New York judges warned about death threats

November 19, 1992|By Newsday

NEW YORK -- Federal officials have warned judges, prosecutors and court employees across the city about death threats made by the murderous Medellin drug cartel, in the wake of the recent killing of a top cartel lieutenant in Colombia.

The reports of threats against U.S. court and law enforcement officers were contained in a memo issued by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in New York.

Queens court workers who attended a Tuesday night meeting to discuss the threats said they were told the bounty for the murder of a court employee would start at $1,500, while the assassination of a judge could merit a $10,000 reward.

The threats appear to be a response to the killing Oct. 28 by Colombian police of Branco Munoz-Mosquera, the reputed head of the cartel's assassination squads, which have been implicated in the murder of more than 300 Colombian police officers, judges and political figures.

In a memo dated Nov. 13, DEA intelligence officials said they had received reliable information that cartel leaders would retaliate against U.S. officials in New York, Florida and Texas to avenge the death of Mr. Munoz-Mosquera, 33, who was called Tyson because of his resemblance to the boxer Mike Tyson.

The memo was distributed to city police brass, district attorneys, administrative judges and chief court clerks Monday.

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