White Collar Crime: Former mexican governor extradited to U.S. acc helping Juarez Cartel.
Mexico has extradited a former state governor to the United States to face charges of helping a cartel smuggling cocaine through the resort of Cancun en route to the U.S. market.
Mario Villanueva, who was governor of the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo from 1993 to 1999, was turned over to U.S. authorities Saturday at the international airport in Toluca, a city near the Mexican capital, the federal Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
Villanueva is the first former governor to be extradited to the U.S. on drug charges.
He is charged in New York federal court with aiding the Juarez cartel smuggle hundreds of tons of Colombian cocaine to the United States via Cancun. U.S. prosecutors have said Villanueva received $500,000 for each of several shipments he aided.
Villanueva is the 326th criminal suspect Mexico has extradited to the U.S. under the government of President Felipe Calderon, which has stepped up the extradition process as the two countries intensify cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking.
Villanueva allegedly helped the Juarez cartel when it was headed by Amado Carillo Fuentes, one of Mexico’s top drug kingpins until he died in 1997 while undergoing plastic surgery.
Villanueva “gave orders to allow shipments of cocaine to be unloaded and stored in ranches in Quintana Roo, to be later sent to the neighboring country by land or air,” the Attorney General’s office said