XALAPA, Mexico – A ranch in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz equipped with its own bullring and private zoo shows the type of life led by former governor Javier Duarte’s entourage.
La Cartuja ranch, officially owned by Miguel Bermudez, brother of Arturo Bermudez, the secretary of public security during Duarte’s 2010-2016 term, was seized by the Attorney General’s Office of Veracruz, which is investigating if the buildings were constructed with public money.
On Monday, current Veracruz governor Miguel Angel Yunes said that he had received legal counsel to seize and recover properties illegally bought by Duarte, Bermudez’s family and other high-ranking officials during the previous administration.
“What they did against Veracruz is brutal. Each day more and more assets appear. We have focused on recovering assets in cash and properties,” Yunes said.
As governor, Duarte requested a leave of absence on Oct. 12, 2016, 48 days before the end of his term, supposedly to face corruption charges, although he immediately became a fugitive from justice.
He was arrested in Guatemala on April 15, 2017, and then extradited to Mexico.
La Cartuja, valued at more than 40 million pesos ($2.2 million), comprises five houses, three buildings, a chapel, a bullring, a soccer field, a cricket pitch, as well as an artificial lake, a stable, a zoo and a greenhouse.
A motorcycle, 10 horses, eight llamas, as well as drugs and firearms, were also seized.
Last month, Arturo Bermudez was arrested along with 18 other former officials for allegedly ordering and carrying out the enforced disappearance of 15 people during Duarte’s administration.