Juan Matta-Ballesteros was a Honduran drug smuggler who served as the main link between the Mexican drug traffickers and Colombian cocaine producers.
Matta connected the Colombian Cali cartel to cocaine trafficker Alberto Sicilia Falcon. Later, on the recommendation of Isabella Bautista, he agrees to introduce Mexican weed trafficker Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo to Colombian cocaine producers, and gives him the choice of working with either the Cali or the Medellín Cartel, for which Miguel chooses the former, however ends up working for both the cartels.
Matta owned a large air transport company which was used by the U.S. government to supply weapons to rebel forces in Nicaragua. He also used his company's planes to handle cocaine transportation from Colombia to Mexico for the Guadalajara cartel.
In January 1986, he attended Félix Gallardo's fortieth birthday party, where he unsuccesfully tried to convince the drug lord to fund the Contras against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. He also facilitated the arrival of Colombian drug lord Hélmer Herrera. In 1988, one of Matta's planes carrying weapons destined for Nicaragua crashed en route, exposing the CIA's involvement in the Nicaraguan Civil War; triggering a major crisis in the American political scene. Félix Gallardo used the opportunity to form a partnership with the CIA; he would replace Matta as the weapons trafficker for the CIA; in exchange for protection. Félix gave away the location of Matta, who was promptly arrested and extradited to the United States, so that U.S. government could save face in the Iran-Contra scandal.