Crime and Violence · Human Rights and Civil Society

“Narco-attorney” killed in Mexico State

Américo Delgado, former defense attorney for the Arellano Félix brothers Osiel Cárdenas Guillén and Alfredo BeltránLeyva, was stabbed to death in his Mexico State office by three assailants late August, according to the State Security Agency (ASE). Delgado’s death marks the second slaying of a “narco-attorney” this summer. In August, Silvia Raquenel Villanueva Fraustro, also formerly a defense attorney for alleged Gulf cartel leaders, was gunned down in a crowded Nuevo León shopping mall. Raquenel had previously survived at least three prior assassination attempts.

Delgado reportedly succeeded in preventing the extradition of various members of the Arellano Félix cartel to the United States. He achieved the same outcome for former Quintana Roo governor Mario Villanueva, who has been linked to the Juárez cartel.

The Mexico State Attorney General’s Office is handling the investigation into Delgado’s murder. Representing 21 attorney associations and colleges of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Adolfo J. Treviño Garza demanded that the unsolved deaths of Delgado, Raquenel, and other attorneys killed in reprisal for their work be given due attention by the proper authorities. He lamented the prejudices that the profession endures, emphasizing that attorneys advocating for the rights of their clients, even if they are accused drug traffickers, does not make them criminals.


Castillo, G. and S. Chávez. “Asesinan a ex abogado de narcos.” La Jornada. August 29, 2009.

“Ejecutan al abogado de los Arellano Félix.” El Diario de Yucatán. August 29, 2009.

Zúñiga Esquivel, Francisco. “Exigen se esclarezcan asesinatos de abogados.” Milenio. September 2, 2009.

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