MEXICO CITY - Mexican drug cartels paid $4.5 million in bribes to buy protection and political favors in a state run by the country's main opposition party, US court documents said on Friday, as the party leads polls to win the presidency in July.
The money-laundering case in Texas charges Antonio Pena, arrested on Wednesday, with funneling cash from the feared Zetas cartel to officials in the state of Tamaulipas, according to documents from the US District Court in San Antonio, Texas.
A sworn affidavit from an undercover agent at the US Drug Enforcement Administration names former Tamaulipas Governor Tomas Yarrington of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), as having a direct personal relationship with Zeta leaders.
A DEA undercover source "described Antonio Pena as a conduit between Mexican politicians, in particular Tomas Yarrington, and Zeta members Miguel Trevino and Heriberto Lazcano," according to the documents, available on U.S. court database PACER.
Lazcano and Trevino are the leaders of the cartel, which is notorious for decapitations and kidnappings across Mexico.