Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Detention of Victor Cortez in Mexico

August 15, 1986

We are deeply concerned at the mistreatment of Victor Cortez at the hands of the Jalisco State Police in Mexico. Mr. Cortez is an officer of the Drug Enforcement Administration and was carrying out official duties in Mexico with the concurrence of the Mexican Government when he was detained Wednesday in Guadalajara. He identified himself immediately as an officer of the DEA. The police threatened Mr. Cortez and beat him and tortured him with a cattle prod during interrogation. He was released after the office of the Mexican Attorney General interceded at the request of the United States. Yesterday Mr. Cortez was flown to the United States, where he is undergoing medical examination.

The United States protests the unprovoked and totally unjustified detention and torture of one of its officials. Vigilantism by a state authority causes serious harm to the relationship necessary for our two countries to be able to combat drug trafficking and production. We are submitting a note of protest to the Mexican Government. We note with satisfaction that Attorney General Garcia Ramirez has ordered a full investigation of this incident. We expect that when the full facts are known appropriate steps will be taken against those who are responsible.

It is particularly unfortunate that this incident occurred during the very successful visit to Washington of Mexican President De la Madrid, whose government has been working closely with us to address the danger of narcotics in our two countries.

Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters at 9:33 a.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.