Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jul 2003
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2003 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Anna Cearley, Staff Writer


TIJUANA - Mexican federal investigators are expected to decide today
whether to file charges against a Chula Vista man who claims he didn't
know a car he purchased from a U.S. auction contained drugs.

Adrian Rodriguez, 25, said he took the 1991 Volkswagen Passat to a
Tijuana auto shop because it was making noises. Mechanics found a
secret compartment with about 15 kilos of marijuana packed in plastic,
and Rodriguez said he and the mechanics decided to call the police.

Police then turned him over to the Mexican Attorney General's Office,
where he remains in custody.

His wife, Ali Jazmin Rodriguez, showed copies of a U.S. federal
forfeiture sale document that was issued March 5, 2003, and listed the
car's identifying characteristics. The car was bought for $600 at an
auction of vehicles seized by the U.S. Customs Service, she said. A
lawyer for Adrian Rodriguez submitted the document to Mexican federal

Abraham Sarabia, a spokesman for the Mexican Attorney General's
Office, said the car's origin is part of the investigation. Mexican
and U.S. courts have struck down or dismissed two similar cases in
recent months.

Family members waited in front of the Attorney General's Office in
support of Rodriguez. His wife ,said that "he took the car to Tijuana
because he thought it would be more economical, but this isn't turning
out to be so."

The family has ties on both sides of the border. She is from Tijuana
and has family members who live in the city. Adrian Rodriguez's
mother, Rosa Elena Olvira, was born in Mexico but has lived in
California for 27 years. Adrian Rodriguez was born in San Bernardino,
she said.

He was employed as a social service worker for children with special
needs, family members said. He has a 14-month-old son, also named Adrian.
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