Mexican authorities are looking for the former governor of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Tomas Yarrington, with the help of Interpol, Attorney General Marisela Morales said Wednesday.
So far "we have no information about where he could be, but the order (for his arrest on drug trafficking charges) is already in effect," Morales told reporters.
Mexican media on Wednesday reported that a federal judge in the western state of Jalisco had ordered Yarrington's arrest, and this was confirmed by Morales.
Morales said that Yarrington, who governed Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2004, is charged with "fomenting drug trafficking and drug consumption."
She went on to say that the evidence gathered by the federal AG's office was obtained in Mexico and in the United States and is enough to allow authorities to "take criminal action."
After saying that there has been an "exchange of information with different institutions, both in Mexico as well as abroad, in the United States" in the case, Morales said that her country had asked Interpol to help in arresting Yarrington, who up until May belonged to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which is set to return to power in December.
The PRI suspended Yarrington's rights and privileges as a member of the party until his legal situation can be clarified after exhorting him to cooperate "fully with the appropriate authorities with an eye toward clearing up" the matter.
U.S. federal prosecutors on May 22 filed forfeiture cases involving two properties in Texas they allege Yarrington purchased via front men using bribes from drug cartels.
The suits accused him of participating in a money-laundering network that in 2006 allegedly bought real estate through third parties in the United States.
After that legal action, Mexican media said that the illicit funds for those operations could have come from the Gulf drug cartel.
The arrest warrant for Yarrington is the first to be signed in Mexico for a former state government since April 6, 1999, when the federal AG's office requested the capture of the former governor of Quintana Roo, Mario Villanueva Madrid, also on drug trafficking charges.
Arrested in 2001, Villanueva was extradited in May 2010 to the United States to face charges for those crimes, which stated that the Mexican politician was considered to be "a key figure in the international trade of illicit narcotics." EFE