More than three months after Tamaulipas authorities arrested a former governor on embezzlement charges, the U.S. Department of State has formally issued an extradition request, asking that the politician be sent to Texas for federal money laundering and fraud charges.
Former Tamaulipas Governor Eugenio Hernandez Flores served from 2005 to 2010 and since 2014, is wanted in the Southern District of Texas on several money laundering and fraud charges. The case against Hernandez stems from an ongoing probe by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The most recent development took place this week during a hearing at a Mexican federal court in Ciudad Victoria. Defense attorneys received a formal notice that the U.S. government was requesting extradition. Mexican authorities removed news outlets and those not tied to the case from the room. Authorities claimed that some of the arguments dealt with open investigations that could be compromised if the information was published. The former governor and his attorneys spent several hours pleading in closed court for a judge to grant them supervised release on bond.
For more than seven years after leaving office, Hernandez lived with complete impunity and as Breitbart Texas reported, with government protection claiming the warrants against him were all politically motivated allegations. That lifestyle came to an end in October when Tamaulipas authorities arrested him on embezzlement charges, claiming that he had used his position to illegally purchase a massive tract of government-owned waterfront property for 1 percent of its fair market value. Since his arrest, Hernandez was jailed without bond initially in a state prison and the federal authorities moved him to a more secure facility.
The change in the Mexican government and the decision to prosecute came after a new governor from an opposing party took office and began investigating the allegations against him. Soon after the arrest, the Tamaulipas government and federal senators from the same party pressured Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office for help in moving forward with the extradition to Texas, Breitbart Texas reported.
Hernandez and his predecessor, Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, both hail from the same political party and both are wanted by U.S. authorities on similar charges tied to moving cartel bribes and embezzled funds into Texas. As Breitbart Texas reported, Yarrington is currently in an Italian prison fighting extradition; the disgraced politician is facing additional drug trafficking charges in the U.S. related to Los Zetas, the Gulf, and the Beltran Leyva Cartels.
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. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Francisco Morales from the Cartel Chronicle’s project contributed to this report.