Federal authorities in San Diego have arrested a Colombian citizen who, according to court papers, is a suspected "hit man" alleged to have been responsible for about 50 drug-related slayings.
However, Adolfo Martinez Micolta is only charged with an immigration violation, and U.S. authorities have yet to present any public evidence that he has ever been charged with a murder. In fact, the federal prosecutor handling the case says there is no evidence to date that the suspect has ever been convicted of a crime in the United States.
"You would think there would be more information readily available if this (allegation) has any substance," said Kevin McInerney, the assistant U.S. attorney in San Diego who is handling the case.
McInerney said authorities are attempting to check the authenticity of the hit man report, which appears in a document attached to the formal complaint against Martinez Micolta that was filed by an immigration agent.
'Armed and Dangerous'
"Extensive criminal record," the document, filed Monday, states. "Heavy narcotics involvement. Alleged 'HITMAN' in approx. 50 drug related murders . . . armed and dangerous."
The document, which is a standard form attached to federal complaints, makes no mention of where or when the alleged slayings occurred. The document also states that Martinez Micolta has three Social Security numbers, and has used four dates of birth and 13 aliases.
The document was prepared by John Hughes, a special agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in San Diego. Hughes declined comment Tuesday.
The source of the hit man report, the document said, was the El Paso Information Center, a U.S. facility in El Paso, Tex., that serves as a clearinghouse for information about drug and smuggling cases developed by various federal agencies. William Norsworthy, staff assistant to the director of the center, declined to comment on the matter Tuesday.
DEA Not Investigating
Robert Feldkamp, a Washington spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, which keeps extensive intelligence on suspected drug traffickers, also declined to comment on the arrest. DEA officials in San Diego said Tuesday that they are not investigating the case.
U.S. immigration authorities arrested Martinez Micolta, 36, Friday afternoon at the border crossing in San Ysidro as he attempted to enter the United States from Mexico. He and a companion, Lucia Minotta de Wittkamp, a 32-year-old Colombian, were found hidden beneath the false floor of a van. The court document described Martinez Micolta as "hostile" and "aggressive" toward arresting officers. He was unarmed at the time, officials said.
He was charged with illegally re-entering the country after being deported Sept. 22 from Miami because he was in the country illegally, authorities said. Martinez Micolta is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown in lieu of $250,000 bail.
U.S. authorities charged Minotta de Wittkamp with illegal entry into the United States and assaulting the federal officer who attempted to arrest her. She is being held without bail.
The driver of the van, Amalia Maria Casarez, 40, was charged with smuggling illegal aliens and was released on $50,000 bail.
Two other charges
Martinez Micolta has been charged with drug-related offenses twice before but escaped conviction, authorities said.
In May, he was arrested in New Orleans and charged with conspiracy to possess with the intention to distribute part of 24 kilos of cocaine seized aboard a boat moored in the port of New Orleans, said Cynthia Hawkins, an assistant U.S. attorney there.
Though six people were convicted in that case, Hawkins said there was insufficient evidence to indict Martinez Micolta and charges were dropped.
However, he was turned over to immigration authorities, leading to his deportation.
In 1976, authorities said, Martinez Micolta was charged in a drug-related case in California, but he was acquitted. Information on this case was sketchy.