Related topics

State Policemen Charged With Injuring DEA Agent

August 27, 1986

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ The Attorney General’s office has charged 11 policemen with injuring a U.S. narcotics agent and abusing their authority while he was in police custody in Guadalajara earlier this month.

However, in a statement issued Tuesday, the office made no mention of Reagan administration claims that Drug Enforcement Administration agent Victor Cortez was tortured while in custody Aug. 13.

None of the 11 Jalisco state police officers charged is believed to be in custody, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said late Tuesday.

The United States lodged a diplomatic protest with Mexico after Cortez’ detention, charging that he was subjected to ″unprovoked, brutal and criminal acts″ during the six hours he was held.

The DEA said he was beaten and tortured with electric shocks.

Tuesday’s statement said the state policemen acknowledge holding Cortez and another man, ″but do not recognize having inflicted bad treatment on those detained.″

However, the statement said four men, including a former state judicial policeman, who were under investigation for other infractions at the time, said they ″had knowledge of the bad treatment″ by police of Cortez and the man detained with him.

Spokesmen for the Attorney General’s office originally denied that Cortez, was beaten or otherwise abused.

The charges of abuse of authority and inflicting injury on the 34-year-old U.S. agent were filed against the 11 officers in 1st District Criminal Court in Guadalajara, 360 miles northwest of Mexico City, the statement said.

It also cited a report by Dr. Hector Manuel Garcia of the Red Cross in Guadalajara who said that he examined Cortez at 12:15 a.m. Aug. 14 and found evidence of blows to the stomach and right shoulder.

The wounds were not life-threatening, Garcia was said to have reported.

Mention of the report was the only elaboration on Cortez’ injuries given in the statement, a summary of the case as sent to the court.

Cortez was believed to be in Arizona, where he went after his release.

Investigations by the state and federal Attorney General’s offices found that Cortez and Antonio Garate Bustamante, a Mexican, were stopped while in a car that lacked an identification decal and bore license plates of another vehicle, the statement said.

Two of the policemen, Salvador Salas Castaneda and Anselmo Pulido Galvan, testified that they saw an automatic weapon in the glove compartment of the car when Garate Bustamante, who was carrying a pistol, opened it to get vehicle identification papers.

They found a semi-automatic rifle and a submachine gun, both weapons that can legally be used only by the Mexican armed forces, in the car’s trunk, the policemen said.

The statement said Garate Bustamante was dismissed from the Guadalajara city police department in January 1982 after he was charged with extortion. A judge released him two months later.

In March, it said, he was jailed for violations of health laws which usually involve narcotics-related offenses, and later released. The case remains open, the statement said.

At the time of his detention with Cortez, local news reports said Garate Bustamante was a DEA informant.

Federal prosecutors asked Judge Oscar Vazquez Marin of Guadalajara, who is handling the case, to obtain statements from Cortez and Garate Bustamante, the statement from the Attorney General’s office said.

It said the charges did not close the case and prosecutors were keeping the investigation open.

Six members of the same police force and a former policemen were among those originally charged last year in the case of another DEA agent in Guadalajara, Enrique Camarena Salazar.

Camarena Salazar and a pilot who worked with him were kidnapped in the western city Feb. 7, 1985, and their brutally beaten bodies found a month later.

The policemen were among many who were arrested on drug charges in the sweeping investigation, but were not charged with the murder itself.

Reputed drug barons Rafael Caro Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca are among those awaiting trial on homicide charges in the case.

A former federal judicial police commander in Guadalajara, Armando Pavon Reyes, was sentenced to four years in prison this month on charges he took a $300,000 bribe from Caro Quintero and allowed him to flee the city two days after the kidnapping.

Update hourly