During the first hearing at a U.S. court following César Duarte’s arrest held in Miami, federal judge Lauren Louis said it is a case of an international extradition request and that the former Chihuahua governor will remain in custody during the process. Moreover, the judge proposed to schedule the full extradition hearing for July 23, 24, or 27.
In a virtual hearing, that took place at Miami’s South District Judge, Duarte had a cellphone in which he heard the translation of what the judge was telling him.
The former governor was handcuffed and was wearing a beige and gray uniform; he was not wearing a mask.
The judge read the charges against him, described the crimes, and told him there is a warrant to take him to Mexico.
In 2017, Chihuahua authorities issued an arrest warrant against him after discovering public debt has reached MXN 48,000 million, embezzlement for MXN 6,000 million, and the diversion of MXN 250 million for the PRI’s electoral campaign in 2015.
Back in 2017, the Federal Prosecutors’ Office asked the Interpol to search for Duarte in 190 countries after Chihuahua authorities asked federal authorities for help to find the former Governor.
In January 2020, President López Obrador said the United States had agreed to extradite Duarte, who is wanted on corruption, money laundering, and illicit enrichment charges.
Duarte, who governed Chihuahua for the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has previously denied wrongdoing. His successor as governor, Javier Corral, has said that he believed Duarte fled to neighboring Texas.
“Our commitment to this matter, in this cause to which we are committed, will remain until the last day of my administration. We will pursue complete justice for Chihuahua,” said Corral Jurado. He stressed that his priority is to recover the looted money and return it to Chihuahua’s citizens, mainly by recovering the properties that were purchased with public funds.
During the inauguration at a folk art gallery, the governor was congratulated by Parral’s mayor Alfredo Lozoya Santillán, who asserted not everyone in Parral is like the former PRI governor, who had part of his ranches and properties located in the vicinity of this municipality.