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Police doubt confessions of 3 detained in killing of Mexican union organizer

A U.S.-based migrant rights group did not believe the confessions of three suspects in the killing of a union activist who aided Mexicans recruited into the U.S. guest worker program.

Baldemar Velasquez, secretary-general of the Ohio-based Farm Labor Organizing Committee, said the suspects were scapegoats who falsely accused the victim of trafficking legal visas to the U.S.

Prosecutors said the suspects told them that Santiago Cruz, 29, was beaten to death because he had overcharged someone for a legal visa.

"This case is far from being solved," he said.

Velasquez, whose union is part of the AFL-CIO, said he and other organizers believe Cruz was killed in retaliation for fighting Mexican recruiters who sell the right to apply for temporary U.S. visas.

He said one of the suspects had a criminal record as a drug and person smuggler in the U.S.

State prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

Cruz was a Mexican national who had worked for years in the United States, in part as Velasquez's employee.

His body was found April 9 at the Monterrey offices of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee.

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