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Mexican Forces Withdraw From Resort

April 28, 1998

ROSARITO BEACH, Mexico (AP) _ Security forces were withdrawn Monday from a Mexican seaside resort they had occupied because its owners were allegedly connected to a notorious drug cartel.

More than 100 troops and Federal Judicial Police officers seized the Oasis Resort Playa Mar on Friday for alleged links to the Arellano Felix cartel.

Urbano Hernandez Somero, one of four owners of the popular resort, said the soldiers left after he pleaded with the federal attorney general’s office.

Hernandez said Mexican authorities never served him with papers justifying the seizure.

Hernandez said he co-owns the resort with the mother, sister and the son of Manuel Aguirre Galindo.

Aguirre, also known as ``El Caballo″ or ``The Horse″, is allegedly a member of the Arellano Felix drug organization based in Tijuana, just south of San Diego and north of Rosarito Beach.

Hernandez denied that Aguirre had anything to do with the resort. He said Aguirre owned the land 10 years ago but sold it.

``He’s not in this company,″ Aguirre said.

However, the federal attorney general’s office said it had confirmed the resort property belonged to Aguirre.

Hernandez said he was concerned about losing a $2 million contract with Warner Bros. A film crew had booked rooms for seven months for an upcoming production at the nearby studios where the Academy Award-winning ``Titanic″ was filmed.

U.S. and Mexican authorities believe Ramon Eduardo Arellano Felix, Benjamin Arellano Felix and two other brothers control the cartel.

Ramon Arellano Felix was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List in September and federal authorities have offered a $2 million reward for information leading to his arrest. His brother, Benjamin, also is a federal fugitive.

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