Cartel Chronicles: Mexico’s Ruling Party Calls US Indictment of Former Official a Media Campaign

pilatus aircraft
N679PE, 2005 Pilatus PC-12/45 via

Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.  The writers would face certain death at the hands of the Gulf Cartel if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by “AJ Espinoza” from Matamoros

MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas – Members of Mexico’s most powerful political party have rallied behind one of their colleagues wanted in Texas on a federal arrest warrant. The warrant accuses him of money laundering. The politicians are calling the move a media attack.

The criminal indictment filed in the Southern District of Texas against Pablo Zarate Juarez, a former Tamaulipas state official, adds another name to the growing list of politicians from Institutional Revolutionary Party that as Breitbart Texas previously reported have been implicated or formally accused of criminal activity. The PRI is currently the ruling party in Mexico. Of the multiple politicians implicated in illicit activity, former Tamaulipas Governor Tomas Yarrington and former Matamoros mayor Erick Silva Santos are currently considered fugitives for money laundering and bank fraud charges. Yarrington is also facing drug trafficking charges.

In the criminal indictment handed down by a grand jury on March 11, 2015, Zarate Juarez is charged with various counts of money laundering following a lengthy investigation by Homeland Security Investigations. Zarate is considered to be a fugitive.

In response to the stories published in the U.S. about the case, Ricardo Espinoza Valerio, the head for PRI’s internal affairs in Matamoros, stated the party considers the stories as nothing more than a negative media campaign — something that they expected with the upcoming election.

The politician claimed that when an election process nears, it is common to see information released by news media outlets that portrays party members in a negative light.

“Assuming that the charges against him are serious, we will have to see what is the end result of the case as with all trials,” Espinoza Valerio said. “That is why in Mexico we use the term suspected or alleged, because we have to wait to see what the courts determine.”

Until the case is resolved and we have a determination as to his responsibility this is simply a court process, he said.

As a new electoral process in Tamaulipas draws closer, the PRI official stated that negative media campaigns add an ingredient to the mix that makes some uncomfortable. However he dismissed the stories as something that should not have an effect since negative stories about one party or another have always been around. He claimed that what really matters is the number of things done right during a term.

Pablo Zarate Juarez, a former Tamaulipas official is yet another politician tied to the case against former governor turned fugitive Tomas Yarrington. Zarate is mentioned in a previously filed civil lawsuit where prosecutors seek to forfeit a Pilatus Aircraft 2005 with the tail number N679PE.

According to U.S. Court records, the airplane is the same aircraft that is mentioned in the criminal indictment filed against Yarrington who is also from Matamoros. In the civil lawsuit, Yarrington is named as the true owner of the airplane. That the plane was allegedly obtained through the use of straw purchasers to hide the illicit money that was used. Yarrington is on the run in an apparent effort to avoid facing drug trafficking and money laundering charges for his alleged ties to  Los Zetas, the Beltran Leyva Cartel, and the Gulf Cartel.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has stated that if Zarate Juarez is found guilty of money laundering conspiracy he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the amount laundered. If he is convicted of bank fraud he would face a prison term of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million.