Mexican Politician and Businessman Accused of Fraud, Racketeering

Mexican Politician and Businessman Accused of Fraud, Racketeering

Federal prosecutors in Brownsville have just indicted a former governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas and a businessman from that state for federal crimes including money laundering, racketeering, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and drug smuggling.

This is the second former governor of a Mexican border state to be indicted by federal authorities in less than a week. The other, a former interim governor of Coahuila, was charged on Nov. 27 for bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Former Tamaulipas governor

The 56-year-old former Tamaulipas governor has had a long political career, serving as mayor of Matamoros, among other posts, and seeking his major party’s presidential nomination in 2005. According to prosecutors, however, from 1998 to 2005, he accepted bribes from a variety of drug cartels and laundered drug money in Texas. Prosecutors claim that from 2007 to 2009, he allegedly helped the cartels smuggle cocaine into the U.S. and laundered the drug money in Texas.

His co-defendant owns a construction company in Tamaulipas, and is accused both of acting as the former governor’s front and also of bribing the governor to award state construction contracts to his company. He is not charged in the drug smuggling conspiracy, but faces the other charges. He was also charged over a year ago with federal financial crimes in a separate indictment.


Neither is in U.S. custody. The businessman is considered a fugitive.

If convicted, either man could face decades in federal prison. Each racketeering and money laundering charge carries a potential sentence of 20 years in prison; a drug conspiracy count can bring 10; and a bank fraud conspiracy count up to 30. In addition, federal prosecutors have filed civil forfeiture lawsuits against the men in an effort to seize property including a South Padre Island condo, properties in San Antonio, McAllen and Kyle, and other assets.

The former governor has protested his innocence via social media, and his criminal defense attorney asserts not only that the case is based on faulty evidence but also that his client has nothing to do with the properties sought by prosecutors.

His defense attorney commented on Monday that the indictment against the former governor “is based upon statements they got from individuals that have been indicted in Mexico or (the U.S.) and are in jail. Their source of information is not to be trusted.”

Source: San Antonio Express-News, “Mexican ex-governor charged in Texas,” Jason Buch, Dec. 2, 2013