Former Mexico governor extradited to U.S. on drug smuggling charges

April 23 (UPI) — A former Mexican governor was extradited to the United States from Italy on Friday to face charges related to drugs and fraud.

Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, the former governor of the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico, between 1999 and 2005, faces charges of racketeering, drug smuggling, money laundering and bank fraud. U.S. authorities have been looking for Yarrington since he was indicted on the charges in May 2013. But he had been traveling under a false name until his arrest in Italy in April 2017.

Yarrington, 61, will now face those charges in the Southern District of Texas on Monday.

According to prosecutors, Yarrington received large bribes from major drug cartels while serving as governor of Tamaulipas, beginning in 1998. In return, he allegedly allowed cartels to operate freely. Later, between 2007 and 2009, prosecutors said Yarrington became involved in the smuggling of drugs through the Port of Veracruz into the United States.

Yarrington is also accused of stealing public funds by transferring $300,000 to a bank account in the United States in 2004, as well as being involved in the operation of several front businesses in Texas to disquise the ownership of millions of dollars’ worth of assets.

“The assets allegedly included bank accounts, residences, airplanes, vehicles and real estate in Bexar, Cameron, Hidalgo and Hays Counties, many of which were acquired via allegedly fraudulent loans from banks in Texas,” prosecutors said.

The current governor of Tamaulipas — Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca — applauded the announcement of Yarrington’s extradition.

“For the government of Tamaulipas, it is important to know that former Gov. Yarrington Ruvalcaba will be finally presented to the courts to answer for the crimes committed against the Tamaulipas residents,” he said in a statement.

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