Mexico Hails Arrest of Alleged Drug Lord and Will ‘Press On’
Atty. Gen. Enrique Alvarez del Castillo said Monday that arresting Mexico’s biggest reputed drug lord and six police officials in a weekend sweep was a blow at corruption, and he vowed to continue the crackdown.
Alvarez told reporters that arresting men like Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, 43, was “one of the top priorities” of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s new administration.
In addition to Felix Gallardo and three aides, the sweep also netted the top federal anti-drug official in the alleged drug kingpin’s home state and five other ranking police officials, Alvarez said.
“We will press on regardless of where it leads,” Alvarez said.
Ed Heath, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Mexico, said, “The message . . . is that President Salinas means business.”
Felix Gallardo, thought to lead a ring smuggling up to four tons of cocaine a month into the United States, was sought for years but “obtained protection from diverse authorities,” Alvarez said. He called Felix Gallardo “the No. 1 drug trafficker in Mexico.”
Radios, high-powered weapons and several ounces of cocaine also were seized, the attorney general said.
U.S authorities believe Felix Gallardo was involved in the 1985 slaying of American drug agent Enrique S. Camarena, but Alvarez said that Felix Gallardo opposed killing Camarena and that Mexican authorities have no evidence linking the reputed drug boss directly to the killing.
Alvarez added, however, that Felix Gallardo was the “intellectual author” of the organization that killed Camarena.
Felix Gallardo was arrested Saturday night in Guadalajara.
News of the arrests was welcomed in Washington where John C. Lawn, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, commented, “We are most gratified with the arrest of this important fugitive. The government of Mexico is to be commended for its initiative. We look forward to its continued determination to bring Mr. Felix Gallardo and others like him to the complete satisfaction of justice.”