Italian authorities on Sunday captured a fugitive Mexican former governor charged with drug smuggling, bank fraud, racketeering and money laundering, are expected to extradite him to Mexico over the next few days.
Tomas Yarrington, ex-governor of Tamaulipas state, on Mexico's northeastern border with Texas, was accused in 2013 by a federal grand jury in Texas of taking millions of dollars in bribes from the Gulf Cartel and other traffickers.
Mexico's attorney general's office said on Sunday the arrest of Yarrington was made possible by an Interpol red notice, the closest to an international arrest warrant "for the crimes of organized crime and money laundering, among others."
Beginning in 1998, U.S. authorities have said, Yarrington began taking bribes from the Gulf Cartel and other traffickers, when he was mayor of Matamoros on the U.S. border.
Yarrington, who was governor of Tamaulipas between 1999 and 2005, is one of several former politicians in President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) accused of corruption. He was suspended from the PRI in 2012.
In a statement, the PRI said it backed the work of the attorney general's office and asked for all the necessary investigations to be carried out.
In March, a Mexican judge issued an arrest warrant for former Chihuahua state governor Cesar Duarte, also a member of Pena Nieto's ruling party, on suspicion of embezzlement.
Will Yarrington Sing (also known as 'talk' like a canary) in US? If the former governor speaks, half of the political class falls:
The arrest in Italy on Sunday of former Tamaulipas Governor Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba has raised questions about whether he will be extradited to the United States, where he is accused of money laundering, or in Mexico, where he lived for several years as a fugitive. Alonzo Peña, a former deputy director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an interview with San Antonio Express News that politicians in Mexico are trembling over the information the ex-PRI can tell. "Will he cooperate? Will he tell everything and endanger others?" He said.
Analysts consulted by the AP news agency agree with this approach. For experts, Yarrington's capture is an example of the authorities' unwillingness to detain one of their own, a former governor who may have sensitive information that could involve other corrupt politicians. "The Government of Peña Nieto has protected many PRI governors."
Ministerial escort assignments confirmed that during the mandate of Egidio Torre Cantú, protection was given to Tomás Yarrington and Eugenio Hernández with the deployment of agents, who formed a joint force of 12 elements - eight for Yarrington and four for Hernandez - meant an expenditure of 30 million pesos for six years in terms of salaries and per diems.
Congressman Calls for Ex-Tamaulipas Governor’s Extradition to US Posted: Apr 12, 2017 11:27 PM EST
WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley congressman said he wants the former Tamaulipas governor be brought to the U.S. for punishment.
Tomas Yarrington is accused of working with cartels. Officials said the criminal groups allegedly paid him so they could stay on the streets without police intervention.
According to court documents, tons of cocaine crossed into the U.S. during his term.
Congressman Filemon Vela said his extradition to the U.S. will send a strong message to corrupt elected officials.
“When someone holds a position of trust, like he did as governor of the state of Tamaulipas and profits off drug running, that’s really a bad thing and I think that bringing him to justice and getting him convicted will send a very serious – would be a symbolic victory for people that live on both sides of the border,” he said.
Yarrington was in office until 2005. However, he wasn’t charged until 2012.
The former governor went on the run and was arrested earlier this week in Italy.
The former Tamaulipas governor, Tomás Yarrington, appeared Wednesday before the Italian Court of Appeal in Florence, Italy, where he announced his intention to oppose extradition orders against him, Marcello Viola, attorney general said.
Viola said that the magistrates decided to confirm the stay in the prison of the ex-governor, confined in the prison of Sollicciano, to avoid a risk of escape.
The prosecutor pointed out that the Florence Court of Appeal is now awaiting the documents to be sent by the countries requesting extradition: Mexico and the United States.