William Colby came to the Golden Triangle in 1959 as CIA station chief of South Vietnam, working with Ngo Dinh Diem in forcing the population to resist the communist North. Diem reportedly was involved in the trafficking of Burmese opium and so was South Vietnam's president from 1965 to 1975, Nguyen Van Thieu , with whom Colby also worked closely, first as chief of the CIA's Far East Division from 1962 to 1967, and then as head of the Phoenix Program from 1968 to 1971. When the notorious Ted Shackley , widely accused of similar opium trafficking practices, became station chief of Laos in 1966, Colby was his immediate supervisor.
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