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THE ALVAREZ EXECUTIONS
DETECTIVE JOHN M. POWERS' EMAIL
by Virginia McCullough 1/4/09

The triple executions that occurred in Rancho Mirage on June 29, 1981 have historically been referred to as "The Alvarez Executions" named after Fred Alvarez, a member of the Cabazon tribe who first exposed the corruption conducted by “Dr.” John Philip Nichols in the name of this sovereign nation.

The killings occurred in the backyard of Fred Alvarez’s home at 35-040 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage, California. Therefore jurisdiction for the investigation of these brutal murders fell to the Riverside Sheriff’s Department.

According to author Ambrose L. Lane, Sr.'s book Return of the Buffalo [pg. 95] “a private investigator reported confidentially to the [Cabazon] Tribe that law-enforcement personnel had told him confidentially that "aw enforcement knows who one of the shooters was".  According to this source of information "one of the shooters or the shooter, was an outlaw biker from the Idyllwild area.”

Since early May 1981 Fred Alvarez had been meeting with several local reporters in interviews that detailed his belief that John Philip Nichols and his family’s company ProPlan had been embezzling large amounts of money from the bingo parlor operating on reservation land.  Alvarez had told the reporters that as he met with them he was a dead man.

On August 5, 1982 the City of Indio sent their police to the reservation with a search warrant.  While several witnesses watched the police removed truckloads of documents from the tribal offices under the control of the Nichols family.

In the spring of 1992, shortly after successor CEO Mark Nichols and the Cabazon tribe announced they would be writing a book, the City of Indio destroyed most police department records for the past 30 years.

At the time of the Alvarez murders James George Hughes known as Jimmy Hughes, a close associate of John Philip Nichols, was Cabazon’s Head of Security. He also acted as a personal bodyguard for the Nichols children. It was also rumored that he was somehow involved in the Alvarez killings.

Then on September 25, 1981 officer M. Menlensen fingerprinted Jimmy Hughes and the fingerprint card carries the signature of James G. Hughes Jr. (Click to Hughes’ 1981 fingerprint card)This fingerprint card was located in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department files and retrieved and sent to the State of Florida on 9/29/09 as part of the arrest warrant and complaint prepared by Deputy Attorney General Michael T. Murphy. That complaint named Jimmy Hughes as the hit man in the Alvarez murders.

The complaint was accompanied by an Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant filed by Detective John Powers on August 28, 2009. John M. Powers is the lead detective on the Alvarez cold case executions.

This reporter first contacted Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. C. Ford on November 30, 2007 and discussed events that were then surfacing in the Alvarez executions. Sgt. Ford was forwarded several articles this reporter had written and supporting documentation. 

Then on April 1, 2008 Detective John Powers sent the following email to Virginia McCullough:  

----- Original Message -----

From:
To:

Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 1:44 PM
Subject: Alvarez Triple Homicide

Hello Ms. McCullough, 

My name is John Powers and I'm with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.  I'm a homicide detective assigned to the cold case division.  The Alvarez triple homicide was assigned to me a couple of months ago.
 

For the past two months I have reviewed nearly a thousand documents of police reports, and spent many hours browsing the Internet for additional sources of information.  As I am sure you can imagine I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland after falling down the rabbit hole.  I no longer have a complete grasp on the real world.
 

You should know first off, that I am an experienced investigator with 18 years on the Sheriff's Dept. and I consider myself pretty intuitive when it comes to filtering out the BS.  After my first review of the police reports in this case, I wasn't sure why it remained unsolved for over 26 years.  All of the players were identified and the Modus Operandi seemed to be well established.  I couldn't understand why every few years the case was suddenly dropped and put back on the shelf.
 

That's when Rachel Bagley introduced me to the rabbit hole.  After the countless hours I have now spent on her website and the numerous other conspiracy theorists websites, I'm having a very difficult time sifting through the BS.
 

I have also spent much time on your website and I have found your investigations impressive and your opinions refreshing.  That is why I am writing to you now.  I do not make it a habit of talking to journalists about open homicide investigations, however, it appears you are much more educated about this particular case than I am.
 

