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Top Federal Police Official from Tijuana Killed

September 23, 1996

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A deputy police commander fighting drug trafficking in Tijuana was tortured and shot to death, and his body was dumped in an abandoned truck in the capital, Mexico’s news agency reported.

Jorge Garcia Vargas was the seventh senior federal law enforcement official from Baja California state to be shot to death this year.

The bodies of three other men were found with him, and all four showed signs of torture, the official Notimex news agency said Sunday. The other men were not immediately identified.

Garcia was assigned to the Federal Judicial Police in Tijuana and worked with a national anti-drug unit.

The abandoned truck had license plates from the western state of Jalisco, another region known as a major drug trafficking center.

Mexico City police said they believed the latest killings were related to drug trafficking.

Authorities also blamed drug traffickers for Sept. 15 killing of Ernesto Ibarra Santes, an assistant to the federal judicial police in Baja California state. Ibarra was killed in Mexico City by gunmen who opened fire on his taxi.

Also killed were two Tijuana-based federal agents, Israel Moreno Flores and Aaron Rosas Gallegos, as well as taxi driver Juan Arturo Hernandez Lizardi.

Ibarra had participated in anti-drug operations aimed at locating brothers Ramon and Benjamin Arellano Felix, reputed leaders of the Tijuana drug cartel.

Ibarra’s operations led to the seizure of numerous properties, weapons, drugs and communications equipment believed to belong to the brothers’ organization, authorities said.

The Arellano Felix family, which controls the major routes funneling cocaine and other drugs into the United States across the California-Mexico border, has been described by authorities as Mexico’s most violent drug gang.