BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A U.S. judge ordered that a cartel-linked former Mexican governor will remain behind bars until his trial, where he faces close to a dozen charges tied to drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering. He also faces the forfeiture of $132 million in cash, an airplane, and various properties. The former Mexican politician asked for a court-appointed attorney–claiming he did not know if he had any money.
Wearing the same clothes that he was extradited in while handcuffed and shackled, former Tamaulipas Governor Tomas Yarrington stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan for an initial hearing. When asked about his background and education, the former governor claimed a Masters degree from a university in Los Angeles, California.
Morgan read Yarrington his rights and then ruled that the former Mexican politician was not able to meet the conditions needed for the court to believe that he is not a flight risk and make the necessary court appearances.
“You … I’ll just leave it as ‘left’ for six years,” Morgan said referring to Yarrington’s time as a fugitive. The judge ordered that Yarrington be taken back into the custody of the U.S. Marshals. The former Mexican politician is due back in court in three days for his arraignment.
Yarrington served as the governor of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2005 and before that, the mayor of Matamoros. As Breitbart Texas reported, during his time in office, Yarrington is believed to be the recipient of bribes from the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas to allow the criminal organizations operate with impunity in the state. Federal prosecutors claim that Yarrington began taking bribes from the Gulf Cartel in 1998. After his tenure, Yarrington was accused of working with Los Zetas and the Beltran Leyva Cartel to secure access to the Port of Veracruz. In addition to the cartel-related charges, Yarrington is also accused of taking bribes and accessing state funds. U.S. authorities were able to begin building a case after he allegedly moved some of the funds into U.S. bank accounts and for eventual laundering via real estate investments in Texas.
While U.S. authorities indicted Yarrington in 2012 and publicly named him a fugitive in early 2013, the Mexican politician lived with government-paid bodyguards, Breitbart Texas reported. Agents with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations tracked down Yarrington in Italy where they arrested him and after some diplomatic wrangling with Mexico.
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.