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Ruling Party Congressman Implicated in Mexico Murder

October 2, 1994

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A man who confessed to a role in the assassination of a top ruling party politician told investigators Sunday the plot was masterminded by a congressman upset over plans to reform the party.

According to a statement from the attorney general’s office, Jorge Rodriguez Gonzalez, who was arrested over the weekend, told police the congressman, Manuel Munoz Rocha, hired him and his brother, Fernando, to plan last week’s killing of Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu.

The congressman wanted Ruiz Massieu killed because he was a member of a new group of politicians trying to reform the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the attorney general quoted Jorge Rodriguez Gonzalez as saying.

Ruiz Massieu, the PRI’s No. 2 official, was shot in the neck and killed Wednesday outside a Mexico City hotel. The gunman was arrested at the scene and has also confessed, police said.

The slaying was the latest in a series of violent attacks that have rattled Mexico for more than a year. It also shook the PRI, in power for 65 years, which lost its first presidential candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio, to an assassin’s bullet in March.

The man who police say confessed to shooting Ruiz Massieu, 28-year-old horse trainer and farmhand Daniel Aguilar Trevino, was arraigned in a Mexico City criminal court for murder and possession of a firearm prohibited for civilian use, a federal felony. He was being held Sunday night.

But authorities allege Trevino was part of a wider conspiracy of at least five men, all from Tamaulipas state.

Munoz Rocha is accused of hiring the two brothers, who then hired Trevino as the triggerman, authorities say.

Munoz Rocha and Fernando Rodriguez Gonzalez, who is an aide to the congressman, were being sought by police for questioning. Police are asking congress to impeach Munoz Rocha, who is chairman of the House water commission, the attorney general’s statement said.

Another suspected accomplice, Carlos Angel Cantu Narvaez, was questioned Sunday after turning himself in.

Narvaez, 22, had been hiding in Brownsville, Texas, before surrendering Saturday afternoon across the border in Matamoros, police said.

″I am not involved in this assassination. I am innocent,″ Cantu Narvaez told a Matamoros television station before being taken away by Federal Judicial Police.

Also being questioned Sunday was Ruben Jose Pascual Alvarez, 42, a police officer who lived near Aguilar Trevino in Tamaulipas state, according to police sources.

The sources said Pascual Alvarez is believed to have provided the gun used.

Ruiz Massieu, 48, a former governor of southern Guerrero state, was the PRI’s secretary-general and was in charge of cleaning up the party’s corruption-tarnished image.

DS-10-02-94 1904EDT

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