McALLEN, Texas — A top Mexican businessman with connections to the highest echelons of power in Mexico remains in federal custody in this border city, where he is facing money laundering charges.
Last week, federal agents arrested Luis Carlos “Dragon or Umpire” Castillo Cervantes in connection with a criminal indictment filed under seal in Corpus Christi, Texas. The criminal indictment obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed that from 2006 to November 10, 2014, Castillo Cervantes allegedly took part in money laundering and bank fraud schemes involving Mexican public officials. Authorities are looking to seize $36,259,730 and a 2008 Learjet belonging to the Mexican businessman.
On Tuesday morning, Castillo Cervantes went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby for his detention hearing. During the hearing, Castillo Cervantes waived his hearing, choosing to remain in federal detention until he has another date in Corpus Christi, where the case resides. Ormsby granted the request and ordered that Castillo Cervantes go back to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
While in parts of Mexico Castillo Cervantes is known as the “Dragon” for a fleet of road paving machines that he has exclusive contracts to, in the rural town of Anahuac, Tamaulipas, he is known as the “Umpire”.
Residents of Anahuac claim the nickname comes from Castillo Cervantes serving as an umpire for the local baseball games during a time when he was a poor villager. Despite Castillo Cervantes’ rise in the political and business arena, whenever he visits his home town, residents still call him “El Umpire”. Residents claim that Castillo Cervantes and his relatives in Anahuac came from humble beginnings until he married into money and has since climbed his way into the business and political world. Some residents who spoke with Breitbart Texas stated that despite his wealth and connections, Castillo Cervantes is considered a cheapskate of sorts. The man is known locally for squeezing local merchants and people he does business with, at times over small amounts of money.
Castillo Cervantes, who is known in Mexico as a prominent Mexican builder, has been linked to the upper echelons of Mexican politics and has openly bragged about his ties to cabinet officials, some of his acquaintances revealed to Breitbart Texas.
In Nuevo Leon, Castillo has been linked to dozens of construction contracts that were never built or were used as a way to cover up the apparent theft of public funds during the administration of former Governor Rodrigo Medina. The use of phantom contracts and other corrupt practices for embezzlement makes up the bulk of the famous Operation Tornado, an investigation kicked off by the current Governor of Nuevo Leon Jaime “Bronco” Rodriguez. The investigation by that state aims to uncover millions that were purportedly stolen during the Medina Administration.
Castillo Cervantes has also been linked to various power players in the Coahuila government, a state with deep ties to the Los Zetas drug cartel. As Breitbart Texas has previously reported, the current governor of Coahuila Ruben Moreira and his brother the former governor Humberto Moreira, have been been tied to a civil forfeiture case in the U.S. where federal authorities are looking to seize government monies that other state officials embezzled and moved to Texas. Some of those officials have pleaded guilty and singled out the Moreira brothers as the ones behind the embezzlement. Castillo Cervantes has been named in connection with the ongoing investigation into Coahuila’s missing funds, known as the “Mega-Deuda” or mega-debt.
Tony Aranda from the Cartel Chronicles’ project contributed to this report.