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State Official Called to Testify in Drug Case

June 12, 1996

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) _ A top official in the western state of Jalisco will be summoned to testify in a politically sensitive murder case linked to drug gangs, a federal prosecutor says.

The state government, controlled by the conservative National Action Party, has been on the defensive since Army troops found five apparent homicide victims in an anti-drug operation in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, 15 miles southwest of here.

Ten people were arrested in the May 28 incident. One suspect reportedly linked a Jalisco government official to a drug cartel, and the official subsequently was forced to step down.

In recent days, Gov. Alberto Cardenas Jimenez has repeatedly denied that drug traffickers hold influence within his administration, insisting that opponents are waging a smear campaign against him.

However, federal prosecutor Jorge Antonio Miron Reyes said Tuesday that one of Cardenas’s top officials _ Raul Octavio Espinoza Martinez _ will have to answer questions in the case.

National Action is the most prominent opposition party in Mexico and captured the Jalisco governorship in 1995. The Institutional Revolutionary Party has held the presidency and the national legislature since 1929.

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