The Mexican government has apologized for an embarrassing incident this week involving a member of President Felipe Calderón's communications office and several White House BlackBerries.
The leaders of Mexico and Canada were in New Orleans earlier this week with President Bush for the North American Leaders' Summit. After a high-level meeting between the Mexican and U.S. delegations, White House staffers noticed their BlackBerries were missing. Per protocol, they had left the devices on a table outside the meeting room.
A source familiar with the incident tells NBC News the Secret Service approached the members of the Mexican delegation as they were preparing to leave New Orleans. They helped identify the person the agents suspected of taking the BlackBerries as Rafael Quintero. When authorities approached Quintero, he denied having them. But when he was shown hotel surveillance tape of himself caught in the act, he acknowledged it and returned the devices.
In a statement issued by the Mexican Embassy in Washington, spokesman Ricardo Alday described Quintero as "a low-level official in the communications office in Los Pinos." Alday said Quintero was asked to hand in his resignation upon arriving in Mexico City on a commercial flight from New Orleans, adding that "Mr. Quintero will be responsible for explaining his actions to the American authorities conducting an investigation."
The White House would say only that the matter is under investigation. The matter has been turned over to the State Department. The Mexican government said it "deeply regrets this incident."