A Mexican mayor from Sonora with previous accusations of cartel connections was reportedly apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after an attempted crossing into Arizona with a passport not his own.
The mayor of Bácum, Rogelio Aboyte Limón, was arrested on December 27, 2018, after he attempted to enter the United States at the Nogales Port of Entry with documents that did not belong to him, according to local media reports. Aboyte Limón allegedly attempted to enter under the name “Jaime Fernando Bautista.”
Aboyte Limón was previously convicted and sentenced to 84 months in U.S. prison under a third name, Raúl López Montaño, after he was arrested in Indiana in 2010 for transporting approximately 46 pounds of cocaine concealed in his vehicle’s gas tank. Aboyte Limón is currently being held in a CBP detention center in Phoenix, according to a federal law enforcement source.
Aboyte Limón was sworn as mayor of Bácum on September 16, 2018. His last two public appearances were on December 19 when he and his wife participated in a Christmas parade; and on December 22 at a firehouse ceremony. Since then, all city council meetings were attended by his wife, Mariana Bernal de Aboyte, president of the municipal DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia). Aboyte Limón’s absence was a growing mystery until the leadership of Morena Party of Sonora confirmed the December 27 arrest this week. Morena is led by the newly elected president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
Bácum made headlines in September 2018 when police discovered seven heads abandoned in an ice chest–sparking fears of an escalation in the local cartel turf war. The municipality is in southern section of Sonora–just north of Ciudad Obregón–and is one of eight towns that make up the territory traditionally inhabited by the Yaqui Tribe, known as “El Valle del Yaqui.” The area provides easy access to drug trafficking routes to the U.S. markets.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)