World & Nation

Mexican drug trafficking suspect arrested en route to World Cup

Brazil vs. Mexico
The stadium where Brazil and Mexico played in Fortaleza.
(Miguel Tovar / Getty Images)

A Mexican man suspected of drug trafficking was arrested in Rio de Janeiro as he attempted to board a flight to northeastern Brazil to attend a Mexico-Brazil World Cup match, authorities said Tuesday.

Jose Diaz Barajas, 49, was suspected of trafficking methamphetamine in Guadalajara, Mexico, and was also wanted by authorities in the United States, Brazil’s Federal Police announced. Authorities here plan to keep him in custody in preparation for extradition.

“The Mexican trafficker entered Brazilian territory on June 11 by land” via the Paraguayan border, said a statement issued by Brazil’s Federal Police, noting that Barajas was also wanted by Interpol. He was arrested Monday night.

“Federal police located the trafficker staying in a hotel in Rio’s Southern Zone, with his wife and two children, aged 29 and 17,” the police statement said.


He reportedly was using his own documents to fly to Fortaleza, the site of the Mexico-Brazil match, police spokesman Luiz Cravo Dorea said, according to the BBC and Reuters Mexico.

Mexico tied Brazil 0-0 on Tuesday night, in Mexico’s second game of the FIFA World Cup. Cracking down on security threats has been a main priority of Brazil during the tournament.

Bevins is a special correspondent.

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