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Case of suspect forced to wear sombrero sent to Justice Dept.


RALEIGH (AP) -- The US Justice Department has been asked to review an incident where a federal drug agent made a suspected drug trafficker wear a sombrero and hold a Mexican flag for a photograph.

US Attorney George EB Holding says in a written statement today that he was troubled by the incident and sent it to the federal department.

Jorge Hernandez-Villalvazo, a native of Mexico with a permanent US residency, was offered a plea deal because of the photo.

The photo was taken sometime after his arrest in April 2005. He was accused of conspiring to traffic cocaine.

After the photo surfaced during a pretrial hearing last week, Hernandez-Villalvazo was sentenced to between 13 months and 16 months in prison -- time he already served. His attorney has said he was innocent.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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