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Friday, July 24, 1998 Published at 00:11 GMT 01:11 UK

World: Americas

Crack epidemic in US: CIA not to blame

The United States Justice Department has issued a report clearing the Central Intelligence Agency of any role in introducing crack-cocaine into America's inner cities in the 1980's.

The allegations were made by a California-based newspaper in 1996.

It said profits from the drug sales, totalling millions of dollars, were used to fund the right-wing Nicaraguan Contra rebels.

The Justice Department said its investigation begun nearly two years ago had found no evidence to support the allegations that CIA agents had links with Nicaraguan drug dealers, who the newspaper said had brought crack-cocaine to Los Angeles.

The Attorney-General, Janet Reno, said she delayed the reports's release for several months to protect the integrity of another investigation.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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