Mexico: The Narco General Case

01 December 1997
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The revelation that Division General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, commissioner of the National Institute to Combat Drugs (INCD), protected the main Mexican drug trafficker, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, leader of the Juarez Cartel, nicknamed "Lord of the Skies", caused an uproar in Mexico and complicated relations with the United States. Gutiérrez Rebollo, a soldier with a great following in the armed forces, famed to be tough and incorruptible, had been named the Mexican drug czar just two months before, on December 9, 1996.

On February 6, 1997, at 11:45 PM, Gutiérrez -at home in his pajamas- received a call from Defense Minister Gen. Enrique Cervantes. Cervantes ordered him to go to his office immediately. At close to midnight in the presence of a select group of the military high command (four generals and a colonel), Gutiérrez Rebollo was arrested, although the news was kept secret for 13 days. (1)

During this period press accounts speculated that there had been an attempt on the general's life, that he had attempted suicide, or that he had had a nervous breakdown and was in the military hospital. The official version appeared on February 18, when Minister Cervantes called an unusual press conference at Defense Headquarters, with the entire military high command present: almost 300 high-ranking officers, including the commanders of the country's 31 military zones. The Minister-General's words shocked all in attendance. Gutiérrez Rebollo had "betrayed" the military institution and "threatened national security" by giving "protection" to one of the nation's main drug lords for several years. Drastic action would be taken against him, without taking rank into account. (2)

Presidential spokesman Dionisio Pérez Jácome ruled out any connection between the general's fall and US antidrug "certification" scheduled for the following March 1. (3)

Don Jesus's Resumé

Before assuming his INCD post, which only lasted 72 days, Gutiérrez Rebollo had been commander of the Fifth Military Region, encompassing the states of Jalisco, Zacatecas, Colima, Sinaloa, and Aguascalientes. He simultaneously acted as Chief of the Fifteenth Military Zone, with headquarters in Guadalajara, Jalisco's capital. Jalisco and Sinaloa are considered two strongholds of drug lords. Sinaloa is home to drug traffickers such as Rafael Caro Quintero, Miguel Angel Félix Gallardo, Héctor "El Güero" Palma, and Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán - all of whom are in prison. It is also the birthplace of the Arrellano Félix brothers, leaders of the Tijuana Cartel , and the late Amado Carrillo.

The powerful Guadalajara Cartel flourished in Jalisco during the eighties, led by Caro Quintero and Félix Gallardo. The cartel iniated Mexican mafia involvement in the drug trade, which replaced the Colombian Medellín and Cali groups in the nineties.

Until his arrest Gutiérrez Rebollo had appeared above reproach. There is an unwritten law in Mexico that military region and zone commanders serve two years in their posts. Yet Gutiérrez arrived in Guadalajara in 1989 and remained firmly in his post through many transitions. Carlos Salinas de Gortari's six year presidency ended and Ernesto Zedillo took his place. The Minister of Defense changed, the governor of Jalisco changed three times, and there was a rotation of the military command.

During his command of the military region, Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas was murdered at close range on May 24, 1993, supposedly during a confrontation between members of two rival drug cartels, and a car bomb exploded in front of the Camino Real Hotel on June 11, 1994. Some of his "successes" in the war on drugs include the capture on June 24, 1995 of "El Güero" Palma, one of the most wanted drug lords; Colombian Iván Taborda in May of 1993; and the Lupercio Serratos brothers in Aguascalientes in August of 1996; all of them members of rival bands of the Juarez Cartel. These accomplishments helped him become the Mexican drug czar, with the blessings of the United States Ambassador to Mexico at that time, James Jones.

Nevertheless, after Gutiérrez's arrest it became clear that during his administration of the V Military Region, Amado Carrillo's Jalisco Cartel had never been touched. The Minister of Defense revealed that since December of 1996, the fallen general had lived in a Mexico City luxury apartment, given to him by Eduardo González Quirarte, the alleged right hand of Amado Carrillo and wanted by the FBI since 1994. (4) The "Lord of the Skies" had lived in this apartment until November 23, 1993, when a shoot-out broke out between drug traffickers in a capital city restaurant.

A high-ranking Mexican official revealed that authorities taped one of Gutiérrez's conversations with Amado Carrillo in which they discussed the bribes he would receive for covering up the criminal group's activities. According to Minister Cervantes, Gutiérrez, in his dual role as drug czar and Carrillo's protector, had hired army deserters. His son-in-law, Capt. Horacio Montenegro (currently in custody) was his main collaborator. Montenegro acted as the head of the Second Section (S-2, Intelligence) of the Fifth Military Region, where he was decorated for his " outstanding" actions in combating drug trafficking and organized crime. When Gutiérrez was arrested, Montenegro was working with him in the INCD.

A Narco General in the White House

Until his arrest Gutiérrez Rebollo was one of the most publicly acclaimed military leaders, rivalled only by Defense Minister Enrique Cervantes and Presidential Chief of Staff, Gen. Roberto Miranda. He was part of the official Mexican envoy that met with high ranking government officials in Washington on January 27 and 28 of 1997. At that time the general received a warm reception at the White House administrative building from Barry McCaffrey (Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy), who called him "a man with a reputation for impeccable integrity." (5) He also met with FBI Director Louis Freeh; with DEA Director, Thomas Constantine; with the Adjunct Undersecretary for Antinarcotics Affairs, Robert Gelbhard, and with the head of the Customs Service, George Weise.

In December of last year, the recently-appointed Gutiérrez participated in the elaboration of a joint antinarcotics strategy for 1997 that was scheduled to be publicly launched simultaneously at the White House and the Mexican presidential residence at Los Pinos on February 21, a mere three days after his arrest was announced. (6)

While some circles of the Mexican army speculated that Gutiérrez could be given the death penalty for treason and endangerment of national security, press leaks indicated that the DEA intelligence service had discovered the general's links to drug trafficking and informed Attorney General Jorge Madrazo during his last Washington visit. (7) If this were true, the Mexican government had rushed Gutiérrez's detention to keep the news from coming out in Washington, just weeks before the Bill Clinton's official Mexican visit, scheduled for the following April.

Two Scapegoats?

The firing of a high-ranking officer shook the armed forces and put drug traffickers' infiltration of Mexican institutions on open display. At the same time, it confirmed the great power that "narco politicians"and drug lords had achieved during the administrations of Miguel de la Madrid, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and Ernesto Zedillo. (8) The scandal grew by leaps and bounds. Strangely, Gen. Gutiérrez's case went through the civilian justice system [rather than through the military courts].

