Mexican former governor and his daughter ‘with ties to drug cartel’ arrested after 7 months on the run
Security forces in Mexico have arrested a fugitive former governor and his daughter on suspicion of money laundering in a pre-dawn raid on a house allegedly owned by a cartel.
Roberto Sandoval, who ruled the Pacific coastal state of Nayarit from 2011 to 2017, and Lidy Sandoval were arrested Sunday in Linares, a city in the northeastern state of Nuevo León.
The ex-governor and his daughter were flown to Nayarit and appeared before a judge Monday, who ordered that Roberto Sandoval be held without bail because he is considered a flight risk.
Lidy Sandoval was released after paying $75,000 bail.
Both are under investigation for crimes of illegal enrichment, embezzlement and for alleged links to criminal organizations.
Mexican newspaper the universal reported that they were staying in a house owned by members of the Güeros cartel, a cell linked to the Sinaloa cartel.
Roberto Sandoval (left), who ruled the Mexican coastal state of Nayarit from 2011 to 2017, was arrested Sunday along with his daughter Lidy Sandoval (right) at a ranch in the northeastern state of Nuevo León. Both are under investigation for crimes of illegal enrichment, embezzlement and for alleged links to criminal organizations
Former Mexican governor Roberto Sandoval is being escorted by security forces at an airport in the Pacific coastal state of Nayarit on Sunday after his arrest after seven months on the run.
In March, the attorney general’s office in Mexico revealed that former governor Roberto Sandoval had purchased property listed under the name Lidy Sandoval (center), but that she had been unable to cover these kinds of expenses since she was a university. pupil’
Roberto Sandoval had been on the run since November 4, 2020 when the Nayarit State Attorney General was issued an arrest warrant. A second injunction was issued in December 2020.
On February 29, Financial Intelligence United blocked 42 accounts at 11 banks with deposits totaling $60.5 million.
On March 1, a federal court approved a third arrest warrant for the governor and his daughter, linking them to the Jalisco New Generation cartel.
The country’s attorney general’s office revealed that Sandoval had purchased real estate listed under the Lidy Sandoval name, but that she “couldn’t cover these kinds of expenses since she was a college student.”
Roberto Sandoval ruled the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast from 2011 to 2017. Mexican intelligence agencies learned of Roberto Sandoval’s location after he was visited last week by his wife and a bodyguard at a ranch in the northeastern state of Nuevo León.
Lidy Sandoval, the daughter of former Nayarit governor Roberto Sandoval, was arrested Sunday and released by a judge on Monday after she paid bail.
Moreover, there is evidence, both in the [state] and federal courts, of their alleged relationship with several people detained abroad for crimes related to organized crime.”
In February 2020, then-U.S. Attorney General Mike Pompeo charged Roberto Sandoval with corruption, a year after the Treasury Department denounced the former governor for “corruption-related conduct.”
In particular, during his tenure as governor of Nayarit (2011-2017), Mr. Sandoval embezzled state resources and received bribes from drug trafficking organizations, including the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), in exchange for information and protection,” said Pompeo. .
Pompeo indicated that Sandoval had also received bribes from the Beltrán Leyva organization, a criminal enterprise formed under the Sinaloa cartel before it was weakened because its founders were killed or arrested and imprisoned in Mexico or extradited to the United States. .
The US Treasury Department sanctioned Roberto Sandoval in May 2019 under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which targets “perpetrators of serious human rights violations and corruption.”
Former Governor of Mexico Pablo Sandoval (top left) with his son Roberto Sandoval (top right), wife Ana López (bottom left) and daughter Lily Sandoval (bottom right)
Sandoval and his family changed residence shortly after the first arrest warrant was issued, living in the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, the State of Mexico, Nuevo León and the nation’s capital, Mexico City.
According to El Universal, authorities mapped Sandoval’s location after intelligence agents were able to trace his bodyguard’s calls at a house in the town of San Pedro Garza García in Nuevo León, where Sandoval was hiding with his wife Ana López and Lidy Sandoval.
The family then moved to an exclusive development in the Guadalajara neighborhood of Puerto de Hierro.
They eventually moved from the high-end digs to two ranches in Saltillo, Coahuila, and the second property in Nuevo León offered to him by the Güeros cartel.
The leaders of the criminal organization, Esteban Rodríguez and Luis Rodríguez, were arrested in 2011 and 2012 respectively and extradited to New York. The suspect pleaded guilty to trafficking more than 100,000 kilograms of cocaine.
The Nayarit State Attorney General issued an order in December 2020 leading to the seizure of two properties, including a ranch (pictured) allegedly bought by former governor Roberto Sandoval with illegal money.
The Nayarit State Attorney General’s Office has also confiscated a property in the capital Tepic from former Governor Roberto Sandoval that served as a rehabilitation center for children.
Former Nayarit, Mexico Governor Roberto Sandoval has been linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the country
Esteban Rodríguez, who was sentenced to five years and credited with serving time in prison, was deported to Mexico in September 2017.
Authorities learned of Sandoval’s location last week after his wife and a bodyguard visited the Nuevo León ranch and deployed a team of security forces to arrest him and his daughter.
Before the arrest of the former governor, López sought help from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and requested the government to conduct a thorough investigation of the family’s assets dating back to 2011.
“What I am asking is an end to this fierce political persecution that we have had for more than three and a half years,” Lopez told Radio Formula.