Lawyer ordered off case of Mexican drug suspects

The case of the two Mexicans being held as drug smuggling suspects continues to take strange turns. In a quick hearing Wednesday a judge ordered Leonel Villalobos to be suspended from the case after an allegation was raised that he tried to get a witness to change his testimony.

The judge ordered that the case be referred to the Colegio de Abogados, the lawyers’ professional organization, and to prosecutors.

Principal suspects in the smuggling case are Rubén Martinez Trujillo, and Elvis Mendoza Rivera, who operated an air transport business in Pavas until one of their planes crashed because it was overloaded with cocaine. They had been seeking release from prison where they have been since Oct. 11 in exchange for house arrest. Their lawyers had been trying to find them a place to stay.

The Poder Judicial said that the allegation against the lawyer was that he approached the police officer who had arrested his clients at the Nicaraguan border and suggested the officer change his report that had been submitted to investigators.

The hearing resumes Friday with another defense lawyer.

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