MEXICO CITY – U.S. drug agents have evidence that cartel leaders paid millions to a Mexican border state governor and other figures in Mexico’s former ruling party in exchange for political influence, according to a court filing in Texas.
Confidential informants told Drug Enforcement Administration investigators that leaders of the Zetas and Gulf cartels made payments to Institutional Revolutionary Party members including Tomas Yarrington, who served as governor of Tamaulipas state in 1999-2004, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Antonio.
The affidavit says the DEA also has obtained ledgers documenting millions of dollars in payments to Yarrington’s representatives.
Yarrington declined to comment when contacted by the Associated Press on Friday.
The U.S. investigation could have ramifications for Mexico’s July 1 presidential election. The candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has a strong lead in opinion polls and appears poised to retake the country’s most powerful office 12 years after the party was unseated after seven decades of unchallenged rule.
The 13-page affidavit lays out in detail the DEA’s case against Antonio Pena-Arguelles, an alleged cartel money-launderer who was arrested Wednesday in San Antonio.
It accuses him of using U.S. bank accounts to funnel millions to Yarrington from leaders of the Gulf and the Zetas.