The Mexican government on Wednesday requested the extradition of a Guadalajara doctor who was abducted last month and spirited to the United States to stand trial in the 1985 torture-murder of U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena.
In a bulletin issued by the Foreign Ministry, the government said it was asking for the return of Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain "so that he may be investigated by the competent Mexican authorities regarding his very possible participation in crimes, the investigation and prosecution of which corresponds to Mexico."
Alvarez is accused of having administered drugs to revive Camarena during his torture and interrogation by drug traffickers trying to find out what he knew about official Mexican corruption.
No one was immediately available for comment in the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, where Alvarez is to stand trial in federal court.
But all of the legal documents filed by prosecutors and statements by U.S. Atty. Gen. Richard Thornburgh indicate there is little possibility that the United States would agree to the extradition.
The two countries have an extradition treaty, but it is rarely invoked.
A hearing on whether Alvarez should stand trial is scheduled in Los Angeles on Friday before U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie, who is presiding at the trial of four defendants in the Camarena case.
The doctor's lawyers have argued that charges should be dismissed because of "outrageous government misconduct" stemming from his abduction.
Alvarez was picked up in Guadalajara by armed men dressed in civilian clothes on April 2 and flown to El Paso, Tex., where Los Angeles-based Drug Enforcement Administration agents were waiting to arrest him.
A DEA operative in Los Angeles subsequently admitted to arranging the abduction for the agency, although he claimed to have done so after the Mexican government reneged on a deal to swap the doctor for a Mexican fugitive being held in the United States.
The operative, Antonio Garate Bustamante, asserted that the clandestine kidnaping effort, dubbed "Wild Geese," was approved by DEA Agent Hector Berellez, who heads Operation Leyenda, the DEA unit investigating Camarena's kidnaping and murder.
The slaying has soured relations between Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Thornburgh denied anything untoward or any official involvement in the abduction of the doctor. U.S. attorneys have alleged that the Mexican attorney general may have had prior knowledge of the operation.
Mexican Atty. Gen. Enrique Alvarez del Castillo adamantly denied any swap deal or government authorization of the kidnaping of Alvarez. He has blamed the abduction on Garate.
Six people, including two state police officers and a former federal judicial police commander who allegedly carried out the abduction for Garate, have been arrested in Mexico.
In the bulletin Wednesday, the government said it had requested Alvarez's extradition through the Mexican Embassy in Washington. It said the government soon would seek the extradition of Garate, as well. The government has issued a warrant for his arrest.
The Mexican government reopened its investigation into the Camarena case last week in an apparent move to handle any new information that might come out of trials in Los Angeles.
CAMARENA TRIAL--Mexican drug lords discussed a DEA agent, a witness said. B3