To help him break into Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, E. Howard Hunt enlisted the help of four Cubans from Miami’s anti-Castro community. Bernard L. Barker was a real estate agent who had worked with Hunt at the CIA. Eugenio Martinez and Frank A. Sturgis were associates of Barker, each with CIA ties. The fourth Cuban, Virgilio R. Gonzales, was a locksmith. The final burglar, James W. McCord, helped organize security for the CRP. He, too, was a former CIA agent and had worked with the FBI.

Assisted by Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, the five operatives entered the DNC headquarters on Memorial Day weekend 1972, photographing files and bugging telephones. Later, the result of their work was shown to John Mitchell. He was unsatisfied, and the burglars returned to the Watergate in the early hours of June 17. While they were taking more photographs and replacing faulty bugs, Watergate security guard Frank Wills discovered tape blocking the bolt of a door that should have been locked. He called police, who arrived and arrested the burglars while still in the DNC’s office. Hunt and Liddy were arrested later. Cash, false identification, and other information found on the men linked them to Nixon’s re-election committee.