Members of the Mexican armed forces had increasingly occupied public posts that traditionally had gone to civilians. As a result, almost all of the country's police forces are militarized; the army has long flaunted its control of the war on drugs; military officers hold six seats in congress, all from PRI [the Institutionalized Revolutionary Party, which dominates Mexican politics]. Increasingly the Minister of Defense accompanies President Zedillo to public events, and Zedillo, in turn, characterizes the armed forces as the "last bastion of national morality and existence."

But now there was a "narco general" within the army's ranks who Minister Cervantes suggested was not the only "traitor." On March 18, the Attorney General's office and the Ministry of Defense announced the arrest of another "narco general" linked to Amado Carrillo's rivals, the Arrellano Félix brothers of the Tijuana cartel. Brigadier General Alfredo Navarro Lara was accused of attempting to bribe Gen. José Luis Chávez, PGR delegate in Baja California, with a million dollars monthly to allow safe passage for the Arellanos' drugs. (9)

Navarro spent six years in Tijuana, the main land route for drugs into the United States and part of the Second Military Zone. On February 24, 1997, six days after the announcement of Gutiérrez's arrest, Navarro gave a Flag Day speech in Guadalajara. After a month, two decorated generals were in prison accused of belonging to rival cartels, and a third, Brigadier General Arturo Cardona Pérez, was under house arrest, investigated as the alleged "liasion" between Amado Carrillo y Gutiérrez. (10)

While this suggested the existence of a military cartel in Mexico, PRI General-Congressman Jésus Esquinca rejected the idea. (11) In principle, though, the military kept up with the "corrupt civilians." This was just the tip of the iceberg; in the opinion of some armed forces experts, there were indications that the Gutiérrez and Navarro cases went beyond drug trafficking. For example, the handling of the incident involving the former head of the INCD was revealing. It was demonstrated that the Minister of Defense broke the military's unspoken rules, in place since 1946, by making the military's structure vulnerable. Never before had a member of the high command been turned over to the civilian authorities for trial. An army prosecutor had always been in charge of these cases, and strict confidentiality had been the norm.

In addition, researcher Guillermo Garduño states that, even in the narco general scandal there are three ways to get a controversial officer out of the spotlight: "promotion, retirement with honors, or death." (12) In contrast, Gen. Gutiérrez was dealt with ostentatiously; all the military zone leaders and the press were called together in what amounted to a public trial. Garduño defined it as "an affair of utmost national security", and suggested three hypotheses about the true motives for the trial, other than drug trafficking. One hypothesis alludes to "a conflict of interests" between two opposing groups at the heart of the armed forces, led by the Minister of Defense and the fallen general. In Garduño's opinion, Gutiérrez's arrest was the result of a vendetta. The second theory dealt with the internal need to renew the military high command, and the third with the Mexican government's "desperation" to receive "certification" from the United States.

The scholar and military expert supports the vendetta theory by pointing out that for seven years Gutiérrez occupied a military post in Jalisco, which was not only considered the Garcia Paniaguas' "political territory", but their "chiefdom." The current minister, Enrique Cervantes, was chief assistant of General and ex-Defense minister, Marcelino García Barragán, and is compadre (13) of Javier García Paniagua, PRI president and one of the public figures involved in many "complicated affairs, even national security" and "the only civilian with influence in the military sector." (14)

On the other hand, the convocation of over fifty generals during the Mexican drug czar's ousting, which included numerous officers of other ranks, was for Garduño a "warning" to force some military leaders to retire, signalling a "purge" was yet to come. This interpretation could shed some light on several passages in the defense official's February 9 speech, three days after Gutierrez's arrest. The speech commemorated the traditional "Loyalty March" that celebrates the Military Academy's protection of President Francisco I. Madero against a coup d'état in 1913. In front of President Zedillo, General Cervantes repeated a series of interpretations of the supporting role of the armed forces, as if he had detected discomfort within the military institution. "The military is not an economic force; they do not function as a politcal actor or social arbiter," said Cervantes, reiterating several times the loyalty of the armed forces to the executive branch.

Who had put the loyalty of the armed forces in doubt? Who was weaving alliances and of what kind? On February 9, these questions remained unanswered. Although three and a half months earlier, on October 19, 1996, The New York Times, conveying the concerns of the U. S. Government, called the Mexican military's increased role in non-military affairs, "disturbing." It is also clear that by mid-January of 1997, several retired generals and admirals decided to join the opposition, Cuautémoc Cárdenas's Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), setting off a witch hunt within the armed forces. Even Gen. Cervantes, in spite of his repeated shows of loyalty to the civilian government, had made veiled criticisms of the structural adjustment model enacted by the Zedillo government.

As Garduño suggests, in this context it is worth speculating that Gutierrez's fall was a vendetta. The jailed general's two sons subscribed to this theory by telling a Mexico City newspaper that they had recieved shows of "solidarity" from high-ranking armed forces commanders, who indicated that Gutierrez's arrest was a "betrayal." In reference to the "honest and honorable nature of their father", César Mario Gutierrez Rebollo Priego said that they would meet with ex-Defense Ministers, Gens. Antonio Rivielo Bazán and Juan Arévalo Gardoqui. He added:

Did my father know so much that they tried to destroy him with this scandal? One day he told us, 'My sons, the day they kill me, write: 'HE KNEW TOO MUCH' as my epitaph.' (15)

In relation to the third hypothesis about United States "certification", Garduño explains that due to "its inexperience", Ernesto Zedillo's government wandered into "tremendous territory." The administration had to strike the boldest blow possible. It took advantage of the Gutiérrez case", because he had failed to arrest Amado Carrillo. In his opinion this presented a potential weapon for the United States: If the director of the war on drugs was corrupt "all the [military] structure was put in question." (16)

McCaffrey's Tantrums

The "surprise" and "disillusionment" that the Gutiérrez case caused in the United States also attracted attention. President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and drug czar, retired General Barry McCaffrey, clamored about "the levels of corruption" in Mexico and felt cheated by the narco general, The White House, McCaffrey, along with the DEA and FBI directors screamed to the high heavens because they had shared "highly sensitive information" with Gen. Gutiérrez, that he allegedly passed on to drug lord Amado Carrillo, and, as a result, the 51 DEA agents operating in Mexico "were in danger" of reprisals from the head of the Juárez cartel. (17) The poor Mexican chancellor, Miguel Angel Gurría, had to clumsily face American reprimands, humbly ask for forgiveness, and promise repeatedly that things would be resolved.

