LOS ANGELES, JULY 6 -- The judge in the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena murder trial today called "incompetent" the testimony of a prosecution witness who had alleged that Mexican drug traffickers were linked with the Central Intelligence Agency and were helping to arm the Nicaraguan contra rebels.
U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie, ruled that Lawrence Victor Harrison, who made the allegations, could not be questioned in front of jurors because his "testimony is based on hearsay, gossip and speculation."
Out of the jury's hearing, Harrison testified that Mexican drug lord Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo told him that he believed his narcotics trafficking operation was safe because he was supplying arms to the contras, who were trying to topple the Sandinista government. Harrison did not say when the conversation took place, but he earlier testified he worked for Mexican drug traffickers in 1983 and 1984.
Felix is one of 22 people who have been indicted in Los Angeles on charges stemming from the 1985 murder of Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, in Guadalajara, Mexico. Felix is imprisoned in Mexico on drug charges unrelated to the Camarena case.
Earlier this week, documents turned over to defense attorneys by prosecutors indicated that Harrison had told the DEA that the CIA had trained Guatemalan guerrillas at a Veracruz, Mexico, ranch owned by drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, who was convicted in Mexico as one of the murderers of Camarena.
Claiming he had been misquoted in a DEA report of its interviews with him, Harrison testified today that he had no direct knowledge that the CIA was involved with drug traffickers. He also said that Caro Quintero's ranch was used by Mexican law enforcement agencies for training their personnel to prevent a rumored incursion of Mexico by Guatemalan guerrillas.
The CIA this week denied that it had any involvement with drug traffickers or the drug lord's ranch. Caro Quintero's lawyer said his client does not own a ranch in Veracruz.