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County officials arrive in Mexico City for Border Trade Alliance conference

January 31, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

MEXICO CITY — Imperial County officials touched down today here to attend the 2002 Border Trade Alliance International Conference, which could be overshadowed by an announcement by the U.S. Department of Treasury concerning the Arellano Felix drug cartel.

This morning, the department released a "kingpin list" of 27 organizations with which U.S. companies will not be allowed to do business. Any U.S. assets of those 27 organizations will be frozen.

According to a statement by Treasury Department Under Secretary Jimmy Gurule, "The newly designated businesses and individuals, located in the Caribbean and Mexico, include a drugstore chain and pharmaceutical distributor, air courier services, a hotel and resort complex, as well as real estate, electronic security and consulting firms.

"Treasury has determined that drug kingpins previously named by the president under the Kingpin Act exert control over these Tier II designees."

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Gurule continued, "The U.S. is committed to routing out both the drug dealers and the financiers who make their illegal actions profitable. To those that think otherwise — who think the U.S. is too preoccupied with the war on terrorism to pay attention — I am here today to tell you that you are wrong. We have been, and remain, committed to this objective."

According to a recent Newsweek article, "Jimmy Gurule knows something about foreign manhunts. As a young federal prosecutor in Los Angeles in the late 1980s, the hard-charging Gurule oversaw the case that led to the conviction of the Mexican nationals who brutally murdered federal drug agent Enrique ‘Kiki' Camarena."

Camarena was a Calexico native.

On Friday, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow will address the Border Trade conferees.

Annette Feeley, a staffer at the Mexico City U.S. embassy, said the kingpin list is a big deal in the Mexican capital because, "There are a lot of Mexicans on the list; 13 of the 27 persons."

This year's conference theme is "The War on Terrorism and its Repercussions on the NAFTA Relationship."

Tonight the conferees will listen to Mexico Attorney General Rafael Marcial Macedo.

Marcial will talk about Mexico's reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks and how the subsequent border crackdown by the U.S. was handled on the Mexican side of the border.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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