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FORMER EDITOR OF N.Y. PAPER GUNNED DOWN

The former editor of the city's largest Spanish-language newspaper, who investigated terrorism, corruption and drug-trafficking, was gunned down in a restaurant, police said.

Manuel de Dios Unanue, 48, was shot twice in the back of the head Wednesday night as he stood at the bar in a restaurant in Queens, police said. Two gunmen, one wearing a hood, fled.No arrests were made, and police were investigating several possible motives.

The Cuban-born de Dios was editor in chief of New York's El Diario-La Prensa from 1981 to 1988. Before that, he was a police reporter for 10 years for the Spanish-language paper, which has a circulation of about 70,000.

During the 1970s, he investigated Puerto Rican and Cuban terrorist groups in New York. In 1987, he published a book called "Secrets of the Medellin Cartel."

He recently founded a new publication, "Cambia 21," which police described as an anti-drug magazine, and was about to publish the first issue of "Crimen," a crime magazine, said Manuel Avendano, city editor at El Diario-La Prensa.

In February, de Dios testified in Puerto Rico before the commonwealth's Senate Judiciary Committee on continuing political fallout from a case involving two pro-independence activists killed in an ambush by Puerto Rican police in 1978.

Ten police officers had earlier been found guilty of perjuring themselves before a federal grand jury that investigated the deaths.

Less than a month before the killings, de Dios had written an article about terrorism in Puerto Rico. During de Dios' testimony before the committee, he identified for the first time one of his sources for the 1978 article - Col. Desidereo Cartagena, then second-in-command in the Puerto Rican police hierarchy.

"He was very, very dedicated journalist," said Sandra Guzman, a former El Diario reporter hired by de Dios.