Omar Mahdi’s nickname was “the tentmaker,” a reference to his heritage. He was one of the pilots employed by Jerry to smuggle cocaine. He was living in the Bahamas when Hank Maierhoffer, now shown to be a CIA agent, contacted him to ask if he was interest in work. He was picked up at the Fort Lauderdale airport and taken to have a test flight with Maurice Roundy, otherwise known as “the hat.” Maierhoffer was always the arranger. Maierhoffer gave him the chart detailing the flight plan. The plane had a great navigation system and enough fuel capacity to fly for 16 hours, using extra tanks that were controlled electronically. He would leave Fort Lauderdale at 9 AM and arrive in Colombia 12 hours later. When he reached a checkpoint near the Colombia coast, he would switch his radio to a specific frequency and be met by a small plane that guided him in. After landing, he would remain overnight. The runway was dirt and gravel, cut between trees. If you didn’t come in correctly, you didn’t leave. Colombians would take him to the shack. The mosquitoes were a problem so he carried insect repellent. The next morning, duffel bags of cocaine were loaded and the plane refueled. He would fly back through the Gulf of Mexico, around the tip of Cuba, because that was a blind spot to the radar shield. Nearing the coast, he would drop down to about 50 feet above the water. Once near the landing area, he would contact the ground crew. As soon as he landed, the man with him would start dumping out the duffel bags. By the time the last one hit the pavement, he was shutting the door and taking off again. He always dimmed the cockpit lights so no one could see his face. Usually, he would then return to Fort Lauderdale and park the plane at Maierhoffer’ place. He would then wait for the next assignment. For this, he made about $100,000.
My name is Richard Biggs and I'm a writer. My latest book is about Jerry Allen LeQuire, a convicted drug kingpin, who rejected two offers from the CIA to work for them, and has been in a federal prison for over 30 years.