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Mexican Drug Traffickers to be Held Without Bail

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Aired 4/19/09

All four Mexican drug traffickers extradited to the United States earlier this month will be held without bail in San Diego. The four appeared in federal court in San Diego Thursday. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

All four men waived their rights to bail and detention hearings. The court assigned attorneys to three who were allegedly high ranking members of the Arellano Felix drug cartel. The fourth, who is the suspected leader of the rival Sinaloa drug cartel, may try to hire his own attorney.

Earlier this week, the four pleaded not guilty to an array of federal charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering. In the courtroom, one woman wept during the appearance of suspected the Sinaloa Cartel leader Hector Palma Salazar. He was arrested in Guadalajara eleven years ago, along with more than thirty federal agents who worked for him. Salazar denies any ties to drug trafficking. He says he's a cattle rancher.

The Sinaloa Cartel formed in the early 90s when a powerful drug trafficking organization split in two, with the Arellanos taking over Tijuana. The Higuerra Guerrero brothers who appeared in court allegedly moved large shipments of drugs into the U.S. and directed the torture of cartel enemies. Jose Marquez was also supposedly an enforcer and took care of drug stash houses in the border region. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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