Governor of embattled Mexican state steps down

AP News
Posted: Jun 18, 2014 5:01 PM
Governor of embattled Mexican state steps down

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The governor of the embattled western state of Michoacan has left his post for health reasons, the Mexican government announced Wednesday.

Mexico's presidency said in a statement that Michoacan Gov. Fausto Vallejo met with President Enrique Pena Nieto to inform him of his decision. Vallejo is a member of Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Neither the presidency nor Vallejo have said what ails him.

Vallejo, 65, took a leave of absence last year to have a kidney transplant and then Michoacan state interior secretary Jose Jesus Reyna took control of the government. Reyna was charged last month with organized crime and federal prosecutors say there is evidence he met several times with leaders of the Knights Templar drug cartel.

Vallejo confirmed Wednesday in his Twitter account he is stepping down, saying he is doing it so "I can take care of my health."

Vallejo's resignation comes a few days after local media published a purported photograph of his son in a meeting with Knights Templar cartel leader Servando Gomez, known as "La Tuta."

Michoacan, a fertile agricultural state that also produces drugs and is on a key trafficking route, is the Knights Templar's home base. The gang has been chased out of many Michoacan towns by vigilante groups that have demanded authorities go after the group's leaders.

In January, the federal government seized control of the state, appointed a commissioner and made a pact with the self-defense groups to register their arms. Those who wanted to were allowed to join a new rural police force.