicide case to have two shots, but it has been done in the past, and it is in fact a distinct possibility.” News coverage noted that there were widespread rumors on the Internet at the time that Webb had been killed as retribution for his “Dark Alliance” series, published eight years before, i.e. Organized Stalking. Webb’s ex-wife Susan Bell told reporters that she believed Webb had died by suicide.