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Ex-governor south of Texas faces significant conspiracy, fraud and drug charges

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The ex-governor of Tamaulipas, Mexico has been formally charged with an unsealed federal indictment in the United States for a multitude of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges.

Texas banks and credit unions were used to issue fraudulent loans in schemes to buy and gain assets in Bexar, Cameron, Hidalgo and Hays Counties, according to the indictment.

Local bank accounts, houses, airplanes, vehicles and real estate were “acquired via allegedly fraudulent loans from banks in Texas” according to the indictment. “Bank accounts established in front names at Texas banks were used to receive and disburse money to carry the ongoing costs of the assets, such as loan costs and condo fees.”

Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, 56, who served as governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2004, is alleged to have also worked with the Gulf Cartel and other major drug traffickers to smuggle drugs into the United States.

“Yarrington received large bribes from major drug traffickers operating in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, including the Gulf Cartel,” an information release from the FBI today indicated.

“In return, Yarrington allegedly allowed them to operate their large scale, multi-ton enterprises freely, which included the smuggling of large quantities of drugs to the United States for distribution,” the released stated. “From 2007 to 2009, Yarrington allegedly became involved in the smuggling of large amounts of cocaine through the Port of Veracruz into the United States.”

An indictment from a Brownsville, Texas federal grand jury from May 2013, was unsealed today according to United States Attorneys Kenneth Magidson and Robert L. Pitman, of the Southern and Western Districts of Texas.

Tamaulipas is directly south of Texas sharing the Rio Grande River border with direct access to cities such as Laredo and Brownsville.

The indictment alleges Yarrington, who faces several conspiracy violation and fraud charges, took bribes and worked with Fernando Alejandro Cano Martinez, 57, the owner of a Mexican construction company to receive bribes in exchange for public work contracts during Yarrington’s term as governor.

Some of the bribe money was used by Cano to buy real estate in front names for the governor.

Yarrington, according to the indictment, took control over stolen public funds in 2004 to purchase a Sabreliner 60 airplane in January 2005.

“As part of that purchase, $300,000 was transferred to a bank account in the United States,” the FBI release states. “Another portion of the allegedly stolen funds, $5 million Mexican pesos, was transferred to Cano in the spring of 2005, according to the indictment.”

According to an announcement from Janice Ayala, special agent in charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Javier Peña, special agent in charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Bernard Butler, acting special agent in charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Armando Fernandez, special agent in charge, FBI, the indictment resulted from investigations that spanned several years.

Over $7 million in transfers at Texas banks were accounted for in the indictment.

“Numerous currency transactions were allegedly conducted at First National Bank, headquartered in Edinburg, Texas, in a structured manner in amounts at or below $10,000 in order to evade the filing of Currency Transaction Reports by the bank,” the FBI report states.

Over 46 acres of property in Bexar County, a condo on South Padre Island a 2005 Pilatus airplane and numerous homes were seized by the United States in civil forfeiture actions.

Warrants remain outstanding for both Yarrington and Cano who are on the loose. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 956-542-5811. Persons calling from Mexico should call 001-800-010-5237.

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