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Testimony: Doctor’s Fingerprints Found at Home Where Camarena Died

December 4, 1992 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A Mexican doctor’s fingerprints were found on plastic bags in the house where U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena was tortured and slain in 1985, an FBI forensics expert testified.

Carl E. Collins on Thursday tied the fingerprints to Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain, who is being tried in Camarena’s death at the hands of drug traffickers in Mexico.

Prosecutors say Alvarez has admitted having been in the murder house but denied participating in the slaying.

Collins said under cross-examination he could not tell when Alvarez’s fingerprints were placed on the dry cleaning bags and that no prints from the doctor were found anywhere else in the house.

In other testimony, a U.S. Navy doctor who performed an autopsy on Camarena said he probably died when the top of his skull was pierced by an instrument - likely a Phillips screwdriver or stiletto.

Dr. Jerry Spencer said Camarena’s skull, face and ribs were fractured and that the body had been buried for about two weeks before it was found in March 1985.

The trial of Alvarez, a Guadalajara doctor, and Ruben Zuno Arce, a brother- in-law of former Mexican President Luis Echeverria, has strained relations between the United states and Mexico.

Alvarez was kidnapped by U.S. operatives in Mexico and brought to the United States for trial. Mexican authorities protested, but the U.S. Supreme Court held the kidnapping did not violate a U.S.-Mexico extradition treaty.

Prosecutors claim Alvarez administered drugs to Camarena to keep him alive for prolonged torture and Zuno helped plan the kidnapping as a member of a drug cartel.

Alvarez and Zuno face life imprisonment if convicted of charges including conspiracy to commit violent crimes in aid of racketeering and felony murder of a federal agent.