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Mexico Suspect Links Politicians to Plot

October 13, 1994|JUANITA DARLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MEXICO CITY — Federal deputies and at least one senator plotted the Sept. 28 assassination of the second-ranking official in Mexico's ruling party and planned to kill a former party chairman and other politicians, an accused conspirator told police, according to a statement released Wednesday.

Fernando Rodriguez Gonzalez, an aide to congressman Manuel Munoz Rocha, told police that his boss belonged to two political groups whose purpose was to "rescue the leadership of the country for those who had been displaced, without regard to what means had to be used to achieve that," according to a statement from the attorney general's office.

The means of eliminating such political reformers included murder, he told police. The hit list included Fernando Ortiz Arana, former chairman of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which has governed Mexico for 65 years; Gov. Manuel Cavazos Lerma of the state of Tamaulipas, and Congresswoman Laura Alicia Garza Galindo, head of the Tamaulipas legislative delegation, as well as the slain man, Francisco Ruiz Massieu.

The statement said Rodriguez Gonzalez told police that one of the dissident political groups consisted of deputies and the other was led by Sen. Enrique Cardenas Gonzalez.

Cardenas Gonzalez complained to the attorney general's office last week that he was being slandered when other suspects accused him of involvement in the alleged assassination plot. Munoz Rocha is a fugitive and has reportedly been sighted in both Brownsville, Tex., and the central Mexican state of Hidalgo.

Rodriguez Gonzalez was arrested late Monday in the northwestern state of Zacatecas after a dozen other suspects--most of them his relatives--were already in custody. His statement corroborated their testimony, according to the attorney general's office.

Rodriguez Gonzalez said Munoz Rocha told him in December that he had received an order from one of the political groups to kill ruling party official Francisco Ruiz Massieu, according to the statement.

Rodriguez Gonzalez hired his brother, Marco Antonio, to organize the murder plot, giving him more than $300,000 to do the job. The money, he told police, came from Abraham Rubio Canales, a jailed politician who had served in Ruiz Massieu's gubernatorial administration in the southern state of Guerrero. Other suspects said Rubio Canales blamed Ruiz Massieu for not protecting him when he was convicted of land fraud.

According to Fernando Rodriguez Gonzalez, his brother twice hired killers--paying one prospective contract killer about $150,000. Both times, they ran away with the money and did not attempt to commit the murder, police said.

On a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sept. 15, Mexican Independence Day, Rodriguez Gonzalez said, he and Munoz Rocha made plans to carry out the assassination before October. Marco Antonio Rodriguez Gonzalez has not been implicated in the slaying sof Ruiz Massieu.

After the murder, Munoz Rocha offered Fernando Rodriguez Gonzalez tickets to Paris, but the aide said he could not accept because he did not have a French visa. Instead, the congressman gave him $78,000 and promised him more, Rodriguez Gonzalez told police.

Rodriguez Gonzalez also is being held on apparently unrelated smuggling and tax fraud charges, stemming from allegations against a warehouse company he ran.

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