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A Sinaloa man finds a used mattress inside its new covering. A Sinaloa man finds a used mattress inside its new cover.

Official arrested in Sinaloa used mattress case

But his father insists he is innocent of fraud

An official at the Sinaloa Social Development Secretariat was arrested yesterday in connection with the purchase of 2,000 used mattresses that were distributed to flood victims in Culiacán.

Carlos Baltazar Castro Olivas is charged with fraud.

Castro had been absent from his office since the mattress story became public.

Earlier yesterday, Castro’s father called a press conference to tell reporters that his son was absent because he had traveled to Guadalajara, Jalisco, to file a formal complaint against the supplier of the mattresses, identified as Isabel Reyes Villanueva.

Baltazar Castro Blanco, a local businessman, insisted that his son did not commit a fraud. He explained that in the days after the September 20 flooding he was looking for mattresses and found a supplier in Jalisco.

Some 14,000 mattresses had already been purchased in Sinaloa, exhausting the inventory in the state. So Castro Olivas bought more in Jalisco, unaware that they were used products that had been re-covered.

Castro Sr. said he had come forward to explain the situation because his name and that of the family business had been linked to “an embarrassing and unacceptable affair.”

He also offered an apology to the recipients of the old mattresses on his own behalf and that of his son.

The mattresses were distributed last weekend to flood victims, who became aware that the products smelled after removing them from their plastic bags. In one case, a woman said her mattress smelled like rotting meat. She found what she thought was a bloodstain after removing its cover.

Source: El Universal (sp), El Debate (sp)

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