A former Morelos mayor who is running again in the July 1 elections was arrested Sunday on charges of organized crime and kidnapping his political rivals.
Federal Police detained Alfonso Miranda Gallegos in Amacuzac, the municipality where he served as mayor for the Labor Party (PT) from 2009 to 2012, and where he intends to stand as the mayoral candidate for the Morena party-led “Together We Will Make History” coalition.
Federal authorities said there is evidence that Miranda, who also served as a member of the state Congress for the PT, used the political positions he held to provide protection to the Los Rojos criminal gang.
Miranda is the uncle of Los Rojos leader Santiago Mazarí Hernández, also known as El Carrete.
Authorities also said the 62-year-old ex-mayor ordered the abduction of his political opponents while in office and has been identified by victims’ family members as an intermediary for the payment of ransoms.
Despite his arrest, the newspaper Milenio reported today, the coalition plans to go ahead with Miranda’s candidacy.
When he contested the 2009 mayoral election, rumors about Miranda’s alleged criminal connections and illicit activities were already circulating.
Nevertheless, he won the election only to face a range of allegations during his time in office, ranging from verbal aggression to making death threats.
However, as mayor he was protected by the immunity from prosecution known as the fuero, which continued to protect him while he served in the Morelos Congress.
During the 2012-2015 period he held office, the state government denounced the protection he allegedly provided to his nephew and other gang members.
An attempt in 2014 to have his immunity from prosecution removed was unsuccessful.
While announcing Miranda’s arrest, National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said the Federal Police also apprehended one of Los Rojos’ main drug trafficking operators.
Sergio Sánchez Landa, also known as El Telúrico, was detained in Tecamac, México state, where he allegedly controlled trafficking operations in eight municipalities.
Sales said that both Sánchez and Miranda are “close collaborators of the boss of a criminal group dedicated to kidnapping and the trafficking of drugs with a presence in the state of Morelos.”
Sánchez reportedly moved to México state on the orders of Mazarí because he was in danger of being killed in Morelos.
He sought work as a bus driver in the former state in an attempt to avoid being identified.
Amacuzac is not the only Morelos municipality where Los Rojos and Miranda’s nephew have sought and enjoyed a cozy relationship with authorities in recent years.
Two gang members arrested earlier this year told the Morelos Attorney General’s office that Mazarí financed the campaigns of 11 candidates for mayor in Morelos in 2015 in exchange for free rein to carry out criminal activities.