Mario Martinez Herrera, the Mexican police agent said by federal prosecutors to be a target in the investigation of slain U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena, admitted Friday to knowing an alleged drug trafficker jailed in Mexico for participating in the American agent's kidnap-murder.
Martinez, who testified on his own behalf, admitted under questioning by James Wilson, a Justice Department attorney from Washington, that he had the phone number of Francisco Javier Tejeda Jaramillo in one of two phone books confiscated by Drug Enforcement Administration agents when he was arrested Sept. 15.
Wilson identified Tejeda as an associate of Mexican drug kingpins Rafael Caro Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo. Caro, Fonseca and Tejeda were arrested by Mexican authorities and charged with participating in the killing of DEA agent Camarena in February, 1985, in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Tejeda's name was included in a sealed affidavit that Wilson had argued should be kept secret so that the government's investigation of Camarena's murder would not be compromised. While most of the affidavit was kept secret, Wilson made other information in the four-page document public during his cross-examination of Martinez.
During his questioning of Martinez, Wilson also released the names Roberto Silva Leos and Oscar Robles, whom he identified as associates of drug traffickers or fugitives from warrants issued in the United States. However, Wilson did not present any evidence to support the allegations, prompting U.S. Magistrate Barry Ted Moskowitz to comment that, unless Wilson provided the necessary proof, he would not consider the allegations when deciding Martinez's request for bail.
Wilson said both men's names appeared in Martinez's phone book or among papers seized from him, but Martinez denied knowing either Silva or Robles.
Martinez is being held as a material witness in the Camarena investigation and was indicted on one count of perjury by a federal grand jury in San Diego that is investigating Camarena's death. Wilson said that Martinez is also a target of the investigation. U.S. officials have argued against bail, claiming that Martinez is a flight risk.
Friday's hearing also produced other surprises about Martinez's background. Defense investigator Gary Caster presented as evidence several documents purporting to show that Martinez, who is a commander with the Mexican General Directorate for Investigations of National Security, provided security for businessman Laurance Rockefeller, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega during their visits to Mexico.
The documents were introduced in an effort to show that Martinez is not the corrupt police agent portrayed by U.S. officials.
Caster also testified that DEA agents erred in what U.S. investigators attempted to portray as a key element in their arrest when he was arrested outside a Chula Vista restaurant two weeks ago. Richard Walker, an Immigration and Naturalization Service special agent, testified Thursday that Martinez was driving a yellow Dodge with Mexican license plates 645 WHE when he entered the United States at San Ysidro.
Martinez testified that he entered the United States with a valid visitor's pass on the same day he was arrested. However, Walker testified that Martinez was lying because the INS had no record of the Dodge crossing at San Ysidro during the week of Sept. 8 to Sept. 15. Since there was no record of the car's entry, Walker said that he believed that Martinez lied when he said that he crossed into the United States on Sept. 15.
Caster identified the car that Martinez was driving as a Chevrolet with license plates 645 WHX, which is owned by Maria Raynaga, who was with Martinez when he was arrested. Wilson said the Dodge is owned by Oscar Manuel Chacon Ruiz. Chacon has told U.S. investigators that his car was parked in front of his house in Tijuana on the day that Martinez was arrested.