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Mexico's chief drug official is sent to new job

MEXICO CITY — MEXICO CITY -- The controversial head of Mexico's anti-drug program was removed yesterday, but a presidential spokesman denied that it was because of corruption and human rights violations within his department.

A spokesman for President Carlos Salinas de Gortari said Deputy Attorney General Javier Coello Trejo had been named to head the nation's consumer protection agency, a semi-Cabinet-level position.

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Once described by U.S. drug experts here as the J. Edgar Hoover of Mexico, Mr. Coello Trejo has drawn increasing fire since a top aide was found with more than $20 million in unexplained funds last summer and since several of his men were linked to a series of rapes and to various human rights violations.

The spokesman said the president "obviously would not be promoting him if such allegations were in any way true."

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Mr. Coello Trejo had gained the respect of U.S. drug officials for bringing about the arrests of several drug kingpins and the confiscation of more than 70 tons in cocaine since taking office in December 1988.


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