CIA: Gangsters, Poison Pills & Castro

CIA “dirty jobs,” operative Robert Mahue, approached mob gangster Johnny Roselli, about the agency’s plan to kill Fidel Castro in Cuba. Roselli, only knew Mahue, as a personal relations executive who worked for Howard Hughes. Mahue informed Roselli, that he had been retained by a client with several international business clients. They were suffering great financial losses, under Castro’s new regime, and were offering $150,000 to get rid of him. It was made clear to Roselli, that under no circumstances was the government of the United States to know of the operation.

In meetings that followed, Mahue was introduced to “Sam Gold,”-who knew the “cuban crowd.” and a few weeks later, a man by the name of Joe. The $150,000 offer was refused by Roselli, who also said the Sam would probably not take any money for the operation. (It’s not clear, why the gangsters refused the offer. My take, is that they had their own reasons for getting rid of Castro-their Casino Operations being shut down, and that a $150,000.00 was a pittance to them).

Several weeks after his meetings with both men, he saw their pictures in an article in “Parade Magazine.” Sam Gold, was actually Momo-Salvator Giancana and Joe was Santos Trafficant. Giancana was the boss of the Chicago mob, and successor to Al Capone. Trafficant, the boss of Cuban operations. (It must have been quite a shock to Mahue, when he learned who he was dealing with. He immediately notified his superiors of this information).

Next, the conspirators discussed how the operation would be handled. Sam-(Giancana), suggested a poison pill, that could be put in Castro’s food, over firearms. His motive for this was clear-cut. The mob had a Cuban official who had been receiving kick-backs from their gambling interests, and was in financial trouble-(Not an uncommon fall guy, who the mob had set up). He also had access to Castro.

Six pills were made and given to the Cuban official. After several “reported,” attempts, he got cold feet and pulled out of the operation. He made a case for another man, but he too, failed to deliver. A Dr. Verona-an officer of a Cuban Exile group, was then offered up and requested funds to conduct his own operation. His project was canceled shortly after the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

There were a total of six assassination attempts against Castro, all which failed. Nine months after the failed “poison pill,” fiasco, President Kennedy was assassinated.

Giancana turned “RAT,” in 1975 and testified as an FBI witness, against his Chicago gang. He was was shot and killed, while waiting to testify about “supposed” plots to kill Kennedy. (None of this has ever been proven). Roselli, met his end in 1976, after the Select Committee on Intelligence, learned that he and Giancanna had been involved in the plot to kill Castro. It’s reported that Santos Trafficant-boss of Cuban Operations put a contract on his head. His body was found in an oil drum, floating in Miami’s Dumfoundling Bay. Santos Trafficant, last worked with the CIA in the Iran-Contra affair and died peacefully-odd for a Mobster death,  in 1987.


CIA-FOIA-”The Family Jewels”
Giancanna Image By Spartacus


  1. DeAnna Tippens-Chandler August 28, 2011 1:25 pm 

    Oh wow.. Such history.. To live back then with all this going on. I wonder if this still goes on.. It has to!!! But probably in different way. To be a fly on the wall, with a tiny recorder.. heheh… To be a spy. that’s the life.

    • Sgt. Mac August 28, 2011 1:57 pm 

      A lot of folks have suspected such going’s on over the years, but it took forty years for the CIA to admit to such stories. In a FOIA-Freedom of Information Act request, the CIA released what they called the “Family Jewels.” It’s basically a list of CIA activities that were deemed questionable and not ethical. There isn’t any earth shattering stories in the documents so far, other than the ones I just posted, We all suspect their are lots more, but it may be another forty years for those to come out.

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