LOS ANGELES -- A defense attorney in the Enrique Camarena murder trial sought Thursday to question an American once employed by a Mexican drug baron about whether the CIA had sanctioned Mexican drug-trafficking activities in the mid-1980s.
The attorney, Mary Kelly, asked the witness, Victor Lorenzo Harrison, a former radio technician with the Directorate of Federal Security, the Mexican counterpart to the CIA, whether a high-ranking DFS commander had worked with the CIA.
Harrison testified that a commander, Nazar Haro, had been involved in drug trafficking in Mexico in the mid-1980s. But he was prevented from answering whether Haro was connected with the CIA when the judge sustained a prosecutor's objection to the line of questioning.
Outside the jury's presence, Kelly urged U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie to allow her to proceed with the inquiry because Harrison, who had worked for drug baron Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, told U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he also did some work for the CIA in Mexico.
Kelly argued that Harrison's testimony suggested Fonseca believed there was an understanding with Americans that his drug trafficking activities would be permitted.
Harrison 'did say he was associated with the CIA and made other references that Mr. Fonseca's narcotics activities were condoned by the CIA,' Kelly told the judge.
Asked by Rafeedie whether she had information that the CIA was involved with drug trafficking in Mexico, Kelly replied that Haro was involved in drug trafficking and that 'he was a CIA operative.'
'If in fact all this narcotics trafficking is condoned by high-ranking Mexican government officials as well as the CIA, I believe it could be a defense (for my client),' Kelly told the judge.
Rafeedie asked Kelly to supply him with written arguments on the matter.
Outside court, Kelly, whose client, Juan Jose Bernarbe Ramirez, was an alleged bodyguard working for Fonseca, claimed Haro was indicted in federal court in San Diego on charges of running a car theft ring in the 1980s, but the charges were dropped when the CIA intervened on Haro's behalf.
Kelly said she wanted to know whether the CIA had sanctioned narcotics trafficking in Mexico because the information could be used to defend allegations that Bernabe participated in narcotics-related racketeering.
Fonseca was convicted in Mexico of his involvement in the killing of Camarena, a DEA agent who was tortured for more than 30 hours and killed in February 1985 by drug traffickers in retribution for raids on marijuana fields.
On trial with Bernabe are Mexican businessman Ruben Zuno Arce, convicted drug kingpin Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros and another man.