HOUSTON, March 16: A former Mexican governor and presidential candidate was sentenced to nine years in prison in Texas on Wednesday for laundering bribe money by buying luxury properties in the United States, the US Justice Department said.
Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, who was governor of the violence-plagued border state of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2005, was arrested in Italy in 2017 at the request of US and Mexican authorities while traveling under an assumed name on a fake passport.
He had pleaded guilty to corruption charges in March 2021, the Justice Department said. Yarrington was found guilty of accepting $3.5 million in bribes while serving as governor and laundered the funds in the United States “by purchasing beachfront condominiums, large estates, commercial developments, airplanes, and luxury vehicles.”
Yarrington is expected to be deported after serving his prison sentence because he is not a US citizen, the Justice Department statement said.
“Even if you are the governor of a Mexican state, we will not stand idly by when you use your position to wrongfully fill your pockets and violate the laws of the United States,” said US prosecutor Alamdar Hamdani.
Yarrington was a member of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party and a candidate for president in 2005.
Tamaulipas, which borders the Gulf of Mexico and includes several major Mexican border cities, such as Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros, is a hub for criminal groups including the Gulf Cartel.
In March, four US citizens were kidnapped in Matamoros after crossing the border. Two were later found dead, while the others were released. Members of the Gulf Cartel were linked to the incident but the organization said they acted alone. (RSS/AFP)