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Mexico Sets Up Extradition Effort

July 22, 1998

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mexico’s government, repeatedly rebuffed in attempts to extradite a former deputy attorney general from the United States, appears to be setting up another extradition effort, newspapers reported Tuesday.

Criminal court Judge Olga Sanchez Contreras told the government’s Notimex news agency Monday that she has ordered the arrest of Mario Ruiz Massieu on charges of taking bribes to permit drug trafficking.

Newspapers said the government would likely use the new charge to try again to extradite Ruiz Massieu, who fled Mexico in 1995 in a scandal linked to the arrest of the brother of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

Ruiz Massieu, under house arrest in New Jersey, has successfully fought four extradition requests. Ruiz Massieu says he is innocent and a victim of political persecution.

The new arrest warrant is based on testimony by drug traffickers that Ruiz Massieu received payments while serving as Mexico’s top anti-drug prosecutor.

The head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Thomas Constantine, told reporters in Washington on Monday that his agency supported efforts to extradite Ruiz Massieu to Mexico.

Mexican officials at first accused Ruiz Massieu of covering up evidence implicating Raul Salinas de Gortari in the murder of the prosecutor’s own brother, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, a senior political official. They later accused him of charges relating to corruption in repeated efforts to win his extradition.

The U.S. government won a jury verdict last year allowing it to seize $7.9 million from $9 million Ruiz Massieu had in bank accounts in Texas, claiming the money came from drug traffickers.

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