HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html General Accused Of Aiding Drug Traffic
Pubdate: Fri, 06 Apr 2001
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
Author: James F. Smith, Times Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Corruption)


Mexico: The High-Ranking Army Officer Is Arrested For Allegedly Protecting
The Gulf Cartel.

MEXICO CITY--In a case reminiscent of the drug corruption portrayed in
the movie "Traffic," the Mexican government Thursday arrested a
brigadier general accused of providing protection for one of Mexico's
major drug cartels.

The Defense Ministry said charges were brought against army Brig. Gen.
Ricardo Martinez Perea as well as two junior officers for their
alleged links with the Gulf cartel.

The military statement provided few details, but the legal action
appeared to advance a government offensive against the cartel that
began this week with the arrest of 21 alleged members in Tamaulipas

The Gulf cartel, accused of smuggling cocaine and other drugs across
the Texas border, is allegedly led by Osiel Cardenas. The U.S.
government has issued a $2-million reward for his arrest, accusing him
of assaulting an American undercover investigator in June 1999 and,
five months later, threatening the lives of agents in a showdown with
the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Tamaulipas.

The arrest of Gen. Martinez appears to show the determination of
President Vicente Fox's government to make good on its pledge to crack
down on Mexico's drug cartels--and on corrupt senior Mexican officials.

Martinez is the fourth Mexican army general arrested in recent years
on charges of protecting drug traffickers. Two other senior generals,
Francisco Quiroz Hermosillo and Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro, were
jailed in August, but the most startling case was the February 1997
arrest of Gen. Jose de Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, Mexico's anti-drug
czar, who was convicted of supporting one trafficker while battling

The Gutierrez story appeared to be the model for the narrative of
corruption in high places in the critically acclaimed movie "Traffic."

The Fox government has vowed to combat drug trafficking in Mexico
without quarter, and the president's spokeswoman, Martha Sahagun, on
Monday announced the capture of the presumed traffickers from
Cardenas' organization. The army and air force deployed 300 infantry
soldiers as well as special forces and eight helicopters to make the
arrests in the border town of Ciudad Miguel Aleman.

In December, U.S. agents arrested 105 alleged Gulf cartel members in
U.S. cities in a crackdown named Operation Impunity II. DEA
administrator Donnie R. Marshall declared at the time: "Make no
mistake. If you harm a special agent, we will spare no effort to
ensure that you are brought to justice."

The Mexican Defense Ministry declined to provide more information
about Martinez or the other arrestees, Capt. Pedro Maya Diaz and Lt.
Javier Antonio Quevedo, both with the army.

The statement said, "These actions will continue being carried out in
compliance with the orders of the president . . . to not tolerate acts
of corruption within the institutions." 
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