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Asa Hutchinson comments on report of DEA working with cartel

(KATV)- Arkansas Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson commented on a report posted earlier this week by El Universal alleging that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration coordinated with a powerful Mexican drug cartel, allowing drugs to flow into the U.S. in exchange for information on rival cartels. However, Department of Justice officials say that report was only taken from the defense's arguments "motion to dismiss the indictment." The judge in that case, U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo, threw out the claimsmade by a Sinaloa cartel member's defense attorney that the drug cartel wasgiven immunity.

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Asa Hutchinson was appointed the administrator of the DEA in 2001 and served in that position until 2003. Hutchinson is a candidate for Arkansas governor.

A policy and communications director for Hutchinson's gubernatorial campaign told Channel 7 News that Asa has no "immediate recollection" of the details in the story provided to them and said all comments should come from the DEA. Hutchinson did provide a statement to KATV:

"As the head of the DEA I had 4,000 agents working to enforce our drug laws and, without being personally familiar with every case, I do know that the DEA worked every day to diminish the power of the cartels and to bring the drug kingpins to justice. {}Since there may be sensitive investigations that are impacted by this story I will leave further comment to the DEA."{}

The report, translated by Business Insider and other media outlets alleges that between the years of 2000-2012, the U.S. coordinated with the Mexican Cartel Sinaloa. The report has testimony from a DEA agent and Justice Department official saying DEA agents met with high-level Sinaloa officials such as Castro more than 50 times since 2000.

Judge Castillo denied the defense's motion stating "the Government has submitted affidavits and otherdocuments that clearly support the Government's contention that Zambada was notgranted immunity."

This story has been updated.

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