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Cortez Happy to Be Home, Praises Other DEA Agents

August 19, 1986|Associated Press

TUCSON — Federal drug agent Victor Cortez Jr. says he is happy to be home, but he doesn't want to answer questions about his alleged abduction and torture by Mexican police.

Cortez, casually dressed and showing no outward signs of injuries, appeared at a news conference with John C. Lawn, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"I'm glad for the quick action (the DEA) agents in Guadalajara took in trying to locate me," Cortez said during his appearance Sunday. "If it hadn't been for them, I don't think that I would be here in the United States."

Cortez declined to answer questions from reporters about his alleged abduction and torture by Jalisco state police in Guadalajara.

Lawn said Cortez would not be available to the media again until after investigations by the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and Mexican authorities are complete.

Lawn did not say when those inquiries might be finished, adding that he would have no comment on their progress.

Not Allowed to Answer

Terrence Burke, head of the DEA office in Phoenix, said Cortez was not allowed to answer questions because he would be the key witness in any prosecution or other legal action that results because of the incident.

Lawn said Cortez had been beaten and subjected to "electrical shock treatment" and had numerous contusions on his body.

Other U.S. officials have charged that Cortez, stationed in Guadalajara since January, was beaten and tortured with cattle prods for six hours by Jalisco state Judicial Police.

Mexican officials said Cortez was detained, but they disputed allegations he was tortured.

Resting in Arizona

Lawn said Cortez and his family will be taken to an undisclosed location outside Arizona to rest. They flew back to the United States late Friday, two days after Cortez said he was stopped by Mexican police and arrested.

Cortez had been responsible for "the seizure of substantial quantities of cocaine over the past month," Lawn said. "This would certainly have an effect on cocaine traffickers in Guadalajara."

But Lawn said he had neither seen nor heard public statements by agency officials, including Phil Jordan of the DEA office in Dallas, that reputed drug trafficker Miguel Angel Felix-Gallardo was behind the incident.

"Supposition and rumor should not be stated as fact," he said.

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