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FNS: Human Remains and Weapons Found at Ranch Near Méxicali, Search Continues

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    FNS: Human Remains and Weapons Found at Ranch Near Méxicali, Search Continues Date: 10/1/2002 1:36:41 PM Pacific Daylight Time From: frontera@nmsu.edu
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2002
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      FNS: Human Remains and Weapons Found at Ranch Near Méxicali, Search Continues
      Date: 10/1/2002 1:36:41 PM Pacific Daylight Time
      From: frontera@...
       
      Three men arrested in connection to the disappearance and murder of a Baja California police officer, Federico Alvídrez Viramontes, led officials to a ranch near Méxicali where they found the officer's remains, a weapons stash and potentially more graves.

      The three arrested men, alleged members of the "Los Garibay" narcotrafficking and criminal organization, were identified in the San Diego Union Tribune as José Luis López Armenta, José Antonio González Cossío and Hipólito Valle Carrasco. Both López and González had outstanding warrants for kidnapping and homicide. All three men were taken to Mexico City where they may face organized crime charges in federal court.

      The men led state and federal Mexican law-enforcement officials to the ranch on the Colorado River where they took Alvídrez. The police official had been investigating Los Garibay in connection to the recent armed robberies of vegetable packing businesses in the area. The men said that they kidnapped Alvídrez and murdered him at the ranch on the order of their boss, Manuel Garibay Félix.

      Once Alvídrez was dead, the men dug a hole, threw in wood, started a fire and incinerated the body and later pushed dirt back over the whole. They let cattle loose on the property so that their hoof prints would cover up the human activity at the site. When law enforcement officials, including some of Alvídrez's coworkers, excavated the site they found the corpse was still emitting smoke, according to a police officer quoted in the the Méxicali newspaper, La Crónica.

      About 1,800 feet (600 meters) from Alvídrez's grave, the arrested men pointed to an area where they said brothers Francisco and Reynaldo Vázquez Razo were buried. Despite an extensive search of the site, Mexican officials have not found the graves. Currently, they are waiting for the US FBI to arrive with search dogs and specialized search equipment.

      0Police were also shown to a concealed, underground space that contained a rocket launcher, a grenade launcher, assault rifles, pistols and ammunition. Police found approximately 20 weapons at the ranch, including the weapons police say were used to kill Alvídrez. Alvídrez's service weapon was also found at the ranch. Officials said they never would have found the weapons if the spot had not been pointed out to them. According to the police, the storage space was covered with a metal lid, buried with dirt and overgrown with plants.

      Law enforcement officials say that it will take them weeks to finish their detailed search of the property for more graves and buried weapons.

      Los Garibay were described in the Union Tribune as an organization with approximately 15 members. It is not know if, or how, they might be related to the region's major drug cartel, Los Arellano Félix.

      Sources:
      San Diego Union Tribune, September 28, 2002. September 28, 2002. Article by Anna Cearley. La Crónica (Méxicali), October 1, 2002. Article by Carlos Lima.
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