Mexico Catches One Of Several Fugitive Former Governors After A Half-Year Hunt
- Author: Larry Hoffman Apr 19, 2017,
Apr 19, 2017, 19:02
Former governor Javier Duarte was taken into custody by police in a resort town, about 120 miles from the Mexican border in Guatemala.
A statement from Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office said Duarte was detained in the municipality of Panajachel, in coordination with Guatemalan police and the local Interpol office.
Governor from 2006 until October of a year ago, Duarte disappeared then, without completing his term.
Meanwhile former Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte - no relation - has still eluded authorities after he stepped down a year ago.
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.
Interpol issued an worldwide arrest warrant against him.
The extradition of a former state governor for Mexico's ruling party arrested in Guatemala at the weekend on corruption charges could take up to a year, a senior Mexican official said on Monday.
"Justice will be done", he said. The government said it froze more than 100 bank accounts and seized properties around the country tied to Duarte. "Let there be no mercy for those who were merciless to the people of Veracruz". A reward of $730,000 was offered for his capture.
Javier Duarte is being investigated for corruption and is linked to real estate holdings in the US, including in Scottsdale.
Still, a lawyer acting for Duarte said at the weekend he believed the former governor would accept his extradition.
Duarte's detention came a week after Tomas Yarrington, the former governor of Mexico's Tamaulipas State, was arrested in Italy, also on allegations of organized crime and money laundering.
Duarte also has been widely criticized for rampant violence in the state during his administration, as drug cartels warred for territory and thousands of people were killed or disappeared into clandestine graves in cases that mostly remain unsolved.
Duarte, 43, was part of a wave of PRI governors in 2010 that would later propel Pena Nieto - himself also a young PRI governor - into the presidency two years later. He is not related to Javier Duarte.
But Duarte's capture could provide some political capital to President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose approval ratings have plummeted over the past two years and whose party is preparing for a close, fierce fight to hold onto the presidency in elections next year.
The party, which expelled Duarte on October 25, 2016, issued a statement applauding his arrest in Guatemala.