TIJUANA, Mexico – A man forced to go into hiding after Mexican authorities falsely identified him as a drug trafficker on their website wants justice, his attorney said Thursday.
Industrial engineer Raul Inda Gonzalez wants compensation for lost earnings and damage to his reputation after his photo was posted on the website of the Attorney General's Office and identified as that of Tijuana drug cartel chief Fernando Sanchez Arellano.
Inda Gonzalez had to miss work and hide out in California for a week until the federal agency acknowledged its error last week, said his attorney, Ricardo Sanchez Camacho. The attorney also told local news media that vehicles carrying armed men were spotted outside Inda Gonzalez's home in Ensenada, near the U.S. border in Baja California state.
Earlier this month, someone posted a Youtube video composed of several still photos showing the fresh-faced, brush-cut Inda Gonzalez on what appear to be outings or a vacation. One of the photos bore a caption reading "Sanchez Arrellano."
Inda Gonzalez suspects the photos were lifted from his Facebook page, perhaps by someone who bore him ill will, Sanchez Camacho said.
One of the photos was later "erroneously displayed" in the "wanted" section of the official website of the Attorney General's Office, the agency acknowledged in a statement last week.
The photo was removed and authorities are investigating how it ended up on the site, the agency said.
Obtaining justice could be tricky given that Inda Gonzalez's complaint has to be filed with the same agency against which he has a grievance.
"The complaint would have to be filed with the Attorney General's Office, and that is unfortunate, because that office would then be judge and jury," Sanchez Camacho said. He added that he is investigating whether the complaint can be filed with some other office or tribunal.
In the meantime, Inda Gonzalez returned to his job Monday in Ensenada.
"He has changed since I first met him," Sanchez Camacho said. "He is another person: serious, worried, fearful and full of doubt."