The striking thing about the fate of Mexican defense attorney Americo Delgado, who defended various Mexican drug traffickers over the years, is not so much that he was murdered recently – but that he had apparently lived to be in his 80s.
The Los Angeles Times’ Ken Ellingwood reported on Delgado’s killing in this story, which explains how Delgado was stabbed to death by a group of men in front of his home in Toluca, Mexico.
I remember reaching Americo Delgado by phone once when I was a reporter at The San Diego-Union Tribune, covering border news. I was seeking a quote from him in regards to the U.S. government’s efforts to extradite his client Benjamin Arellano-Felix, the former high-ranking member of the Arellano Felix drug group (Arellano was eventually extradited). The fact that he even took my call was somewhat amazing to me.
Over the seven years I worked in Tijuana, I interviewed or talked to several other Mexican defense attorneys who represented people who were either directly or indirectly involved with major drug groups. One of them was gunned down shortly after I chatted with him (no connection). Another one ended up being killed and stuffed inside a car trunk.
I occasionally wondered how Americo Delgado – who defended some of the drug world’s top lieutenants – managed to avoid the fate of his less-fortunate colleagues in this shadowy world where “just doing one’s job” is complicated by the deeper symbolism and loyalties that the drug trafficking world operates on. Delgado had most recently been defending suspected drug trafficker Alfredo Beltran Leyva, according to newspaper reports.
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