The United States has temporarily pulled its Drug Enforcement Administration agents out of Guadalajara because of unspecified threats, a U.S. official said Thursday.
Irwin Rubenstein, U.S. consul general in Guadalajara, said about half a dozen agents have left the city in the last two days.
“We have sent some people out because there were some problems,” Rubenstein said. He declined to specify what kind of threats were issued, saying, “We’re talking about human lives.”
Guadalajara--Mexico’s second largest city and a major center for drug trafficking by Mexicans and, increasingly, Colombians--was the base of U.S. drug agent Enrique S. Camarena, who was kidnaped, tortured and killed in 1985.
Reputed drug lord Rafael Caro-Quintero is in jail in connection with the killing, which he is believed to have masterminded.
Asked how serious the threats were, Rubenstein said: “The Camarena history has got to be a factor” in pulling the agents out. “All over the world you get constant information about bombs in planes, hijackings and (threats against) DEA agents. Some you take more seriously than others.”
He said none of the agents have families in Guadalajara, and he expected all of them to be back after Easter vacation “in three to 10 days.”
“Things will be back to normal,” he said. Drug agents cracked down on Mexican narcotics agents after the Camarena kidnaping.