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Mexican Drug Kingpin’s Cousin, 14 Others Arrested

January 25, 1990

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Federal agents seized the wounded cousin of a Mexican drug lord and 14 armed men acting as his bodyguards after he checked into a border city hospital, the attorney general’s office said Wednesday.

Office spokesman Arturo Antelmo said Rigoberto Campos Salcido had been sought for questioning and his apprehension in Mexicali could help police find his cousin Manuel Salcido, long wanted by authorities.

Campos Salcido was reported barely unconscious Wednesday in the hospital’s intensive care unit and agents were unable to question him.

He was admitted with extensive wounds in both arms, which he said were the result of an accident with a drill at one of his ranches, Antelmo reported.

The agents were acting on a tip when they raided Almater Hospital in Mexicali, capital of Baja California state across the border from Calexico, Calif., the office reported, but it did not say when the men were captured.

The spokesman said, ″The Attorney General’s office has been searching for (Manuel) Salcido for about six years. That’s why this is important. Now there will surely be a lead on him.″

Antelmo said the 14 heavily armed men accompanying Campos Salcido identified themselves as friends who were there to protect him, Antelmo said.

A news release from the attorney general’s office said federal authorities seized two houses and two ranches belonging to Campos Salcido.

It said that in subsquent raids on various hideouts, agents seized a hand grenade, automatic weapons, ammunition, radio communications equipment, three vehicles, aviation fuel, 815 pounds of marijuana and two ounces of cocaine.

Campos Salcido was being held for questioning but was not immediately charged, Antelmo said. The 14 others were charged with drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.

One of the men, Magdaleno Coronel Villarreal, told federal officers he and two of the others had been smuggling marijuana to the United States since 1985, the news release said.

Coronel Villarreal was imprisoned at Tijuana state penitentiary from 1977 to 1984 for drug trafficking.

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