September 1959: Comandante Abelardo Colome Ibarra and another officer traveled to Miami and offered to initiate an intelligence exchange with the Dade County Sheriff’s Department. Colome openly declared his intelligence affiliation and offered information on US organized crime operations in Cuba in exchange for material on Cuban exiles in the US. The Intelligence Department of the Sheriff’s Office rebuffed the Cubans. Law enforcement authorities suspected Colome’s real purpose was to establish a legal intelligence presence to further enhance the growing operations then underway by “Illegal” officers.
Editor’s Note: An “Illegal” is a highly trained intelligence officer assigned abroad who operates with no overt contact with his government. Since an Illegal is not protected by diplomatic immunity, he/she generally serves under a false identity with the appropriate supporting documents.