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Drug Indictments Reportedly Kept Secret To Avoid U.S.-Mexico Clash

November 14, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Three people were indicted in the 1985 slaying of a U.S. drug agent, but word of the action was delayed to avoid upsetting U.S.-Mexican treaty negotiations, a newspaper reported Saturday.

A federal grand jury in May secretly indicted the three: a high-ranking Mexican law enforcement official, a reputed drug trafficker and his cousin, the Los Angeles Times said.

The charges were to have been unsealed two weeks ago, the newspaper said, quoting unidentified government sources, but were held up by Associate Attorney General Stephen S. Trott because of fears the case would upset U.S.-Mexican negotiations on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

The treaty would facilitate the exchange of evidence between the countries in criminal cases.

Trott refused to confirm or deny that the indictments had been returned, saying to do so would be illegal, the Times reported.

He said, however, that Justice Department officials would not sacrifice the case for approval of the treaty.

Enrique S. Camarena, a Guadalajara-based agent for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, was kidnapped at gunpoint outside the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara on Feb. 7, 1985. Two hours later, Alfred Zavala- Avelar, a pilot who had flown missions for Camarena to locate marijuana fields, was abducted at the Guadalajara airport.

Nearly a month later, their bodies, showing evidence of extensive torture, were found in Zamora, Mexico.

The Times said the three indicted were Armando Pavon Reyes, a Mexican federal police commander who headed the investigation into Camarena’s kidnapping; Rafael Caro-Quintero, whose organization allegedly lost billions of dollars in marijuana because of investigations led by Camarena; and Caro- Quintero’s cousin, Ines Calderon-Quintero.

The Times reported Caro-Quintero was indicted on kidnapping and murder charges and Pavon and Calderon-Quintero were indicted on charges of hindering and preventing Caro-Quintero’s apprehension.

Caro-Quintero has been arrested in Costa Rica and returned to Mexico.

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