The judge's ranch: land was sold illegally. The judge's ranch: land was sold illegally.

Illegally-sold land returned in Cozumel

The judge who bought it has returned 100 hectares to the ejido

One hundred hectares of community-owned land sold illegally in Quintana Roo during the administration of former governor Roberto Borge Angulo has been returned to its rightful owners.

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According to investigations carried out by the anti-corruption organization Somos tus Ojos (We’re your Eyes), Fidel Villanueva Rivero acquired 135 hectares of community-owned land in the ejido of Villa Cozumel, located on the island of Cozumel.

The accused has been president of the Supreme Court of Justice of Quintana Roo since 2011.

The land was sold by the former director of the state agency Real Estate Assets of the Public Administration (Ipae), Claudia Romanillos Villanueva, who has been under investigation for the sale of several pieces of land throughout the state.

There are several local and state agencies that should have a record of the sale of the Cozumel land, but no such record exists, said Fabiola Cortés Miranda, president of Somos tus Ojos, and Gabriel Yam Chan, a high ranking ejido (community land) official.

Ejido laws also prohibit a single individual from owning such an piece of land, said Yam.

After the non-governmental organization filed a formal complaint against Villanueva, generating vast coverage by local media, the judge was pressured to return 100 hectares to ejido authorities, reported the newspaper Milenio.

Villanueva has built a ranch known as San Gabriel on the other 35 hectares. It boasts a villa, baseball diamond, tennis courts and a stable of horses.

The ranch is located 18 kilometers from downtown Cozumel, where Somos tus Ojos claims he bought a 160-square-meter property from the state Urban Development and Housing Institute for only 11,000 pesos (about US $610).

Source: Milenio (sp)

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