TRAIN DEATHS: GOVERNMENT DRUG SMUGGLING AT MENA PART 2 OF 3
Of the many stories emerging from the Arkansas of the 1980s that was crucible to the Clinton presidency, none has been more elusive than the charges surrounding Mena. Nestled in the dense pine and hardwood forests of the Oachita Mountains, some 160 miles west of Little Rock, once thought a refuge for nineteenth-century border outlaws and even a hotbed of Depression-era anarchists, the tiny town has been the locale for persistent reports of drug smuggling, gunrunning, and money laundering tracing to the early eighties, when Seal based his aircraft at Mena's Intermountain Regional Airport.
From first accounts circulating locally in Arkansas, the story surfaced nationally as early as 1989 in a Penthouse article called "Snowbound," written by the investigative reporter John Cummings, and in a Jack Anderson column, but was never advanced at the time by other media. Few reporters covering Clinton in the 1992 campaign missed hearing at least something about Mena. But it was obviously a serious and demanding subject — the specter of vast drug smuggling with C.I.A. involvement — and none of the major media pursued it seriously.
"Seal was smuggling drugs and kept his planes at Mena," The Wall Street Journal reported in 1994. "He also acted as an agent for the D.E.A. In one of these missions, he flew the plane that produced photographs of Sandinistas loading drugs in Nicaragua. He was killed by a drug gang [Medellin cartel hit men] in Baton Rouge. The cargo plane he flew was the same one later flown by Eugene Hasenfus when he was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of contra supplies.