March 29, 1995 in Nation/World

General Suspected In Assassination Was Entrusted With Security For Presidential Candidate

Los Angeles Times

The army general who was responsible for protecting ruling party presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio is now a prime suspect in his assassination, sources close to the investigation say.

Brig. Gen. Domiro Garcia Reyes headed Colosio’s security team for the elite Estado Mayor Presidencial, an outfit that holds a role similar to the U.S. Secret Service. He is now being “thoroughly investigated as part of a line of inquiry that leads to Los Pinos,” the Mexican White House, said one source.

The attorney general’s office has denied that former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari is a suspect in Colosio’s murder, which occurred a year ago after a campaign rally in Tijuana.

In an unusual news release two weeks ago, special prosecutor Pablo Chapa Bezanilla stated he has never told anyone that he suspects Garcia Reyes of involvement in the assassination.

The attorney general’s office otherwise has refused to comment on the status of the investigation.

But sources confirmed reports that Chapa has told Mexican legislators that the general is under investigation as a suspect. “They are really trying to hang this on him,” another source said. “My sense is that he will be arrested in a matter of days.”

Authorities said Tuesday they do not know the whereabouts of Garcia Reyes, who could not be reached for comment. He, thus far, has declined to publicly discuss the Colosio case, despite the intense speculation about his role in it.

The presidential candidate’s head of security is usually chosen by the out-going president’s military chief of staff. If he does a good job, the head of security routinely becomes military chief of staff in the next administration. That probability provides an argument against suspecting Garcia Reyes of plotting to kill Colosio, because the assassination would block him from getting a plum job.

But the selection process also makes the candidate’s head of security indebted to the president’s military chief of staff.

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