It turned out that there was not that much "sensitive" information shared with Gutiérrez and that the US intelligence agents had already gone underground in Mexico. But the incident set off a week of intense pressure on Mexican authorities through the "certification" process, unilaterally and discretionarily applied by the United States each year to combat drug trafficking. There are some inexplicable elements of the Gutiérrez Rebollo affair. It appears obvious that the general had been under the scrutiny of US undercover agents for some time.

During his time as head of the Fifth Military region and the Fifteenth Military Zone, the powerful Guadalajara Cartel kidnapped, tortured, and murdered ex-DEA agent Enrique Camarena, causing a sharp bilateral crisis between the United States and Mexico in 1985. From then on Guadalajara has been one of the main operation centers for drug lords, and, as a result, for DEA agents, who will never forget the Camarena case.

After Gen. Gutiérrez's arrival in Guadalajara in 1989, an open battle on the city's streets broke out between members of rival drug cartels. In 1990 alone there were 90 summary executions. There were car bombings, the murder of Cardinal Juan Jésus Posadas Ocampo, and the murder withoutrepercussions of several police chiefs and dozens of presumed drug traffickers. His son-in-law, Capt. Horacio Montenegro was always Gutiérrez Rebollo's right-hand man. Montenegro has a dark past that began when he was the head of an international gang that stripped cars. He continued his career with a series of violent missions as head of military intelligence for the Fifth Military Region, adding to denunciations abouthis alleged connections to drug traffickers. In spite of this, as a result of his "godfather" Gutiérrez's influence, he was named Director of Public Security for the state of Jalisco. He was fired after a shoot-out that killed a minor. (18)

Capt. Montenegro's activities and the protection he received from his father-in-law were common knowledge in Guadalajara. As a result, Gen. Gutiérrez's naming as Commissioner of the National Institute to Combat Drugs in December 1996 seemed odd, even more so when he took the captain who had set off a flood of suspicions along with him. As analyst Carlos Ramírez queried, "Who investigated the general's past before sending him to the INCD?" (19) Given that a simple compilation of newpaper clippings had cast doubts on Gutierrez's trajectory, Ramírez postulated the failure of the Army Intelligence Service (G-2) as well as the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN), a civil intelligence organism of the Ministry of the Interior thatprovides information to the President.

Did the United States undercover agents in Mexico fail as well? Was so much inefficiency believable? The echoes of McCaffrey's "surprise" still resounded when Newsweek magazine revealed that for some time Gutiérrez had been on the list of suspects in the DEA's computerized database, the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Information System (NADDIS). (20)

The NADDIS file indicates that the general had "questionable relations with drug traffickers and had been involved in cover-ups in the past." Did the DEA hide this information from Gen. McCaffrey? Was there, as has been suggested, a "war" between the DEA, the CIA, the State Department, and the White House that kept them from sharing key information? (21)

According to a newspaper account, McCaffrey turned over a list of eleven Mexican antinarcotics chiefs involved in drug trafficking during his first visit to Mexico in March 1996. INCD commisioner René Paz Horta was immediately fired because his name appeared on the list. Mexico was "certified" as a result of this indispensable step in Mexico's show of good will in compliance with US demands regarding drug trafficking. (22)

A year later, in February 1997, the spectacular fall of Gen. Gutiérrez, who had been praised by McCaffrey in the White House, seemed to repeat the formula. Several Mexican analysts agreed that the Gutiérrez Rebollo affair was part of a plot designed by Washington, within a strategy of progressive pressure on Mexico, to make it subject to the Pentagon's continental battle policy that has substituted "narco terrorism" for "communism."

Madeleine Albright's appointment as Secretary of State changed things and accelerated the strategy. In her first reference to Mexico, Albright "narcoticized" bilateral relations. She emphasized the importance of the participation of the lesser partner of NAFTA in the rejuvenated collective security doctrine as applied to drug trafficking. The project, enacted in November 1995, now included the creation of a multinational antinarcotics airfleet, under Pentagon command, that would subordinate all Latin American militaries, an offer emphatically rejected by Gen. Gutiérrez because, as he said, "Mexicans protect the Mexican skies." (23)

The intense American pressure on Mexico that continued after his capture served a purpose. The United States used the Gutiérrez case to show President Ernesto Zedillo that the Mexican military was unable to fight drug trafficking. If the armed forces were losing the battle against the drug lords, the White House could make increased penetration of the American military and police in their Mexican counterparts a condition for "certification." The message seemed to be, "Mexico lost the war on drugs." Until the huge scandal provoked by the general's arrest, the army was the only institution that had avoided the accelerated decomposition of political and economic sectors. Zedillo had found in the military command system the strength to resist strategic military penetrations. Within the United States' logic of "collective" national security, the worst was yet to come for Mexico: the loss of its national sovereignty.

According to national security expert John Saxe-Fernández of the Mexican National University (UNAM) and others, evidence had existed for some time that the United States needed an armed force outside the bases to be in charge of internal conflicts in Mexico as a key component of a global plan to assure control by multinationals of Mexico's strategic geological resources, especially oil and subsoil uranium - the missing link to close the dependency circle. (24) The narco general case could begin the final phase in reaching this goal.

The secret X-files: Mexico-USA

Five months later, the revelation of military intelligence documents implicating 34 high commanders, officials and army personnel confirmed that the Gutiérrez affair was just the tip of the iceberg. On July 27, the weekly magazine Proceso informed that an army colonel and captain were being tried, accused of stealing information classified as "confidential", "secret", and "top secret" from Minister of Defense Cervantes's, private secretary. (25)

These were the computerized files prepared by the S-2 (Military Intelligence) of the General Staff of Defense, linking military leaders with drug trafficking over a period of several years. For example, one file from 1991 informed that "a large number of personnel from the Fifteenth Military Zone" collaborated with drug lords. Another, from January 14, 1997, presented the hypothesis of an understanding between the Mexican government and Amado Carrillo. The kingpin warned that if they didn't accept, he would move his offer, along with "its benefits", to another country.

