7 Mexican Leaders with Ties to Drug Cartels

Enrique Pena Nieto (Juan Mabromata / AFP / Getty)
Juan Mabromata / AFP / Getty

Many of Mexico’s top leaders are linked to the brutal drug cartels overrunning their country. As Mexico slips further into a failed narco-state, top politicians’ links with drug cartels possibly help explain why.

1. Enrique Peña Nieto

Despite his many campaign promises, the current Mexican president has been unable to put a halt to the raging cartel violence taking place in his country; or has he been unwilling?

As a candidate and during his term in office, Peña Nieto has openly supported many of the cartel linked politicians who are now in trouble with the law. As Breitbart Texas reported, operators from the Juarez Cartel allegedly funneled illicit funds into Peña Nieto’s 2012 presidential bid. The funds were used to buy cash cards that were then given to citizens in exchange for their votes. The scandal became known as Monexgate and was originally discovered by famed Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui.

2. Tomas Yarrington

The former governor of Tamaulipas is wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice on multiple drug trafficking and money laundering charges. As Breitbart Texas reported, he allowed the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas to operate in his state in exchange for cartel bribes. After his term as governor, Yarrington worked with Los Zetas and the Beltran Leyva Cartel to move drugs through Veracruz. He was recently arrested in Italy and is awaiting extradition to the U.S. to stand trial.

3. Eugenio Hernandez

A second governor of Tamaulipas is wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice on multiple money laundering and bank fraud charges. As Breitbart Texas reported, Hernandez is believed to have continued Yarrington’s scheme of receiving cartel bribes as well as expanding a network used to embezzle government funds from contracts with ghost companies. While Hernandez is a wanted fugitive in the U.S., in Mexico he has a clean record and is not sought by that country’s law enforcement agencies. As Breitbart Texas first reported in a story that then Wall Street Journal tried to take credit for, the Mexican government had been providing both Hernandez and Yarrington with police officers as their personal bodyguards. Hernandez continues to live in Mexico.

4. Javier Duarte

The former governor of Veracruz has been charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, embezzlement and other charges by Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office; he is not wanted by U.S. authorities. As reported by Breitbart Texas, Duarte was recently arrested in Guatemala and is fighting Mexico’s extradition efforts. Duarte is accused of embezzling massive amounts of money from the state’s coffers. The former governor has also been singled out by news organizations for the impunity with which journalists were killed in his state.

5. Cesar Duarte Jaquez

The former governor of Chihuahua is currently a wanted fugitive in his own country on warrants accusing him of embezzlement. As Breitbart Texas reported, the current governor or Chihuahua has stated that Duarte crossed into Texas to hide from prosecution. A series of investigations by the late journalist Miroslava Breach uncovered the ties between Duarte’s party the Institutional Revolutionary Party and Mexican drug cartels. Breach was killed after reporting that the PRI was trying to have the mother in law of a top Juarez Cartel boss run for mayor, Breitbart Texas reported. 

6. Humberto Moreira

The former governor of the border state of Coahuila Humberto Moreira, has been singled out as having protected Los Zetas by former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Breitbart Texas reported.

The former governor is trying to run for Mexico’s congress under the Partido Joven (Young Party) where he has labeled himself as El Valiente or the Brave one. Moreira and various state officials have been fingered in U.S. court testimony and documents as having protected the key leaders of the Los Zetas cartel in exchange for bribes.

Moreira was arrested in Spain in early 2016 on money laundering charges. During the various hearing tied to the case, Spanish prosecutors stated that Moreira had been a surrogate for the Los Zetas cartel; the information for the statements was based on an ongoing investigation by U.S. federal agencies. Moreira had been the PRI party leader during Peña Nieto’s 2012 presidential bid. as Breitbart Texas reported, the Mexican government applied political pressure in order to get his release; eventually, Spain released Moreira claiming he was clear of the charges in that country.

7. Jesus Reyna

The interim governor of Michoacan remains jailed on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. The case against Reyna began in 2014 when a leaked video revealed a series of interactions between the politician and Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, the former leader of the Knights Templar – Familia Michoacana Cartel. Reyna served as interim governor of Michoacan for six months and had a long history of having served as state party chair for the PRI.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon.  You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.


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