I know you are very busy and I understand the Alvarez triple homicide is a very small part of the Octopus, but I would be very interested in spending any time with you that you have available, in order to get some perspective on what I've read.
 

Just so you understand where I am in this case.  I am currently preparing a review and summary for my Sergeant.  My conclusion will be that I do not wish to continue investigating this case, based on the number of people who have met an untimely demise while doing so.
 

My actions in this matter go against everything I believe in, and this case is very difficult for me to walk away from, especially with the allegations that involve the deaths of Investigator Dave McGowan and his family.  But I am conceding to a higher power (my wife) and trying to give her some peace of mind.  I cannot look her in the eyes and tell her that I am willing to risk the life of my family by pursuing this.
I am interested in your opinion.  Am I just another lamb to the slaughter?  Is the Puppet Master pulling my strings via Rachel Bagley?  Is this just a simple case of murder by Jimmy Hughes at the direction of John P. Nichols, or is it really much more than that?
 

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,
 

Detective John Powers
RSO - Central Homicide
(951) 955- ____ desk
(951) 538- ____ cell 

In the many years this reporter has covered various cases I have never received an email from any law enforcement officer, attorney and/or judge worded in this manner.

Several days later I called Detective Powers and we spoke for a brief amount of time. Mr. Powers said he would call back to continue the conversation and exchange some information regarding the cold case he was pursuing. When he did not return the call as promised, I sent him the following email:

From: Virginia McCullough [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2008 9:33 PM
To: John Powers
Cc: Virginia McCullough
Subject: Re: Alvarez Triple Homicide 

John:

I enjoyed our conversation on Saturday 4-6-08.  I thought you would be calling me back over the weekend, but perhaps I misunderstood.  I would like to know if you want to continue to talk about this matter or if you have simply decided to curtail your inquiries and drop the matter entirely.  Either way I certainly understand but can you let me know what your decision is as I have a great deal more information I can email you and/or talk about if you so desire.

My home phone is (925) 862-2362.

Sincerely.......virginia mccullough

Several months after this email exchange a reporter named Nathan Baca from KESQ-TV contacted me and asked for information regarding the Alvarez executions. We discussed the danger Nathan Baca might experience in reporting about this case on television and Baca asked if I felt that Detective Powers was in danger because of his investigation.I told Baca I believed that Powers believed he was in danger and I agreed with that assessment.

Baca said he had heard about an email that Powers had sent to me expressing his fear and asked if I would sent him a copy in confidence.

I did so and then on  August 20, 2008  Nathan Baca broke that confidence and used that email to promote Parts 32 and 33 of his series that had previously centered on the McGowan Family Murders and McGowan’s long time partner Luis Belanos.   The transcript of Part 33 entitled “Chilling Email Details ‘Dangerous’ Triple Murder Case” and the email as edited by Nathan Baca follows:   

By Nathan Baca
News Channel 3

The Riverside County Sheriff's department is looking into possible connections between a triple murder in 1981 and murder-suicide in 2005 that claimed six lives.

A chilling email written by a detective shows just how dangerous this case is.

When this detective writes he "can't look his wife in the eyes" and risk his family's lives, you know it's a big case.

Nicaraguan arms deals, stolen computer databases, weapons testing on local Cabazon Indian land and a lawsuit alleging conspiracy from the highest federal officials for the past 30 years: all of these are now being investigated by the Riverside County Cold Case Division.

Three people were murdered execution style in a Rancho Mirage home on July 1st, 1981. There were never any arrests. The victims included Cabazon Indian Vice Chairman Fred Alvarez. Family members say he was going to blow the whistle on a business partnership between defense contractor Wackenhut Services and the Cabazon Indians to build machine guns and biological weapons for Central American countries.

Confidential sources close to the investigation recently handed over an email written by a riverside county sheriff's detective. The email's source was confirmed by multiple people inside the investigation. The detective who wrote the email hasn't responded to additional requests for information. We're not revealing his name to protect his identity.