Nevertheless, what became known as the "Pedro Case" caused the greatest uproar (when "Pedro" turned out to be Amado Carrillo). It discussed "a meeting with Mr. Paul Bradley of EMBA, USA and the personal secretary of this office (Gen. Tomás Angeles Dahuahare, the Minister of Defense's right hand) to coordinate technical operations and analyze the possibility of using satellite, modern FLIR or Schweize planes with a map of the area surrounding Pedro's residence, including his children's schools, to determine the difficulty of employing any of these means." (26)

The file states that "an expert from EMBA,USA with two agents from CIAN carried out reconnaissance, and set up technical surveillance with electronic and photographic equipment from a location near the target's house."

Another document, dated March 6, 1997, refers to the interrogation of "X", who informed that "In the home of Javier García Paniagua (the ex-president of PRI mentioned by investigator Guillermo Garduño as "tribal chief" of Jalisco, met with his son Javier García Morales, you (supposedly General Gutiérrez), (the general) Acosta Chaparro, and Amado Carrillo Fuentes." According to the S-2 report, García Morales told "X" that Amado Carrillo gave money to Gutiérrez and Acosta in exchange for "protection." It also states that "the Lord of the Skies" had contact with the governor of Morelos, Gen. Jorge Carrillo Olea, and the governors of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Sonora, Campeche and Chihuahua.

Another exciting fact from this story: the Colonel on trial, Pablo Castellanos, is highly qualified in espionage; he took specialized courses at the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) in the United States. (27) After these courses in Texas and Washington in 1985 Castellanos was named Chief of the Intelligence Subsection of the S-2, from 1985 to 1988. In 1993 he graduated first in his class at the Superior War College of the National Defense College. When the Zapatista insurrection exploded, he was sent to Chiapas as Chief of Staff for the military grouping in Bochil, where he stayed for three months.

The day of his arrest, April 4, 1997, he coordinated the special topics course (National Power, Mobilization and Demobilization, Administration for National Development) that state ministers give to relevant members of the Mexican army in the National Defense College. That day Col. Castellanos hosted the Minister of Commerce and Industrial Development, Herminio Blanco. (28)

The Military Watches from the Sidelines

The alleged connection between drug traffickers and military personnel "provoked a genuine war" between the mid and upper levels of command in the Mexican army, which fought over the "benefits" that can be obtained from these illegal activities. The affirmation was made by retired Rear Admiral Samuel Moreno, ex-member of several navy war councils and member of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), of which he was on the National Board of the Strategic Planning Commission. (29)

Retired Brigadier General Samuel Lara, and ex-PRI member elected to Congress for the PRD in this year's July 6 elections, declared that "If the General Secretary has drawn his sword, he has to use it to the end; he can't turn back." (30) Lara was referring to Minister Cervantes, who the day of the Proceso's revelation in an unusual act for a Sunday night, admitted that the military intelligence information implicating members of the high command in drug trafficking could "be true." He added that he would move ahead in the investigations "without taking rank or condition into account." (31)

When news of the revelation spread, Adm. Samuel Moreno stated that the ex-Defense Minister, Gen. Arévalo Gardoqui, was allegedly involved in the trafficking of stimulants during the Miguel de la Madrid administration. He affirmed that "there is a level of decomposition" within the armed forces, because many members of the institution were "corrupted" by the drug lords. He said, "This proves that the military is not as incorruptible as we thought", and using an old quote from General Alvaro Obregon from the end of the twenties, he stated, "No general can resist a 50,000 strong cannon shot" because integrity, bravery, and morality "have a price."

Gen. Lara also called the revelation implicating high commanders in the armed forces in drug trafficking "embarrassing". He said that 34 members of the military "are not few, but many", and that the purge undertaken by the Ministry of Defense should be "complete, without [special] considerations or untouchables", apparently in reference to Col. Pedro Cervantes, brother of the branch chief.

Lara, who occupied a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in September, metaphorically alluded that in the past, many military "got on the corruption train, of PRI, of the government, of a political group that separated from the people."

During this period some opposition party legislators asked for an investigation of military participation in the war on drugs, that according to PRD member, Cuauhtémoc Sandoval, was a "line" received from the Pentagon. In addition, and in spite of his affirmation in his communication to Defense that none of the 34 soldiers implicated continued to hold command posts in the general staff, it was clear that several still carried out their normal activities.

One of them, Div. Gen. José Angel García, continued working as general personnel director. According to a source within the military, he is "one of the favorite generals" of Arévalo Gardoqui. Brig. Gen. Mario Acosta Chaparro continued his intelligence work in National Security in Military Camp No. 1. Implicated in the "dirty war" in the state of Guerrero during the 1970's, witnesses sustain that Acosta directed from a helicopter the Aguas Blancas massacre, where 28 campesinos died two years ago. (32)

Within this context Gen. Cervantes' "whoever falls, falls" policy created high expectations, because the names of several of his classmates from the Heroic Military College as well as other of his "friendly relations" appeared in the computerized files taken from his office.

A Key Witness Eliminated

Only two days after the revelation in Proceso, the murder of a key witness in the Narco Military case added to the confusion at a time when the armed forces, until recently considered an incorruptible bulwark, continued to be on the defensive. Irma Lizzete Ibarra, who was mentioned in the secret military file as a "liaison" between high military commanders and drug traffickers in Jalisco, was shot eight times while driving in downtown Guadalajara. The 42 year old ex- Miss Jalisco 1970 had held leadership posts in the PRI party in that state and had been romantically linked to Gen. Vinicio Santoyo Feria, when he was commander of the Fifteenth Military Zone.

Sources close to the victim told the press that they had information about the generals', colonels' and important politicians' alleged links with drug lords, including specific facts that could strengthen accusations against Gen. Gutiérrez, "the Lord of the Skies" alleged protector.

The crime was the second in four days linked to the case. On July 25 three professional assassins killed Capt. Héctor Ixtláhuac Gaspar, economist lawyer, and two time PRI deputy. Ixtláhuac was private secretary to Arévalo Gardoqui, and was related to Javier García Paniagua's group. (33)

As a result of the robbery of diskettes from Cervantes's files, the defense high command ordered a thorough restructuring of the Second Section (Military Intelligence). In the midst of a series of summary executions in Guadalajara, Juárez, and Mexico City, and the narco military scandal, Gen. Jesus Esquinca Gurrusquieta, outgoing congressman, and president of PRI's National Revolutionary Alliance, affirmed that a "destabilizing campaign" attempted to damage the military's credibility and discipline. He included the "catholic clergy "and the "yellow, sensationalist press" as "destabilizing" agents. (34)

The Narco Military Waltz

The day that Gen. Esquinca affirmed that the armed forces were the target of a "destabilization campaign" the daily Reforma revealed that there were 402 military officers in custody, 15 ranking between lieutenant colonel and general. (35)

The capital newspaper, that along with Proceso and La Jornada had been publicizing the narco military scandals, disclosed an internal Ministry of Defense document implicating the arrested soldiers in crimes including homicide, desertion, robbery of military property and drug trafficking.

