Mexican Governor Charged With Helping Cartel Smuggle Tons of Cocaine Is Extradi
Mario Villanueva Is Accused of Aiding Juarez Cartel, Laundering Money Through Lehman Bros.
ario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, former governor of the Mexican state that holds Cancun and dozens of other Caribbean beach resorts, has been extradited to New York on charges of accepting bribes from a violent drug cartel that smuggled hundreds of tons of cocaine into the U.S. and then laundering the bribe money through Lehman Brothers.
Villanueva was extradited Saturday to federal authorities in the Southern District of New York on charges that he accepted $19 million in bribes from the Juarez cartel in exchange for allowing the cartel free rein to smuggle Colombian cocaine through the state of Quintana Roo to the U.S. Prosecutors allege that he received $500,000 for each shipment.
The former governor was also extradited on a second indictment, in which he is charged with laundering his alleged trafficking profits through accounts at Lehman Brothers in New York and elsewhere. On Saturday morning he was turned over by Mexico's Attorney General's Office to the DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service and flown by DEA jet from Mexico City to White Plains, New York.
By RICHARD ESPOSITO
May 10, 2010