U.S. Allegations of Payoff to Judge : Mexico Complains About Corruption Charges

Times Staff Writer

Complaining about the vagueness of corruption charges leveled by U.S. law enforcement, Mexico's attorney general has asked the American government for more information concerning allegations by the Drug Enforcement Administration that a Mexican supreme court justice was bribed by a reputed drug kingpin.

Atty. Gen. Sergio Garcia Ramirez made the request Friday in a letter to Charles L. Pilliod Jr., the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Copies of the letter and a more general note sent to Pilliod by Garcia Ramirez a day earlier were released Tuesday by the Mexican Consulate in San Diego.

The letters were prompted by affidavits filed by the DEA in U.S. District Court in San Diego to support the seizure last week of more than $2 million in cash and other assets in the United States from Mexico City attorney Francisco Alatorre-Urtusuastequi.

Alatorre-Urtusuastequi's law firm represents Rafael Caro-Quintero, the reputed drug lord accused of masterminding the kidnaping and murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique S. Camarena two years ago in Guadalajara.

Informant's Story

The affidavits allege that Mexican Supreme Court Justice Luis Fernandez-Doblado and other judges in Mexico City had received cash payoffs to exonerate Caro-Quintero and alleged drug magnate Ernesto Fonseca-Carrillo, who also is charged with Camarena's murder.

The DEA said an informant told agents that Fernandez-Doblado met with Alatorre-Urtusuastequi in Tijuana a year ago. Another source told the DEA that the Mexican attorney maintained a " 'stash' of millions of dollars" at houses in Chula Vista for use as a slush fund to bribe Mexican officials on Caro-Quintero's behalf.

Both Caro-Quintero and Fonseca-Carrillo remain in custody in Mexico City.

Garcia Ramirez's latest letter asks the U.S. government to furnish Mexico with documents and other information related to the affidavits so the Mexican government can conduct its own investigation of the allegations.

As stated in the affidavits the charges are "vague and general," the attorney general said. Reflecting his government's dismay with swipes taken at the integrity of Mexican officials by the DEA and other U.S. law enforcement agencies, Garcia-Ramirez termed it "convenient" for informants to make charges anonymously against high-ranking officials.

If the allegations concerning Fernandez-Doblado are true, he said, the government in Mexico City will respond in accordance with Mexican law. But Garcia-Ramirez said it was not immediately evident whether the alleged wrongdoing constituted violations of Mexican law.

Pilliod is preparing a response to the request for information, according to Vince Hovanec, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

Times staff writer Dan Williams contributed to this report from Mexico City.

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