Former Mexican Governor Charged With Drug Smuggling

By McCarton Ackerman 12/05/13

Tomas Yarrington is also accused of money laundering, racketeering, bank fraud, and working for the drug cartels.

Yarrington denied the charges, of course
Photo via

One of the former governors of Mexico’s ruling party has been charged in the U.S. with drug smuggling. Tomas Yarrington is being accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers that included the Gulf Cartel, making him the third politician in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the last week alone to be federally indicted. Yarrington is also being charged with bank fraud, racketeering, money laundering and working with drug cartels. If convicted on all charges, the 56-year-old could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison.

The indictment filed in Texas says that Yarrington began taking bribes from the Gulf Cartel while working as the mayor of Mexican border town Matamoros in 1998. Even while serving as the governor of Tamaulipas from 1999-2005, he allegedly continued to work with cartels and even smuggled bulk shipments of cocaine into the U.S. between 2007-2009. Yarrington is also being accused along with Mexican business owner Fernando Cano of moving over $7 million into U.S. bank accounts held by shell corporations. 

He was suspended by the PRI last year, but vehemently denied any involvement in money laundering or working with cartels. But even after Yarrington stopped working as the governor of Tamaulipas, the area has been plagued by drug-related violence in recent years. The Mexican government confirmed last May that reported murders in Tamaulipas increased more than 250% in the past four years, while the Border Patrol made more than 16,000 immigrant arrests in the Rio Grande Valley sector last March.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.