FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2016, file photo, the former Governor of Veracruz state, Javier Duarte speaks to reporters as he leaves the Attorney General's headquarters in Mexico City. Mexican authorities say fugitive former Veracruz Gov. Duarte has been detained in Guatemala. A statement from the federal Attorney General's Office late Saturday, April 15, 2017, says Duarte was detained in the Guatemalan municipality of Panajachel, in Solola department. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

Mexico says fugitive ex-Gov. Duarte detained in Guatemala

April 15, 2017 - 10:07 pm

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Javier Duarte, the fugitive former governor of Mexico's Veracruz state who is accused of running a corruption ring to pilfer from state coffers, was detained in Guatemala on Saturday.

A statement from Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office said Duarte was detained in the municipality of Panajachel, in Solola department, in coordination with Guatemalan police and the local Interpol office.

It said he is wanted on suspicion of money laundering and organized crime, and prosecutors directed the Foreign Relations Department to request Duarte's extradition via its Guatemalan counterpart.

Duarte was governor of Veracruz from 2010 until he left office Oct. 12, 2016, shortly before the scheduled end of his term. At the time he said he was doing so in order to face the allegations against him, which he denied.

Duarte promptly disappeared and has been sought by Mexican authorities ever since. Earlier this year Interpol issued a notice for his capture.

The Mexican government has found millions of dollars linked to Duarte, frozen more than 100 bank accounts and also seized property and businesses tied to the former governor. A reward of 15 million pesos ($730,000) had been offered for his capture.

The detention comes a week after Tomas Yarrington, the former governor of Mexico's Tamaulipas state, was arrested in Italy, also on allegations of organized crime and money laundering.

And an ex-governor of Chihuahua state, Cesar Duarte, is wanted as well on suspicion of corruption and is believed to have fled to El Paso, Texas. He is not related to the former Veracruz governor.

All three ex-governors were members of the ruling Institutional Revolution Party of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

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Associated Press writer Sonia Perez D. reported from Guatemala City and Peter Orsi reported from Mexico City.

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