|Governor of Tamaulipas|
5 February 1999 –31 December 2004
|Preceded by||Manuel Cavazos Lerma|
|Succeeded by||Eugenio Hernández Flores|
Tomás Jesús Yarrington Ruvalcaba
7 March 1957
|Political party||Institutional Revolutionary Party|
|Spouse(s)||Maria Antonieta Morales|
Tomás Jesús Yarrington Ruvalcaba (Spanish pronunciation: [toˈmas xeˈsus ˈʝarinton ruβalˈkaβa] , born 7 March 1957) is a Mexican politician affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party PRI. He held office as the Mayor of Matamoros from 1993 to 1995, and the Governor of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2005. Yarrington sought nomination for the presidential elections for the PRI in 2005.
Yarrington graduated with bachelor's degrees in economics and law from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Studies and the Autonomous University of Nuevo León respectively. He also received a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. In 1991 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies and from 1993 until 1995 he served as mayor of Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Later on he headed the local branch of the Revolutionary Institutional Party, joined the cabinet of Manuel Cavazos Lerma as state secretary of finance and served as governor of Tamaulipas (1999–2004). After leaving the governorship, Yarrington entered the presidential primaries by mid-2005.
He was accused in early 2012 for laundering money for Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, after a drug cartel member was apprehended and informed the DEA that Yarringnton had ties with the leaders of the drug trafficking organizations. In addition, Yarrington was accused of plotting the assassination of Rodolfo Torre Cantú, the former candidate for state governor in Tamaulipas, along with the Gulf Cartel, which reportedly carried out the ambush that killed the politician. He was arrested in Florence, Italy, on 9 April 2017.
Yarrington's accusations of his criminal activities began in November 2011, when the slain body of a businessman and rancher named Alfonso Peña-Argüelles was publicly displayed in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.Along with the body was a message left by Los Zetas accusing Peña-Argüelles' brother of laundering money for Yarrington. On 30 January 2012, the Attorney General of Mexico issued a communiqué ordering the past three governors of Tamaulipas – Manuel Cavazos Lerma, Eugenio Hernández Flores, and Tomás Yarrington – to remain in the country because they were being investigated for possible correlation with the Mexican drug cartels. After a court case in San Antonio, Texas, the U.S. federal agency known as the DEA accused Yarrington of laundering money for Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel from 1999 to 2004, his time as governor. This information was obtained after Antonio Peña-Argüelles, an alleged high-ranking drug cartel member, was arrested and claimed that Yarrington had "direct personal relationship with Zeta leaders." In addition, Yarrington was accused of plotting the assassination of Rodolfo Torre Cantú, the former candidate for governor in Tamaulipas' 2010 elections; the ambushed that killed Torre Cantú was allegedly carried out by Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez, the supreme leader of the Gulf cartel. According to the DEA's protected witness, Torre Cantú was assassinated because he affected the interests of a construction company that the Gulf cartel was sponsoring. Moreover, Excélsior notes that Torre Cantú was also killed because he did not have a good relationship with Yarrington and did not guarantee agreements with the cartels. However, Egidio Torre Cantú, the brother of Rodolfo, took his place and became the governor of Tamaulipas after his assassination, and allied with the Mexican Armed Forces to combat the cartels in hopes of avoiding what happened to his brother.
Yarrington was also accused of allegedly receiving money from Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the former drug boss of the Gulf cartel, to finance his political campaign for the presidential campaign in 2005 against Roberto Madrazo;according to the reports of Animal Político, Osiel asked Costilla Sánchez and Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, his associates, to send millions of dollars to Yarrington's collaborators, with hopes of escaping from prison if Yarrington became president, just like Joaquín Guzmán Loera (a.k.a. El Chapo). In a civil forfeiture lawsuit filed in Corpus Christi on 12 May 2012, Yarrington is said to face forfeiture of a condominium he owns in South Padre Island that federal authorities believe he purchased with "illegally obtained funds" and under another name to avoid detection by law enforcement. Court records say that Yarrington used $450,000 from the Gulf cartel to pay the 14th floor unit. The indictment also alleged that a Mexican businessman known as Fernando Alejandro Cano Martínez used several corporate entities in Texas to launder money by the Gulf Cartel to pay top politicians in Tamaulipas. These bribes were then paid to the politicians in Tamaulipas in exchange for little to no police intervention in the Gulf Cartel's trafficking and money laundering activities. Cano Martínez is also accused of bank fraud because he obtained several bank loans with false information. The U.S. authorities are trying to confiscate Yarrington's condominium in South Padre Island and a 46-acre property in San Antonio, Texas. All these properties are believed to have been bought by Yarrington with drug proceeds from the Gulf Cartel, a criminal organization headquartered in the city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas (where he served as mayor). The laundered money is believed to have granted the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas "political influence" in the state of Tamaulipas.
