- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 28, 2009

CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO (AP) - A violence-plagued Mexican border state swore in a new top security official on Saturday after his predecessor resigned amid an investigation into the escape of an accused drug trafficker wanted in the United States.

Victor Valencia de los Santos was sworn in as public safety secretary of Chihuahua, which borders Texas and New Mexico, where drug-fueled violence has claimed hundreds of lives.

His predecessor, Javier Torres Cardona, resigned Friday, after accused trafficker Crispin Borunda escaped from police custody at a hospital in the state capital.

“The fact that he resigned to avoid any suspicions regarding the investigation being carried out demonstrates his high level of commitment, loyalty and respect,” Chihuahua Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza said.

A group of at least a dozen armed men on Monday broke into the hospital where Borunda was taken from jail to be treated for reported heart problems and freed him.

Seven guards, the director of the prison where Borunda had been held, and nine other state security employees have been suspended pending the results of the investigation into the escape.

Borunda is wanted in the United States on federal drug charges.

The Web site of Drug Enforcement Administration says he is wanted for “continuing criminal enterprise and conspiracy.”

Valencia de los Santos previously served as the representative of Baeza in Ciudad Juarez, the city hardest hit by the drug violence. He said he intended to move the state security headquarters to Ciudad Juarez from the state capital, 185 miles (310 kilometers) to the south.

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