Tijuana architect was an unlikely drug courier

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Associated Press

Posted on December 9, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 9 at 3:04 PM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The architect behind some of Tijuana, Mexico's most recognized landmarks doesn't fit mold of the typical down-on-his luck courier who ferries drugs to the U.S. for Mexican drug cartels.

Eugenio Velazquez awaits sentencing Monday in San Diego for trying to smuggle nearly 13 pounds of cocaine into the U.S. in a special lane for prescreened trusted motorists. A drug sniffing-dog alerted inspectors to five packages hidden in his minivan's battery.

Why would such a highly esteemed architect risk so much?

Velazquez says criminals threatened to kill him and hurt his family if he refused.

The architect's attorney is recommending a sentence of one year of home confinement. Freed on bail, the 51-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Mexico is pressing ahead with plans to build Tijuana's main cathedral.

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