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Man Accused of Threatening Clinton

March 6, 1998

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A Mexican doctor was arrested for allegedly mailing letters to people in the United States in which he threatened to kill President Clinton and former President Bush unless he was given money.

Hector Aguiniga Cortes of Tecate, Mexico, mailed letters to at least 30 people, threatening to kill the presidents unless he was sent $3,000, FBI Special Agent Jan Caldwell said Thursday.

The letter recipients were told to mail the money within 10 days to a post office box in Tecate, a border town southeast of San Diego.

Officials believe Cortes obtained the names and addresses of people he mailed the letters to through a package of mailing labels for a ministry group.

``I really do not believe it was a joke,″ Caldwell said. ``We take each and every one of these seriously, particularly when there’s a threat to the president.″

Cortes, 47, was arrested Wednesday night at the Tecate customs checkpoint and charged with two counts of extortion.

In addition to threatening Bush and Clinton, Cortes is accused of mailing an extortion letter to his landlord in which he demanded $150,000 or he would kill the landlord’s family.

The letter was entitled ``Commandos Autonomos Anti-Capitalists E.T.A.″ and signed ``Commando Donosti,″ leading the landlord to believe that a terrorist group was responsible for the threat, the FBI said.

It was not clear exactly how many people received the letters threatening to kill Bush and Clinton.

``We’re still trying to sort that out,″ Caldwell said. ``We’re looking at least 30 people across the country ... just regular citizens.″

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