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MEXICAN SOUGHT IN SLAYING STALKED OFFICIAL FOR 3 WEEKS

The man who assassinated a high-level Mexican politician was a hired gun who stalked him for three weeks, Mexico's attorney general said.

Daniel Aguilar Trevino told police two men offered him $15,000 in pesos to shoot Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the No. 2 man in the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, the attorney general said at a news conference Thursday.Attorney General Humberto Benitez Trevino, no relation, said the two men were being sought by police. He identified them as Carlos Angel Cantu Narvaez and Fernando Rodriguez Gonzalez.

The attorney general gave no hint of the motive for Wednesday's murder, which has stunned a political establishment already in upheaval over an Indian peasant uprising in the south and the March 23 killing of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the governing party's front-running presidential candidate.

Benitez took no questions and rushed out of the room after reading an eight-page document. One official from his office slipped and fell in the pursuing crush of reporters, photographers, cameramen and police.

Although officials have provided no motive, newspapers and political analysts have offered a stream of possibilities.

Some have suggested it was a warning by drug gangs to Ruiz Massieu's prosecutor brother. Others see a battle between reformers and hard-liners in the governing party, known by the acronym PRI. Still others suspect an attempt to destabilize the country.

Benitez said Aguilar Trevino stayed at Rodriguez's house for four days before the killing and shot Ruiz Massieu with a TEC-9 9mm automatic pistol.

Aguilar Trevino faces charges of premeditated murder and possession of a firearms prohibited for civilian use, a federal felony.

Ruiz Massieu, 48, was cremated and interred Thursday in a Mexico City church. Memorial services drew Mexico's political elite, led by President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.