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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Was Sergio Arcacha Smith with Rose Cherami in November 1963?

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

A few conspiracy theorists believe that one of the two men with Rose Cherami in 1963, when she was thrown out of a car, was Sergio Arcacha Smith. James DiEugenio writes in Destiny Betrayed: (page 182)

"Garrison now instructed Fruge to find the saloon that Rose had stopped in before she was abandoned. This place was called the Silver Slipper and the bar manager was a man named Mac Manual. After visiting with him once, Fruge came back with some photos that Garrison had given him. Manuel identified the two men with Rose as Sergio Arcacha Smith and Emilio Santana."

As usual, DiEugenio's cited source is Probe Magazine. Here is the actual source - from Francis Fruge's interview with the HSCA:

Garrison gave his investigators a stack of photos to show people. Mostly the same people, over and over again, which is why you got strange identifications of people.

There are no statements on file from Mack Manuel, and so we know nothing about his identification except what was remembered by Fruge in 1978.

Interestingly, Fruge told the HSCA that Cherami said the men were Italians, or resembled Italians (what does that mean?):

But, did Fruge not ask Cherami the names of the people she was traveling with? It would seem like an obvious question, no?

Could Sergio Arcacha Smith have been in that car with Rose Cherami? It's highly doubtful. Here is what Stephen Roy, the biographer of David Ferrie, said on the Education Forum:

"Others will probably disagree with me: You mentioned Arcacha in your topic line. We're basing this identification of Arcacha on an ID made some 3 1/2 years after the fact, by a bartender no longer alive to answer questions, after Arcacha's name and picture were all over the Louisiana and Texas news media. And if true, it would suggest that Arcacha led a double life: a quiet family man selling air conditioners in Texas, but secretly driving late at night around Louisiana, involved with strippers, drugs and worse."
"As it turns out given the information available it seems very unlikely that Rose actually heard any more than some general gossip that was running through certain networks out of Miami. It's unlikely the two men with her had anything to do with the conspiracy and very unlikely that they were Arcacha Smith or Santana."
"First off, Mac Manual commented that he was very familiar with the two men as they had been routinely transporting prostitutes on the Miami to Texas route for an extended period of time; his terms suggest for at least a year if not longer. Arcacha's movements are fairly well known during the latter part of 62 and into 63 as he first moved to Tampa and then to Galveston and on to Dallas. One of the reasons they are fairly well known is that he borrowed a car to go to Florida, did not return it in time and the car owner brought charges against him.
Regardless of that, he had been employed in Texas for several months in air conditioning sales and unless that was a cover for transporting prostitutes then it seems unlikely that he is a fit for one of Manual's two men. Beyond that, Smith looked similar enough in appearance to have been misidentified by other individuals during the Garrison investigation so it seems at least reasonable that Manuel simply picked his photo because Arcacha looked similar to the Odio incident individual.
Beyond that, I've found nothing in Arcacha's history (which is pretty detailed as a lot of people have looked into him) that suggests he would have been a small-time gangster transporting prostitutes for an extended period in 1963."

We also know that Sergio Arcacha Smith was in Houston on the day that Kennedy was assassinated:

Sergio Arcacha Smith is James DiEugenio's number one suspect in the JFK assassination: (Probe Magazine, July - August, 1999)

"As has been shown here, newly released evidence strongly implies that Arcacha's involvement was likely operational."

What is that evidence? Well, it's the identification shown above; a Richard Case Nagell claim that he has a tape recording of the conspirators; and a map of the Dealey Plaza sewer system that was supposedly in Arcacha's possession. Non-existent evidence is enough, in James DiEugenio's world, to convict a man of killing the President.

Here is a blog post that looks at all of that in more detail:

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