GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan authorities extradited on Monday Javier Duarte, the former governor of the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz, to Mexico, where he faces corruption and other charges.
After being checked by doctors at a Guatemalan air force base, the 43-year-old Duarte was handed over to Mexican Attorney General’s Office representatives.
The politician, a member of Mexico’s governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), faces corruption and other charges in his homeland.
The plane carrying Duarte took off at 9:05 am, but officials did not reveal the destination.
Interpol agents handed Duarte over to Mexican officials, who put him on the plane sooner than expected, preventing the politician from speaking with the press, the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said.
Mexican officials made the decision to not allow Duarte to speak with reporters, a Guatemalan Government Ministry spokesman said.
“Guatemalan authorities followed all the legal procedures for handing over Mr. Duarte to Mexico under extradition,” the Government Ministry spokesman said.
The AG’s office alleges that Duarte misappropriated large sums of public funds between 2012 and 2015, using the money to buy real estate in Mexico and abroad.
Duarte was arrested on April 15 at a hotel in Panajachel, a city in the Guatemalan province of Solola.
The former governor entered Guatemala illegally by land last November, officials said.
The former governor was detained at the La Riviera Hotel, one of the most luxurious in the area, by Interpol agents from Guatemala.
He was the subject of an Interpol red notice, an alert from the international police organization that can serve as a basis for arrest in some countries.
Interpol sent the red notice for Duarte, one of the most-wanted men in Mexico, to 192 countries.
On July 4, the former Veracruz governor appeared before a court in Guatemala City and accepted the second extradition request filed against him by Mexico on federal charges.
“I didn’t commit these crimes and my desire is to prove that,” Javier Duarte told the 5th Criminal Court.
Duarte had agreed at a June 27 hearing to not fight one of the extradition requests filed by the Mexican government on abuse of authority, influence peddling and other corruption charges.
The request was filed with Guatemalan authorities on June 7, the same day that Mexico finished documenting the first extradition request, which led to Duarte’s arrest.
Duarte told the court he was innocent but would not fight the extradition request.