Oddly, Brigadier General Antonio Memendi, arrested on July 16 for the disappearance of 500 kilograms of cocaine from the northern state of Sonora, was not implicated in drug trafficking. Instead, another general, Raúl Morales, was linked to the case.

Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo was the highest ranking army detainee. The list mentioned three brigadier generals, including José Gallardo, in prison since 1994 for "embezzlement". The OAS Interamerican Commission of Human Rights intervened in his case, ruling that Mexico should free him.

Along with Pablo Castellanos, the DIA graduate accused of possessing privileged information from Ministry of Defense files, another colonel was charged, an ex-chief of bodyguards for Raúl Salinas de Gortari, the ex-president's brother. Of the 53 military personnel on trial for drug trafficking, 45 belonged to the War Marines.

The law firm defending Colonel Castellanos also accepted clients such as members of the Salinas de Gortari family and Morelos Governor, Jorge Carrillo Olea, whose brother Orlando has been implicated in drug trafficking through military intelligence reports and press findings. Xavier Olea, member of that law firm, rejected the existence of a "legal strategy" to "defend any front" where the ex-president's family, currently in self-imposed exile in Dublin, Ireland, might be involved.

Irma Lizzete Ibarra and Capt. Héctor Ixtláhuac Gaspar's murders were attributed to the "internal war" within the Juarez cartel. The ex-Miss Jalisco, maintained a close friendship with Gutiérrez and his son-in-law, Horacio Montenegro.

Investigations of her murder centered around establishing her connection to the captain and Ixtláhuac Gaspar, assistant to the former Defense Minister, Juan Arévalo Gardoqui, during the Miguel de la Madrid administration. The military leader's name harks back to the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena. From that time on, information indicates from that time on the existence of a powerful network protecting drug traffickers, including high military commanders.

The February arrest of the drug czar was a crushing blow for this network, worsened by the July 4 mysterious death of Amado Carrillo during plastic surgery to change his face and liposuction.

Lizette and Ixtláhuac Gaspar's executions suggested that drug traffickers were eliminating members of their public relations network. If this is the case, logically both were tagged "disposable" to cut any relation with the immediate past.

Eduardo González seemed to be the central figure of this plot. Authorities believe that González, the "Lord of the Skies" presumed right-hand man and fugitive, was in charge of public relations for the Juárez Cartel. The cartel has been characterized as the most "politicized", with many social and economic relationships with politicians.

In the midst of the narco military scandal, Gutiérrez's defense stated that it would present new information about "people from the upper echelons of national politics, mainly from the armed forces", that "would not benefit from" the revelations.

Gutiérrez Rebollo's family and defense lawyers continued denouncing psychological pressure and intimidation by the antinarcotic prosecutor's office, that they accused of having "fabricated" the charges against an officer who is the star witness and of extracting testimony "through torture."

The Minister-General's Private Intelligence

The narco general scandal did not alter the Pentagon program to train the Mexican military that would serve on the rapid response antinarcotic units. According to Pentagon officials, almost a thousand Mexican army and navy officers received antidrug training in the United States during the past year.

According to information published in El Financiero, by the end of fiscal year 1997 (October) the Pentagon had prepared 300 members of the "rapid response units", 131 pilots and 200 mechanics for the Air Force, and over 500 sailors.

Each twelve week course for the "rapid response units" trains a group of 40 officers. Seven have been completed. The purpose is to create 100 man teams and assign one to each of Mexico's twelve military regions.

Antidrug cooperation included equipment transfer and acquisition. In other words, the Mexican Navy bought two ships. According to official American statistics, maritime transport is the main form of cocaine smuggling into the United States. The cooperation program between the Pentagon and the Mexican Defense Ministry dates from 1995 when Washington wore down the local military's traditional resistance to armed forces involvement in the war on drugs. The closer collaboration of the military in both countries began after Secretary of Defense William Perry's historic visit to Mexico in October 1995.

The new revelation also permitted the reinforcement of the US Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) activities in Mexico. In July of this year, the Mexican government authorized six more antinarcotics as well as six additional FBI agents (there were already 39 operating in Mexico) that would be assigned to work under the direction of Miles (Michael) Garland, who until July of 1997 was the second in command of the DEA in Bogota.

Obviously in reference to Gen. Gutiérrez, James Milford, DEA sub-secretary in Washington stated:

Relations with Mexico have advanced, they are not perfect, but now we have reliable counterparts. In February the situation had deteriorated to the point that the intelligence that we gave them was immediately compromised.

The military documents uncovered by Proceso magazine revealed direct relations between the Mexican Defense Ministry and United States intelligence agencies. One report alluded to the connection between Gen. Tomás Angeles, the military attaché in Washington, and Cervantes's private secretary, and "expert" Paul Bradley from the US embassy. The mysterious organism, the CIAN, is also mentioned. (36)

Researcher Eduardo Valle, an ex-police officer, in self-imposed exile in Texas, signaled that the CIAN did not appear in the Armed Forces' official organizational diagram. He later established that the CIAN is the Center for Antinarcotics Intelligence, directed by Col. Augusto Moisés García Ochoa, directly under Cervantes. "The minister-general has an intelligence office with a direct line to EMBA, USA," commented Valle, who believes the existence of the CIAN permitted DEA number two man, Milford to say that "now we have reliable interlocutors." (37)

Antinarcotics Star Wars?

The vigor that Washington put in the new cooperation with the Mexican armed forces permits speculation about a future "star war" against drug traffickers. Based on the revelation of the Angeles-Bradley connection, it came out that both had considered the possibility of using satellites and FLIR or Schweizer-type spy planes to locate the drug lords.

"If they were used to find the Colombian Cartel leaders, I don't see why the same can't be done in Mexico," stated Norman Bailey, ex-White House National Security Council member during the Reagan administration. (38) The satellites are the property of the National Recognition Office of the Pentagon. They have the capacity to take accurate photographs from space. Bailey signaled that there is a difference between these satellites and the National Security Agency's (NSA), that focus on interfering in electronic communications and are used "quite commonly."

