POLICE ARREST GANG CONNECTED TO MEXICAN CARDINAL MURDER WHILE MEXICAN BISHOP EXCOMMUNICATES ROGUE COPS

     SAN DIEGO (CWN) - US authorities on Tuesday indicted ten gang members in San Diego for various crimes in Mexico including the 1993 murder of a Mexican cardinal in a Guadalajara airport.

      The indictments -- brought in the US, but arranged though US-Mexico cooperation -- allege the young men were recruited by the Arellano Felix drug cartel of Tijuana. Officials said the gang members were ordered to kill a rival drug kingpin at the Guadalajara airport in 1993, but they killed seven people including Cardinal Juan Jesus Posada Ocampo who was sitting in a car parked near Guzman's limousine.

      Law enforcement officials of both countries worked together on the indictments, agreeing to charge the men in the United States where three of the men were already in custody. Two more are in custody in Mexico and five more are fugitives. Ramon Arellano Felix is on the FBI's Most Wanted List. A reward of $2 million has been offered for information leading to his arrest. His brother, Benjamin, also is a federal fugitive.

      In a related story out of Cuernavaca, a Mexican bishop has excommunicated three members of an elite anti-kidnapping police squad who were arrested after they tried to dump the body of a badly-beaten man, church officials said on Tuesday.

      Bishop Luis Reynoso of Cuernavaca in Morelos state levied the strongest punishment possible against Commander Armando Martinez, the squad's chief, and two of his agents. Other members of the unit may also be punished, the diocese said, if investigations prove they were involved. "The severity of the crime of kidnapping and its alarming growth oblige me to impose this punishment of excommunication, which can only be applied in cases of the most serious crimes and with utmost discretion," the bishop said in a statement.

      Prosecutor have opened an investigation into the unit's involvement with drug trafficking, kidnapping, and murder. Fifteen of the squad's 38 agents have been called in for questioning, while news reports say the remainder have gone into hiding.

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February 12, 1998 volume 9, no. 31          DAILY CATHOLIC

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