Mario Villanueva

Last updated

Mario Villanueva
Coat of arms of Quintana Roo.svg
4th Governor of Quintana Roo
In office
5 April 1993 4 April 1999
Preceded by Miguel Borge Martín
Succeeded by Joaquín Hendricks Díaz
Personal details
Born (1948-07-02) 2 July 1948 (age 69)
Chetumal, Quintana Roo
NationalityFlag of Mexico.svg Mexican
Political party Institutional Revolutionary Party PRI Party (Mexico).svg
Spouse(s) Isabel Tenorio
Profession Agronomist

Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, aka "El Chueco", [1] (born 2 July 1948) is a Mexican politician who built an important political career within the ranks of Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). From 1993 to 1999 he served as the fourth governor of the state of Quintana Roo. Accused of drug trafficking at the end of his gubernatorial period, he did not arrive at the ceremony at which he was to hand the office over to his elected successor, Joaquín Hendricks Díaz, and remained a fugitive from justice for two years. He served a six-year prison sentence and was extradited to the United States on 8 May 2010. [2]

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Governor of Quintana Roo chief executive of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo

Governors of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo since statehood in 1975:

Quintana Roo State of Mexico

Quintana Roo, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo, is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, make up the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 11 municipalities and its capital city is Chetumal.


Professional and political career

Born in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Villanueva studied agronomy at the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua. He was elected presidente municipal (mayor) of Benito Juárez, Quintana Roo, in 1990 (the municipality that includes Cancún) but resigned that position the year later to fight (and win) a seat representing Quintana Roo in the federal Senate. He resigned as senator to run for governor of the state, to which he was elected in 1993.

Chetumal Place in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Chetumal is a city on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo and the municipal seat of the Municipality of Othón P. Blanco. In 2010 it had a population of 151,243 people.

Municipalities are the second-level administrative divisions of Mexico, where the first-level administrative division is the state. As of the establishment of two new municipalities in Chiapas in September 2017, there are 2,448 municipalities in Mexico, not including the 16 delegaciones of Mexico City. The internal political organization and their responsibilities are outlined in the 115th article of the 1917 Constitution and detailed in the constitutions of the states to which they belong.

Cancún City in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Cancún is a city in southeast Mexico on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is a significant tourist destination in Mexico and the seat of the municipality of Benito Juárez. The city is on the Caribbean Sea and is one of Mexico's easternmost points.

Governor of Quintana Roo

During his time as governor he promoted the development of the Riviera Maya tourist area, located to the south of Cancún. In 1993 he created the new municipality of Solidaridad in that region, with its municipal seat in Playa del Carmen.

Riviera Maya area just south of the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico

The Riviera Maya is a tourism and resort district south of Cancun, Mexico. It straddles the coastal Federal Highway 307, along the Caribbean coastline of the state of Quintana Roo, located in the eastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. Historically, this district started at the city of Playa del Carmen and ended at the village of Tulum, although the towns of Puerto Morelos, situated to the north of Playa del Carmen, as well as the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, situated 40 kilometres (25 mi) to the south of Tulum, are both currently being promoted as part of the Riviera Maya tourist corridor.

Playa del Carmen Place in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Playa del Carmen is a city located along the Caribbean Sea in the municipality of Solidaridad, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is a popular tourist area in eastern Mexico. Playa del Carmen features a wide array of tourist activities due to its geographical location in the Riviera Maya. It has also been the destination of PGA Tour golf tournaments and the set location for various television shows. The town has become one of the fastest to grow in population size in Mexico.

Criminal allegations

Criminal charges accusing Villanueva of involvement in cocaine shipments passing through his state were filed while he was still serving as governor. Federal Assistant Attorney General Mariano Herrán interviewed him at the governor's mansion in Chetumal. Fearing that he would be arrested at the end of his governorship, when his immunity (fuero) expired, he disappeared from public view two weeks before the hand-over date. [3]

Attorney General of Mexico position

The Attorney General of Mexico is the head of the Attorney General's Office and the Federal Public Ministry, an institution belonging to the Federal Government's executive branch that is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of federal crimes. The office is governed mainly by the Constitution of Mexico and the Organic Law of the Attorney General's Office. The Attorney General is a member of the President's Cabinet.

