Pubdate: Thu, 21 Mar 2003
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2003 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Chris Roberts, Associated Press


In 1995, just as Phil Jordan was settling into his job as the head of a 
federal anti-drug task force in El Paso, his brother was fatally wounded in 
a nearby Kmart parking lot.

Four years later, the man accused in the slaying was released to Mexico 
after three juries deadlocked and prosecutors decided not to pursue the case.

Jordan, who ran the Drug Enforcement Administration's El Paso Intelligence 
Center, believes the killing was ordered by Mexico's Juarez drug cartel as 
a personal warning.

Now, nearly a decade later, the anger and helplessness Jordan felt at not 
being able to protect his family is still strong. And he says his own 
government blocked his investigation of the murder.

"I still believe in the justice system," Jordan said. "In Mexico, you let 
the federal police know and they do the killing for you. But that's not the 
way it is over here. Murder has no statute of limitations."

A recent book about the drug trade in Mexico, Down By The River; Drugs, 
Money, Murder and Family, uses the murder of Bruno Jordan as a window to 
view the power and political influence of the Mexican drug industry. It 
asserts that the drug trade generates more money for the Mexican economy 
that any other industry.

"The drug trade is essential to the survival of (Mexico)," said author 
Charles Bowden. "It's hard to find somebody who is untouched if you go up 
high enough."

Using interviews with Jordan and his extended family, plus newspaper and 
magazine articles, the book discusses alleged deals between Mexico's drug 
cartels and its most powerful political leaders -- including former 
presidents, governors and generals.

Mexican Consul General Juan Carlos Cue Vega, head of the Mexican Consulate 
in El Paso, declined comment.

In the United States, Bowden and Jordan contend, law enforcement agencies 
are being reined in for fear they will destabilize a needed trading partner.

Bowden writes about attempts Jordan made to brief his superiors that didn't 
go well.

Jordan says his multiagency task force issued a report detailing drug 
trade-related corruption involving U.S. border agents, but the findings 
weren't embraced in Washington.

"I sent the report, as a courtesy, to Washington, and I got raked over the 
coals," he said. "The point was that it was a truthful product. Everybody 
wanted good news from the U.S.-Mexican border. They didn't want us to lie, 
but they wanted to support" the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Will Glaspy, a DEA spokesman in Washington, said corruption in Mexico is 
well known. He said much has changed since the 2000 election of Mexican 
President Vicente Fox.

"Today we have relations with Mexican officials that are better than 
anything we've had before," he said. "Things have changed immensely."

Nevertheless, Jordan said his efforts to investigate his brother's murder 
were greeted with the same resistance he had encountered when he tried to 
pass on intelligence to the politicians in Washington.

"They warned me not to use any DEA facilities to explore the murder of my 
brother," Jordan said. "Nobody's going to tell me not investigate my 
brother's murder."

Bowden said cartel leaders couldn't have hurt Jordan and his family any 
more than by killing his 27-year-old brother, Bruno. "Bruno really was the 
apple of their eye," he said.

Authorities wrote the murder off as a carjacking and Miguel Angel Flores, 
13 at the time, served four years while working his way through three trials.

Charles Louis Roberts, who defended Flores at his later trials, said the 
juries deadlocked because the case didn't add up.

"A few days before, he (Flores) was washing windows on cars," Roberts said. 
"To be promoted to hit man for a car theft ring or for a major narcotics 
organization is a big jump in status.

"I don't know the truth. I'll be the first to tell you that, but I have a 
gut feeling that Miguel Angel Flores is innocent."

Jordan stands behind the facts laid out in Bowden's book and he believes 
Flores was the killer.

He is retired now and still looking for information on the murder. However, 
he says he has enough evidence to link his brother's murder to the late 
drug kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

Carrillo Fuentes, who reportedly died in 1997 during plastic surgery to 
change his appearance, had plenty of reason to send a message, Jordan said.

Jordan intercepted his shipments, arrested operatives, and Carrillo Fuentes 
may even have blamed Jordan for the killing of one of his own brothers.

And when Jordan arrived in El Paso he already had a history with cartel 
leaders. In his earlier work with the DEA, Jordan caused so much trouble 
for Pedro Perez Aviles -- known by some as the godfather of all the cartels 
- -- that Perez reportedly put out a $10,000 contract on his life. Jordan 
believes the people who ordered his brother's killing -- including some he 
says still live in El Paso -- can be brought to justice.

"If the revenge factor was part of my game plan, then there's two or three 
people in El Paso who would not be around anymore," Jordan said. "I have a 
big family, they know we know who they are."
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