Meese Taking New U.S. Complaints to Sitdown With Mexican Officials
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Attorney General Edwin Meese will meet his Mexican counterpart next week armed with a number of new and festering complaints about drug enforcement south of the border, including the official destruction of evidence in the murder of a U.S. agent.
Despite two ″summits″ already this year between Meese and Attorney General Sergio Garcia Ramirez, the Drug Enforcement Administration remains unhappy with Mexican authorities on several fronts, including alleged foot dragging on marijuana eradication programs and corruption in the use of U.S. funds.
As first reported by Newsweek magazine this week, the DEA was particularly upset when a deputy to Garcia Ramirez informed the agency in October that physical evidence in the murder of U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena Salazar had been destroyed on orders from a state judge in Guadalajara.
Mexican authorities earlier had promised that the evidence - ropes, gags, pieces of a sheet and other materials - would be made available to U.S. investigators and a federal grand jury in Texas. The DEA believes that soil analysis of the samples would have proved that Camarena was tortured and killed in the Guadalajara villa of a drug kingpin, and not where his body was found.
″It is no secret that we have had problems with Mexico,″ said chief DEA spokesman Robert Feldkamp. ″And we still have problems.″
Feldkamp declined to discuss the specific sore points, saying he did not want to prejudice Meese’s negotiations next week in San Antonio.
Two men have been imprisoned in connection with the slaying of Camarena and his pilot, but nine others named by the DEA, including the purported kingpin, remain free.
Last month, DEA agents located one of the alleged kidnappers and asked Mexican authorities to arrest him. Shortly afterward, the man dashed out of his house, jumped into a car and escaped, and the agents suspected they had been sold out.
Moreover, the DEA says it has located several suspects still living at their homes, even though the Mexican government has said it cannot locate them.
An agency source, asking not to be identified, confirmed Newsweek’s report that Meese already has aired to Garcia Ramirez a U.S. charge that some American funds for crop eradication have been siphoned off by Mexican officials, and that some marijuana and poppy fields were sprayed with water instead of poison.
On top of that, DEA agents who supposedly were to accompany Mexican pilots as observers have complained that they were left for weeks sitting around airports for flights that never got off the ground.