Nonetheless, Yarrington has publicly acknowledged that he is subject of the probe but denied any links to organized crime.Yarrington's lawyer, in addition, said that the ex-governor has no connection with organized crime, and that the accusations against him are attempts made by other people in federal investigations to "improve their own situations." Yarrington has not been officially charged with any crimes, but U.S. federal prosecutors filed two civil forfeiture cases against him, seeking to seize more than $7 million U.S. dollars in properties.
Fernando Alejandro Cano Martínez, a businessman from Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, and an alleged financial operator of the Gulf cartel, was indicted for conspiracy to launder money and commit bank fraud on 22 May 2012.The indictment charges Cano Martínez with using a number of corporations in Texas to launder money for the Gulf Cartel, a drug trafficking organization in Mexico, to then using millions of dollars as bribes for politicians in Tamaulipas. The bribes, which were paid directly to the politicians since 1998 or earlier, were used to convince the authorities to not intervene in the illegal activities of the Gulf cartel. Cano-Martínez controlled the bribes directed to the politicians, and established corporal entities in Texas to hide the nature of his criminal activities. Court records show that he had "one or more unindicted co-conspirators" working with him that helped him obtain a $6.7 million loan to buy a 46-acre property in San Antonio, Texas. Prosecutors are seeking a $40 million forfeiture from Cano-Martínez's assets. The indictment also alleges that Cano Martínez used millions of dollars in loans from a number of U.S. banks to invest in real estate and for an airplane of his own. From the years 2007 and 2009, Cano Martínez and his associates used at least 10 different bank accounts in Mexico to move millions of dollars to a Mexican money transmitter, and then moved that cash to U.S. bank accounts. If convicted, Cano Martínez may face up to 20 years in prison for the money laundering charges against him. Warrants have been issued for his apprehension in both the U.S. and Mexico, since he is currently at large.
On 24 May 2012, the Mexican military raided the house and workplace of the Mexican businessman Napoleón Rodríguez de la Garza in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.Rodríguez was the treasurer of Yarrington during his time as mayor of Matamoros and the straw man purchaser of the condominium in South Padre Island, Texas. The condo was bought under Rodríguez to avoid detection from federal agents, but prosecutors believe Yarrington is the actual owner. They also allege that Yarrington gave the money back after Rodríguez bought the $450,000 condo and that Yarrington pays the annual taxes and fees for maintenance. In addition, Rodríguez is believed to have assisted Yarrington during his political campaigns and received contracts to supply Matamoros and the state of Tamaulipas with supplies from his hardware company. Rodríguez was taken to SIEDO for further questioning; he was detained by the PGR on 28 May 2012 and will remain under custody for 40 days. Nonetheless, he accepted to be a straw purchaser for Yarrington. The U.S. authorities began the investigation of other functionaries that worked for the ex-governor of Tamaulipas and close associate of Yarrington, Eugenio Hernández Flores. According to government reports, a man known as Alberto Berlanga Bolado – owner of the GMC, SA de CV and former functionary during Hernandez's time in office, was linked to money laundering and bribes from the Gulf cartel on 26 May 2012. Berlanga's construction company was one of the most prominent during Hernández's governorship, and served as the major contract seller for public works at a state and federal level. During the investigation, the DEA raided an office with the insignias "GMC" in San Antonio, Texas the night of 22 May 2012.
