A former Mexican governor accused of conspiring with two violent drug cartels while in office, is in police custody.
He was arrested Monday in Italy while he was wanted man here in the U.S.
After five years on the run, Interpol agents arrested Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, the former governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
The arrest came at the request of U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials.
Yarrington is facing multiple criminal charges in Texas for money laundering, drug trafficking, and racketeering.
Images taken by Italian police show officers approaching Yarrington as he walks with someone down a street in Florence Sunday night.
The video was taken moments before the two were taken into custody.
It’s an arrest Dr. Angel Saavedra thought he would never see. Saaverda is an assistant professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
“One of the problems that Mexico has right now is impunity, so a lot of people get away with doing things if you’re powerful,” Saaverda said.
An indictment out of Brownsville, Texas states Yarrington allowed the gulf cartel to operate freely in the border state of Tamaulipas during his tenure as governor from 1999 to 2005.
U.S. Investigators allege Yarrington not only trafficked drugs, but also used the money to buy an airplane and multiple properties in Texas.
Saavedra said if there’s one thing that corrupt officials fear the most -- it’s being extradited to the U.S.
“You’re going to face a criminal system that really doesn’t care who your friends are and really doesn’t care about who you’re connected to in Mexico,” Saavedra said. “When you’re extradited into the United States, then all bets are off.”
Despite information released by Italian police, the Mexican government is claiming that they helped coordinate Yarrington’s arrest, as they fight to have him extradited to Mexico.
Saavedra worries that if Mexico gets its way, there’s a chance that Yarrington could somehow avoid prosecution.