Suspected Drug Lord Pleads Innocent

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HOUSTON: Mexican Drug Lord Juan Garcia Abrego, arrested Jan. 14 by Mexican authorities and hastily extradited to the United States, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of bribery, money laundering, conspiracy and drug trafficking in a Houston federal court. Abrego, who faces life in prison if convicted, is being held without bond and will go to trial March 11. TIME's Deborah Fowler in Houston says federal officials also believe that Abrego, who is suspected of controlling as much as one third of the cocaine traffic in the U.S., authorized "acts of violence, including murder," but prosecutors refuse to say whether murder charges are forthcoming. Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon ordered Abrego extradited immediately after his arrest, fearing the reputed kingpin could continue to run his empire from a Mexican jail.