Former Tamaulipas governor Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba, a wanted man for the last five years, was arrested yesterday in Florence, Italy.
Sought in both Mexico and the United States for racketeering, money laundering, drug trafficking and fraud, Yarrington was Institutional Revolutionary Party governor from 1999 until 2005, after which he attempted to become the party’s 2006 presidential candidate.
But his ambitions were halted when he was indicted in Texas in 2013 on racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges, amid accusations of accepting bribes from the Gulf Cartel and its armed wing, Los Zetas, which dated back to his time in office.
There are conflicting reports about the timing of criminal charges filed against Yarrington in Mexico. Some say he was charged in 2012, others report it wasn’t until 2016, when the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) offered a 15-million-peso reward.
The charges against him in Mexico are for organized crime and money laundering. His extradition from Italy is expected to take place within days.
The PGR said yesterday that Yarrington’s arrest was made through collaboration between its Deputy Attorney for International Affairs and the federal Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) with Italian government officials.
He was arrested last night after dining at a Florence restaurant. When apprehended by Florence police he produced a forged Mexican passport and denied being the man they sought.
In 2012 Yarrington was singled out for laundering millions of dollars for the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas after a member of the former gave evidence against him to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
He has also been accused of plotting the assassination of Rodolfo Torre Cantú, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate for governor in 2010.
In May 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice issued two orders to confiscate properties Yarrington had allegedly acquired through a front man, or prestanombre, with resources of illicit origin.
In 2014, Yarrington filed two amparo requests for protection against the federal arrest warrant and an Interpol arrest notice issued in 2012, but they were rejected by a Mexico City judge.
Yarrington is one of three Tamaulipas governors accused by the DEA of having ties with drug trafficking organizations. The other two are Manuel Cavazos Lerma and Eugenio Hernández Flores.
Yarrington was a PRI member until December last year when the party’s National Justice Commission ruled his acts damaged the image of the party and decided to expel him from its ranks.