Charges dropped against man linked to former Tamaulipas Governor Tomás Yarrington

Latin America

“MX” for Borderland Beat

Tomás Yarrington

Earlier this month, a judge in the State of Mexico dropped an arrest warrant request against Alfredo Sandoval Musi, the former Sub-Secretary of Expenses in Tamaulipas. The judge stated that there were no evidences of his involvement in money laundering under Tomás Yarrington, the former Governor of Tamaulipas. Sandoval-Musi’s charges were dropped and he is no longer a fugitive, a status he held for nearly three years.
Yarrington was the Governor of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2005. During his governorship, he was accused of protecting the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas by taking millions in bribes. Among his formal charges include racketeering, drug trafficking, money laundering and bank fraud. After fleeing Mexico, Yarrington was arrested in Florence, Italy, in 2017 and extradited to the U.S. the following year. He is currently awaiting trial in Brownsville, Texas.
Case background
According to court documents, Sandoval-Musi was accused of being a property administrator and money launderer for Yarrington since 29 July 2009. Authorities believed he was responsible for managing El Colmenar, a ranch Yarrington owned in Soto la Marina, Tamaulipas. According to protected witness Antonio Peña Argüelles, El Colmenar ranch had over 1,000 Red Brangus cows and was 600 hectares (1482 acres) in size.

The property was bought at MXN$6 million in 24 August 2005, when Yarrington was governor. Investigators stated that Sandoval-Musi knew that the funds that Yarrington used to purchase the property were illegal.

During his governorship, Yarrington bought multiple properties across Mexico, including houses, ranches and lots. Most of them were located in Tamaulipas. For most of his properties, Yarrington bought them through strawmen to avoid detection or had people he trusted in charge of managing them.

In August 2019, authorities requested a federal judge in Toluca to approve an arrest warrant against Sandoval-Musi. However, the request was turned down. In February 2020, an arrest warrant was approved, but Sandoval-Musi’s defense issued a writ of amparto that cancelled the warrant. They were able to do this because they proved that there was a contradiction in the arrest warrant files. In one paragraph, Sandoval-Musi was accused of knowing that Yarrington’s funds were illegal. However, in another paragraph, it mentioned that Sandoval-Musi “possibly” knew of it. 

On 17 March 2020, The Fifth Federal Penal Court in Toluca finally dropped Sandoval-Musi’s charges. This removed Sandoval-Musi’s fugitive status effective immediate; he had been a fugitive for nearly three years.

Yarrington’s status
Yarrington became an international fugitive in August 2012, when he was added on the Interpol’s most-wanted list. He was accused of taking bribes from the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas in order to allow them to operate in Tamaulipas when he was governor. In April 2017, he was arrested in Florence, Italy, and extradited to the U.S. the following year.

Most of the documents in the investigation remain sealed. But U.S. officials confirmed that there are at least 15,000 digital documents consisting of 100,000 pages detailing his criminal endeavors at least since 1998, when he ran for governor and took bribes from the cartel.

Yarrington arriving to Brownsville during his extradition

His trial has been pushed multiple times since he was extradited in 2018. In April 2019, a Brownsville judge pushed the trial to January 2020. The case was described as extensive and voluminous. Yarrington is charged in a 53-page sealed indictment that includes 11 criminal counts. Authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies have pictures, information about warrants, seizures and protected witness testimonies to inculpate him

It is likely his trial will be held later this year after activities resume to normality following the coronavirus outbreak in Cameron County, Texas. Yarrington is currently in segregation and is not allowed to interact with the general population.

Note: Multiple sources were used for this report. For better readability, they were linked in the body paragraphs above. The ones from “El Norte” and “Reforma” may require a subscription.

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