The auto business marked the rise and fall of César Duarte Jáquez. At age 20, before he became governor of Chihuahua, he began selling used cars brought from the United States in his native Hidalgo de Parral.
The business was prosperous and expanded to Ciudad Juárez and across the border to El Paso, Texas.
His rise was such that in 1990 he was recognized as one of the leading used vehicle dealers in the border region.
It turns out that Duarte, wanted in Mexico on corruption charges, went back to his roots while a fugitive from justice in the United States.
On Wednesday, Duarte was arrested at Chávez Used Auto Parts, a junkyard in Miami, Florida, which he is believed to own, by agents of the Federal Marshals Service after being a fugitive for more than three years. He is wanted for criminal association and embezzling 6 billion pesos (US $264.2 million at today’s exchange rate) during his term as Chihuahua’s governor from 2010 to 2016.
Duarte is awaiting arraignment in a Florida federal court at which his bail will be set or denied, the latter being the most likely given his three years on the lam. Extradition to Mexico has been requested by authorities in this country.
When news of his arrest reached his home state, many Chihuahua city residents took to the streets to celebrate, driving around the town in parades of dozens of cars and grilling carne asada in the Plaza del Ángel.