MIAMI (AP) — A United States federal judge has certified the extradition of a former Mexican governor accused of embezzling millions of dollars in state funds.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will make the final call on sending César Duarte back to Mexico to face corruption charges stemming from his time as governor of the border state of Chihuahua, but it appears likely.
Last month, Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said before the High-Level Security Dialogue with U.S. counterparts that extradition was a two-way street and Mexico wanted to see more from the U.S.
“Extraditions should have the same speed from there to here as from here to there, something that is not the case right now,” Ebrard said.
A statement Monday night from the Foreign Affairs department noted pointedly that the ruling from District Judge Lauren Louis came 10 months after she said she would analyze the evidence presented against Duarte.
Lawyers for Duarte did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The State Department declined to comment, citing its policy of not discussing extradition requests.
U.S. prosecutors argued there is evidence that Duarte committed crimes in Mexico and was eligible for extradition. His lawyers had countered that the charges were politically motivated — an assertion rejected by Louis.
Mexico requested Duarte’s extradition in late 2019. The former governor from the long-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party had sought asylum in the U.S. shortly before he was arrested in Miami in July 2020.
Duarte served as Chihuahua’s governor from 2010 to 2016 and moved to the U.S. with his family after leaving office.