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Two Mexican police agents arrested for hiding drug shipment

April 16, 1997

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Two agents of Mexico’s troubled drug-enforcement agency have been arrested for failing to report a 1.6-ton shipment of marijuana they seized, the Attorney General’s office announced Tuesday.

The agents hid the marijuana at a ranch in the state of Baja California Sur after seizing it from drug traffickers, the office said in a statement.

The National Institute for the Combat of Drugs had assigned Eliazar Castro and Manlio Jesus Valdez, both agents with Federal Judicial Police, to work in Loreto, Baja California Sur.

They were arrested on a tip from an anonymous caller and arraigned before a Loreto judge on charges of drug trafficking and possession, and participating in organized crime.

The statement did not indicate when the officers were arrested or when they allegedly seized the marijuana shipment.

Last week a panel of jurists recommended that the corruption-ridden institute be replaced by a special prosecutor who would report directly to the attorney general.

The panel said the 3-year-old institute ``has been in an advanced state of deterioration ever since it was founded.″

The former head of the institute, Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was arrested in February on bribery and drug-trafficking charges. He says he is innocent.

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