According to United States intelligence documents, declassified in May, 1996 and divulged in Mexico, the NSA strengthened its espionage missions over Mexico after the campesino-indigenous Zapatista insurrection of January, 1994. The documents also detailed information about finances, official corruption, and drug trafficking obtained by electronic interference of telephone, radio, Internet, and fax.

An ex-DEA agent revealed to correspondent Dolia Estévez of El Financiero, that the methods used to gather information in Mexico are a combination of undercover infiltration, recruitment of informants, and electronic surveillance, including the use of nocturnal observation equipment to detect clandestine runways, drug plane landings, and air drops over open sea. (39)

Mexico already has FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) equipment for night surveillance that can be installed in planes, helicopters, and according to a Defense Intelligence Agency report dated May 1994, the Mexican air force bought four SA-2 Schweizers, with quiet engines that make night espionage possible. Different unconfirmed versions suggest that high tech equipment was used in Chiapas to measure the Zapatista's logistical and human potential. According to local experts, the Mexican and American governments are reluctant to confirm this because it violates the terms of the cease fire agreements with the EZLN (The Zapatista National Liberation Army), which prohibit military flybys. (40)

Zedillo's Relatives, Too

September 18, during a 16 hour hearing that carried over until the next day, Gutiérrez testified that Minister of Defense Cervantes had three "get togethers" with Eduardo González Quirarte, Amado Carrillo's business partner. (41) He explained that one of the meetings was to make an agreement for the kingpin's "protection." González visited the Ministry twice, where Gen. Juan Salinas, Chief of Staff, and six other generals received him.

He also sustained that the arrest of alleged drug trafficker Hector "El Güero" Palma's had been bungled by "direct intervention" from the minister, provoking confrontations with Gutiérrez.

During this hearing, Gutiérrez Rebollo again implicated Ernesto Zedillo's family and political allies in drug trafficking. He reiterated that Nilda Patricia Velasco de Zedillo's father and brothers had dealings with the Amezcua brothers, drug dealers specialized in the illegal trafficking of efedrine to the United States. He also accused the president's father and uncle, who were under investigation for alleged connections to Gonzélez Quirarte. He did not show any proof. (42)

A day later, district attorney Jorge Madrazo called Gutiérrez a traitor -"traitor to his uniform, to his institution, to Mexico", and said that he, "lies." "But all his gossip, leaks, and commentaries" will be investigated by the PGR. (43)

During Col. Castellanos' trial, Military Intelligence Chief of Staff, Gen. Héctor Sánchez, recognized that the US Embassy intervened in operations that constitutionally corresponded to the Mexican Attorney General's office. Based on the intelligence information in the "Pedro.Doc" file, and in spite of the prosecution's efforts to impede the revelation of this affair, when questioned by the colonel's defense lawyer about which institution intervened in the Amado Carrillo investigation, Gen. Sánchez affirmed, "The Embassy of the United States of America." (44)

The constant revelations about members of the armed forces involved in drug trafficking generated great concern and irritation within the armed forces. Some military leaders privately expressed their disagreement with the handling of the affair, beginning with Gutiérrez's arrest. Others pointed to a "perverse tendency" to discredit the military institution in the eyes of the public and government, to sow dissent within its ranks.

Those advocating this stance, like columnist Javier Ibarrola, add that the "satanization" of the military included the participation of a group of generals and colonels in command of the capital city police force, enmeshed in a new scandal: the detention of three youngsters, who were later found shot to death, with evidence of torture. This led analysts to speculate that deaths squadrons operate in Mexico.

The DEA, CIA, FBI, and the Mexican Treasury

Within US-Mexico relations, the Gutiérrez case seems to confirm legislators', and local analysts' speculations that it accelerated, in some cases in record time, the penetration of American intelligence organisms in their Mexican counterparts.

Within the framework of White House unilateral "certification" of Mexican antinarcotics policy, the balance between February and September of 1997 indicate that Gen. McCaffrey obtained extremely good returns.

The Washington antinarcotics strategy, designed as an efficient form of pressure and interference in drug producing and transporting countries, has a unique characteristic in Mexico: a shared 3,200 km border with the United States, geographic determinism that has caused White House administrations since Reagan to consider its southern neighbor "a national security issue." Many Mexican scholars and researchers interpret this vision bluntly: Mexico is "a domestic problem" for American leaders and legislators.

Under this assumption, the United States not only justified monitoring Mexican antinarcotics policy, but also its economy, even taking petroleum as "collateral" as part of Bill Clinton's million dollar "rescue" package during the crisis in the aftermath of the devaluation of the peso in December 1994. Nationalist sectors, and even the official PRI party, criticized the measures as a violation of national sovereignty.

An interventionist outburst occurred in February during Gutiérrez's capture. The Clinton administration imposed six conditions for "certification" on Zedillo: the arrest of Amado Carrillo and the Arellano Félix brothers within six months; the extradition of 12 Mexican drug traffickers, a few of whom are in prison, such as Rafael Caro Quintero; diplomatic immunity for the 39 DEA agents officially assigned to Mexico; permission for DEA personnel to carry arms in Mexican territory; authorization for US Coast Guard ships to enter Mexican waters to carry out interdiction; full participation of the Mexican armed forces in an American "multinational force" to combat drug trafficking (air fleet project at Howard Air Force Base in Panama).

Gutiérrez's fall also dismantled the National Institute to Combat Drugs (INCD) and justified the creation of a "Mexican DEA." (45) According to Time Magazine, the new Mexican antidrug directorate would be "in the image and form of the DEA" and its agents would be selected and trained by the FBI, the CIA, and the DEA. According to Time, an important Mexican official said, "We guarantee that the new directorate will be the acid test for corruption." It seemed obvious that the new antidrug prosecutor's office, headed by a civilian, Mariano Herrán, fell under the umbrella of the intelligence services in Washington.

At the same time, and given that the DEA took the "honors" for discovering the "narco general", CIA General Director, John M. Deutch, gave orders to increase his agency's espionage efforts in Mexico. While the Mexican intelligence services were dismanteled, the CIA sent 200 agents, informants, and analysts to work on drug trafficking. (46)

According to Tim Golden's extensive report in The New York Times, the revelations about drug trafficking's infiltration of the upper echelons of political, military, and economic power in Mexico set off a competition between US espionage agencies. As a result, the CIA did not believe the DEA reports about Gen. Gutiérrez.

