Fugitive Mexican Gov Busted in Tourist Town

Javier Duarte abruptly quit amid corruption allegations, fled to Guatemala
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2017 9:07 AM CDT
Fugitive Mexican Gov Busted in Tourist Town
In this Aug. 5, 2016, file photo, the former governor of Veracruz state, Javier Duarte speaks to reporters as he leaves the Attorney General's headquarters in Mexico City.   (Marco Ugarte)

The former governor of Mexico's Veracruz state who is accused of running a corruption ring that allegedly pilfered millions of dollars from state coffers was detained in Guatemala after six months as a fugitive and high-profile symbol of government graft in his country. Javier Duarte, pale and visibly tired, was brought Sunday to a prison at a military base in the Guatemalan capital, reports the AP. A statement from Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office said Duarte was detained Saturday with the cooperation of Guatemalan police and the country's Interpol office in Panajachel, a picturesque tourist town. He is wanted on suspicion of money laundering and organized crime, and prosecutors directed the Foreign Relations Department to request Duarte's extradition via its Guatemalan counterpart.

Manuel Noriega, deputy director of Interpol in Guatemala, said Duarte was located at a hotel with his wife. He was asked to leave his room, did so voluntarily, and then was arrested without incident in the lobby. Noriega said Duarte would be presented before a judge to consider his extradition. "I have no comment, thank you," Duarte told the AP. Duarte, 43, was governor of Veracruz from 2010 until he left office Oct. 12, 2016, two months before the end of his term, saying he was doing so in order to face the allegations against him. Duarte promptly disappeared and had been sought by Mexican authorities since. Earlier this year, Interpol issued a notice for his capture. The Mexican government has found millions of dollars purportedly linked to Duarte, frozen more than 100 bank accounts and also seized property and businesses tied to him. A reward of $730,000 had been offered for his capture. (More Mexico stories.)

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