Ex-Mexican governor on the run is arrested in Guatemala

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

Javier Duarte was seen as a high-profile symbol of government corruption in his country.

Asked why Duarte's wife had not been arrested, Elias said investigators did not presently have evidence to link her to the accusations laid before the former governor. The former governor had been linked to at least one real estate investment in the Phoenix area.

How quickly Duarte faces charges in Mexico would depend on whether he chooses to fight extradition from Guatemala, said Alberto Elias Beltran, a deputy attorney general responsible for global affairs at the Mexican Attorney General's Office.

Since his arrest in Guatemala Saturday, a video clip from 2012 has been circulating in which then-presidential candidate and now President Enrique Pena Nieto names Duarte as part of a new generation of politicians from the Institutional Revolutionary Party that will be its future.

Duarte, who has denied any wrongdoing, faces prosecution for embezzlement and organized crime in Mexico and his successor as governor, Miguel Angel Yunes, has accused him of siphoning off billions of pesos from the oil-rich state of Veracruz.

On Monday, he was waiting in a Guatemalan military prison for his initial appearance before a judge scheduled for Wednesday and eventual extradition to Mexico. Tomás Yarrington, former governor of Tamaulipas state who has been accused by Mexican and US prosecutors of money laundering and racketeering, among other charges, was captured in Italy last week. He is accused of running a corruption ring that allegedly pilfered millions of dollars from Veracruz's coffers, and stripped its schools and hospitals of their resources.

Another ex-governor, Cesar Duarte of Chihuahua state, is also wanted on suspicion of corruption and is said to have fled to El Paso, Texas.

Duarte, 43, was governor of Veracruz from 2010 until he left office October 12, 2016, two months before the scheduled end of his term, saying he was doing so in order to face the allegations against him. Earlier this year, Interpol issued a notice for his capture. He is not related to Javier Duarte. Interpol joined the search and the Mexican government offered a reward of about $811,000 for his capture.

All three ex-governors were members of Pena Nieto's ruling PRI.

Duarte became a symbol of corruption during his term in office as widespread disappearances and rampant violence including the murder of 17 journalists plagued Veracruz.

Drug cartels warred for territory and thousands of people were killed or disappeared into clandestine graves in cases that mostly remain unsolved.

Other reports by VgToday

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