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Former drug intelligence chief accused of kidnap, torture

September 4, 1997

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mexico’s former head of anti-drug intelligence has been accused of kidnapping and torturing a member of the Tijuana drug cartel to extract information for a rival gang, news reports said Wednesday.

Newspaper and TV reports said that Ignacio Weber Rodriguez, of the now-defunct National Institute for the Combat of Drugs, was charged Tuesday at a high-security prison outside the nation’s capital. It was unclear when he was arrested.

Weber Rodriguez’s arrest was the latest twist in the story of Mexico’s former drug czar, Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, charged in February with being on the payroll of the late drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

It backs up investigators’ claims that the general used his power to help Carrillo in his multibillion-dollar smuggling enterprise.

Weber Rodriguez, who was director of intelligence at the institute, is accused of kidnapping Alejandro Hodoyan in September 1996 and holding him for several months to extract information about reputed drug lords, the Arellano Felix brothers of Tijuana.

Hodoyan was kidnapped a second time, in Tijuana last March, and remains missing.

``Yes, that’s him! I remember him perfectly,″ Hodoyan’s mother, Cristina Hodoyan de Palacios, referring to Weber Rodriguez, told authorities on Tuesday during a hearing at the prison. Mexican anti-drug agents flew Mrs. Hodoyan from Tijuana for the hearing.

Mrs. Hodoyan has said that she visited her son last fall at a military installation in the western state capital of Guadalajara, where she said he was being held secretly by the general’s men.

In a sworn statement before his second disappearance, Hodoyan, 35, wrote that he met the general during his interrogation in Guadalajara, and that he was tortured there.

Hodoyan’s old bosses _ the Arellano Felix brothers _ are believed to control almost all drug trafficking along the California-Mexico border, transporting tons of cocaine and marijuana into the United States. Carrillo was considered Mexico’s No. 1 cocaine smuggler before his July 4 death.

When Gutierrez Rebollo became head of the country’s anti-drug effort on Dec. 6, Hodoyan agreed to work as his bodyguard in return for protection.

Shortly before the general’s arrest, American law officers allegedly approached Hodoyan.

Hodoyan wrote that on Feb. 11, a U.S. government plane flew him from suburban Mexico City to San Diego. The government put him up at a hotel, where he talked with federal agents and prosecutors.

Worried about incriminating his younger brother, Alejandro Hodoyan left a few days later without telling his hosts and returned to Tijuana.

Alfredo Hodoyan, 25, and a childhood friend have been jailed in San Diego for a year on a Mexican warrant charging them with helping the Arellano Felix brothers kill the federal police commander of Baja California. Mexico hopes to have him extradited to face trial.

Alejandro Hodoyan vanished a second _ and apparently last _ time on March 5 when two men with automatic rifles jumped out of a van in a Tijuana parking lot, tossed him inside, and screeched away.

He is still missing and presumed dead.

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