updated 2/5/2005 9:54:15 PM ET 2005-02-06T02:54:15

Federal authorities have detained the head of President Vicente Fox’s travel staff on suspicion he was feeding information to drug lords, the attorney general said Saturday.

Nahum Acosta, director of the office coordinating presidential tours, was taken into custody by federal agents Thursday as he left his office at the presidential residence, Los Pinos.

He may have passed at least part of Fox’s travel plans to a narcotics trafficking organization, though Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha refused to say which one. Acosta has not been formally charged.

“We realized that there were factors that indicated a leak of information from inside the president of the republic’s office, basically in the form of how the president traveled around diverse parts of the nation,” the attorney general told reporters after appearing at an event with Fox in the central state of Queretaro.

Later Saturday, police and federal agents raided Acosta’s home in an exclusive Mexico City neighborhood, the attorney general’s office said in a statement. It did not say whether any evidence was seized, however, and a spokesman could not provide further details.

A leak within the president’s office would indicate that drug traffickers, who often kill federal, state and local officials, may have been directly targeting the president.

Clampdown on corruption
Since Fox took office in 2000, his administration has been lauded by U.S. officials for taking action against the powerful and ruthless smuggling syndicates. Fox late last month pledged to “wage the mother of all battles against organized crime” amid a crackdown on drug-linked corruption in the prisons.

Macedo de la Concha said the leak was uncovered in time to prevent any real threat to the president.

“No fact or evidence has shaken our tranquility and made us believe the president of the republic is in danger,” Macedo de la Concha said.

Acosta joined the presidential staff in 2001. The attorney general said his office planned to investigate whether other Los Pinos officials had links to drug smugglers.

“I think we shouldn’t rush to judgment. I can’t accept at this moment that drug traffickers have infiltrated the institution of the presidency,” he said. “However, it’s obviously a very delicate and sensitive issue.”

The president did not mention Acosta’s arrest in his prepared remarks and his office refused to comment beyond Macedo de la Concha’s statements.

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