US sanctions Mexican judge, ex-governor for corruption

Washington (AFP) –


The United States on Friday sanctioned a Mexican judge and a former state governor for corruption and maintaining links with drug cartels.

Judge Isidro Avelar and Roberto Sandoval, a former governor of Nayarit, were among eight Mexicans and six businesses sanctioned for ties to drug trafficking organizations Los Cuinis and Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).

Avelar and Sandoval "callously enrich themselves at the expense of their fellow citizens," the Treasury Department said in a statement, adding that assets and property in the US belonging to the sanctioned individuals are "blocked."

"Whether they are receiving bribes from narcotics trafficking organizations or engaging in a variety of other illicit activities, these and other corrupt officials will face serious consequences including being cut off from the US financial system."

Three other Mexicans and four other Mexican companies were also sanctioned because of their ties to Sandoval.

According to the Treasury Department, Avelar took bribes from Los Cuinis and the CJNG in exchange for rulings favorable to the cartel.

Sandoval also took bribes from the CJNG and stole state money while governor of Nayarit from 2011 and 2017 and as mayor of its capital city Tepic from 2008 to 2011, according to Treasury.

The sanctions also targeted Gonzalo Mendoza, an important member of the CJNG known as "El Sapo."

He's accused of committing murders and kidnappings on behalf of the cartel and of overseeing drug trafficking in Puerto Vallarta, while his wife Liliana Rosas was also sanctioned for laundering drug money.

The US has repeatedly moved to cut off access to its financial system for prominent Mexicans accused of ties to drug cartels.

In 2017 the then-captain of the national football team Rafael Marquez was among 22 people and 43 entities targeted by the treasury for ties to a Guadalajara-based drug trafficking organization controlled by businessman Raul Flores.