In another case in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, on 29 May 2012, the Mexican authorities detained Eduardo Rodríguez Berlanga (La Conga), the owner of Constructora Janambres SA de CV and alleged money launderer and straw purchaser of Yarrington.He reportedly owns several ranches with over 4,940 acres (2,000 hectares), including one with an airstrip. The Mexican military also raided the houses and workplaces of Yarrington and his associates' in Ciudad Victoria and Matamoros, Tamaulipas: the properties of Cano-Martínez, the alleged money launderer; of Eduardo Rodríguez Berlanga, former employee of Yarrington; and of Faruk Faterni Corcuera, associate of the ex-governor. Rodríguez de la Garza's property was raided along with Yarrington's home in the city of Matamoros. In another incident early in the morning on 30 May 2012 in the border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, several banners appeared throughout the city blaming Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, the former mayor of Reynosa and current candidate for the Senate of Mexico, for being one of Yarrington's associates. The banner linked Cabeza de Vaca with other people who are investigated by the U.S. authorities for money laundering, including Manuel Bribiesca and Antonio Peña Argüelles. The banners also stated that Yarrington helped Cabeza de Vaca become mayor of Reynosa. In addition, Cabeza de Vaca is believed to have favored Cano Martinez's construction companies during his time as mayor; Peña Argüelles declared in front of the U.S. authorities that he had a close connection with the mayor. The National Action Party (PAN), however, claimed that the banners were put up by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) because Cabeza de Vaca (the PAN candidate for the Senate) is leading the elections and above Manuel Cavazos Lerma, a member of the PRI who is also running for a seat in the Senate too.
Following the accusations he is facing for allegedly accepting bribes from the Gulf Cartel during his time as governor, Yarrington was suspended from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) on 23 May 2012.He will remain suspended from the party until all the accusations against him are cleared up. The PRI distanced itself from Yarrington and said that it will not defend a former governor accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from drug trafficking organizations. Below is the statement issued by the PRI, translated from Spanish:
The PRI calls upon Mr. Yarrington to fully cooperate with the appropriate authorities to clear up the acts of which he is accused. Mr. Yarrington should face his personal responsibility ... Where illegal acts are proved, the law should be fully applied.
Los Angeles Times states that these drug trafficking charges may "summon the ghosts" of the PRI's corrupt and dark past.It may remind the Mexican voters of the grafts that marked the party's rule before it was tossed from the presidency in the year 2000 after seven decades of near-absolute regime control. The PRI's rule – which lasted for 71 years – was seen as "tainted by corruption," and critics have accused the PRI of making deals with the cartels to maintain peace in the country. Mexico's vast criminal underworld and illegal drug trafficking industry took hold during the reign of the PRI, often with the help of corrupt officials.
According to the investigations of the SIEDO, Yarrington received more than $8.5 million from the Gulf Cartel and the Juárez Cartel in eleven separate payments to finance his campaign for Governor of Tamaulipas in 1998.The agency report, issued on 1 August 2012, indicates that a political campaign manager of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) personally met with several cartel leaders because they "needed the money." In exchange, the drug trafficking organizations received protection from Tamaulipas' police.
A Mexican judge ordered the arrest of Yarrington on 29 August 2012; the Interpol was searching his whereabouts in over 150 countries.He was finally arrested in Florence, Italy, on 9 April 2017.
Yarrington pled guilty of money laundering and accepting bribes as governor on March 26, 2021. Ten other charges, related to drug trafficking, were dismissed. Yarrington can be sentenced to between eight and eleven years in prison, and his condominium in Puerto Isabel, Texas, was seized.
Yarrington was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. He is married to Maria Antonieta Morales and has two children: María Antonieta and Tomás Antonio. In addition, during Yarrington's time as mayor of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, he developed a close friendship with George W. Bush, former governor of Texas and ex-president of the United States.
Eugenio Javier Hernández Flores, is a Mexican politician affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He was the mayor of Ciudad Victoria from 2001 to 2004 and Governor of the state of Tamaulipas from 2004 to 2010, and was also federal deputy in 2000 and coordinator of the Financial Committee of Tomas Yarrington during his campaign. On May 27, 2015, he was indicted on charges of money laundering alongside his brother-in-law Oscar Gomez Guerra by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ).
