A top politician who at one time served as the Secretary of Finance for the Mexican State of Tabasco is now wanted in the U.S. on money laundering charges. While the man remains in Mexico, federal agents arrested his wife this week in Houston.
A criminal indictment that was unsealed this week names former Tabasco Secretary of Finance Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda, his wife Silvia Beatriz Perez Ceballo, and their associate Martin Alberto Medina Sonda. The three are charged with money laundering conspiracy and bank fraud conspiracy. Saiz Pineda and Medina Sonda are in a Mexican prison in Tabasco in connection with a public corruption case there.
Saiz Pineda served as the secretary of finance for Tabasco from 2007 to 2012 under then Governor Andres Granier Melo from Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Granier Melo was arrested in 2013 in Mexico on embezzlement and public corruption charges. Despite the politician’s claims otherwise, courts in Mexico have sided against him. As Breitbart Texas reported, Mexico’s PRI has a long history of corruption and ties to drug cartels including two former governors who are wanted by U.S. authorities on money laundering charges and several other cases that remain under seal.
While the indictment does not mention Mexican drug cartels or bribes, the case was investigated by the U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force; a special investigation unit that includes the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Harris County, and Fort Bend County Sheriffs.
According to court documents obtained by Breitbart Texas, federal prosecutors are looking to seize bank accounts, condominiums and other property in New York, Florida, California, and Texas; the properties are valued at more than $50 million. Authorities are also trying to seize another bank account in Bermuda all tied to the Saiz Pineda and his associates.
The case against the Mexican politician is based on a criminal indictment that was handed down by a federal grand jury in Corpus Christi on April 26, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed. The case was sealed by the court until this week when federal agents arrested Perez Ceballos at her home in Sugar Land, Texas, near Houston. The woman went before a U.S. magistrate judge who ordered that she be held in custody until a detention hearing next week.
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.