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Former Police Commander Convicted Of Bribery

August 14, 1986 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A Guadalajara district court convicted a former federal police chief of taking a $300,000 bribe from a reputed drug baron and sentenced him to four years in prison, the government news agency Notimex said.

Judge Oscar Vazquez Marin found Armando Pavon Reyes guilty Tuesday of taking the bribe from Rafael Caro Quintero and allowing the reputed narcotics kingpin to flee Guadalajara, where he was wanted in connection with the killing of a U.S. narcotics agent, Notimex said.

The agency quoted Pavon Reyes as saying he was innocent and was the victim of politics. Defense attorney Maximino Cortez said he would appeal.

Pavon Reyes was Federal Judicial Police commander in Guadalajara, 322 miles west of Mexico City, when gunmen kidnapped Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena Salazar near the U.S. Consulate on Feb. 7, 1985.

Camarena’s body and that of a Mexican pilot working with him were later found buried on a ranch 60 miles southeast of Guadalajara, a major drug trafficking center.

Pavon Reyes was accused of letting Caro Quinitero leave Guadalajara on Feb. 9, 1985, aboard a private jet despite pleas from U.S. officials to detain him.

DEA agents at the airport said Caro Quintero gave Pavon Reyes a farewell embrace while surrounded by a score of bodyguards.

Caro Quintero was not seen again until he was arrested on April 4, 1985, at a villa outside San Jose, Costa Rica. He was returned to Mexico the next day and remains in jail charged with kidnapping and murdering Camarena.

Caro Quintero signed a confession that said he gave Pavon Reyes a check for $300,000 so he could leave Guadalajara. The confession was presented during a court hearing last year but Caro Quintero repudiated it during the hearing.

Pavon Reyes was fired shortly after reports surfaced about the airport incident, and in April 1985 the government charged him with bribery. He has been in jail since.