After years on the run: mexican ex-governor arrested

Tomas Yarrington, wanted by international arrest warrant, was recognized and arrested by Italy’s anti-drug police.

The Mexican government offered a bounty of 15 million Mexican pesos Photo: dpa

The former governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas was arrested Sunday in the Italian city of Florence. Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, who is wanted by international arrest warrant, was recognized by the Italian anti-drug police and arrested together with a Polish citizen. Since then he has been in prison in Sollicciano, near Florence.

Yarrington belonged to the permanent government party PRI. He governed in Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2004, and witnesses heavily incriminated him after his term in 2012. He was accused of corruption and collaboration with the Los Zetas and Cartel del Golfo drug cartels, from which he allegedly received millions. After witnesses from the U.S. DEA testified against him in Texas, his properties in the U.S. were seized in 2013; he went into hiding and has been wanted ever since. The PRI expelled him from the party in 2012.

Last November, the Mexican government placed a bounty of 15 million Mexican pesos (the equivalent of about 750,000 euros) on his head.

The Mexican judiciary congratulated itself over the arrest and thanked Italian authorities for their cooperation. However, in a statement, the Italian police said Yarrington had been arrested on an international arrest warrant from the United States. Where he is now extradited to, a spokesman for the Mexican prosecutor’s office said, is at Italy’s discretion. He faces 20 years in prison in Mexico and two 90-year sentences in the United States.

Yarrington is one of three former Tamaulipas state governors facing charges related to corruption and money laundering.

While diplomatic and legal negotiations are underway to extradite the 60-year-old, Yarrington is in Sollicciano prison. Whether and how the extradition will now proceed is yet to be seen in the coming days and weeks. But one thing is certain: even former governors with good connections are no longer untouchable.

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