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Italy sends former Mexican governor to US for trial

Italian authorities handed over to the United States Friday a former Mexican governor accused of drug trafficking.

 

Tomás Yarrington, the former governor of Tamaulipas - a state that borders Texas from Brownsville to Laredo - was delivered by Italian police to the U.S. Marshals Service at Rome's Fiumicino airport, according to Mexico's Reforma newspaper.

 

Yarrington is slated to go on trial in Texas on charges of racketeering, international drug trafficking, money laundering, bank fraud, tax evasion and fraud.

 

As governor, Yarrington presided over a transformation in cartel violence, as the Gulf Cartel, the traditional underworld power broker in the region, used its armed wing, known as the Zetas, to carry out murders, extortions and kidnappings.

 

Yarrington left power in 2004, but Tamaulipas remains one of Mexico's most dangerous states. 

 

The Zetas have since split off from the Gulf Cartel and formed their own cartel; the two are now bitter rivals prone to violent confrontation.

 

Yarrington was arrested in Italy in April of 2017 while using a false identity. The United States and Mexico both requested Yarrington's extradition, but the attorneys general of both countries agreed to prioritize the U.S. case.

 

Yarrington's lawyers moved to have the case tried in Mexico, but Italy's top court declined the Mexican extradition request earlier this month, citing the country's human rights record.

 

"I commend the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the international community on the extradition, and I look forward to seeing Mr. Yarrington's case resolved in the United States courts," said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), who represents a long stretch of the Texas-Tamaulipas border.

 

"Let it be known that absolutely no one is above the law, and the United States must continue to ensure that justice is served." 

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