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Border & Immigration

Judge Releases Last Two Witnesses in Case Against Arellano-Felix

A federal judge in San Diego released the last two material witnesses in the case against alleged drug kingpin Francisco Javier Arellano Felix. The two men were caught on the fishing boat with Arellano Felix last August. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

Judge Larry Burns said, at this point, holding the men any longer would be punitive. Burns said more jail time was not likely to get them to testify.

Juan Pedro Ramiro Fiol and Jose Ivan Leon Villareal have been incarcerated for about 10 months.


Last August, they arrived in shorts and flip-flops after U.S. federal officials caught them, the suspected Arellano Felix cartel leader, and four others on a fishing boat off the coast of La Paz.

Prosecutors had wanted Fiol and Villareal to appear before a grand jury. It's never been clear if the two played a role in the cartel.

The men will be taken into custody when they arrive in Mexico. Authorities there want to question them about organized crime, and can hold them 90 days without charges.

Fiol's attorney in San Diego says Fiol's family worries he'll be beaten during the interogation.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.