The former governor of Quintana Roo was arrested on corruption charges last night in Panama City in a joint operation involving the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR), Interpol and local authorities.
Roberto Borge Angulo, governor from April 2011 until September 2016, was apprehended at the Tocumen International Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Paris, France, said the PGR’s deputy attorney for international affairs.
Alberto Elías Beltrán said the arrest followed surveillance that had monitored Borge’s movements, which had taken him to the United States, Havana, Cuba, and the Bahamas.
“. . . we requested early today that the extradition process be started,” he said in a television interview this morning.
In the hours following Borge’s arrest it was revealed that his last place of residence was an exclusive apartment at Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower, located in the Punta Colón district of the Panamanian capital.
According to the PGR, Borge arrived in Panama on May 25.
The arrest order for Borge was issued just last Thursday by a federal judge, who found there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the former governor for the irregular sale of vast pieces of land in Quintana Roo that had been catalogued as state and natural reserves, and the irregular purchase of a ferry company.
According to the judge’s ruling, both operations were performed via a money laundering scheme.
Borge has been implicated in the sale of 24 pieces of land to a tight group of people that included relatives and friends.
The land, over 7 million square meters in Cancún and Cozumel, was the property of the state government and had been auctioned off at 6% of its market value.
Ten of those pieces of land were part of the state’s natural reserves. Another four parcels were bought by Borge’s mother, Rosa Yolanda Angulo Castilla, who has not been part of the investigation.
All 24 parcels were secured in February by the SEIDO, the federal special prosecutor for organized crime.
Arrest warrants were also issued for Claudia Romanillos Villanueva, Soraya Guadalupe Herrera Manzanilla, María de Lourdes Pinelo Nieto and César Celso González Hermosillo y Melgarejo.
Romanillos and Herrera were employed at the state’s real estate assets agency, known as Ipae, while Pinelo worked as a secretary to Borge’s father. González Hermosillo is the Borge family’s lawyer.
It is the latter two who are implicated in a money laundering scheme involving the financing of Barcos Caribe, a passenger ferry firm that operates between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.
According to authorities, neither has the economic means to have invested million of dollars in the purchase of the company.
Another two members of the Borge administration were apprehended early last month.
Mauricio Rodríguez Marrufo, former Secretary of Urban Development and Housing, was arrested for malfeasance and material damages to the state valued at 39 million pesos (US $2.7 million).
Paulina García Achach, Rodríguez’ collaborator and successor, was also arrested on similar charges.