EL PASO, Texas -

(AP) - A man who will stand trial on allegations he was the bodyguard of a Sinaloa drug cartel boss denies the accusations in a letter to a Texas newspaper.
    
Rigoberto Ruiz Alatorre is set to stand trial next month in the U.S. District Court in El Paso. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and drug conspiracy.
    
In a letter to the El Paso Times (http://bit.ly/16RDE7T ), Ruiz Alatorre says he was not a bodyguard for Gabino Salas Valenciano, but knew him as someone who bought and sold cattle.
    
Valenciano was among a group accused in 2012 of running a busy border smuggling corridor. He was killed in a shootout with Mexican authorities last month.
    
Ruiz Alatorre says the agents tried to force a confession by threatening him with the death penalty.