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Ochoa: defended Coahuila governor against cartel connections. Ochoa: defended Coahuila governor against accusation of cartel connections.

Party boss defends Coahuila governor

PRI's national president downplays accusations of links to Los Zetas

The head of Mexico’s governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) yesterday played down signs there were links between Coahuila Governor Rubén Moreira and the Zetas drug cartel.

Enrique Ochoa Reza defended the PRI governor who, along with his brother Humberto, who governed the state before him, was named in a report this week that the Zetas were in near complete control of the state between 2007 and 2013 by bribing authorities, including both governors.

The report was based on a study of testimony given by witnesses at criminal trials against members of the cartel in Texas. It was conducted by the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas and the Fray Juan de Lario Human Rights Center in Coahuila.

Ochoa told reporters that Rubén Moreira had succeeded in reducing the number of homicides in Coahuila, unlike the record of other state governors belonging to the opposition National Action Party, such as Chihuahua, Durango and Veracruz.

He pointed out that Moreira has denied any links with the cartel and emphasized instead that many of the people mentioned in the study are now behind bars in Coahuila prisons.

Ochoa had no comment to make about Moreira’s brother, who has been accused for years of embezzling billions of pesos from the state treasury during his term as governor from 2005 to 2011.

He, too, governed under the PRI and even held Ochoa’s job for a while in 2011. He was forced to resign after it was revealed that Coahuila’s debt increased from some US $27 million to $2.8 billion during his term.

Moreira has always denied having links with Los Zetas and did so again this week, and said the witness who was the source of the accusations against him had no credibility.

“I emphatically and categorically deny the false accusations made against me by . . . Rodrigo Humberto Uribe Tapia,” Moreira said.

Uribe, who laundered money for Los Zetas, was one of the principal witnesses in the trial of a senior member of the cartel.

Source: Reforma (sp), Animal Político (sp)

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