Matamoros, Tamaulipas — A former mayor of the Mexican border city of Matamoros claims that a series of money laundering charges brought against him in U.S. federal court are politically motivated in order to keep him from running for Mexico’s congress in that nation’s next election.
Despite being a fugitive with active search warrants in the U.S., Erick Silva Santos held a press conference at a ritzy hotel in this border city where Breitbart Texas was the only U.S. news outlet in attendance at the event.
As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, Silva was indicted by a federal grand jury on money laundering and bank fraud charges for allegedly funneling into U.S. bank accounts ill-gotten moneys obtained by raiding the city’s coffers and by taking kickbacks in exchange for lucrative contracts. Since he has not shown up to court to address the indictment, federal authorities consider Silva a fugitive and have a tip-line for individuals to call in with information about his whereabouts.
Speaking in Spanish, Silva said that he was innocent of all charges and that during his term as mayor, his office was regularly audited. “They claimed that I was a fugitive, that is why I am here showing my face,” Silva said in Spanish. “They claim that I have 20 apartments in Brownsville … LIES. They claim that I have a luxury condo at South Padre Island … LIES.”
While the charges against Silva come following an investigation by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the IRS, the mayor claimed that he believes that the charges were political in nature in order to keep him from running for Mexico’s congress.
During the conference, Silva made fun of the properties that U.S. prosecutors claim he has. “If I have all these properties I’ll give them away, you get an apartment, you get the condo at the island and you get another one,” the fugitive mayor said pointing at his assistants.
Breitbart Texas asked Silva if he planned on turning himself in to U.S. authorities and have his day in court, Silva simply said that he had his attorneys looking into the case.
When asked about the millions of laundered funds listed in the indictment, Silva said they were legitimately earned. “Why now, why not before, why not later,” Silva asked “The root of the case is the origin of the funds in those accounts, not the amounts but the origin that it be legally earned.”
When Silva was asked about his alleged links to drug cartels Silva refused to answer the question and stormed out of the room.
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter @ildefonsoortiz