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PASSINGS: Ruben Zuno Arce

Ruben Zuno Arce, 82, a Mexican man convicted in Los Angeles for the 1985 torture-slaying of U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena, died Tuesday at a federal correctional facility in Florida, prison authorities said. The cause was not specified.

He was serving a life sentence for conspiracy and kidnapping in a case that drew attention partly because Zuno Arce was a brother-in-law of former Mexican President Luis Echeverria, who governed from 1970 to 1976.

Camarena was kidnapped in Guadalajara and killed by Mexican drug lords in retaliation for anti-drug raids. His death sparked a large-scale investigation that toppled top crime-syndicate bosses in the country. Zuno Arce was the 16th person indicted in the case.

Shortly before the slaying, a Guadalajara house that Zuno Arce owned was sold to a reputed drug baron. Authorities alleged that Camarena was murdered at the house. The bodies of Camarena and his pilot, Alfredo Zavala Avelar, were later found in a rural area of western Mexico.

Zuno Arce's 1992 conviction came after two trials in Los Angeles federal court. His original 1990 conviction was overturned because the judge ruled that an improper statement by the prosecutor had tainted the jury.

The son of a former governor of the state of Jalisco, Zuno Arce consistently denied that he was a drug trafficker. His wife and his attorneys portrayed him as a wealthy businessman with interests in ranching, oil and canning, among other enterprises.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

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