July 8, 1997 in Nation/World

Jailed General Says The Elite Tied To Drugs

Knight-Ridder
 

The jailed former anti-narcotics chief of Mexico is going public with charges that top members of the ruling elite - including relatives of President Ernesto Zedillo’s - have links to drug traffickers.

But Zedillo’s spokesman, Carlos Almada, rejected the allegations as “absurd.”

In his first public statement since his Feb. 6 arrest, Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo says in documents that he is a “political prisoner” who was jailed because he was about to crack down on drug lords who enjoyed the protection of his higher-ups.

The general added that he was speaking on behalf of 129 other people who have been imprisoned in the case - an indication that the shake-up within Mexican law enforcement agencies that followed his arrest may have been bigger than originally reported. Most are military officers who are being kept behind bars at the Campo Militar No. 1 garrison in Mexico City, sources close to Gutierrez Rebollo say.

In a letter prepared for Amnesty International, a human rights organization, Gutierrez Rebollo says he had obtained evidence - in the form of 30 tapes of telephone conversations which were wiretapped by Mexican law enforcement agencies over the past three years - linking “government officials and their relatives, at the highest levels of Mexican politics,” to the drug trade. He says the subjects of his investigation include family members of “former presidents, the current president and top officials of the Ministry of Defense.” No specifics are listed.

Gutierrez Rebollo said in the documents that he was arrested shortly after he had “corroborated the data” of the wiretaps and shared the information with his boss, Defense Minister Cervantes Aguirre.

The defense minister said Feb. 18, when he announced Gutierrez Rebollo’s arrest, that the general had been discovered to be protecting a major drug lord. U.S. officials say they believe the defense minister’s story.


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