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U.S. judge agrees to extradite former Chihuahua governor César Duarte back to Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico — A U.S. judge has authorized the extradition of the former governor of Chihuahua, César Duarte Jáquez to face charges of embezzlement in Mexico.

The sentence signed by Judge Lauren Louis concludes that the former governor of Chihuahua must face his judicial processes at home.

A document from the federal court of the Southern District of Florida details that after review of the evidence, including the request for extradition from the federal government of Mexico, there is probable cause that the accused has committed the crimes.

Duarte is accused of 11 crimes, among those being the diversion of millions of peso from the patrimony of the state of Chihuahua.

Duarte was arrested on July 8, 2020 in Miami, Florida, after being a fugitive since March 2017. During the last federal administration, the then Attorney General’s Office filed extradition requests against the former governor at the request of the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office.

“I certify that Duarte is extraditable regarding these crimes and I order that Duarte be detained pending both a review of the extradition request from Mexico by the Secretary of State and the possible delivery of Duarte to Mexico,” says the most recent case document.

According to the indictment against Duarte, while he was governor he conducted a series of transactions through which he or his family received funds from the government.

Charges include the illegal diversion of government funds approved for agricultural purposes to companies with which Durate is related, as well as to his family and a company owned by his wife.

The last of the alleged transactions was completed in December 2014, and involved the diversion of more than 5 million peso destined to the purchase of feed for use by farmers, but which, instead, ended up in an account held by Duarte, which was later was used to pay his taxes.

The US court document details that to avoid his extradition to Mexico, Duarte argued that the charges against him were a “political persecution” orchestrated by rivals.

Despite the fact that he had been wanted since March 2017 by Interpol, and there was an international order for his arrest during his judicial process in the United States, Duarte argued that he entered the United States in search of medical treatment and that he remained “living openly and without any effort to hide from the authorities.”

However, the judge determined that there is preponderant evidence that the former governor left Mexico in 2016, and remained in the United States with the intention of evading the action of justice in his country.

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