Los Zetas is a Mexican criminal syndicate, regarded as one of the most dangerous of Mexico's drug cartels. They are known for engaging in brutally violent "shock and awe" tactics such as beheadings, torture, and indiscriminate murder. While primarily concerned with drug trafficking, the organization also runs profitable sex trafficking and gun running rackets. Los Zetas also operate through protection rackets, assassinations, extortion, kidnappings and other activities. The organization is based in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, directly across the border from Laredo, Texas. The origins of Los Zetas date back to the late 1990s, when commandos of the Mexican Army deserted their ranks and began working as the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel. In February 2010, Los Zetas broke away and formed their own criminal organization, rivalling the Gulf Cartel.
The Gulf Cartel is a criminal syndicate and drug trafficking organization in Mexico, and perhaps one of the oldest organized crime groups in the country. It is currently based in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, directly across the U.S. border from Brownsville, Texas.
Juan García Abrego is a Mexican convicted drug lord and former leader of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas, Mexico. He started in the cartel under the tutelage of his uncle Juan Nepomuceno Guerra.
Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez, is a former Mexican drug lord and top leader of the criminal drug trafficking organization known as the Gulf Cartel. He was among Mexico's most-wanted drug lords.
Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, commonly referred to by his alias Tony Tormenta, was a Mexican drug lord and co-leader of the Gulf Cartel, a drug trafficking organization based in Tamaulipas. He headed the criminal group along with Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez. Antonio was considered by Mexican security forces as one of Mexico's most-wanted men.
Arturo Guzmán Decena, also known by his code name Z-1, was a Mexican Army Special Forces officer and high-ranking member of Los Zetas, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas. He defected from the military in 1997 and formed Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel's former paramilitary wing, under the leadership of the kingpin Osiel Cárdenas Guillén.
Rodolfo Torre Cantú was a Mexican physician and politician. He held a number of public offices, such as Federal deputy, Secretary of Health of Tamaulipas and Director-general of the DIF in Ciudad Victoria. While running for governor of Tamaulipas as the candidate of the PRI, he was assassinated, apparently by agents of a drug cartel. Torre was murdered alongside a Tamaulipas lawmaker, Enrique Blackmore, on 28 June 2010 near Ciudad Victoria, which is approximately three hours south of Brownsville, Texas. Felipe Calderón promised a full investigation, saying, "the fight against drug cartels must continue". He further stated, "This was an act not only against a candidate of a political party but against democratic institutions, and it requires a united and firm response from all those who work for democracy." Torre's assassination is the "highest-profile case of political violence" in Mexico since the murder of Luis Donaldo Colosio.
Samuel Flores Borrego was a Mexican drug lord and high-ranking lieutenant of the Gulf Cartel. He was a former state judicial policeman who protected the ex-leader of the Gulf cartel, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén. Upon his arrest, Flores Borrego became the right-hand man of Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez, the former leader of the criminal organization.
Manuel Cavazos Lerma is a Mexican politician and economist from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who served as governor of Tamaulipas from 1993–1999.
Rafael Cárdenas Vela is a former Mexican drug lord and high-ranking lieutenant of the Gulf Cartel. He is the nephew of Antonio and Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, two men who at one time led the criminal organization.
Hugo Baldomero Medina Garza is an imprisoned Mexican drug lord and former leader of the Gulf Cartel. He is known as El Señor de los Tráilers for shipping large sums of Colombian narcotics in trucks through Mexico, to later smuggle them across the international border into the United States.
Óscar Malherbe de León is a Mexican imprisoned drug lord and former high-ranking leader of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas. He was the main intermediary of the Gulf Cartel in Colombia, responsible for shipping large sums of cocaine from the Cali Cartel in the 1990s. Before becoming a drug trafficker, Malherbe worked as a shoeshiner and car washer. He then turned to the auto theft industry and was recruited in 1976 by Casimiro Espinosa Campos, a former leader of a cell within the Gulf Cartel. By age 22, the Mexican authorities had charged Malherbe with at least 10 homicides. In 1984, his boss was killed by the then-leader of the Gulf Cartel, Juan García Ábrego, who later appointed him as one of his top lieutenants and moneymen.
