Saturday, December 2, 2023

Ex-mayor who ‘only a stole a little’ subject of nationwide search

The ex-mayor of San Blas, Nayarit, who won a second term in 2014 after admitting he “only stole a little” from the municipality, is now the subject of a nationwide search.

The Nayarit state Attorney General’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Hilario Ramírez Villanueva, also known as “Layín,” for embezzlement, fraud and improper exercise of power. It also alerted Interpol to his status as a fugitive.

Ramírez allegedly sold the municipal airfield for 12 million pesos (US $636,000) but that money never made its way to public coffers. Charges were brought against him and two other former San Blas public servants in 2018.

He evaded appearing before a judge twice due to supposed medical conditions. In October, his attorneys presented the court with a doctor’s note claiming he required bed rest for an eye problem.

The doctor’s note his lawyers presented in November claimed the recommended bed rest was for a case of infectious hepatitis.

The judge subsequently issued a warrant for his arrest, ruling that he was attempting to evade justice. He faces a minimum of 23 years in prison.

Nayarit Attorney General Petronilo Díaz Ponce Medrano said that his office has sought the collaboration of the army, marines and National Guard to locate Ramírez.

He didn’t rule out the possibility of requesting that Interpol issue a Red Notice to initiate an international search for the ex-mayor.

After being accused of stealing 120-150 million pesos during his term as mayor of San Blas from 2008-2011, Ramírez admitted in a 2014 campaign speech that he “only stole a little” from the town, “because it’s very poor.”

He won reelection a month later, making history as the first independent candidate to win an election in the state.

He also ran for governor of Nayarit in 2017, coming in third.

Ramírez is known for his extravagant lifestyle and crude behavior. He has contracted internationally renowned musical acts, such as Los Tigres Del Norte, for his rowdy birthday celebrations.

He also gave a car to a popular quinceañera (a girl celebrating her 15th birthday) from San Luis Potosí in 2016 and caused a scandal when he lifted the skirt of a young woman with whom he was dancing at one of his birthday parties.

Sources: La Jornada (sp), Aristegui Noticias (sp)

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