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Former Police Agent Indicted in Killing of Journalist

June 24, 1989

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A former federal security agent was indicted Friday on homicide charges in the killing of Manuel Buendia, a prominent investigative journalist.

Juan Rafael Moro Avila, 36, pleaded innocent to the charges but admitted he was a lookout during a May 30, 1984, operation in which Buendia was slain.

He said he did not know Buendia was the target of the Federal Security Administration plan code-named ″Operation News.″

Moro, who once acted in several horror and crime movies, has said a police informant, Jose Luis Ochoa Alonso, was the triggerman who killed Buendia.

Ochoa was shot to death on a Mexico City street, apparently by federal security agents, 42 days after Buendia was killed. Few details of Ochoa’s death have been made public.

Prosecutors say Juan Antonio Zorrilla Perez, director of the Federal Security Administration at the time Buendia was slain, ordered the killing.

Zorrilla has been indicted on charges of murder, obstruction of justice and abuse of authority. The Federal Security Administration, which was the equivalent of the FBI, was disbanded in 1985 because of corruption.

Prosecutors said Zorrilla wanted Buendia killed because he feared the journalist would expose connections between the Security Administration and some of Mexico’s main drug traffickers.

Zorrilla has declared his innocence and said Buendia, a columnist for the daily Excelsior, was a longtime friend.

The government newspaper El Nacional said six more former agents of the federal security agency were being sought in the Buendia case as the scandal continued to grow.

Notimex, the government news agency said prosecutors on Friday asked Judge Judge Roberto Hernandez Martinez, who ruled on Moro’s indictment, for additional arrest warrants.