A fugitive former governor from Mexico’s ruling party wanted on graft and organized crime charges was arrested in Guatemala on Saturday, Mexico’s attorney general’s office said in a statement. Javier Duarte, ex-governor of Gulf coast Veracruz state, was detained with the help of Interpol agents in the neighboring Central American country, and will be processed for extradition to Mexico, the office said.
Agriculture and oil-rich Veracruz is one of Mexico’s largest states, and it has historically been a stronghold of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. But after Duarte’s six-year term as governor came to an end last year, the governor’s office was won by the opposition National Action Party in a contest widely seen as a repudiation of rampant corruption and a stinging defeat for the PRI.
An arrest warrant for Duarte was issued in October last year, and public auditors have since called his administration of state accounts among the worst cases of misappropriation of public funds in years.