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Border & Immigration

Defense Attorneys Hard to Come By for Drug Cartel Case

Defense Attorneys Hard to Come By for Drug Cartel Case

Finding a defense attorney for an alleged member of Tijuana's Arellano Felix drug cartel is proving to be difficult. Suspected top lieutenant Manuel Arturo Villareal was caught off the coast of Mexico last August and is awaiting trial in San Diego. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Villareal's first attorney, Gene Iredale, removed himself from the case due to a conflict of interest. Iredale says the Arellano Felix Cartel allegedly killed the son of one of his clients.The court appointed another attorney. But that attorney said he couldn't do it.

Since then, three hearings to name an attorney for the defendant Villareal have been cancelled. Sources say the Judge in the case is now calling defense attorneys himself to see if he can find a taker.

Villareal and suspected cartel leader Francisco Javier Arellano Felix are accused of murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking. The judge will set a trial date this morning.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.