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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ex-Chihuahua AG Seeks Help on Kidnapping Case

By Adriana Gómez Licón
El Paso Times

Former attorney general of Chihuahua state Patricia Gonzlez Rodrguez with Mexican army Gen. Felipe de Jess Espitia.

The former attorney general of Chihuahua said she would seek help outside Mexico to solve her brother's kidnapping after a video showed her abducted sibling accusing her of having narco ties.

In the video, Mario González Rodríguez, while held at gunpoint, said his sister Patricia González Rodríguez has protected the Juárez drug cartel. When questioned, he also said she ordered the murders of two journalists, as well as Mormon community members in the Colonia LeBaron in northwest Chihuahua.

Mario González, kidnapped last week, appears in the video seated and handcuffed, ringed by five gunmen in military uniforms. The video popped up on the Internet Monday. In 10 minutes, Mario González answers questions from a man off-camera about high-profile killings and kidnappings supposedly carried out by La Línea, or the Juárez drug cartel.

Patricia González appeared Tuesday on Milenio Television, a national network, and denied the claims her brother made. She said police officers working for the Sinaloa drug cartel, Juárez's rival organization, are behind the video. They were seeking revenge for the cracking down on some of their cartel members, she said.

Patricia González also said on TV that she is suspicious about the place where the video was filmed because it looks like a state government office she personally designed.

The Mexican attorney general and Chihuahua state attorney general's office are investigating the video to determine how much of what Mario González claims is true. They are both also investigating his kidnapping.
But Patricia González said she is looking for international help to get her brother back because she suspects the government is involved in the kidnapping.

Officials with the federal attorney general and state attorney general offices said they are not asking for help from American law enforcement agencies. But they said Patricia González could make the request.

González ended her term as attorney general in early October. She could not be reached by the El Paso Times for comment.

U.S. Embassy officials in Mexico said they could not confirm or deny whether Patricia González will receive help from law enforcement agencies. FBI spokesman Brian Weiss said the agency would consider providing assistance if it received official orders from the U.S. State Department.

Under the Merida Initiative, the two nations have expanded intelligence systems, placing agents along the border this year to help track down drug cartels. The U.S. Consulate has also responded to kidnappings in Juárez of U.S. citizens. Mario González is a Mexican citizen, U.S. Consulate officials said Tuesday.

In the video, the gunmen appeared to have professional training. Their AK-47s have two magazines taped together for quick reload. At the end of the video, one of the gunmen standing right behind Mario González approaches him, and it sounds as if he triggers his gun, but the rifle does not fire.

"I think those are very delicate accusations," said Alex LeBarón, a state lawmaker in Chihuahua and cousin of the two Mormon community members who were killed in 2009. "We can't completely ignore what he is saying. My family is very disturbed; our whole community is disturbed."

Carlos González, spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general, said the office make judgments based on the video.

"The victim is surrounded by gunmen," he said. "We can't determine if what he is saying is true."

González said authorities have not identified the men in the video or the place it was made.

He also said the government is helping Patricia González find her brother. Mario González was kidnapped Thursday afternoon at his law office near downtown Chihuahua City.

"We are doing everything to find him alive," he said.

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