Golden wrote that the CIA staff in Mexico, the largest on the continent, "closed its eyes when there was an event related to drugs or corruption within the political security apparatus." After the incident with the general the agency began to analzye the ramifications of the Medellin and Cali cartels in Mexico and was "authorized to do undercover operations" there. (47)

According to Golden and other sources, Mexico again became a priority for the intelligence services. " The DEA, the CIA, the FBI, the Treasury office on Money Laundering, the National Drug Intelligence Center and even some levels of US diplomatic offices in Mexico stepped up investigations of the penetration of drug trafficking in high economic, political, and goverment levels in Mexico." (48)

Within this context, columnist Carlos Ramírez noted that the US offensive pushed the Zedillo government to accept the United States' "multilateral cooperation" in the reorganization of the Mexican antinarcotics services by US agencies; the opening of the Mexican military and civilian intelligence services to the United States and the acceptance of a continental anti narcotic force under Pentagon control. (49)

Golden revealed the existence of the Linear Committee, a group described by American officials as collaborative effort directed by a CIA and DEA anti narcotics center "to find the weakest points in cocaine production and distribution circuits." This committee focused on the Andean region, but the Cali Cartel's trail drew attention to the Mexican drug trade.

McCaffrey's Positive Balance

On September 14 White House drug czar, Barry McCaffrey, presented a positive report on military and intelligence cooperation between the United States and Mexico to combat drug trafficking. The two-volume report was requested the previous February by legislators reluctant to concede "certification" to Mexico, who gave Clinton a six month period to show Mexican progress in the area. (50) After revising the report, an advisor of Sen. Jesse Helms, considered anti-Mexican by the Zedillo government, said that the advances were "impressive" and that he had to recognize that Mexico had made "historic compromises." (51)

There was news in McCaffrey's report. For example, it affirms that since December 1996, a direct line had been installed between the US Embassy in Mexico and the National Center to Combat Drugs (CENDRO), part of the Attorney General of the Republic's office, that McCaffrey called "a reliable communications link" to permit the governments to share "sensitive information, " which is used "with increasing frequency."

It also informed that Mexican law enforcement officals had given the United States considerable information in an "electronic format" that had been connected to the Joint Center for Analysis of Defense Intelligence Documentation-FBI in Washington.

Under the heading, "Military to Military Cooperation Program", the report stipulates that Mexican agents may "board United States Coast Guard P-3 recognizance aircraft that enter Mexican airspace chasing drug traffickers." It adds that Mexican officials "authorize regular flybys and chases on a case by case basis within Mexican airspace for USCS P-3 aircraft that monitor planes suspected of drug trafficking, in response to arising intelligence information."

The report further states that after May 1997 Mexico streamlined procedures to permit US planes to fly over its territory and land for refueling. Another point states that the Pentagon will train more than 1,500 Mexican soldiers in antinarcotics procedures, communications, intelligence, special forces methods, and aviation maintenance and operation, among others. 300 Mexican soldiers were trained in 1996. The Department of Defense training programs for Mobile Air Special Forces Groups in Mexico have been successful and will continue until the end of 1999.

The United States has given 48 used UH-1H Huey helicopters to Mexico and another 25 will be turned over along with renovations and support equipment. According to Javier Ibarrolla, linked to the Mexican Defense Ministry, they are "junk helicopters" that have had accidents and caused some deaths, among them a general. (52) The Pentagon promised to supply four C-26 recognizance planes and eight million dollars in renovations.

The "Naval Program" section stipulates that the Pentagon and the Coast Guard plan to offer maritime antidrug training to over 600 Mexican sailors, as well as sending two Knox frigates to the Mexican navy. Law enforcement teams from the Coast Guard will assist the Mexican navy "with growing frequency" in dock boardings and have appeared as witnesses in drug trafficking trials in Mexican courts. Coast Guard teams have traveled to Mexico to train over 100 navy officers as well as some recruits.

The chapter, "DEA and FBI agents in Mexico", states that in July of this year, the Mexican government authorized the increase the DEA agents by six as well as another six FBI agents. It alsoNotes that the Mexican government fired all the personnel of the Bilateral Border Task Forces, to be replaced by the top students from the PGR Academy class of May 1997. A preliminary group of 29 officers, along with another ten from the Organized Crime Unit, participated in a four week training course given by the FBI and the DEA in the United States

In his report, McCaffrey notes that the Mexican government has given DEA, FBI, and Customs agents in these task forces "official grants of immunity" while operating in Mexico. According to The Dallas Morning News it also authorizes these agents to carry arms, although Mexican chancellor, José Angel Gurría, denied this.

In the "Law Enforcement Training" section it indicates that the Coast Guard and the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Bureau of the Justice Department will train 40 Mexican officers from eleven different agencies about arms detection.

Mexican commerce officials, PGR, and National Banking Commission officials took courses on both sides of the border about how to detect money laundering. Also in coordination with Mexican authorities, the US Customs service will set up on the border for the rest of 1997, eight enormous mobile x-ray machines to scan the 82 million cars that cross the 38 entrances to the United States for drugs. McCaffrey explained that these were the gigantic radar originally designed to control the arrival of Soviet Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

McCaffrey's optimistic references to changes that allow "hot pursuit"and the disposition to prohibit the entrance of foreign ships and planes in Mexican skies and waters as well as "immunity" and carrying concealed weapons by undercover FBI and DEA agents and other revelations that led him to recommend to the American Congress that Mexico not be "certified" March 1, were qualified by José Reveles as "interventionist" and as a loss of Mexican sovereignty. (53)


