Thursday, November 10, 2011

St. Petersburg Times, June 12 1965, "Six Seized on Charges of Cuba Assault Plans" by United Press International.*

ORLANDO - Two Americans and four Cuban exiles, charged with preparing for an apparent air assault on Communist Cuba, were arrested near here Thursday night by customs agents who confiscated 18 "aerial bombs."

The Americans, identified by Deputy U.S. Marshal Jack F. Peeples as William J. Johnson, 34, and Frank Rafferty, 40, were released following a hearing before a U.S. commissioner after posting $1,000 bond each.

The Cubans, described as members of the Revolutionary Insurrectional Recovery Movement (MIRR), were held in federal custody when they failed to post a total of $8,000 bail.

Dr. Orlando Bosch, MIRR leader and mastermind of a series of raids and attempted raids against the Fidel Castro regime, was among those being held. His bond was set at $5,000 compared to $1,000 each for his Cuban companions.

All six men were believed to be from the Miami area where the MIRR has headquarters.

A spokesman at the State Department's Cuban affairs office in Miami said no information about the two Americans was immediately available except that Johnson "appears to be' the same William Johnson who was formally warned by government against pro-exile activities.

Cuban sources claimed that the bombs, seized in a house in the Zellwood area of Orlando, were to be loaded aboard a B26 for an air raid on Cuba.

Federal authorities said no aircraft of any kind was seized in the raid. "However, it is to be assumed that a plane was going to figure in this thing," a federal official commented.

The MIRR has been one of the most militant exile groups, staging both air and sea raids on Cuba over the past three years.

It reported two previous raids so far this year, one in January and the other in February. Both were against sugar mills in Pinar del Rio province.

Bosch, who protested last summer that he and his men were "being persecuted by customs aginst who trail us night and day," said at the start of 1965 that this would be a "now of never year" for toppling Castro.

Bosch's three Cuban companions were identified as Jose Diaz Morejon, 23; Gerulio [or Gervelio] Gutierrez, 29; and Marcos Rodriguez Ramos, 21.

The four remained in the custody of the marshall's office. The case is slated to go before a Grand Jury, probably at Tampa, officials indicated.

Copyright (c) 1965 United Press International

*[Additional information added from Associated Press article.]

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