Homero Enrique Cárdenas Guillén, also known by his aliases El Majadero and El Orejón, was a Mexican suspected drug lord and alleged leader of the Gulf Cartel, a drug trafficking organization. He is the brother of the former Gulf Cartel leaders Antonio, Mario, and Osiel Cárdenas Guillen. During the late 1990s, Homero worked for the Gulf Cartel under the tutelage of his brothers. However, after several years of government crackdowns, the Gulf Cartel suffered severe drawbacks, including the death and arrests of Homero's brothers and allies. In August 2013, Homero became the de facto leader of the Gulf Cartel following the arrest of Mario Ramírez Treviño. However, he reportedly died of a heart attack on 28 March 2014.
On 9 November 1999, two agents from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were threatened at gunpoint and nearly killed in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, by gunmen of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in the area. The two agents traveled to Matamoros with an informant to gather intelligence on the operations of the Gulf Cartel. As they cruised through one of the properties owned by the criminal group, they noticed several vehicles following them. The agents were forced to a stop and were corralled by a convoy of eight vehicles, from which fifteen gunmen emerged and surrounded the agents' car. Some of them wore uniforms of the local police. Among the gunmen was the former kingpin Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, who recognized the informant and ordered the three of them to get out of their vehicle.
Juan Carlos de la Cruz Reyna is a Mexican convicted criminal and former high-ranking member of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas, Mexico. He was also a senior member in Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel's former paramilitary group. In the 1990s, de la Cruz Reyna was an officer in the Tamaulipas State Police while working as a hitman for the Gulf Cartel. After he left the agency in 1999, he became a bodyguard for former Gulf Cartel kingpin Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, and was eventually promoted to regional leader of the cartel in Tampico. He reportedly had policemen on his payroll, and managed international drug trafficking shipments from Central and South America.
Víctor Manuel Vázquez Mireles is a Mexican suspected drug lord and high-ranking member of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Vázquez Mireles joined the cartel during the 1990s and was a trusted enforcer of former kingpin Osiel Cárdenas Guillén. He started his career in the cartel as one of his bodyguards and was eventually placed in charge of operations in Tamaulipas and Veracruz. He was reportedly responsible for supervising the purchase of drugs intended to be smuggled into the U.S. for distribution and for arranging the assistance of corrupt law enforcement officials in the cartel's operations.
Carlos Landín Martínez, also known as El Puma, is a Mexican former police chief and convicted drug lord. He was a high-ranking member of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and worked as the second-in-command of the cartel in Reynosa from 2005 to 2007. Landín Martínez was a trusted enforcer of the kingpin Gregorio Sauceda Gamboa. Among his responsibilities included managing international drug trafficking shipments from Tamaulipas to Texas, collecting taxes from independent traffickers who operated in his turf, and managing money laundering operations. Landín Martínez was also a commander in the Tamaulipas State Police, where he headed the homicide task-force. According to a witness who testified against him in court, Landín Martínez worked for the Gulf Cartel while still employed by the state police.
María Antonieta Rodríguez Mata is a Mexican former police officer and convicted drug lord. She worked as a Tamaulipas State Police officer from 1992 to 1996. During her tenure in the police, she was subject to several investigations by the National Human Rights Commission for alleged human rights violations. In the late 1990s, she became involved with the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas, Mexico, after being hired to work under the kingpin Osiel Cárdenas Guillén. She was responsible for coordinating drug trafficking shipments from Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico to the U.S. The drugs were often guarded by corrupt policemen and smuggled overland through Reynosa and McAllen, Texas. Her role in organized crime is unique since she held a leadership role in the male-dominated Mexican drug trafficking industry.
Abel Briones Ruiz is a Mexican business owner and suspected drug lord. He is reportedly a drug trafficker for the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, between 2005 and 2014, Briones Ruiz and his network were responsible for cocaine trafficking from Mexico to the U.S., smuggling the cash proceeds back into Mexico, conducting money laundering from these earnings, and structuring financial activities to hide the illegal nature of his earnings. He did this through his family-run gasoline company, Combustibles Briones, S.A. de C.V. A fugitive from U.S. justice, Briones Ruiz faces up to life imprisonment and up to US$10 million in fines from his drug trafficking activities alone.
Manuel Cavazos Lerma
| Governor of Tamaulipas |
Eugenio Hernández Flores