Symington Family Partner Under Suspicion

U.S. authorities suspect a Mexican vegetable grower with business ties to the Symingtons is involved in drug trafficking

Public records also indicate that Governor Symington has promoted Canelos' businesses to Mexican President Zedillo.

On March 3, 1996, President Zedillo sent Symington a letter thanking him for his continued support of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Before inviting Symington to a luncheon in Mexico City, Zedillo updated the governor on a Canelos business enterprise.

"I have asked our Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Francisco Labastida, to have a meeting with Mr. Canelos regarding the ethanol project," Zedillo states in his letter to Symington.

Public documents released by the Governor's Office do not describe any ethanol projects or reveal who, besides Canelos, is involved.

The governor also has touted state and federal initiatives to speed commercial traffic over the border at Nogales--an effort that would help not only Canelos, but all commercial shippers.

Symington asked the state Legislature to appropriate $750,000 to supplement a federal review of port operations in Nogales. The state funds were appropriated and earmarked to develop ways to speed commercial traffic.

Symington has discussed the Nogales port issue several times with Mexican President Zedillo and has received assurances from Zedillo that Mexico will cooperate with speeding commercial traffic through the border.

He's also broached the issue with President Clinton, writing him in December that Clinton's delay in permitting cross-border trucking "robs the entire U.S.-Mexico border region of the full economic benefits that the North American Free Trade Agreement promises."

Alejandro Canelos could not obtain a regular visa in October 1995 to enter the United States. But that didn't stop Governor Symington and Canelos from holding a private meeting.

The governor used his elected position and his access to a taxpayer-supported aircraft to arrange a private meeting with Canelos in October 1995 in Culiacan.

Symington used the DPS' turbojet plane to transport himself, J. Fife IV and Nicolas Canelos along with two state officials from Phoenix to Culiacan at taxpayer expense.

The entourage was part of a state trade mission to Sinaloa. Other Arizona businessmen on the trip paid $350 to $400 for commercial flights, but the governor's son and the younger Canelos were transported free.

State records indicate that the governor broke off from the rest of the state trade delegation on the morning of October 10, 1995.

While the Arizona trade delegation he was leading met with Sinaloan businessmen over coffee, the governor held a two-and-a-half-hour private breakfast meeting with Canelos at the agriculturist's farm headquarters, state records indicate.

The records do not say what was discussed.
But the meeting came less than two months after "J. Fife Symington" joined Alejandro Canelos Rodriguez on the board of directors of Melones Internacional.

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