Judge Says Guadalajara Judge Must Try Camarena Case Suspects
MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A federal judge said Wednesday he has ruled that six Jalisco state policemen and a former officer charged with involvement in the kidnap-murder of a U.S. drug agent must stand trial in Guadalajara, not here.
Judge Gonzalo Ballesteros Tena of the 8th District Penal Court said the case will be turned over to a judge in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco state, and that the defendants will be transferred from the East Prison in Mexico City to a Guadalajara prison.
″The crimes did not occur in the Federal District (Mexico City). They occurred in the state of Jalisco, so that state has jurisdiction,″ Ballesteros Tena said in a telephone interview. He said he had begun proceedings Tuesday so the case could be transferred to one of four Jalisco district judges.
Ballesteros Tena ordered the seven men held over for trial last week on charges related to the kidnapping and murder of Enrique Camarena Salazar, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, and a Mexican pilot who worked with him, Alfredo Zavala Avelar.
The seven were brought to Mexico City from Guadalajara for their arraignment and have been held in the East Prison since.
Camarena and Zavala were abducted separately on Feb. 7 in Guadalajara, and their badly beaten bodies were found March 5.
Ballesteros Tena ruled that Victor Manuel Lopez Razon, a Jalisco police commander, Juan Rufo Solorio Oliva and Gerardo Torres Lepe will be tried for murder and kidnapping, illegal possession of military-caliber weapons and narcotics charges.
Benjamin Locheo Salazar, Raul Lopez Alvarez, Hector Lopez Malo Nieto and Jose Guadalupe Munoz Villareal, the former policeman, were ordered to trial on weapons and drug charges.
The charges remain the same despite the change of jurisdiction, Ballesteros Tena said.
The men’s case will be tried by a single judge, who has a year to hear and study evidence. Because the defendants face charges with penalties of more than five years in prison, they are not eligible for bail.
Attention has focused on Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city 332 miles northwest of Mexico City, as a center of the drug trade as a result of the Camarena case.