Bill Stechner, formerly known as Mr. Green was an American CIA operative who supplied weapons to various rebel groups around the world, particularly in Latin America. He was appointed as the CIA Station Chief in Colombia in 1992.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Hailing from Oregon, Stechner joined the CIA and trained various right-wing forces across Latin America at the School of the Americas, where he was known as Mr. Green. By the early 1980s, worked closely with the Mexican government and the Mexican intelligency agency, DFS to smuggle American weaponry to the Contras in Nicaragua.
At the request of DFS Director-General Salvador Osuna Nava, Stechner accompanied Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and Amado Carrillo Fuentes on a shipment to Nicaragua, and was advised to wait on as the two Mexicans were tortured as per Osuna Nava's orders. After rescuing them after a few hours, Stechner informs Félix Gallardo about the closure of the Caribbean route used by cocaine traffickers, and subtly hints Félix Gallardo to get into the cocaine business.
One of Juan Matta-Ballesteros' planes carrying American weapons for the Contras crashed en route in the l980s, triggering a crisis in Washington. Félix Gallardo, who used his drug money to fund the weapon smuggling operations, requested a meeting with Stechner. Stechner attempted to use the opportunity to hand Félix over to the DEA, who were looking for him for the murder of one of their agents in 1985, dragging media attention away from the scandal. However, he is taken aback by Félix Gallardo's plan of using Amado Carrillo Fuentes' aerial network to smuggle weapons for the CIA in exchange for the CIA providing protection to the Guadalajara cartel by forcing the DEA to end Operation Leyenda after Rubén Zuno Arce's arrest. In addition, Félix gave away the location of Matta so that the CIA could arrest him and save face during the Iran-Contra scandal.
Stechner is later sent to serve the CIA's interests during the Soviet-Afghan War, where he supplies weapons to the Mujahideen. In 1992, US President George H.W. Bush appointed Stechner as the CIA Station Chief in Colombia. There, Stechner was tasked with supplying weapons to right-wing paramilitaries to fight communist guerrillas. He supplied weapons to the AUC, led by Carlos Castaño Gil. After drug lord Pablo Escobar escaped from prison, Stechner convinced the Castaños to leave the jungles and fight the Medellín cartel instead. The CIA viewed Escobar as a threat because he worked with the M-19 guerrilla movement before, and had links to Manuel Noriega. Castaño would eventually partner with the Cali cartel to create the Los Pepes vigilante group in order to hunt Escobar down. In order to distance the CIA from the vigilantes, Stechner had Diego Murillo Bejarano send exiled Los Pepes leader Judy Moncada to Miami for protection, where she was forced to blame the rise of the Los Pepes on the DEA agent Javier Peña. He also had Claudia Messina forcibly transferred back to the United States after she wanted to go after the Cali cartel.
In 1994, after Escobar's death, Stechner advises Peña to not go after the Cali cartel in order to maintain the balance of power in Colombia; but Peña refuses and eventually eliminates the cartel by arresting Gilberto & Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, José Santacruz Londoño and Hélmer Herrera; the four leaders of the cartel.