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Suspected Hit Man Found, Incognito, in Tijuana Jail

July 11, 2001|From Times Wire Services

MEXICO CITY — Police found one of Mexico's most wanted drug hit men as he sat in a Tijuana jail cell with a new face and a false name, awaiting trial on unrelated charges, officials said Tuesday.

Humberto Rodriguez Banuelos, alias "The Frog," had undergone cosmetic surgery on his face, the attorney general's office said. He also had liposuction and hair implants.

Rodriguez, who had assumed the name Carlos Duran, was arrested several months ago for allegedly taking part in a shootout in Tijuana.

He now faces drug and homicide charges in connection with his work for the violent Tijuana-based Arellano Felix cartel, prosecutor Eduardo Bermudez said.

"He was the chief of assassins for the Arellano Felix brothers," Bermudez alleged.

Prosecutors said they discovered their prisoner's real identity after they found that the name and date of birth he provided didn't match official records. According to one account, his identity was confirmed by a physical exam that located a singular identifying characteristic: a bullet wound in his right buttock.

Rodriguez has been linked with the 1993 killing of Catholic Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, who officials say died in the cross-fire of a drug gang shootout. Rodriguez also has been implicated in an assassination attempt on Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the Juarez cartel chief who died undergoing plastic surgery.

Rodriguez was moved Tuesday from the Tijuana jail to a federal prison in Guadalajara.

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