to Miami, Thurman located two old, wind-up clocks which could be
modified to act as timers.
On October 29, 1966, the two Florida men purchased two large air
conditioners. One unit was shipped to Thurman in New York. The other
unit was to be delivered by car to New York by one of the men after
the dynamite had been packed inside the cabinet. On November 2,
1966, the two Florida men flew to New York and met Winston in the
lobby of the building housing the Zambian Mission to the United
Nations. Winston gave them two round-trip tickets to Zambia and a
quantity of expense money to be given to Thurman. The two men then
went into the Zambian Mission, initiated their visa applications,
and left their United States passports. They returned to Miami, and
on November 3, 1966, they called the Zambian Mission regarding the
status of their visa applications and were told that visas would not
be issued to them.
On November 3, 1966, one of the Florida men was contacted by FBI
Agents. During an interview on November 4, 1966, he stated that he
and his accomplice assumed their activities had become known and
they decided to cooperate. They returned the tickets to Zambia and
expense money given them by Winston to Thurman and advised him that
the bargain was off, that they intended to cooperate with the FBI.
Thurman and Winston were arrested by FBI Agents on November 5, 1966.
Both were charged with violation of Section 956, Title 18, U.S.
Code, which prohibits conspiracy within the United States to injure
or destroy the property of a foreign government with which the
United States is at peace or to destroy certain specified types of
property (railroad bridges included) so situated.
Shortly after the news of the arrests became known an individual
contacted the Zambian authorities and stated that Winston had
contacted him in September and arranged an information service
whereby he would report conditions affecting copper production.
Winston was especially interested in interruptions in
transportation. Winston left some items stored in this individual's
home. One item was an attache case containing six sticks of dynamite
and some detonator caps. Also left were a German-made short wave
radio and a pair of shoes.
Both the radio and shoes were later traced to Winston by purchase
records. Personnel at the airline identified Winston as the
individual who bought the tickets to Zambia and memorandum copies of
the tickets were secured. Zambian Mission personnel turned over to
the FBI the visa applications and passports of the two Florida men.
On April 19, 1967, Winston pleaded guilty as charged and provided
the complete story of the plot from the time of its formulation
until the arrests. Winston detailed to the United States Attorney's
Office the motive behind the plan. It appeared that due to heavy
commitments made by Winston during a falling market in copper in the
summer of 1966, the corporation stood to lose over a million dollars
unless the market turned up again. Winston decided to try to achieve
this by interrupting the supply of copper from Zambia, thus
provoking an upswing on the London Metals Exchange where the
corporation traded through an English firm.
An FBI Agent, Winston and another individual testified before a
Grand Jury. After Wilkerson appeared under subpoena on two occasions
and gave conflicting statements on key points, a new indictment was
voted naming Wilkerson and the corporation as additional defendants.
On June 8, 1967, FBI Agents arrested Wilkerson.
On May 28, 1968, Winston died in an automobile accident. On June 17,
1968, Thurman pleaded guilty as charged and signified that he would
be willing to testify for the government.
Trial of Wilkerson and the corporation commenced on November 12,
1968. The government presented extensive documentary evidence
subpoenaed from the corporation files to show the extent of the
potential loss facing the corporation. A witness from the London
firm appeared to verify the validity of contracts presented and to
explain the system of trading on the London Metals Exchange. An
exhibit prepared by the FBI, a map of Africa with the country Zambia
shown thereon, dramatized the physical inaccessibility of copper
except by rail going to the coast through Rhodesia. Thurman
testified for the government and outlined the plot and Wilkerson's
participation in it. On November 19, 1968, the trial terminated, and
the jury returned a verdict of guilty against Wilkerson. The
corporation was acquitted since the charge made it necessary that
the corporation, in hiring Wilkerson and Winston, would have had to
be able to foresee that they would engage in conduct such as they
On January 22, 1969, Wilkerson was fined $3,500, and Thurman was
given a suspended sentence of one year in jail and placed on
probation for three years. Both men filed notices of appeal but
failed to pursue these appeals. On May 19, 1969, the appeals were
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