Friday, August 3, 2012
AZMEX UPDATE 1-8-12
AZMEX UPDATE 1 AUG 2012
Former Chihuahua governor denies cartel allegations
By Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera \ EL PASO TIMES
Posted: 08/01/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT
Reporter: Alejandro Martinez-Cabrera
Former Chihuahua Gov. José Reyes Baeza this week denied accusations made by a Mexican publication that he received campaign contributions from the Juárez cartel and in turn offered it protection during his administration.
On Monday, the Mexican weekly news magazine, Reporte Indigo, reported on an alleged 2010 investigation conducted by a unit of Mexico's attorney general's office, or PGR, that focuses on organized crime.
According to Indigo, the PGR's investigation files contain the testimony of a protected witness who is identified under the pseudonym Ramiro Chávez and is thought to be former Juárez cartel member Julio Porras Chávez.
In his testimony, Chávez said he was the middleman who delivered more than $225,000 from Juárez cartel leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes to Baeza's campaign for governor in 2004. In return, Baeza allowed the Juárez cartel to pick the chief of the state police, Indigo wrote.
In a written statement, Baeza said the accusations "go beyond reality" and said the Indigo story made "false affirmations about my work as governor of Chihuahua State."
A PGR official in Mexico City, who asked not to be quoted because he wasn't authorized to speak, said he couldn't confirm "or much less deny" the existence of an investigation against Baeza. He said no arrest orders, formal accusations or requests to testify have been issued against Baeza.
"Oftentimes federal investigators conduct
an investigation in total secrecy. It doesn't mean there isn't an investigation but, officially, there isn't one," the official said.
But in his statement Baeza acknowledged he knew of a protected witness who spoke to authorities in 2010 about the alleged involvement of state officials -- including himself -- in criminal activities during the years of 1998 and 2004.
Baeza said that back then he addressed the issue with Mexico's then Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez and Marisela Morales, then head of the PGR's organized crime unit and now the nation's attorney general, and showed that the accusations "were not only false but also ill-willed."
"It is truly grave that the honor of a person is thrown into question due to the declarations of those who have been pursued because of their criminal activities and, in their attempt to reduce their sentences or punishments, they dare to revile someone without proofs," he said.
Officials in both Chihuahua Gov. César Duarte's administration and Baeza's party, the Revolutionary Institutional Party, said Tuesday that they didn't have an official comment on the matter.
At least three other Mexican governors -- all from Tamaulipas state and the PRI party -- have recently been the subjects of investigations because of alleged ties to drug traffickers.
Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera can be reached at email@example.com; 546-6129. Follow him on Twitter @AlejandroEPT.Ê