MORELIA, Mexico – Former interim governor of the western Mexican state of Michoacan Jesus Reyna Garcia, who was jailed for four years and eight months over his suspected ties to the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel, said he will sue the judicial authorities responsible for putting him behind bars.
A member of the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Reyna was arrested on April 4, 2014, and released on Dec. 22, 2018, when the federal Attorney General’s Office dropped the charges of complicity with organized crime.
Reyna was arrested after a video uploaded to the Internet showed him meeting with the Caballeros’ then-leader, Servando “La Tuta” Gomez Martinez, who was arrested in 2015 and is currently behind bars.
The former interim governor, who was in office from April to October 2013, has consistently denied any ties to La Tuta and said he had been forced to attend the meeting due to death threats.
Reyna said Wednesday that he will file a lawsuit against a female judge and lodge five other complaints against members of the Federal Judiciary Council, or CJF, the top administrative body of Mexico’s judiciary, as well as take his case to the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The ex-governor, who alleges that he was held as a “political prisoner,” also said he would file a complaint with the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The politician said that one night after state elections in 2011 he was grabbed by people who took him to La Tuta.
“Servando Gomez ‘La Tuta’ wanted to see me, and it wasn’t up to me. I had to go or else face the consequences,” Reyna said, adding that either he or one of his family members could have been kidnapped had he put up resistance.
The Caballeros gang, created in 2010 by former members of the Familia Michoacana organization, has been operating in Michoacan since 2011.
Self-defense groups formed in Michoacan to battle that cartel in February 2013.
Amid escalating clashes between the militias and the drug gang, then-President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration stepped in and named a federal commissioner for security and comprehensive development for that state.
As part of that intervention, the Mexican government began to regularize Michoacan’s self-defense forces by incorporating them into a rural police force.
Some members of the self-defense groups, however, rejected the proposal to join the new corps and continued carrying out policing activities in several municipalities.
Several former vigilantes have recently been identified as members of the Los Viagras and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, which are now battling for control of drug production and trafficking in Michoacan.