The email states the Cold Case Division reopened the Alvarez triple murder several months ago.

Bad things seem to happen to those who get too close to uncovering Cabazon Arms and its dealings with the Federal Government.

There were three Rancho Mirage murders in 1981, and a Riverside County District Attorney Investigator left the office in the early 80's after threats on his life.

Journalist Danny Casolaro investigated what he called "The Octopus" and was found dead in his hotel room in 1991. His reporter notes disappeared. The book on the conspiracy he was to name "Indio" was never finished.

The detective is also investigating whether DA Investigator David McGowan and his family of five were murdered in 2005 after McGowan looked into the case.

The detective writes he "doesn't want to continue on the case based on the number of people who have met an untimely demise while doing so."

But the detective is continuing the case. News channel 3 learned former computer programmer Michael Riconisciuto was recently questioned.

Documents show a secret government computer spy program named "PROMIS" was modified on tribal land in Indio. PROMIS is linked to a major spy scandal that has stretched for years.

With all of these national security implications, the detective states he "feels like Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbit hole" and he "no longer has a complete grasp on the real world."

The stakes are high, the secrets are growing, and the suspicious deaths remain unanswered. Even the detective desperately asks, "am I just another lamb to the slaughter?"

You can read the detective's entire email by clicking here or check out the other sections of our year long investigation by clicking here.

ONLY ON 3 (cont.): Alvarez Triple Homicide E-Mail

*****     *****     *****     *****      *****

What follows is the text of the email obtained by News Channel 3. Information that identifies the detective and the source are deleted. The email is part of an ongoing exchange between the detective and the source, who is one of many people who have independently investigated this case for years.

The Rachel Begley referenced in the email is the daughter of 1981 murder victim Ralph Boger. John Nichols as mentioned in the email is the former manager of the Cabazon Band of Indians. Jimmy Hughes is a former murder suspect who was never arrested for any of the deaths. Hughes is currently a Christian minister in Honduras.

----- Original Message -----
From: X
To: X
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 1:44 PM
Subject: Alvarez Triple Homide

Hello X

My name is X and I'm with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.  I'm a homicide detective assigned to the cold case division.  The Alvarez triple homicide was assigned to me a couple of months ago.

For the past two months I have reviewed nearly a thousand documents of police reports, and spent many hours browsing the Internet for additional sources of information.  As I am sure you can imagine, I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland after falling down the rabbit hole.  I no longer have a complete grasp on the real world.

You should know first off, that I am an experienced investigator with 18 years on the Sheriff's Dept. and I consider myself pretty intuitive when it comes to filtering out the BS.  After my first review of the police reports in this case, I wasn't sure why it remained unsolved for over 26 years.  All of the players were identified and the Modus Operandi seemed to be well established.  I couldn't understand why every few years the case was suddenly dropped and put back on the shelf.

That's when Rachel Begley introduced me to the rabbit hole.  After the countless hours I have now spent on her website and the numerous other conspiracy theorists websites, I'm having a very difficult time sifting through the BS.

I have also spent much time on your website and I have found your investigations impressive and your opinions refreshing.  That is why I am writing to you now.  I do not make it a habit of talking to journalists about open homicide investigations, however, it appears you are much more educated about this particular case than I am.

I know you are very busy and I understand the Alvarez triple homicide is a very small part of the Octopus, but I would be very interested in spending any time with you that you have available, in order to get some perspective on what I've read.

Just so you understand where I am in this case.  I am currently preparing a review and summary for my Sergeant.  My conclusion will be that I do not wish to continue investigating this case, based on the number of people who have met an untimely demise while doing so.

My actions in this matter go against everything I believe in, and this case is very difficult for me to walk away from, especially with the allegations that involve the deaths of Investigator Dave McGowan and his family.  But I am conceding to a higher power (my wife) and trying to give her some peace of mind.  I cannot look her in the eyes and tell her that I am willing to risk the life of my family by pursuing this.