<i>Fuero</i> test forums

Fuero, Fur, Foro or Foru is a Spanish legal term and concept. The word comes from Latin forum, an open space used as market, tribunal and meeting place. The same Latin root is the origin of the French terms for and foire, and the Portuguese terms foro and foral; all of these words have related, but somewhat different, meanings.

He was arrested over two years later, on 24 May 2001, in a chance vehicle inspection near Cancún. [4] He was convicted of money-laundering offences (but cleared of drug-trafficking and organized crime charges) and spent six years in the Altiplano High-Security Prison in Almoloya de Juárez, Estado de México. He was released on 21 June 2007 but was immediately taken back into custody to face proceedings under an extradition request [5] filed by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on charges including conspiracy to traffick and transport cocaine. [6] After a lengthy process that included the lodging of amparo constitutional relief remedies, the extradition request was granted by the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs on 7 November 2007. [7] On 4 June 2008, while in custody awaiting extradition to the United States, a federal judge found him guilty of the original drug trafficking charges and extended his original six-year sentence to 36 years and 9 months in prison. [8]

Almoloya de Juárez Town & Municipality in State of Mexico, Mexico

Almoloya de Juárez is a town in the State of Mexico and the seat of the municipality of Almoloya de Juárez. The name Almoloya comes from the Nahuatl, that is properly Almoloyan, composed of: atl, "water"; molo "impersonal voice of moloni, to flow the source" and yan, "place"; that it means "place where flows the water source".

Extradition is an act where one jurisdiction delivers a person accused or convicted of committing a crime in another jurisdiction, over to their law enforcement. It is a cooperative law enforcement process between the two jurisdictions and depends on the arrangements made between them. Besides the legal aspects of the process, extradition also involves the physical transfer of custody of the person being extradited to the legal authority of the requesting jurisdiction.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York United States federal district court

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, known informally as The Mother Court, is a federal district court. Appeals from the Southern District of New York are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

On 8 May 2010 Villanueva was extradited to the United States. He was arraigned in a New York court and pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges. [2]

On 29 June 2013 Villanueva was sentenced in New York, United States to 11 years in prison after being accused of conspiring to import hundreds of tons of cocaine and launder millions of dollars in bribe payments. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison but because he has been imprisoned since his 2001 arrest, he is expected to only serve three more years in prison. [9]

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  1. Chueco is a Spanish adjective meaning "crooked"; it was originally a reference to Villanueva's facial features which are affected by some sort of facial paralysis. UNESCO.
  2. 1 2 Mexican ex-gov pleads not guilty to US drug counts Reuters, 10 May 2010.
  3. Former Mexican Governor Could Face U.S. Drug Trial Washington Post, 22 June 2007.
  4. Ex-Mexico Governor Arrested and Linked to Cocaine Traffic, Tim Weiner, 26 May 2001.
  5. Ex-Mexico Governor Re-Arrested for Drugs Washington Post, 21 June 2007.
  6. Mario Villanueva Madrid Case Archived 5 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine ., Procuraduría General de la República, 18 August 2007.
  7. Concede SRE extradición de Villanueva El Universal, 7 November 2007.
  8. Sentencian a Mario Villanueva a 36 años de prisión El Universal 4 June 2008.
  9. Mexican ex-governor is sentenced in NY to 11 years Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine .WBNS, 28 June 2013.
Preceded by
Miguel Borge Martín
Governor of Quintana Roo
5 April 1993 to 5 April 1999
Succeeded by
Joaquín Hendricks Díaz
Preceded by
María Cristina Sangri Aguilar
Senator for Quintana Roo
1991 to 1993
Succeeded by
José Epifanio Godoy Hernández
Preceded by
José González Zapata
Municipal President of
Benito Juárez, Quintana Roo

1990 to 1991
Succeeded by
Jorge Arturo Contreras