Fugi­tive ex-gover­nor de­tained in Gu­atemala

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY SO­NIA PEREZ D. AND PETER ORSI

GU­ATEMALA CITY | The for­mer gover­nor of Mex­ico’s Ver­acruz state who is ac­cused of run­ning a cor­rup­tion ring that al­legedly pil­fered mil­lions of dol­lars from state cof­fers was de­tained in Gu­atemala af­ter six months as a fugi­tive and high-pro­file sym­bol of gov­ern­ment graft in his coun­try.

Javier Duarte, pale and vis­i­bly tired, was brought Sun­day to a pri­son at a mil­i­tary base in the Gu­atemalan cap­i­tal.

A state­ment from Mex­ico’s fed­eral At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice said Duarte was de­tained Satur­day with the co­op­er­a­tion of Gu­atemalan po­lice and the coun­try’s In­ter­pol of­fice in Pana­jachel, a pic­turesque tourist town on Lake Ati­t­lan in Gu­atemala’s high­lands.

It said he is wanted on sus­pi­cion of money laun­der­ing and or­ga­nized crime, and pros­e­cu­tors di­rected the For­eign Relations Depart­ment to re­quest Duarte’s ex­tra­di­tion via its Gu­atemalan coun­ter­part.

Manuel Nor­iega, deputy di­rec­tor of In­ter­pol in Gu­atemala, said Duarte was lo­cated at a ho­tel where he was stay­ing with his wife. He was asked to leave his room, did so vol­un­tar­ily and then was ar­rested with­out in­ci­dent in the lobby.

Mr. Nor­iega said Duarte would be pre­sented be­fore a judge to con­sider his pos­si­ble ex­tra­di­tion.

At least two-dozen po­lice­men guarded Duarte as he ar­rived at Gu­atemala City’s Mata­moros pri­son.

“I have no com­ment, thank you,” he said to a ques­tion from The Associated Press.

Duarte, 43, was gover­nor of Ver­acruz from 2010 un­til he left of­fice Oct. 12, 2016, two months be­fore the sched­uled end of his term, say­ing he was do­ing so in or­der to face the al­le­ga­tions against him.

At the time he de­nied hav­ing links to phan­tom busi­nesses that al­legedly won state con­tracts, and said he had not stolen a sin­gle peso of state money or di­verted gov­ern­ment funds over­seas.

“I don’t have for­eign ac­counts,” he said last year. “I don’t have prop­er­ties any­where.”

Duarte promptly dis­ap­peared and had been sought by Mex­i­can au­thor­i­ties ever since. Ear­lier this year, In­ter­pol is­sued a no­tice for his cap­ture.

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