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Suspect Arrested in Cardinal’s Assassination

September 25, 1995

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Authorities today announced the arrest of a man suspected of fatally shooting a Roman Catholic cardinal more than two years ago.

The Attorney General’s Office said Edgar Nicolas Mariscal, who witnesses identified as one of the main gunmen in the May 24, 1993, killing of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, was picked up in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa. Mariscal was jailed, the statement said.

At the time of his arrest, Mariscal was riding in a pickup truck in Los Mochis, about 750 miles northwest of Mexico City. Authorities said they found a machine gun and 20 cartridges in the vehicle.

The cardinal, his chauffeur and five others were slain at the airport in the western state capital of Guadalajara when they were caught between two rival drug gangs.

The Attorney General’s Office has identified the primary gunmen as Mariscal and Juan Francisco Murrillo Diaz, who was killed in a 1994 shootout with federal agents in Sinaloa.

Authorities said the gunmen, hired by the Arellano Felix brothers who head the Tijuana drug cartel, mistook the cardinal for rival drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera of the Sinaloa cartel.

Although Guzman was later arrested and jailed, the Arellano Felix brothers remain at large.

The cardinal’s slaying was one of three major assassinations recently in Mexico.

Luis Donaldo Colosio, the ruling party’s original presidential candidate for last year’s election, was gunned down in March 1994 at a Tijuana campaign rally. Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the No. 2 man in the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, was slain in September 1994 in Mexico City.

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