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Judge to Decide Whether to Try Arellano-Felix Cases Together

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Aired 4/19/09

The Judge handling the cases against four alleged high ranking members of the Arellano Felix drug cartel says the men should not be tried together if two face the death penalty. The judge says he'll clarify that decision in two weeks. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Suspected drug cartel leader Francisco Javier Arellano Felix and one of his alleged lieutenants, Manuel Arturo Villareal, could face the death penalty. However, two other alleged lieutenants do not, even though they face similar charges.

The Higuerra Guerrero brothers were extradited from Mexico and therefore can't face capital punishment. Prosecutors asked Judge Larry Burns to be more specific about his position on whether the four men should be tried together. Burns said he'd reply by March 19th. He says the common charges the four face is a basis for keeping the cases together.

However, Burns says if Arellano Felix and Villareal face death, the cases should be separated. The government has to declare whether it will seek the death penalty in mid-October. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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