Federal congressional leaders are demanding that Nayarit Governor Roberto Sandoval step down in the wake of the arrest of state Attorney General Édgar Veytia who was taken into custody on drug charges in San Diego, California, earlier this week.
They believe that it is not possible that the governor was unaware of the conduct of a senior cabinet member, now facing charges for trafficking in heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
While Sandoval claimed that Veytia’s arrest was a surprise, house leaders of the National Action Party (PAN), the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the Green Party (PVEM) believe he was complicit and that his position is no longer tenable.
Senate PVEM President Pablo Escudero stated that Sandoval must accept responsibility because he appointed Veytia, and called for a thorough investigation into Attorneys General across the country. “Make no mistake, this is not for political reasons,” he said. “We need to carry out an investigation and find out where criminals have infiltrated.”
“The governor is responsible for the conduct of his Attorney General and must accept the consequences,” said PAN Senate leader Fernando Herrera, while his PRD counterpart, Dolores Padierna, urged the federal Attorney General’s office to take precautionary measures to prevent the governor from fleeing.
PRD Senator Raúl Morón also expressed suspicion that Sandoval was involved in or at the very least aware of Veytia’s crimes, stating that it would be very difficult for him not to know what his Attorney General was doing.
Lower house leaders Marko Cortés of the PAN and Francisco Martínez Neri of the PRD supported the demand that Sandoval leave office.
Members of both the PAN and PRD called on the federal government to investigate Sandoval’s possible participation in his Attorney General’s web of corruption and drug trafficking.
PRD representatives Guadalupe Acosta and Augustín Basave proposed the creation of a commission to investigate the case. “We don’t believe the governor when he says he didn’t know anything. He was the main protector of Édgar Veytia, they were two weights on the same dumbbell. Sandoval and Veytia governed, everyone knows that (Veytia) was the strong man of Nayarit,” they said.
César Camacho, parliamentary leader of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), to which Sandoval also belongs, stated that while the relevant authorities should investigate the call that he leave office was being used as a “distraction.”
The newspaper Reforma reported that sources from the military, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that during Veytia’s term Nayarit came to be used as a hideout and center of operations for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
The sources said that the organization used the state to store shipments of cocaine and synthetic drug precursors unloaded in Manzanillo from Central and South America. It also manufactured heroin and methamphetamine in secret laboratories.
The New York District Court accusing Veytia is the same one that indicted Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán. On Thursday, Veytia appeared before federal Judge Bernard G. Skomal who refused to grant bail based on the serious nature of his alleged crimes. A new hearing was set for April 6, when his transfer to New York may be decided.
Meanwhile, Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, governor of the state of Nuevo León, has come out in support of Veytia. “Édgar is my friend, I can speak highly of his good actions, not his bad ones. I know that he is going to prove his innocence and that’s what he is working on.”