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Mexico got wrong man in high-profile drug arrest

A man accused of being a cocaine trafficker and the son of Mexico's most wanted drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman is an automobile dealer swept up in a case of mistaken identity, Mexico's attorney general's office confirmed late Friday.
/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

A man accused of being a cocaine trafficker and the son of Mexico's most wanted drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman is an automobile dealer swept up in a case of mistaken identity, Mexico's attorney general's office confirmed late Friday.

Mexican marines seized the suspect on Thursday outside Guadalajara and flew him to Mexico City, where they paraded him in front of the media and identified him as Jesus Alfredo Guzman, alias "El Gordo" or "The Fat One."

They said they found him with an arsenal of rifles, pistols and grenades and about $160,000 in cash.

But lawyer Veronica Guerrero told a news conference that her client's real name is Felix Beltran and that he is an innocent car dealer.

Mexico's attorney general's office confirmed later that several identity tests reveal the man was indeed Leon and not the drug trafficker, Telemundo reported.

"This is a case of total confusion over people," said Guerrero, who was accompanied by a woman who said she is the suspect's mother.

Mexico's attorney general's office confirmed late Friday that several identity tests reveal the man was indeed Leon and not the drug trafficker.

Thursday's arrest won praise from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which has sought Jesus Alfredo Guzman since he was indicted for cocaine trafficking in 2009.

His father, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, faces dozens of charges of racketeering and drug smuggling in U.S. courts. There is a $5 million reward for his capture.

The arrest came just over a week before Mexicans vote for a leader to replace President Felipe Calderon.

Brutal clashes between drug cartels and Mexican authorities have killed more than 55,000 people since Calderon launched a crackdown on the gangs in late 2006.

The candidate of Calderon's National Action Party, Josefina Vazquez Mota, is in third place, partly because of public dissatisfaction over the drug war.

On Thursday Vazquez Mota congratulated the marines on the arrest.

Enrique Pena Nieto, candidate for the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has a double-digit lead in most polls.