Mexico's former drug czar jailed
Ruling comes as U.S. debates aid to neighbor
February 25, 1997
Web posted at: 10:41 p.m. EST (0341 GMT)
In this story:
MEXICO CITY (CNN) -- Mexico's former anti-narcotics czar
was jailed Tuesday after a judge found sufficient
evidence to try him on charges of drug corruption.
Second District Judge Armando Baez Espinoza issued the
ruling against Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, who until last week
was head of Mexico's National Institute for Combatting Drugs,
the government news agency Notimex said.
The decision came as the Clinton administration re-opened
a debate on whether to continue certifying Mexico as an anti-drug ally.
Washington was caught by surprise last week when Mexico dismissed Rebollo,
charging that he took bribes from Amado Carrillo Fuentes, considered
Mexico's richest drug baron.
"Until the arrest of the general, there was no question about Mexico's certification,"
said a White House official who requested anonymity. "Now we're assessing its
Mexico on Monday announced the firing of 36 workers in its
national narcotics agency who had contact with Gutierrez
Attorney General Jorge Madrazo Cuellar said more firings may
follow. He also disputed a published report on Sunday that
accused two Mexican state governors of ties to drug
U.S. aid to Mexico rides on decision
The United States is expected to announce on March 1 whether
it will certify Mexico's anti-drug program. Certification is
needed to maintain U.S. financial aid.
U.S. officials Monday discussed a proposal to recertify
Mexico's drug programs at a downgraded status, which would
keep aid flowing but would be a diplomatic embarrassment for
Mexico, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Police: Drug baron, drug fighter were neighbors
Following a raid in Mexico City, police said they discovered
evidence that Carrillo Fuentes occasionally lived on the same
floor of a luxury apartment building as Gutierrez Rebollo,
who moved in just after taking up his anti-drug post in
Mexican police believe Carrillo Fuentes -- head of the
powerful Juarez drugs cartel -- gave the apartment to
Gutierrez Rebollo. It was one of many properties the general
had accumulated over the past several years.
In the raid, police said they found a suitcase in Gutierrez Rebollo's apartment containing $10,000 dollars, an AK-47
rifle, a small wooden barrel engraved with Carillo Fuentes'
name and a letter to the drug lord from an associate jailed
in a maximum-security prison.
Encrypted cellular telephones and bugging equipment were also
found in Gutierrez Rebollo's apartment, police said.
Carillo Fuentes has evaded police attempts to capture him, even slipping
out of his sister's wedding just before police raided the
Mexican governors deny drug ties
Attorney General Madrazo said government investigations had
revealed nothing of substance to implicate the two governors,
Sonora Gov. Manlio Fabio Beltrones and Morelos Gov. Jorge
The New York Times said Sunday that accusations linking
Beltrones to drug smugglers are based on interviews with U.S.
officials, reams of intelligence data and "highly reliable"
Citing U.S. officials and intelligence sources, the paper
reported Beltrones has consistently given protection to
Both governors challenged the report and Beltrones --
considered presidential material -- took out a full-page ad
in Mexico City newspapers to defend himself.
Beltrones, who told CNN he is considering suing The New York
Times, also said he was the first to press charges against
Carrillo Fuentes so that an arrest warrant could be issued.
"How can I be protecting someone if I am accusing him?" the
Meanwhile, as the scandals unfold, they obscure what Mexico
sees as the real problem: the United States' insatiable
appetite for drugs.
Mexico City Bureau Chief Lucia Newman, Correspondent Brian Barger and Reuters contributed to this report.
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