Authorities in the northern Mexican border state of Nuevo Leon have seized assets of that state’s former governor and some of his top officials. Investigators are accusing them of public corruption and embezzlement to the tune of more than $200 million.
This week, authorities moved to seize 22 properties belonging to 11 former state officials, one of which is a small ranch belonging to former Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina. Authorities were only able to seize that one ranch since the former governor had previously sold another property He also reportedly gave away two other ranches to relatives.
The former governor is member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the ruling party in Mexico which has been linked to multiple cases of public corruption, and tied to drug cartels. Two former governors of the border state of Tamaulipas for the PRI, Eugenio Hernandez and Tomas Yarrington, are currently fugitives of the U.S. Department of Justice on money laundering charges tied to drug cartel bribes and embezzlement.
The recent seizure of the assets is a preliminary measure in an ongoing anti-corruption case, according to information released by the Nuevo Leon government. The former governor and his staff stand accused of having embezzled $3,600 million pesos, or more than $200 million in U.S. dollars, in public funds in what state officials are calling the “Mega-Pillage”.
The case against the corrupt officials is part of an ongoing operation called “Tornado.” The operation, according to information released by the Nuevo Leon government, is aimed at tackling embezzlement, public corruption, abuse of official capacity, and other crimes committed by current or former public officials.
Going after “corrupt politicians” and cleaning up the state had been one of the campaign promises made by current independent Nuevo Leon governor Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez Calderon. However, Nuevo Leon Assistant Attorney General in the Corruption Unit Ernesto Canales stated the move was not political in nature.
The corruption probe grew out of the auditing process that began during the change of administrations.
“We are working to not be a tool of a political campaign, much less party driven. That is why we are presenting cases of individuals from various parties and various positions at the local and state level, and if they are legislators, so be it.”
Nuevo Leon’s capital city of Monterrey had seen a long history of cartel violence and corruption. The state has a small border with Texas and an international bridge. It sits behind the border states of Tamaulipas and Coahuila.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated.