Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ex-attorney general of Nayarit pleads guilty in US to drug trafficking

A former attorney general of Nayarit pleaded guilty yesterday to drug trafficking charges in the same New York court where former drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is on trial.

Édgar Veytia, attorney general of the Pacific coast state between 2013 and 2017, was brought into the Federal District Court in Brooklyn shortly after Guzmán’s trial wrapped up for the week.

He pleaded guilty to accepting payments from drug cartels to help them smuggle cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine into the United States from 2013 until his arrest in San Diego, California, in March 2017.

Veytia, who served in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) administration led by former governor Roberto Sandoval, admitted that he arranged for drug traffickers to avoid arrest or to be released from custody.

However, he didn’t name the organizations with which he cooperated although the Sinaloa Cartel, which Guzmán once headed, is not believed to be one of them.

“I used my official position to assist drug trafficking organizations,” the 48-year-old told the judge.

Veytia faces at least 10 years in jail when he is sentenced later this year but if the judge follows sentencing guidelines as calculated by prosecutors, his term could exceed 20 years.

The United States government could also seize approximately US $250 million under forfeiture laws, according to an indictment.

Before he became attorney general, Veytia promoted himself as being tough on crime, once stating that “Nayarit is not fertile ground for lawbreaking” and “here, there is no room for organized crime.”

However, violent crime spiked in Nayarit while he was in office and the current National Action Party (PAN) state government has accused the Sandoval-led administration of leaving Nayarit’s justice and forensic infrastructure in ruins.

Last January, the government said that the discovery of 33 bodies in three clandestine graves in the Nayarit municipality of Xalisco was part of the legacy of “El Diablo,” or “The Devil,” a nickname that that was given to Veytia.

Source: The Associated Press (sp)

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