Former Chihuahua governor César Duarte was extradited to Mexico from the United States Thursday almost two years after he was arrested in Florida on corruption charges.
A Mexican government aircraft collected Duarte in Miami and flew him to the Mexico City International Airport. After four hours of medical tests and formalities, he was handed over to Chihuahua officials and transported to the northern border state where a warrant for his arrest was issued in 2019.
Duarte, Institutional Revolutionary Party governor between 2010 and 2016, faces charges of embezzling 96.6 million pesos (equivalent to US $6.5 million at the time the money was allegedly stolen) in public resources while in office.
The money was supposedly transferred to two companies with which he was associated: Unión Ganadera Regional General División del Norte de Chihuahua and Financiera de la División del Norte. Duarte also faces charges of criminal association.
The ex-governor, who fled Mexico shortly after his term ended, appeared in a Chihuahua court Friday as state authorities began to present their case against him. A United States federal judge approved his extradition late last year.
Javier Corral, Duarte’s successor as Chihuahua governor, said on Twitter that the extradition is “the result of the determination and tenacity of many people in an arduous … battle against corruption and impunity.”
Lawyers for Duarte have claimed that their client is a victim of political persecution led by Corral, who left office last September.
Current Governor Maru Campos – who has faced accusations she received millions of pesos in bribes from the government led by Duarte when she was a state lawmaker – said her government is committed to achieving justice in the case “for the benefit of Chihuahua residents.”
With reports from El Universal