Mexico: Quintana Roo gubernatorial candidate busted on narco charges

Gregorio S├ínchez Mart├şnez, a gubernatorial candidate from the Yucatan Peninsula state of Quintana Roo, was arrested by Mexican federal police May 25 as he arrived at Canc├║n airport on a flight from Mexico City. He faces charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime, with federal prosecutors accusing him of provided information and protection to Los Zetas and the Beltran Leyva gang. But supporters of S├ínchez, who recently took a leave as Canc├║n’s mayor to run for governor, condemned the charges as politically motivated.

The Prosecutor General of the Republic said in a statement that Sanchez had been under investigation since January. “He was moving so much money and it just didn’t match up with the amount he made as a public servant,” the statement said. Officials reportedly found that S├ínchez, a successful former resort builder, was moving funds through his accounts in sums far bigger than his reported income of $1.5 million.

Speculation in the press also links S├ínchez to the slaying last year of retired army general Mauro Enrique Tello, who had just started work as S├ínchez’s security advisor. Three S├ínchez associates, including Canc├║n’s police chief, were arrested in connection with the assassination.

But S├ínchez’s Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) issued a statement following the arrest saying his detention was an attempt to damage popular support for the opposition party ahead of the July 4 elections. The statement also quoted S├ínchez as saying he had been threatened. “Resign from the race, or we are going to put you in jail or kill you,” S├ínchez said, describing one of the threats against him. (AlJazeera, LAT, May 27)

See our last posts on Mexico and the narco wars.

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