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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012

Man convicted in 1985 killing of DEA agent Enrique Camarena dies in U.S. prison

He was brother-in-law of former President Echeverría

Update, Sept. 21: Columnist Sergio Sarmiento writes that Zuno Arce may have been wrongfully convicted

    Rubén Zuno Arce, brother-in-law of former President Luis Echeverría, has died at 82 of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease at a U.S. prison in Florida. Zuno Arce had been serving a sentence for involvement in the 1985 torture-slaying of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique Camarena and his pilot, Alfredo Zavala Avelar.

     A former Jalisco state legislator, Zuno Arce was arrested in 1989 in Texas for having been part of a plot to kidnap, torture and kill Camarena. Authorities believed that a home Zuno Arce sold to a drug trafficker shortly before Camarena's kidnapping was the place where Camarena was killed. Zuno Arce was accused of working with Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, Miguel Angel Félix Gallardo and Rafael Caro Quintero, who then ran the Guadalajara Cartel and now are imprisoned in Mexico.

     Zuno Arce was the son of a former Jalisco governor. Zuno Arce's sister María Esther Zuno Arce was married to Echeverría, who was president from 1970-1976. Both Zuno Arces were first cousins to Fernando Márquez Arce, mayor of Tijuana from 1974-1977.  

      Story, Proceso. Story, Los Angeles Times.

Update, Sept. 21: Columnist Sergio Sarmiento writes that Zuno Arce may have been wrongfully convicted. He says that for the DEA, the Camarena case became more personal than one of true justice, and that Zuno Arce may have become an unfortunate victim of a desire of vengeance against the Mexican political system. Sarmiento's column (PDF).