Two Agree To Give Up $5.9 Million Cash Seized
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) _ Two men who have been linked to El Salvador’s rightwing ARENA party have agreed in a plea bargain to give up claims to nearly $6 million seized from them at a south Texas airport.
For a promise of probation, Francisco Guirola Beeche, 34, pleaded no contest and Oscar Rodriguez Feo, 48, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate a federal law which prohibits anyone from taking more than $10,000 out of the country without notifying federal officials.
Documents confiscated upon their arrest linked them to the ARENA party, controlled by rightist political leader Roberto d’Aubuisson.
If on June 12 U.S. District Judge Hayden Head Jr. accepts the pleas entered Monday, federal prosecutors said they will drop charges against a third man, pilot Gus Maestrales, 38.
The trio, originally scheduled for a final pre-trial hearing today, were arrested Feb. 6 at Kleberg County Airport near Kingsville with $5.9 million stuffed in seven suitcases. The arrests were made as the three men were refueling Maestrales’ T-39 Sabreliner jet.
The men have been free on bond.
Maestrales has maintained he had no knowledge of the plane’s cargo and that the two men were no more than passengers.
One of four passports Guirola was carrying listed him as an independent adviser to the Salvadoran state assembly and was signed by d’Aubuisson.
Both Guirola and Rodriguez carried documents which identified them as ″special counselors″ to Salvadoran attorney General Jose Francisco Guerro, a ranking member of the ARENA party, the Corpus Christi Caller reported in a copyright story.
In a pretrial hearing in Feburary, Guirola’s wife, Gloria, testified her husband joined ARENA in 1979 after losing the family farm to land reform.