I am interested in your opinion.  Am I just another lamb to the slaughter?  Is the Puppet Master pulling my strings via Rachel Begley?  Is this just a simple case of murder by Jimmy Hughes at the direction of John P. Nichols, or is it really much more than that?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,

Detective X
RSO - Central Homicide
(951) X desk
(951) X cell

*****      *****      *****      *****    *****

This April 1, 2008 email from Detective John Powers to Virginia McCullough is now being used for individual political agendas and is appearing on the Internet in many different and altered forms such as the example below.

Caveat Lector-

http://www.examiner.com/x-26780-Boston-NORML-Examiner~y2009m11d7-Why-is-Florida-Governor-Charlie-Christ-stalling-extradition-for-an-accused-mafia-hitman

Why is Florida Governor Charlie Christ stalling extradition for an accused mafia hitman?

November 7, 11:53 PM Boston NORML Examiner Mike Cann

"One day I had a contract on a man. They had paid me a lot of money to kill this person. I traveled over many states, and walked into the man’s house one day, pulled out my pistol, and put a bullet in everybody’s head." Jimmy Hughes.

How did Jimmy Hughes carry on for this many years admitting he murdered people while he was also a chief suspect in an unsolved triple murder?

Ties to political players, Hughes in an interview says he worked for the CIA and was later protected by the FBI in exchange for information.

Sounds like the FBI-Whitey Bulger all over again. More from Jimmy Hughes in his own words from the link above.

"One day, the Godfather called me and gave me an order to kill a suspect for thirty thousand dollars. To my surprise, I knew this guy; we used to be friends. But in the mafia, ‘business is business.’ When I arrived at the guy’s home, I was no longer a normal person; I had been exposed to so much violence that I had become a demon. I said hi to the guy and went into his house. He never imagined that he had just opened the door to death. But inside the mansion, there were five other people who were drinking and snorting cocaine. I thought, ‘I must get this done for the $30,000 that I was being paid;’ however, I did not know who the other five were. Then I thought to myself that I would do a service to society by doing them all. The other five would be added to the contract… for free."

Why would this man confess to all this? Because he's still working for them and uses his confessions as a cover professing to be a reformed man with God? It's not like he hadn't been named publicly in the past as a suspect. Put it out, apologize, and he can go back to work with a charity God fearing bible front? Because he knows he is still a protected asset? Many charities in foreign countries are known fronts for the CIA. Not saying this church in Honduras is that but it makes you wonder.

Self-described Mafia hit-man James “Jimmy” Hughes, 52, was arrested on September 26 as he boarded a plane at Miami-Dade International Airport hearing for Honduras.

The fugitive warrant lists three counts of murder and conspiracy to commit a crime for the 1981 execution-style murder of Cabazon Tribal Council Vice-Chairman Fred Alvarez, his friend Ralph Boger, and Patricia Castro in Rancho Mirage, California

Why is the office of the Governor of Florida, Charlie Christ holding up the extradition of this alleged murderer? It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that this mafia group was associated with well known Republicans and it would bring shame to his party? Or maybe he's feeling some pressure like this police detective?

An email to a tv news reporter from a Riverside County Sheriff's Department homicide detective regarding this cast of characters and this scandal

My actions in this matter go against everything I believe in, and this case is very difficult for me to walk away from, especially with the allegations that involve the deaths of Investigator Dave McGowan and his family. But I am conceding to a higher power (my wife) and trying to give her some peace of mind. I cannot look her in the eyes and tell her that I am willing to risk the life of my family by pursuing this.

For more background on this scandal, an investigation by reporter Nathan Baca at KESQ-TV, News Channel 3, who won an Emmy for his 35-part series entitled “The Octopus Murders

You can also read more on the arrest of Jimmy Hughes

Governor Christ order your staffer to sign the extradition as soon as possible. This case needs to be heard in a court of law.

When will the national media cover this mess? Biggest scandal in my opinion since Iran Contra or Watergate and practically no coverage beyond this one local tv news station? What gives on that? High Times, Cannabis Culture, you should take a look at this

*****      *****     *****       *****      *****

To clarify this situation and to set the record straight, I felt it was necessary to write this article.

Virginia McCullough © 1/4/09

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