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Suspect in Slaying of Journalist Held in Mexico

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A central suspect in the sensational slaying two years ago of Hector Felix Miranda, a prominent Tijuana journalist widely known as El Gato, or The Cat, was in the custody of Mexican authorities Wednesday after his arrest by Los Angeles authorities earlier this week, officials said.

Antonio Vera Palestina, former chief of security at Tijuana’s Caliente Racetrack, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon as he arrived near the Greyhound bus terminal in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.

Los Angeles police and U.S. immigration officers arrested the longtime fugitive after receiving a tip from Baja California authorities, who have been investigating the journalist’s slaying in April, 1988. Vera went to the station to meet a friend, according to a statement by the Los Angeles Police Department, which set up surveillance at the site.

Vera, 38, a former police officer in Mexico City, was in the United States illegally and was consequently turned over to U.S. immigration authorities. On Tuesday evening, he was returned to the U.S.-Mexico border, where he was turned over to state police agents and jailed in Tijuana.

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Felix, 47, was killed on April 20, 1988, as he drove to work down a rain-slicked street in Tijuana. A vehicle blocked his path, and an assassin pumped two rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun through the driver’s window of his car.


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