(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
A former Mexican state governor on the run from police for more than five months who has come to symbolize corruption within the country's ruling party was arrested on Saturday night in Guatemala and now awaits extradition.
Javier Duarte, wanted on charges of graft and organized crime, was detained in a hotel lobby in the picturesque lakeside town of Panajachel, 80 miles (130 km) west of Guatemala's capital, the national police said in a statement.
Local television footage showed a calm Duarte, formerly governor of Veracruz state, being led by police outside the hotel on Saturday night, his hands cuffed behind his back.
Duarte, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, was at the hotel for a couple of days using an assumed identity along with his wife; she has not been charged with any crimes.
"He wanted to pass as a Mexican tourist," said Stu Velasco, deputy director of Guatemala's national police.
Duarte likely entered Guatemala by land sometime in early November, and used private planes within Guatemala while on the run, said Omar Garcia, chief of criminal investigations within Mexico's attorney general's office, at a Sunday news conference at the Mexican embassy in Guatemala.