Four ex-governors have been implicated in a money laundering case involving millions of dollars.
Luis Carlos Castillo Cervantes, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Mexico, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a money laundering scheme that helped the former governors launder millions of dollars. He faces up to 20 years in prison on a charge of money laundering related to bank fraud.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas said Castillo received inflated payments for road contract work for his Mexican asphalt company from the Mexican state governments, then moved those funds into a U.S. bank account held by his U.S. company, Rodmax.
“Mr. Castillo would then pay bribes in the U.S. to the [Mexican] officials,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Hampton.
The governors are Humberto Moreira and Jorge Juan Torres López of Coahuila, Luis Armando Reynoso Femat of Aguascalientes and Eugenio Hernández Flores of Tamaulipas.
A resident of Mission, Texas, Castillo had also been accused of fraud against the McAllen-based banks J.P. Morgan Chase and International, charges that were dismissed after his guilty plea.
The money laundering charge enabled the the U.S. government to seize several of Castillo’s assets, including a 2008 Learjet 45XR business jet, while procedures are under way to seize an additional US $36 million.
Some of the Mexican politicians linked to Castillo have already been linked to irregular dealings in the United States.
Moreira has been under investigation for money laundering and receiving bribes from the criminal organization Los Zetas.
Both Torres, from Coahuila, and Hernández, from Tamaulipas, are being prosecuted in Corpus Christi, Texas, for federal crimes, while Torres also faces money laundering charges.
While Reynoso has not been charged, his son was accused of money laundering in 2004. During that trial, $2 million worth of properties were seized by U.S. authorities.
Castillo is the latest person to be arrested in south Texas as part of an investigation into allegations that politicians and businessmen from Mexico laundered tens of millions of dollars in bribe money in San Antonio and across the state.