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Eyewitness Says Drug Barons Ordered U.S. Agent Killed

June 13, 1985

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Three reputed drug kingpins decided to have U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena Salazar killed after he disclosed that American officials considered them dangerous traffickers, an eyewitness has said.

Francisco Javier Tejeda Jaramillo, who has been charged with murder in the case, told officials that the reputed traffickers - Rafael Caro Quintero, Miguel Felix Gallardo and Ernesto Fonseca - decided unanimously to kill Camarena on Feb. 8.

On Wednesday, Francisco Fonseca, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, confirmed the details of a statement issued by Tejeda.

Police say the three are part of a quartet who run Mexico’s illegal drug trade. They have identified the fourth man as Juan Ramon Matta-Ballesteros, who was arrested last month in Colombia.

Camarena, a native of Calexico, Calif. who worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, was abducted Feb. 7 in Guadalajara. On March 5, his badly beaten body was discovered with that of a Mexican pilot who worked with him.

Tejeda, 32, said that after Camarena was abducted he was taken blindfolded to a house owned by Caro Quintero in Guadalajara, where he was beaten by three of Felix Gallardo’s associates.

The witness’ account states that Ernesto Fonseca and another man, Samuel Ramirez Razo, entered the room where Camarena was being held and Ramirez asked how the DEA considered the three.

″Camarena responded that they were classified as dangerous drug traffickers in DEA files,″ said Francisco Fonseca.

Caro Quintero, Felix Gallardo and Ernesto Fonseca then allegedly decided to order Camarena’s death, according to the account.

″I think that was the motive for the death,″ the Attorney General’s Office spokesman said.

Tejeda told authorities that Felix Gallardo’s associates used material from a pillowcase and adhesive tape to cover Camarena’s nose and mouth.

″I believe that in about three minutes Camarena died of asphyxiation,″ Tejeda said in his statement to authorities.

Camarena was then put in the trunk of a car where Julio Alvarez, identified as one of Felix Gallardo’s associates, struck him on the head with a tire iron, Tejeda alleged.

In addition to murder, Tejeda has been charged with criminal association, conspiracy and possession of illegal arms.

Caro Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca were arrested earlier and charged in April with Camarena’s death and abduction.

Authorities are still looking for Felix Gallardo and three of his associates, according to Francisco Fonseca.

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