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Authorities Arrest Three Suspects in Cardinal’s Killing

May 31, 1993

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) _ Authorities arrested three more people in their search for the drug lords blamed for the killing of a Roman Catholic cardinal and six others in an airport shootout.

Two Mexican-Americans were arrested in the border city of Tijuana early Saturday in connection with the killings, the federal Attorney General’s Office said in a weekend statement.

Juan Enrique Bazones Hernandez, 18, and Roman Torres Mendez, 23, were identified as gunman who participated in the May 24 shootout that killed Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo.

The two worked for the rivals of drug lord Joaquin ″El Chapo″ Guzman, who police say was the intended target of the gunmen.

Hernan Medina Pantoja, Guzman’s business administrator, was arrested here Friday night, the office said.

The arrests bring to four the number of people in custody in connection with the shooting in this western city 280 miles northwest of Mexico City.

The fourth suspect, Jesus Alberto Vallardos, allegedly confessed that Guzman’s rivals gave him $10,000 to hire 15 men to kill Guzman.

The prelate was in his car waiting for a church official when he was blasted by gunfire 14 times at close range. His driver and five others also were killed.

Arrest warrants also have been issued for Guzman and four others, including three who head a rival drug cartel and allegedly contracted the gunmen.

Authorities offered a $5 million cash reward for information leading to their arrests. Wanted posters with the pictures of the men were being plastered on buildings throughout Mexico City on Saturday and Sunday.

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