Arraignment of Anita S. Castelo for Illegal Munitions Trafficking

August 13, 1986

Anita S. Castelo, a member of the Executive Residence staff, was placed on administrative leave Thursday, August 7, after the White House was advised by law enforcement agencies that she had been charged by complaint in the U.S. District Court in Richmond, VA, with aiding and abetting the illegal exportation of munitions under provisions of 22 U.S.C. 2778 and 18 U.S.C. 2. The President and Mrs. Reagan were informed of the charges against Mrs. Castelo the same day.

Mrs. Castelo was arraigned in Richmond on Friday, August 8, after voluntarily surrendering and entering a plea of not guilty. She was released by the court on personal bond. And she waived her preliminary hearing in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Tuesday, August 12. Two Paraguayan nationals were also charged. Although Mrs. Castelo's duties did not involve any responsibility for classified information, as a precautionary measure, she was debriefed by the U.S. Secret Service to ensure that her activities did not entail any breach of national security. The Secret Service has concluded that there was no evidence of a breach of security.

Mrs. Castelo, who was born in Paraguay and became a naturalized citizen in 1967, has served on the Residence staff since 1981. She is married to Manuel Castelo, a naturalized Portuguese, and prior to coming to the White House, was employed as a part-time housekeeper at Blair House from 1968 to 1981. While on administrative leave, Mrs. Castelo will receive pay and full benefits pending the resolution of this matter. Since these charges are the subject of further legal action in the courts, we will have no further comment.