AP NEWS
Related topics

Ex-Security Chief Accused of Killing Mexican Special Agent

July 1, 1989

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A former federal security chief on trial for the slaying of a prominent journalist will also be accused of ordering the assassination of a special government agent, officials said Friday.

Special prosecutor Miguel Angel Garcia Dominguez told a news conference he will file additional charges against Jose Antonio Zorrilla Perez, director of the now-dissolved Federal Security Administration, for the killing of special agent Jose Luis Esqueda Gutierrez.

Zorrilla is currently on trial for the May 30, 1984 slaying of Manuel Buendia, whose books and front-page column in the newspaper Excelsior exposed wrongdoing in high places.

Garcia said he has ″voluminous evidence″ Zorrilla ordered Buendia and Esqueda killed because they were investigating Zorrilla’s alleged links to leading drug traffickers.

The gunmen in both slayings were members of the security administration, whose functions were roughly similar to the FBI until the organization was disbanded by the government in 1986 for widespread corruption.

Buendia was shot dead at the entrance of a parking garage near his office. Garcia said the evidence shows the triggerman was Juan Rafael Moro Avila, a playboy from a prominent family of Mexican politicians.

Moro, now awaiting trial, denied at his indictment that he fired the shots that killed Buendia, claiming that a police informer who was shot dead two years ago did it.

Three other senior officers from the security administration, including one woman, also are on trial for complicity in the Buendia slaying.

Esqueda, an Interior Department special agent assigned to investigate Zorrilla’s involvement with the drug trade, was killed on Feb. 16, 1985 on a Mexico City street with a single shot to the back of the neck, Garcia said.

Alberto Estrella Barrera and two other security administration officers carried out Esqueda’s murder, Garcia said. He did not identify the other two but said they are being sought by police.

Estrella was arrested and, under questioning, claimed Zorrilla ordered Esqueda killed. He is scheduled to be arraigned on a murder charge before the city’s 34th court sometime Saturday.

Zorrilla was also charged with obstruction of justice, abuse of authority, illicit enrichment and two other federal felonies - drug trafficking and illegal possesion of firearms reserved only for military use.

Garcia said 15 automatic rifles and pistols of unauthorized caliber were seized at a hideout where Zorrilla was arrested.

Both Esqueda and Buendia were longtime friends of Zorrilla. ″The motive for killing them was the knowledge both victims had of Zorrilla’s links with the drug traffic,″ Garcia said.