Monday, May 5, 2008

The Miami Herald, May 22, 1976, "Bomb Suspect Had Secret FBI Report" by Gene Miller and Joe Crankshaw.

FBI agents, searching the home of the man they say dropped a pipe bomb in front of a Little Havana bookstore, discovered one of their own secret FBI reports, federal records revealed Friday.

Agents hauled out 70 boxes and listed the evidence: everything from a paybooth telephone to sex manuals.

They also found copies of the private correspondence of a federal court judge, confidential police investigative reports, jail records, a dart board, a harmonica, and a copy of the death certificate of murdered Rolando Masferrer.

These are among the worldly possessions of Antonio de la Cova, 25, a brilliant graduate history student at the University of Miami who lived a bizarre double life in a Le Jeune Road apartment.

FBI agents also searched the Boca Raton apartment of Gary E. Latham, 22, a near-genius physics students on the honor roll at Florida Atlantic University.

They found, among other things: gelatin explosives wrapped in a newspaper in a refrigerator, electric blasting caps, an M-K2 grenade, a box of latex surgical gloves.

Latham and de la Cova, along with Blas Jesus Corbo, 20, an escaped thief on the run, were the three suspected bombers arrested at 1:30 a.m. May 6 outside Libros Para Adultos, an adult book shop at 3508 SW 8th St. They are in jail awaiting trial.

U.S. Magistrate J.V. Eskenazi issued search warrants last week. Friday, FBI agents filed an inventory of what they found. They found lots.

But the FBI wasn't saying what it all means - if the FBI knows itself. "I don't have the foggiest idea how my report got there," said agent Francis E. Gibbons.

The report was of agent Gibbons' interview with Max (Gorman) Gonzalez on Nov. 1, 1968, after Gonzalez and 12 other "adventurers" got caught in the British Honduras with an arsenal of guns. Gonzalez later said the CIA duped him. Gonzalez and Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis were buddies. They were found guilty in 1973 of illegally transporting stolen cars into Mexico in 1968.

Equally mystified was U.S. District Judge C. Clyde Adkins. He received a letter from David W. Costa, acting director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, on March 10, 1975. "I don't even remember the letter," said Adkins. "I'll have to have my clerk look it up."

How a copy of the letter got into de la Cova's apartment was unexplained. So were copies of eight Metro police booking and investigative reports involving Cuban exiles arrested on bombing and extortion charges. One man they identified by his nickname - Torpedo.

The FBI haul included more than 40 cartons of de la Cova's books, "The Politics of Assassination," "Che Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare," "The Coming Destruction of Israel," and "Bomb Threats and Search Techniques," published by the U.S. Treasury Department.

De la Cova's library also contained books on rock singer Cat Stevens, Beatle John Lennon, the Mafia, Shakespeare, Bob Dylan and "The Joy of Sex." Much of the material seized bore directly upon violent death, war, and revolution.

He had three police report copies on the murder of Ramon Donestevez, shot to death in his Homestead boatyard April 13, newspaper clips on WQBA newsman Emilio Milian, whose legs were blown off April 30 by a car bomb, and the death certificate of Rolando Masferrer, who was also blown up by a car bomb.

De la Cova also collected telephones. Agents carted off seven of them, including a Princess, a red one, two black ones, two wall phones, and one from a paybooth. They also seized a handwritten list: "Calls Who Don't Answer."

Apparently de la Cova logged terrorist activities all over the world. He had an alphabetical [?] from A to G. The FBI didn't [?] to Z.

Some of the evidence appeared to be more of a personal nature: a Scrabble set, chess set, 24 tape recordings, a bank book, broken alarm clock, and his family tree.

De la Cova's personal items showed scholarship, too. He had a 30-page typewritten manuscript entitled, "The Moncada Attack." This was Fidel Castro's emergence as a revolutionist in Oriente Province in 1953.

Catalogued by the FBI was a numerical code for sending secret messages, 14 teletype messages on Far East matters, and lists of individuals engaged in pro and anti-Communist activities.

Included was a newspaper clipping headlined "What You Should Know Before You Buy A Gun." From a closet, an agent took a .22 caliber Ruger carbine with ammunition, clips, and sight mounts. When captured by a 30-man posse of law enforcement officers, de la Cova dropped a .38 caliber revolver on the sidewalk.

There were numbered receipt stubs from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexica. This is a university where Mexican police killed students last year, quashing a Communist uprising.

One intriguing find was a book, "Coup D'Etat in America," subtitled, "The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy," written by Yippie Alan Jules Weberman and leftist Michael Canfield. Both authors wrote inscriptions to de la Cova, who assisted them with the book.

From Latham's Boca Raton apartment, the FBI carried off explosives and a suitcase full of books, including "Methods of Electronic Audio Surveillance."

They also found "Bombs and Bombing," by Thomas G. Brodie, who happens to be Metro's bomb disposal expert. Brody defused the pipe bomb that didn't go off at the adult book store.

Bomb material found at Latham's apartment ranged from special non-spark tools and empty coffee cans to BB shot, smokeless black powder, and big firecrackers.

From the same apartment, the FBI took a large bottle of liquid mascara and a bottle of liquid of spirit gum, which actors used to paste on false beards.

From de la Cova's apartment at 960 Le Jeune Rd., the FBI took a brown paper sack full of long brown hair.

The suspects are charged with conspiracy, as well as possession of firearms, attempted arson, attempt to violate the civil rights of another, and interfering in interstate commerce. The commerce was in dirty books.

Circuit Court Judge Ellen Morphonios set trial on state charges for Aug. 2.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami Herald.