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Witness Says Defendant Talked of Killing Investigator

December 22, 1987

MIAMI (AP) _ The government’s star witness in the federal corruption trial of three former policemen testified today that he and one of the defendants discussed killing the lead investigator in the case.

The admission came during Rodolfo Arias’ sixth day on the stand, and his third under cross-examination by Ellis Rubin, attorney for defendent Omar Manzanilla.

Rubin grilled Arias about Metro-Dade detective Alex Alvarez, the lead investigator in the corruption inquiry.

″Did you ever ask for Alex Alvarez’ address?″ Rubin asked.

″Yes,″ responded Arias. ″(But) we never did anything about it.″

The discussion about killing Alvarez took place among ″me, and (Osvaldo) Coello and Arturo De La Vega,″ Arias said. Coello is on trial and De La Vega, a former Miami policeman, has already pleaded guilty in the case.

On Monday, Mario Carballo, one of the ex-officers charged with participating in a murderous cocaine ripoff ring, said the government had threatened to arrest his pregnant wife and other family members unless he agreed to a plea bargain.

But ″we’re not pleading,″ Carballo said.

Manzanilla and Coello face life imprisonment if convicted on civil rights charges in the July 1985 drownings of three Miami River drug boat guards and on drug and racketeering charges. Carballo faces drug and racketeering counts.

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