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Prosecutor Removed From CIA-Murder Case in Guatemala

May 7, 1995

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) _ A government prosecutor was removed Saturday from the investigation of a Guatemalan army colonel allegedly involved in the murders of an American innkeeper and a rebel leader while on the CIA payroll.

``There have been signs and indications that his conduct has not been (frank),″ said Chief Public Prosecutor Ramses Cuestas Gomez. ``And I cannot allow him to continue managing this case since such anomalies exist.″

Cuestas Gomez did not further specify the reasons for dismissing Leonel Machuca Quiroga.

Machuca Quiroga had been in charge of investigating the 1990 murder of American innkeeper Michael Devine and the 1992 killing of guerrilla commander Efrain Bamaca, who was married to an American.

Machuca Quiroga had been scheduled to meet with Rep. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., this weekend in Washington. His trip was canceled.

Cuestas Gomez said his office would interview Torricelli, who brought forth the accusations against Col. Julio Roberto Alpirez, at another time. Toricelli plans to visit to Guatemala at the end of the month.

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