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Witness Says He Lied About Mexican Bribes

Extradition proceedings against former Mexico City Police Chief Arturo Durazo should be dismissed because Mexican officials coerced a key witness in the case into signing a false statement accusing Durazo of massive bribe-taking, defense attorneys said in a motion filed in Los Angeles federal court Wednesday.

Retired Mexican army Brig. Gen. Raul Perez Arceo, who served on the police force under Durazo in the late 1970s, had sworn in March, 1984, that Durazo ordered him to collect millions of pesos from members of the reserve police corps and turn them over to him.

Perez Arceo’s statement is a key piece of evidence in the extradition proceedings.

‘Absolutely False’

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That statement was “absolutely false,” Perez Arceo said in a new sworn statement filed with the court Wednesday. “I signed it exclusively for fear that I would be arrested at that moment had I not done so.”

Durazo’s attorneys asked in the motion filed with the new witness statement that the extradition proceedings against their client be dismissed because Mexican officials had used “abusive litigation practices” and “improper threats of arrest” to secure the earlier statement.

The former chief has been held without bond at an undisclosed location in the Los Angeles area since he was arrested as a fugitive in Puerto Rico in July, 1984. He is charged in Mexico with the extortion of bribes from subordinates, illegal stockpiling of weapons and illegal possession of imported goods.

Final hearings in the extradition proceedings are scheduled to begin next month in U.S. District Court here.

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