Drug Kingpin Matta Tells Court Captors Beat, Tortured Him

A convicted drug kingpin indicted in the murder of a U.S. drug agent in Mexico testified Friday that he was beaten and tortured with an electronic stun gun by authorities who captured him two years ago.

Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros--whose 1988 arrest in his homeland of Honduras on U.S. drug charges sparked deadly anti-American rioting--testified in federal court that he was beaten in the presence of deputy U.S. marshals and on an airplane from Honduras to Puerto Rico.

Matta, who was convicted last year and sentenced to life in prison, is among 19 men, including high-ranking Mexican police officials, charged in the 1985 torture-slaying of U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena in Guadalajara, Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie has warned he might dismiss charges against Matta related to the Camarena case if he is convinced Matta was tortured at the behest of U.S. law enforcement officials. A ruling on the dismissal is not expected for several weeks.

Matta testified that he was shot numerous times with a stun gun and struck with other electrical devices on his back, arms, feet, hands and testicles following his arrest on April 5, 1988.

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