1. Gutiérrez Rebollo's arrest occurred in the presence of Gen. Cervantes; Gen. Juan Heriberto Salinas, military Chief of Staff; Gen. Tito Valencia Ortiz, director of the National Center Against Drugs (CENDRO) and Gutiérrez's interim replacement in the INCD; Tomás Angeles Dauhare, Cervantes's personal secretary; and Col. Augusto M. García Ochoa, Director of the Center for Antinarcotics Intelligence (CIAN).
2. The story took up the eight columns of all the Mexican press on February 19, 1997: "Cae general por narco," announced Reforma ; :"SEDENA: el general Gutiérrez Rebollo atentó contra la seguridad nacional" was the headline of La Jornada; "Gutiérrez Rebollo protegió a 'El Señor de los cielos': Cervantes Aguirre," El Financiero.
3. "Niegan buscar certificación," Reforma 20 Feb. 1997: 4.
4. "Busca FBI desde '94 a González Quirarte,." Reforma 20 Feb. 1997.
5. Jim Cason, "Decepcionante, la corrupción de 'alto nivel' en México: EU," La Jornada 20 Feb. 1997.
6. The presentation of the document, "Shared Diagnosis", was designed to have a great impact on public opinion. General McCaffrey and Mexican Chancellor José Angel Gurría participated in the White House event. Mexican Attorney General Jorge Madrazo participated with US Ambassador James Jones at Los Pinos. The US called off the presentation to "evaluate the latest events linked to Gutiérrez's arrest. "The antidrug report sought to "reveal binational achievements, as a way to help reluctant sectors in the United States that want Mexico's decertification soften their critiques," according to a Mexican government source.
7. Patricia Zugayde, "Informó DEA a SEDENA (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional) dudas sobre el militar," El Universal 25 Feb. 1997.
8. Public officials' alleged connections to drug trafficking received heavy press coverage. Ex-minister Raúl Salinas Lozano, ex-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari's father', and Raúl Salinas de Gortari (who had been linked to Juan García, ex-leader of the Gulf Cartel). Other alleged "narco politicians", frequently mentioned by the US press are: Carlos Hank González, ex-minister and ex-PRI party leader; Mario Ruiz Massieu, brother of the murdered PRI leader, José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, in jail in the United States facing an accusation for money laundering; the governors of Sonora and Morelos, Manlio Beltrones and Gen. Jorge Carrillo Olea, implicated as Amado Carrillo's accomplices by The New York Times on February 23, 1997.
9. "Atrapan a otro general," Reforma 18 Mar. 1997 and Víctor Fuentes, "General Navarro, mensajero de los Arellano Félix," El Financiero 18 Mar. 1997.
10. Víctor Fuentes, "Arresto domiciliario a Cardona Pérez, solicita la PGR," El Financiero 21 Mar. 97; and "Niega un militar ser el vínculo entre Rebollo y Amado Carrillo," El Financiero 25 Mar. 1997.
11. Cited by Javier Ibarrola in his armed forces column. El Financiero 9 Mar. 1997.
12. Marco Lara Klahr, "Asunto de alta seguridad, la detención del general," El Universal 22 Feb. 1997.
13. A term used for the godfather of baptisms or other religious events, denoting a close personal relationship (Translator'sNote).
14. Klahr.
15. "Desconcierta la detención" and "Pongan en mi epitafio: Sabía demasiado," Reforma 23 Feb. 1997.
16. Klahr.
17. José Carreño, "Preocupa a EU información compartida con el INCD", and José Luis Ruis, "Acuerdan reubicar a agentes de la DEA acreditados", both El Universal 21 Feb. 1997.
18. Carlos Ramírez, "Lo que no funcionó: Inteligencia Militar," El Universal 21 Feb. 1997.
19. Ibid.
20. Newsweek, 24 Feb. 1997, cited in Mexico by Reforma and El Universal 20 Feb. 1997.
21. "Contaminó dinero de la droga a la milicia," El Universal 24 Feb. 1997.
22. Carlos Ramírez, "EU detr{Special Char 135 in Font "Times New Roman"}s de la caída del narco general," El Universal 20 Feb. 1997.
23. Ibid.
24. Carlos Fazio, El tercer vínculo: De la teoría del caos a la militarización de México. (Mexico City: Editorial Joaquín Mortiz, Planeta México, 1996)
25. Carlos Marín, "Documentos de Inteligencia Militar involucran en el nartcotráfico a altos jefes, oficiales y tropa del Ejército," Proceso: 1082.
26. Ibid.
27. Castellanos passed the DIA Strategic Intelligence, Strategic Intelligence Analyst,and Strategic Intelligence Administration courses. Proceso: 1082.
28. Ibid.
29. El Universal.
30. Arturo Zárate Vite, "Sin contemplaciones ni intocables, la depuración de la Defensa, exige Lara V," El Universal 29 July 1997.
31. Press Bulletin of the National Defense Secretariat, signed by Brigadier General José Enrique Ortega Iniestra. 27 July 1997.
32. Jesús Aranda, "Serían 36 los militares implicados en el narcotráfico," La Jornada 29 July 1997.
33. Ibid.
34. Víctor González, "El Ejército, blanco de una campaña desestabilizadora," El Financiero 1 Aug. 1997.
35. Reforma 1 Aug. 1997.
36. Proceso: 1082, 27 July 1997.
37. Eduardo Valle, "La otra orilla" column, El Financiero 3 Aug. 1997 and 21 Sep. 1997.
38. Dolia Estévez, "Guerra de las galaxias contral narcos," El Financiero 7 Aug. 1997.
39. Ibid.
40. Ibid.
41. Miguel de la Vega, "Gutiérrez Rebollo insiste in relacionar con el narco la familia presidencial y a los titulares de la SEDENA y de la Judicial Federal," Proceso 21 Sep. 1997
42. Ibid.
43. Claudia Ramos, "Califican de traidor a Gutiérrez Rebollo," Reforma 20 Sep. 1997.
44. Raúl Monge, "Defensor: ¿Quéi nstituciones intervinieron en el Caso Pedro? Jefe de la Sección 2a: La embajada de los Estados Unidos." Proceso. 21 Sep. 1997.
45. Time 2 Mar. 1997.
46. Tim Golden, The New York Times 11 July 1997.
47. Ibid.
48. Carlos Ramírez, "EU: Más narcoespionaje sobre México. CIA, DEA, Comando Sur y Tesoro," Indicador Político Column, El Universal. 20 Aug. 1997.
49. Ibid.
50. "Anti Narcotic Cooperation betweeen the United States and Mexico" was presented to Congress on September 15, 1997.
51. Jim Carson and David Brooks, "EU: Avanza México en la cooperación antidrogas," La Jornada. 19 Sep. 1997.
52. On September 23, an official communication from the Mexican Chancellery informed that the last consignment of 25 Huey helicopters was already in the country, and that the total cost of the 73 choppers reached over 40 million dollars, including their revamping and equipping. Javier Ibarrola called the HU-1H "junk" in his Armed Forces column. El Financiero 19 Sep. 1997.
53. José Reveles, "Gracias, General McCaffrey," Palabras con filo Column, El Financiero 19 Sep. 1997.