Federal agents converged on a downtown Salt Lake restaurant Friday night and arrested a "major suspected international drug dealer," wanted for questioning in the 1985 torture-style killing of a U.S. drug agent in Mexico, an official says.
Leonardo Contreras Subias, 42, wanted in his home country of Mexico on a homicide charge, was arrested on a flight warrant from Los Angeles Federal Court about 6 p.m. Friday, said Steve Lough, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent."We've been looking for him actively since 1980," said Lough, who characterized Contreras as an "international fugitive" suspected of making drug deals involving "tons of cocaine."
Agents want to question Contreras about the 1985 kidnapping and murder of Enrique Camerena, a U.S. drug agent operating in Mexico. Camerena was kidnapped in Guadalajara after making significant headway into major drug trafficking networks south of the border, Lough said.
Lough called Contreras a "significant figure" in the killings, but stopped short of identifying him as a suspect, saying others were probably involved in the slaying, which sparked national concern over violent illicit drug trade in Mexico.
Acting on an lead given Lough by drug agents working across the country, Lough, four other DEA agents, Utah Narcotics and Liquor Law Enforcement officials and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents located Contreras' car in Salt Lake City.
Agents observed family members driving the car to a downtown restaurant, where Contreras was identified. Officers arrested Contreras without incident as he was leaving the restaurant, Lough said.
"We waited until he left because he has a history of violence," he said.
Lough did not know why Contreras was in Salt Lake City, but speculated he was only visiting. Lough did say, however, that Contreras was not likely peddling drugs here.
"He's not that type of trafficker . . . he's not a street seller," Lough said, adding Contreras was suspected of dealing with very large quantities of drugs.
Contreras faces drug-related charges in Los Angeles, and Mexican officials have a warrant for his arrest in connection with the death of a Mexican drug agent, Lough said.
Contreras is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail on the flight charges and is expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate Monday.