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Mexico Reports Grave of Two Americans : Men Believed to Be Victims of Narcotics Kingpin Caro Quintero

Times Staff Writer

Mexican police were led to an unmarked grave Tuesday from which they recovered bodies tentatively identified as those of two missing Americans allegedly killed by narcotics traffickers in Guadalajara last January.

The police were taken to the grave by a confessed underworld narcotics figure named Francisco Javier Tejeda Jaramillo, alias El Paco, an associate of accused Mexican drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero.

Caro Quintero, who is in jail, had been accused earlier by the attorney general’s office of the murder of the two Americans. They are John Walker, 35, of Minneapolis, and Alberto Radelat, 32, of Fort Worth.

Caro Quintero has also been charged with masterminding the February killings of Enrique S. Camarena, an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Mexican pilot Alfredo Zavala Avelar, who worked with Camarena.

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U.S. officials said Mexican forensic experts have not made positive identification of the two bodies exhumed Tuesday near Guadalajara. “We can’t confirm yet that these are the bodies of Walker and Radelat, but the Mexican police are virtually certain of it,” said Alan Rogers, a spokesman for the U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara.

The discovery of the bodies is the result of a continuing investigation by the Mexican attorney general’s office into the workings of the Mexican narcotics underworld, particularly the activities of Caro Quintero and another jailed suspect, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo.

Puzzle Unlocked

Earlier investigation had pointed to Caro Quintero’s involvement in the case of the missing Americans. Officials said the recent arrest of Tejeda Jaramillo and his subsequent statements to police had unlocked the puzzle surrounding the disappearances.

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They said Tejeda Jaramillo’s statements were supported by the testimony of yet another narcotics figure, Samuel Ramirez, alias El Samy, who is also in jail in connection with the Camarena killing.

Walker and Radelat, according to Mexican investigators, seem to have been the victims of a case of mistaken identity. They went to a Guadalajara restaurant called La Langosta (The Lobster) around 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 30. The restaurant was the scene of a private party hosted by Caro Quintero and Fonseca.

“These thugs had been drinking liquor and snorting cocaine since shortly after 6 p.m. at the restaurant,” one Mexican official said. “You can imagine what state of mind they were in by 10:30.”

Walker and Radelat reportedly tried to leave when they were told a private party was under way but were stopped by Caro Quintero’s bodyguards. Ramirez has testified that they were prevented from leaving when someone identified the two as “DEA spies.”

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Both of the men protested, to no avail. The information given to police is that they were taken to a separate room in the restaurant and tortured with knives and icepicks for more than an hour.

The investigators believe Walker died under torture at the restaurant. Later, they say, Radelat was shot to death by a man known only as El Chino at the place where the bodies were buried.


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