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Jailed Mexico Politician Tied to Assassination


MEXICO CITY — An imprisoned politician with family ties to drug dealers was formally accused Thursday of helping to plan the assassination of his party's No. 2 official, and the attorney general's office said the plot is believed to reach higher into the political ranks.

Three witnesses--two of them also suspects--have implicated Abraham Rubio Canales in what authorities have said was the plot to kill Francisco Ruiz Massieu. Massieu was the second-ranking official in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), police said in a statement.

Assistant Atty. Gen. Mario Ruiz Massieu, the slain man's brother, said in an interview at a local radio station, "We believe that Rubio Canales has some responsibility in the murder, but not that he is the brains behind it."

Witnesses had previously told police that Rubio Canales--who is related by marriage to suspected drug dealer Raul Valladares--wanted revenge against Francisco Ruiz Massieu.

He supposedly blamed Massieu, who was governor of the state of Guerrero when Rubio Canales managed a development agency there, for his conviction on land fraud charges. Rubio Canales is still serving out the resulting 14-year prison sentence.

Maria Eugenia Ramirez Arauz, another suspected conspirator arrested Wednesday, also told police that Rubio Canales had provided plotters with $300,000. Half that money was spent on buying arms and hiring a triggerman, drivers and lookouts to carry out the killing, she said.

Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the second major politician to be murdered in six months, was shot to death Sept. 28 outside a downtown hotel here. The triggerman fled when the gun jammed after a single shot. He was caught by a bank security guard.

Since then, the web of suspects has expanded rapidly to include Congressman Manuel Munoz Rocha, his aide and various members of the aide's family. Many of those allegedly involved have turned themselves in out of fear of other conspirators, Mario Ruiz Massieu said.

Munoz Rocha and the aide, Fernando Rodriguez Gonzalez, are still fugitives. Rodriguez Gonzalez may be dead, Mario Ruiz Massieu said.

He discounted the likelihood that Munoz Rocha masterminded the killing because "he is not known for leadership characteristics."

Police said Ramirez Arauz told them that Munoz Rocha and Rubio Canales are close friends.

Besides her testimony, police said another suspect, Jorge Rodriguez Gonzalez, told them that Rubio Canales was involved in the plot.

A third witness, Filiberto Chavelas, who was not further identified, told them that he had heard Rubio Canales threaten to kill Francisco Ruiz Massieu on various occasions.

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