Jerry P. Shinley Archive:Subject: Gordon Novel to FBI on Houma 2/20/67
Gordon Novel to FBI on Houma 2/20/67
Date: 5/21/00 12:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time
RIF : 124-10241-10084
FBI # : 89-69-1456
Interview of Gordon Novel 2/20/67
by SA J. Peter Chase amd SA Max M. Marr
at New Orleans, Louisiana
GORDON DWANE NOVEL, 822 Perdido, New Orleans, Louisiana, advised that in September, 1961, he was through an associate, Mr. ED BUTLER, Executive Director of INCA (Information Council of the Americas), introduced to SERGIO ARCACHA SMITH, the head of the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front. He said BUTLER had requested he assist SMITH in any way he could as SMITH was working on plans to overthrow FIDEL CASTRO in Cuba. He stated in subsequent conversations with SMITH the possibility was discussed of purchasing explosives, firearms, P-T boats and jet aircraft. SMITH, he said was especially interested in puchasing machine guns, anti-personnel mines, a 2 MM Swiss Solochren Rifle and automatic M-2 .30 caliber carbines. He said SMITH was discussing the possiblity of obtaining medical supplies such as blood plasma, drugs, etc.
NOVEL said he and his partner discussed SMITH's proposition and during the discussions recalled some prior information theu had gained concerning an explosive cache. NOVEL said they had learned though drag racing circles, which they were in business with in 1961 that in Houma, Louisiana, there were large stores of explosives in some old magazines. NOVEL stated he could not recall the name of the individuals telling him about the explosives but the magazines had been pointed to him near the drag strip which was an airplane runway on an old base. He advised as he recalls the base was called the Houma Air Base and his original information indicated the magazines contained old company explosives.
Subsequently, NOVEL said he had a number of visits with SERGIO ARCACHA SMITH and had ultimately told SMITH he could get the explosives for him for a $25,000 fee. NOVEL said he also related to SMITH it was his understanding plugged automatic weapons could be purchased from a firm in the North and new barrels for these weapons could be purchased from a West Coast firm. NOVEL said he told SMITH he had also determined the possibility existed that he could purchase surplus Canadian Vampire Jets at the cost of $3,000 each.
NOVEL said SERGIO ARCACHA SMITH displayed numerous photographs and documents relating to the atrocities being committed by the CASTRO regime in Havana, Cuba, and the Isle of Pines. He said Mr. BUTLER during the this time related his interest in assisting SMITH's movement. He advised that it became apparent that the plans of this group were becoming more and more complicated. He advised that ultimately he and his partners were taken to the residence of DAVID FERRIE where they were introduced by SMITH to FERRIE, two young Cubans and two young ex-marines. He said upon arriving at the house he was taken directly to the attic where there were maps of Cuba displayed on the walls, instructive material lying around and a number of different types of firearms sitting in a rack. He stated in the basement of this same house there were two roughly assembled two-man submarines.
NOVEL advised FERRIE was referred to as Captain DAVID FERRIE and the two ex-marines who were sitting in the attic upon their arrival behaved in an extremely unusual manner, in that they seemed to be "blood thirsty" and boisterous. He said the two ex-marines, whose names he does not recall, while sitting around the attic were somewhat sullen and one drew quite a bit of attention because he kept cocking and snapping an M-1 Garand Rifle. He said at this initial meeting he was told FERRIE was an airline pilot.
NOVEL and his partner discussed the complicated situation in which this matter had developed and between themselves decided to furnish the information to the organization and step out of the picture accepting no profit from their activities.
NOVEL said he told SMITH the whole matter and plan was far too complicated so he would direct him, SMITH and his associates to a place where they could obtain explosives but he would not participate in obtaining them.
NOVEL advised his ex-wife, his partner, SMITH, FERRIE, two Cubans, two ex-marines and an individual whose name is unknown, who had custody of a linen delivery truck traveled to the Houma Air Base, Houma, Louisiana. He said they utilized his 1959 Lincoln Supreme, one other automobile, a panel truck and a Metro type step van. He related when they arrived in the magazines on the air base, SMITH posted a look out on top of the bunker and they opened the door to the magazine which appeared to be the best maintained of the three available magazines. He said they loaded the truck and both cars with explosives and headed back to New Orleans. He advised the magazine which was entered bore a sign depicting the contents belonged to an unrecalled oil company.
NOVEL advised that on the return trip they tested some of the hand grenades which had been taken in a swampy area along the road, and he at this time noticed all the explosives bore manufacturing dates of 1959 or later. NOVEL advised SMITH and his compatriots had obtained from the magazine hand grenades, time bombs, explosives, thousands of rounds of .30 caliber ammunition, tracer ammunition, bazooka projectiles and rifle grenades. He said all of this ammunition bore the U. S. Army Ordnance emblem.
NOVEL stated SMITH and the others excitedly discussed plans to blow up ships in Havana Harbor, sabotage key installations and blow up the pipe line to Guantanamo Bay. He said FERRIE was to be a pilot for the organization and they had mentioned it would be approximately two weeks before the explosives would arrive in Cuba. He said he recalled about two or three weeks later news of random bombings became news from Cuba.
NOVEL said he saw SERGIO SMITH on two or three occasions after the break in of the explosives magazine, the last tine in 1962 and he has seen NOVEL in pasing a few times since 1961. He says he recalls sometime in the past FERRIE being charged with what he recalls as indecent acts by Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.
NOVEL reiterated his involvement was stimulated by his belief and his feeling that the Cuban cause was just. He advised he received absolutely no moneys from anyone associated with the movement and no one has contacted him about the matter since the explosives were obtained.
NOVEL described the only one of the ex-marines he could remember as name JERRY or ANDY (last name unrecalled), white male, 19 - 23 years of age, 5 feet 11 inches, 165 pounds, dark - curly hair, light complexion, "nice looking", dressed marine green fatigues with white T-shirt, tattoos on both arms.
NOVEL said he was sure that neither of the ex-marines he met was LEE HARVEY OSWALD.
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