Mexican President Promises Release of Governor Jailed for Laundering Cartel Money

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador delivers his report on the first 100 days of government, at the National Palace in Mexico City on March 11, 2019. - It has been a frenetic first 100 days for Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, though his sometimes chaotic attempts to deliver …

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) promised the release of a former governor who helped the Juarez Cartel move large shipments of cocaine through his state. The politician is in prison on money laundering charges and he previously served time the U.S. for drug trafficking.

During a speech last week in Quintana Roo, Lopez Obrador promised to secure the release of Mario Villanueva Madrid, the former governor of that state, Proceso reported. The state is home to Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

“It is my commitment that he will be freed,” Lopez Obrador is quoted saying. He claimed the matter is currently working through the courts. If the effort fails, he would try act in an executive manner. Villanueva is in a federal prison serving a 22-year sentence on money laundering and drug-related charges, Animal Politico reported.

According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office following his sentence on drug and money laundering charges, Villanueva became a governor in 1994 and “entered into an agreement with the Juarez Cartel that would ensure its cocaine shipments traveled safely through Quintana Roo without interference from law enforcement.” In exchange for his protection, Villanueva received millions of dollars that he laundered through offshore accounts.

In 2001, Mexican authorities arrested and convicted Villanueva on organized crime and corruption charges. In 2010, the U.S. extradited him for an eventual guilty plea in 2012 on drug and money laundering conspiracy. The Mexican government extradited Villanueva in 2017 so he could serve a 22-year prison sentence. Some of the time was served in a hospital.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at     


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